In addition to the dearth of IPOs in the wake of the market's swoon, there's also been a lack of stocks splitting their shares. While stock splits really don't mean much -- would you like your pizza cut into six slices or 12? -- they typically signal a bullish sentiment by management. Around the Motley Fool, they're considered non-events, though investors generally like them.

One of the last splits announced came from liquor distributor Brown-Forman (NYSE:BF-B) at the end of September. The shares split a month later, but I haven't seen any such announcements since.

We've also had some split decisions withdrawn. Bank of Granite has been troubled by loan losses, but it was still scheduled to split its shares 5-for-4 a few weeks ago. However, back in early October, it begged off, saying the move wouldn't be in shareholders' best interests.

Certainly, dismal prospects about the immediate future play into the scarcity of split announcements. But more importantly, share prices seem simply too low to support a split. If you're Citigroup (NYSE:C), and your stock was trading at almost $50 a share a year ago, but today is less than $5, you won't be planning a split any time soon.

In fact, we're more likely to see reverse stock splits, as companies try to prop up their share prices. Where regular splits are seen as bullish, a reverse stock split often signals a company in trouble. Time Warner (NYSE:TWX), for instance, is preparing to do a reverse split once it spins off its Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC) unit, figuring the market won't value the remaining company very highly once its prime moneymaking division is gone.

While a lack of companies splitting shares is no big deal, it's worthwhile to keep an eye on those that propose to split them in reverse. If nothing else, it might save you from thinking that a sudden jump in share prices means your company's done something amazing to merit the boost.

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Fool contributor Rich Duprey does not have a financial position in any of the stocks mentioned in this article. You can see his holdings here. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.