The Serious Return of Stock Splits (CLH, OKS, OKE, ALXN, CERN, PLCM, CWT, OII, CSX, SIX, IIVI, FLO, CHD, PEIXD, C, AAPL, GOOG, NFLX)

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Stock splits usually bring back memories of the old tech bubble and dot-com bubble.  Fundamentally, nothing changes at the company other than that smaller investors get to invest in shares at a lower nominal share price.  Now that the markets have recovered so much, with the recent weeks as an exception, we are seeing many companies with higher share prices starting to announce stock splits. There may even be more current stock splits pending and freshly affected than we can remember seeing in years.

We have seen major stock split announcements from the likes of many companies.  Some of the larger splits are from the following: Clean Harbors, Inc. (NYSE: CLH); Oneok Partners LP (NYSE: OKS); Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: ALXN); Cerner Corporation (NASDAQ: CERN); Polycom, Inc. (NASDAQ: PLCM); California Water Service Group (NYSE: CWT); Oceaneering International, Inc. (NYSE: OII); CSX Corp. (NYSE: CSX); Six Flags Entertainment Corporation (NYSE: SIX); II-VI Inc. (NASDAQ: IIVI); Flowers Foods, Inc. (NYSE: FLO); and Church & Dwight Co. Inc. (NYSE: CHD).  We even have a fresh reverse stock split from Pacific Ethanol, Inc. (NASDAQ: PEIXD).  You might think it learned from Citigroup, Inc. (NYSE: C) but Pacific Ethanol did not have a choice if it wanted to keep its listing.

There is also no way to have an article about stock splits without pondering when or what it would take for great companies like Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL), Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) or Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX) to consider splitting their shares.

The road to stock splits has really become more common.  We have not seen this many pending splits in years.  These are not presented in any significant order.

Clean Harbors, Inc. (NYSE: CLH) announced a two-for-one stock split in the form of a dividend payable on July 26, 2011 to holders of record at the close on July 6, 2011.

On Tuesday came word from Oneok Partners LP (NYSE: OKS) that it planned to conduct a two-for-one split of its common and class-B units.  This was its first split and you rarely see “units” split.  It is 43% owned by its general partner, Oneok Inc. (NYSE: OKE).

In May came a biotech stock split from Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: ALXN).  It previously approved a 2-for-1 stock split and shares began trading on a split-adjusted basis on May 23.  Shares went from almost $100 to under $50…

Also in May came word from Cerner Corporation (NASDAQ: CERN) that its board of directors had approved a 2-for-1 stock split in the form of a dividend for holders of record on June 15, 2011. The distribution date for the new shares is June 24, 2011.

Polycom, Inc. (NASDAQ: PLCM) announced last month after its pact with H-P that its board of directors approved a two-for-one split of its stock in the form of a stock dividend for holders of record at the close of business on June 15.