The best known of the upcoming stock splits is Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA). It will split its stock today, Aug. 24, after the close of trading. The three-for-one split will reduce the electric vehicle maker’s share price to less than $300.
It will be Elon Musk’s second stock split since the beginning of the pandemic. Tesla stock split five-for-one in August 2020. This means that for every share you held in March 2020, you’ll now own 15.
Companies like Tesla split their stock, rationalizing that a lower share price makes it easier for retail investors to get on board. However, fractional shares make this argument nonsensical.
And yet, they continue to happen, despite this reality. So, the question is, when does it make sense to split a company’s shares?
I would argue that the best stock splits are those that have minimal share counts. After all, the more shares outstanding, the higher the liquidity. Some institutional investors can’t buy certain stocks because they have insufficient volume. Stock splits remedy this problem.
Based on this argument, I would like to see the following seven stock splits from seven different sectors. All of them have a share count of 50 million or less.
|CASY||Casey’s General Stores||$217.14|
|FDS||FactSet Research Systems||$439.00|
|JLL||Jones Lang LaSalle||$175.68|
Cable One (CABO)
Shares Outstanding: 5.88 million
Market Capitalization: $7.35 billion
5-Year Cumulative Return: 68.69%
Cable One (NYSE:CABO) provides broadband services under the Sparklight brand to more than 1.1 million residential and commercial customers in 24 states.
In the second quarter, its revenues grew 6.8% to $429.1 million, while its adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) rose 6.7% to $227.5 million.
In September 2021, in an article, I recommended investors sell AT&T (NYSE:T) — it’s down 12% since then through Aug. 23 — and consider Cable One instead. Unfortunately, it’s done even worse, down 34%.
My rationale for Cable One was that it grew at a decent clip and historically outperformed AT&T stock. Further, Cable One was spun-off from Graham Holdings (NYSE:GHC) in July 2015. Graham Holdings Chairman Donald Graham still owns 8% of Cable One.
Trading at $1,250, a 10-for-1 split would bring its shares outstanding to more than 58 million while reducing its share price much closer to $100. The current median target price from analysts is $1,600, 28% higher than its current share price.
I liked its share price at $1,900. I can’t help but like it at $1,250, even without any stock splits.
Deckers Outdoor (DECK)
Shares Outstanding: 26.53 million
Market Capitalization: $8.66 billion
5-Year Cumulative Return: 413.9%
In recent years, Deckers Outdoor (NYSE:DECK) has lost its reputation as a one-trick pony. No longer is it entirely dependent on its UGG brand to drive revenue and profits. It’s now got a one-two punch with Hoka One One running shoes a close second by revenue.
“Deckers acquired Hoka One One in April 2013. At the time, Hoka had annual revenue of approximately $3 million. Deckers’ management thought its yearly sales could get to $100 million someday,” I wrote on July 19.
“In fiscal 2022 (March 31 year-end), Hoka’s sales were $892 million, almost 9x its original target. By fiscal 2023, Decker’s will have two billion-dollar brands.”
In the company’s Q1 2023 results, Hoka went over $1 billion in revenue over the trailing 12 months. Its revenues were more than $120 million higher than UGG’s. Despite the margin contraction in the first quarter, Deckers still expects revenue of at least $3.45 billion and earnings per share of $17.50 in fiscal 2023.
DECK stock is down 25% over the past year. It now trades at 2.77x sales, its lowest valuation since 2019.
It’s a long-term buy.
Casey’s General Stores (CASY)
Shares Outstanding: 37.19 million
Market Capitalization: $8.08 billion
5-Year Cumulative Return: 106.47%
Thirteen analysts cover Casey’s General Stores (NASDAQ:CASY). Of those, eight rates it a buy, with a median target price of $235.
Casey’s operates more than 2,400 convenience stores in 16 Midwestern states. Founded in 1968 in Iowa, the company is opening new stores in towns with larger populations. It used to be that a majority of its stores were located in towns of 5,000 or less. Today, 25% have a population of 20,000 or more, and that percentage is growing.
Like many convenience stores that also sell gas, a significant portion of its revenues are from low-margin gas sales. In fiscal 2022, 64% of its $13.0 billion in sales were from gas, but only 34% of its $2.8 billion gross profit. However, its prepared foods business accounted for 9% of revenue and 26% of gross profit.
So, in 2022, its prepared foods gross profit was $728 million, or 62% of its $1.17 billion in revenue, compared to an 11.4% gross profit margin for its gas business ($952 million in gross profits divided by $8.32 billion revenue).
As a result of its commitment to prepared foods, Casey’s is the 5th-largest pizza chain in the U.S. In addition, it is working hard to grow Casey’s branded products. As of April 2022, it had 265 Casey’s products in its stores. It currently generates 5% of sales inside its stores from private labels. Its goal is to reach the industry average of 10% within two to three years.
I wouldn’t say that CASY stock is cheap. However, I would say if you buy at current prices, you’re getting growth at a reasonable price.
FactSet Research Systems (FDS)
Shares Outstanding: 37.98 million
Market Capitalization: $16.67 billion
5-Year Cumulative Return: 175.63%
Raymond James Financial (NYSE:RJF) recently appointed FactSet Research Systems (NASDAQ:FDS) as its primary market data and technology provider for its U.S. Private Client Group.
“Our collaboration with Raymond James is a clear example of how FactSet’s wealth management solutions give financial advisors the tools needed to drive productivity and efficiency with differentiated content and analytics through a modern and flexible interface,” said Goran Skoko, Executive Vice President, Head of Research and Advisory Solutions at FactSet.
As part of its relationship, FactSet has virtually rolled out 7,500 advanced wealth workstations to Raymond James advisors across the U.S. It’s a win/win business relationship.
These relationships have enabled it to grow revenues and adjusted earnings for 41 and 25 consecutive years, respectively. FactSet has increased its profits yearly since becoming a public company in June 1996.
So far in fiscal 2022, FactSet has increased revenues by 14.0% to $1.34 billion while boosting free cash flow by 8.4% to $350.97 million.
Acuity Brands (AYI)
Shares Outstanding: 32.71 million
Market Capitalization: $5.84 billion
5-Year Cumulative Return: 1.05%
If a company is cursed, I would put Acuity Brands (NYSE:AYI) at the top of the list. Acuity is one of the largest providers of lighting solutions in North America. In August 2017, I included Acuity in an article recommending seven stocks to buy with a $2,000 start.
Since National Service Industries spun it off in December 2001, AYI stock has gained 1,478%. However, it’s been downhill since September 2016, when it hit an all-time high of over $275.
The argument can be made that the demand for its stock doesn’t merit any stock splits. The stock’s average daily volume is 268,000 shares, less than 1% of its public float.
Acuity reported healthy third-quarter 2022 results in late June that included an 18% increase in sales to $$1.1 billion and a 30% jump in EPS to $3.05, from $2.37 a year earlier. Both its operating segments — Acuity Brands Lighting and Lighting Controls (ABL) and Intelligent Spaces Group (ISG) — sales and profits in the quarter.
Equally important, it repurchased $405.1 million of its stock in the first nine months of fiscal 2022 at an average price of $176.13. At or below its current share price, management believes the shares are worth more.
The company’s CEO, Neil Ashe, joined Acuity in January 2020. Ashe was CEO of Walmart’s (NYSE:WMT) Global eCommerce & Technology unit from January 2012 through January 2017. He’s a highly accomplished executive reviving the company’s fortunes.
Its best days are still ahead of it.
Universal Display (OLED)
Shares Outstanding: 47.23 million
Market Capitalization: $5.48 billion
5-Year Cumulative Return: 4.42%
As with Acuity Brands, Universal Display (NASDAQ:OLED) has been in a significant slump in recent years.
It flatlined over those five years but not without much volatility thrown into the mix. On three occasions, OLED jumped over $200, only to fall below $150. The most recent example started in January 2021 before bottoming in June.
OLED manufactures organic light emitting diode (hence, the OLED ticker) materials and technologies. It sells OLED materials to manufacturers of mobile phones, televisions, tablets, and other display applications. The company also licenses its technology to those manufacturers. Universal Display has more than 5,500 global patents on this technology.
In Q2 2022, its material sales accounted for 53% of its $136.56 million in revenue; its royalty and license fees accounted for 44%, and its contract research services made up the remaining 3%.
Inflation bit into its margins in the quarter. Its gross margin on material sales was 65%, 600 basis points less than a year ago. However, due to the licensing revenues being nearly all profits, its operating margin in the quarter was 39%.
Trading its way out of recent weakness, now is an excellent time to buy, with or without any stock splits.
Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL)
Shares Outstanding: 47.92 million
Market Capitalization: $8.42 billion
5-Year Cumulative Return: 47.14%
The global real estate services company was hit hard by Covid-19. It generates significant revenue from its office leasing services. Demand for those services fell dramatically over the past two-and-a-half years.
However, that’s only a small piece of what Jones Lang LaSalle (NYSE:JLL) does to make money. It also helps investors and operators buy, sell, and finance real estate, provides property and facility management, offers project development services, consults businesses on workplace strategies, and provides real estate asset management.
In the second quarter, except for its LaSalle real estate asset management business, all five of its operating segments grew revenues by more than 20%, with decent increases in adjusted EBITDA.
The company’s revenue rose 21% in the quarter to $5.3 billion, with $2.1 billion from fees. Its adjusted EPS was $4.48 during the quarter, 9% higher than a year ago.
In the second quarter, JLL repurchased almost $300 million of its stock — up from $38 million a year earlier — at an average price of $212.96 a share. Its share price has fallen dramatically in the third quarter.
“The growth was broad-based across regions and concentrated in the office and industrial sectors,” stated CFO Karen Brennan in its Q2 2022 conference call. “Office sector fee revenue growth outpaced the global office market volume by approximately 500 basis points. Industrial factor fee revenue growth remained strong, up 37%.”
JLL currently trades at 0.43x sales, one of its lowest P/S multiples in the past decade. It will continue to experience some difficulties in office leasing, but long-term, this is a good entry point.
On the date of publication, Will Ashworth did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.