Amazon (AMZN) – Get Amazon.com, Inc. Report shares powered higher Monday ahead of the first day of trading following a 20-for-1 split of the online retailing giant’s stock that will bring its nominal price closer in line with mega-cap tech peers such as Apple (AAPL) – Get Apple Inc. Report and Meta (FB) – Get Meta Platforms Inc. Class A Report.
Amazon said shareholders of record on May 24 received 19 extra shares of the group for each one held after the split, which was first made public in March. The split — the first for the company in three decades — was formalized after the close of trading Friday and will begin changing hands on the adjusted basis later today.
Google parent Alphabet (GOOGL) – Get Alphabet Inc. Class A Report is also preparing to reduce its nominal share price into the mid-$100 range — from a Friday close of $2,327.50 each — when its own 20-for-1 split is completed on July 15. Tesla (TSLA) – Get Tesla Inc Report , which split its stock in August of 2020, will put its proposed 7-for-1 adjustment to a shareholder vote on August 4.
Amazon shares were marked 2.04% higher in pre-market trading to indicate an opening bell price of $124.83 each. On a split-adjusted basis, the stock’s new all-time high is $188.65 each, while its March 2020 low is $81.30 each.
The stock is down around 8.1% since the split was announced on March 9, compared to a 6.1% decline for the tech benchmark Nasdaq.
Curiously, Amazon — as well as its peers — have targeted broader investor access as part of the motive behind the split, just as retail investors are starting to pull away from beaten-down stock markets.
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Earlier this month, Goldman Sachs analyst David Kostin noted that around $26 billion has flowed out of U.S. equity mutual funds and exchange traded funds over the previous seven weeks, and theorized that retail investors had, in effect, sold all of the stocks they had bought over the past two years.
That said, Amazon’s split still leaves it open to inclusion in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, a price-weighted index that is designed to smooth-out the vagaries of splits and dividends in its 30 stock collection. It does this through the Dow divisor, a number that represents the affect of a stock price change on the overall average.
S&P Dow Jones Indices classifies Amazon as a consumer discretionary stock, while Google is considered communications services, but both would have a strong case for Dow inclusion given their industry dominance and planet-like influence on broader financial markets.
But who would could Amazon replace?
International Business Machines (IBM) – Get International Business Machines Corporation Report seems the most likely target, with a market cap of just $127 billion and stock that’s fallen nearly 5% of the past five years. Intel Corp. (INTC) – Get Intel Corporation Report, at $177 billion, could also be a swap, as could Cisco Systems (CSCO) – Get Cisco Systems, Inc. Report, which has a market value of around $187 billion.
The move to swap out one of the tech old-guards is not without precedent: Apple knocked AT&T (T) – Get AT&T Inc. Report from its Dow perch in March of 2015, less than a year after the iPhone maker (now the biggest company in the world) unveiled a 7-for-1 stock split in June of 2014.
S&P Dow Jones Indices is not above turfing big-name stocks from its bellwether, either: Pfizer (PFE) – Get Pfizer Inc. Report got the boot in the summer of 2020, alongside Exxon Mobil (XOM) – Get Exxon Mobil Corporation Report and Raytheon (RTX) – Get Raytheon Technologies Corporation Report, to make way for Amgen (AMGN) – Get Amgen Inc. Report, Salesforce (CRM) – Get Salesforce, Inc. Report and Honeywell (HON) – Get Honeywell International Inc. Report.