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Have you ever seen company shares act like rabbits??

16 years ago

Greetings, everyone.

Let's say that your uncle, as a young man, after taking his first employment position forty years ago in 1968, saved up some money and bought 100 shares of JNJ on January 2, 1970. I have no idea of the price that he would have paid per share, or of the amount of dividend that each share paid annually at that time.

But I think that you would find it interesting to visit a major branch of your public library and look up those two amounts - N.Y.Times, Wall Street Journal, Barrons.

In the beginning, some of your family kidded him about having gone without a car for a while, then having bought an old clunker ... while putting some valuable money into those pieces of paper called stock certificates.

Later that year, about May, they did a little laughing on the other side of their faces when, for each share that he owned, JNJ sent two more shares for each one that he owned - so that then he had 300 shares. Each share, of course, starting out at about 1/3 the value of each share just before the split.

Not much more was said over the years, but some heard rumours that in 1981 (again, in May, as a matter of fact) he received two more shares for each that he owned - then he had 900 shares in all.

Uncle died last month, and when his executor and the family looked through his papers, they found a surprisingly large number of share certificates of JNJ (assuming that he had not sold any, or bought any more).

Here's your assignment for homework tonight: find out how many shares there were. And the price at which each share could be sold now.

You may have your own method of seeking that information, but if you don't, here's a way.

Go to Part way down the left side of screen, click on "Finance".

Near top left of the "Finance" page, there's a box labelled, "Get quotes".

Enter "JNJ" into that space, click on "Go".

You will be taken to a page showing a good deal of information about current share price of JNJ.

If you look at the lower right, you'll see a chart that shows how the share price moved through the hours of trading today (Mon.-Fri.).

Under the chart you can see letters and numbers that allow you to bring up charts of the share price movement for 1 week, 3 or 6 months, or 1 - 5 years or so.

If you click on some of those items, you can see charts covering variation in JNJ stock price over those periods - and you can choose bar charts rather than line charts, if you choose. You will also see info under the chart that you can use to calculate how many shares Uncle owned at the time of his death.

There were several 2:1 stock splits.

While you're at the library, should you choose to check the share prices annually, or even quarterly, and the rate of dividend that each share paid, you might find it interesting.

I'm fairly sure that I read a while ago that JNJ has increased the rate of dividend that they pay annually for the past 40 years. But I don't follow that stock closely.

Please note this caution: I have referred to this situation as a means of illustration.

I am not suggesting that you should or should not buy JNJ shares - now or at any other time. I don't own any.

Good wishes for various nice surprises for you and yours through this New Year.

ole joyful

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