Microsoft had one of the more successful share launches of the latter part of the twentieth century. Over nearly three decades, the stock has performed well, although the company was initially not keen on paying a shareholder dividend. Microsoft has used stock splits, known more commonly in the UK as scrip issues, to keep the market interested in its shares.
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Microsoft famously launched its stock in 1986 and it proved extremely popular. The launch price was $21 a share but trading began at $25.50. Two and a half million shares were originally earmarked for sale but eventually, over three and a half million changed hands. It wasn’t until early in 2003 that Microsoft was pressured into paying its first dividend to shareholders.
As of 10th April 2013, Microsoft’s share price on NASDAQ has been between 15 and 38 over the last decade. NASDAQ originally stood for National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations. The price has generally outperformed the market in most of Microsoft’s share history, as indicated by prices recorded by the FTSE, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and NASDAQ.
Highs and lows
According to MSN Money, Microsoft’s share price built gradually in the first decade of trading. The price reached its peak in the next decade of trading, reaching its all time high price of 59.56 on the 27th December 1999. The price levelled off around 25 in the next five years. It fell to 15.15 on 3rd September 2009.
As of 10th April 2013, Microsoft has split its stock nine times. Stock splits are typically used to lower the per-share price. This often has the effect of stimulating trading in a stock that has become dormant because of its high price. The last stock split was in 2003 and was a two-for-one split on common stock. This meant shareholders received an additional common share for every share held.
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