Stock splits often generate excitement and curiosity among investors. Understanding their implications can provide valuable insights into market behavior and stock performance. Let’s take a look at what stock splits are, their historical performance, and the specific case of NVIDIA (NVDA) to shed light on this financial maneuver.

What is a Stock Split?

A stock split occurs when a company decides to divide its existing shares into multiple new shares. Although the number of shares increases, the total value of the shares remains the same, as the price of each share is adjusted proportionally. For example, in a 2-for-1 split, each share is split into two, and the price per share is halved. Thus, if you owned one share worth $100 before the split, you would own two shares worth $50 each after the split.

Historical Performance of Stock Splits

Goldman Sachs’ analysis of 45 stock splits by Russell 1000 companies since 2019 provides a compelling look at how stocks tend to perform around the time of a split. According to the study, share prices outperformed the equal-weighted S&P 500 Index by an average of 4% during the week following the announcement of the split. This outperformance highlights the initial positive market reaction to stock split announcements, likely driven by investor sentiment and perceived increased accessibility of the stock.

However, the same analysis showed that after the stock splits took effect, no consistent pattern of outperformance was evident. This suggests that the initial excitement and momentum may not necessarily translate into sustained long-term gains.

The NVIDIA Case Study

NVIDIA (NVDA) provides an intriguing case study on stock splits. The chipmaker announced its latest stock split alongside its earnings release on May 22, resulting in a remarkable 27% gain in its share price from the announcement to the effective date of the split. This significantly outpaced the average 4% gain observed in the Goldman Sachs study, highlighting the unique market enthusiasm surrounding NVIDIA’s split.

As of today, NVIDIA’s stock split has taken effect. Yet, according to Goldman Sachs’ findings, we should not expect any particular pattern of outperformance simply because the split has occurred. This raises an important point about stock splits: while they can generate short-term market interest, their impact on long-term performance is less predictable and often minimal.

Factors Influencing Stock Performance Around Splits

Several factors can influence stock performance around the time of a split:

Earnings Announcements: Many stock splits are announced in conjunction with earnings reports, making it challenging to isolate the impact of the split itself from the company’s financial performance. Strong earnings can drive share prices up, and if a split is announced simultaneously, the effect can be amplified.

Liquidity Benefits: Stock splits can increase liquidity by making shares more affordable to retail investors. While this is often cited by academics, it’s important to note that retail investors account for only about 10% of S&P 500 Index trading volume. However, in some cases, like NVIDIA in 2021 and Amazon (AMZN) in 2022, the split led to a 7% increase in trading volume by retail investors, suggesting that in certain high-profile cases, splits can indeed boost liquidity.

Market Sentiment and Accessibility: The psychological aspect of stock splits cannot be overlooked. Investors may perceive a stock as more accessible and affordable post-split, potentially increasing demand. This perception, however, does not change the fundamental value of the company.


Stock splits are a noteworthy event in the financial markets, often accompanied by a surge in investor interest and short-term price gains. However, as evidenced by both historical data and specific cases like NVIDIA, the long-term impact of stock splits on performance is less certain.

In the end, while stock splits can make a company’s shares more accessible and potentially more liquid, they do not inherently change the company’s underlying value. As always, thoughtful and informed investment decisions should be based on a comprehensive analysis of the company’s fundamentals and market conditions rather than on the stock split alone.

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