Investors were ecstatic when Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) announced a 4-for-1 stock split back in late July. The first stock split in six years created a wave of buying in the tech giant's shares, sending the stock to record highs and Apple's valuation above the $2 trillion mark.
The split happened in late August, and investors have had a couple of months to let the dust settle. For many shareholders, things didn't play out the way they'd hoped. Here are a few things Apple investors learned the hard way -- and why it might not turn out all that badly for investors in the end.
1. Stock split hype can die down quickly
Shares of Apple soared following the split's announcement, and they just kept on climbing throughout August. Investors were so excited about the prospect of getting more shares that Apple saw a more than 40% share-price boost.
As you can see above, though, that hype turned out to be short-lived. In fact, the stock started giving up its gains within days following the completion of the split. Those who bought Apple at the very top ended up suffering a loss of almost 20%.
That behavior was consistent with the experience of many past stock splits. The move gets a lot of attention until it's done, and then investors have to refocus on fundamentals. That doesn't always turn out poorly for shareholders, but it does often make a pullback more likely.
2. Watching your brokerage account every day can cause unnecessary stress
Brokerage companies knew investors would anxiously watch the Apple stock split, especially since it came while Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) was also moving forward with a split of its own. Millions of investors had at least one of those stocks in their portfolios, creating a challenge for the operations departments of the largest stockbrokers.
In at least some cases, investors found that their portfolios didn't immediately reflect the additional shares they received due to the split. However, online accounts did usually reflect the updated price. Therefore, some people saw what looked like a 75% plunge in the value of their Apple shares -- and others had their Apple positions simply taken off their holdings entirely while the transaction was processed.
For those who weren't day trading the stock, brokerage issues weren't of immediate concern, but many were still shocked to see their account value plunge unexpectedly. Brokers fixed the problem quickly, so those who don't check their accounts frequently were spared the worry.
3. Business fundamentals are key
The stock split distracted from Apple's fundamental business performance. Once the split was over, investors turned their attention back to what really matters.
Going into the key holiday season, Apple investors are looking at the company's newest products. On the hardware side, there's the new 5G-capable iPhone 12 lineup, as well as new versions of the Apple Watch and iPad. New services include a planned Fitness+ online exercise program, as well as the expected Apple One bundle of television, music, and other service offerings.
Don't worry about the drop
Some will be unhappy with the decline in Apple's stock price after the split, but fundamentally, the iPhone giant is hitting on all cylinders and has plenty of opportunities for future growth. In the long run, whether you bought the tech stock at $130 or $110 should become increasingly unimportant if Apple can sustain its recent pace of growth.