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Stock Dividend vs. Stock Split — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman — Published on October 28, 2023
Stock Dividend involves distributing additional shares to shareholders proportionally, while Stock Split increases share count by splitting them, altering the share price without changing the firm's market value.
Stock Dividend vs. Stock Split — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Stock Dividend and Stock Split


Key Differences

In the realm of financial management, both Stock Dividend and Stock Split pertain to the distribution of additional shares to current shareholders. However, the underlying reasons and mechanisms behind them are distinct. Stock Dividend represents a portion of the company's retained earnings paid out in the form of additional shares rather than cash. It's often a strategic move when firms prefer retaining cash but still want to reward shareholders. Stock Split, on the other hand, is a technique used predominantly to reduce the trading price of a stock, making it more affordable for retail investors without affecting the overall market capitalization of the company.
Diving deeper into Stock Dividend, it becomes clear that this method can be advantageous for both the company and the shareholders. For businesses, it provides an avenue to retain necessary cash for operations or future projects. For shareholders, they receive additional shares which might appreciate in value over time. Contrastingly, a Stock Split directly affects the price per share. When a company believes its stock price might be too high for average investors to purchase, they employ a stock split to increase liquidity and marketability.
Stock Dividend doesn't necessarily lead to a change in the stock's market price, whereas Stock Split intentionally affects the price. For instance, a 2-for-1 Stock Split would halve the stock price. However, the underlying value of the company remains unchanged in both scenarios. It's vital for investors to understand that neither Stock Dividend nor Stock Split adds or detracts from the intrinsic value of their holdings.
In summary, while Stock Dividend and Stock Split both deal with distributing additional shares, their purposes and outcomes can differ considerably. Stock Dividend is more about rewarding shareholders without expending cash, and Stock Split focuses on adjusting the stock price for marketability.

Comparison Chart


Reward shareholders without cash outlay.
Adjust stock price for increased marketability.

Effect on Share Price

Typically no direct impact on price.
Intentionally alters share price.

Effect on Market Cap

Remains the same.

Shareholder Equity

Converted from retained earnings to paid-up capital.
No change in shareholder equity.

Liquidity and Affordability

Might not affect stock's liquidity or affordability directly.
Aims to increase liquidity by making shares more affordable.

Compare with Definitions

Stock Dividend

It's a method where companies convert retained earnings into issued share capital.
The business decided to turn a part of its retained earnings into a Stock Dividend.

Stock Split

A Stock Split is a move by a company to increase the number of its outstanding shares by issuing more shares to current shareholders.
The company executed a 2-for-1 Stock Split, doubling its shares.

Stock Dividend

An allocation of additional shares proportional to shares already held.
Every shareholder received a Stock Dividend based on the number of shares they owned.

Stock Split

A division of existing shares into multiple shares, often to boost liquidity.
After the Stock Split, the increased number of shares boosted the stock's liquidity.

Stock Dividend

A reward mechanism for shareholders without impacting a company's cash reserves.
The firm chose Stock Dividend to reward its investors without depleting its cash.

Stock Split

A corporate action that alters the stock price while retaining the same market capitalization.
The Stock Split halved the share price, but the overall company value remained unchanged.

Stock Dividend

A Stock Dividend is a distribution of additional shares to existing shareholders instead of cash.
Instead of cash, the company issued a 10% Stock Dividend to its shareholders.

Stock Split

An adjustment to share denomination without affecting a shareholder's equity value.
Despite the Stock Split, the total value of my shares remained the same.

Stock Dividend

A non-cash dividend representing a portion of a company's profits.
Shareholders received their portion of profits in the form of a Stock Dividend.

Stock Split

A strategy to make shares more affordable without changing the company's market value.
The firm's Stock Split aimed to reduce the share price, attracting more investors.

Common Curiosities

Do either Stock Dividend or Stock Split add value to the company?

Neither Stock Dividend nor Stock Split inherently adds to the company's overall market value.

What is the primary purpose of a Stock Dividend?

Stock Dividend aims to reward shareholders by distributing additional shares without utilizing cash.

Why might a company opt for a Stock Split?

Companies usually use Stock Split to make their shares more affordable, potentially increasing liquidity and attracting more investors.

How does a Stock Dividend affect my holdings as a shareholder?

A Stock Dividend increases the number of shares you hold without altering the total value of your investment.

Is cash ever exchanged during a Stock Dividend?

No, a Stock Dividend involves the distribution of additional shares, not cash.

Do all shareholders benefit equally from a Stock Split?

In a Stock Split, all shareholders receive additional shares proportionally, so the relative ownership remains unchanged.

After a Stock Split, will the value of my investment change?

No, a Stock Split alters the number of shares and their price, but the total value of your investment remains the same.

How will a Stock Split affect a company's balance sheet?

A Stock Split doesn't impact a company's balance sheet as it doesn't change the overall equity value, only its distribution among shares.

Does a Stock Dividend dilute the company's ownership?

While Stock Dividend increases the number of shares, it doesn't dilute ownership since all shareholders receive proportional additional shares.

What's a typical ratio for a Stock Split?

Common Stock Split ratios include 2-for-1 or 3-for-1, where shareholders receive two or three shares for every one they own, respectively.

How often do companies execute Stock Splits?

Stock Split frequency varies based on company strategy, stock price, and market conditions.

Can I opt for cash instead of additional shares during a Stock Dividend?

Typically no, a Stock Dividend specifically involves the distribution of shares, not cash.

What's the financial source for a Stock Dividend?

Stock Dividends are usually sourced from a company's retained earnings.

Is there a tax implication for shareholders receiving a Stock Dividend?

Generally, Stock Dividends aren't immediately taxable, but they can affect the cost basis of the shares, impacting future capital gains taxes.

How is the stock price determined post a Stock Split?

After a Stock Split, the stock price adjusts based on the split ratio, e.g., it halves in a 2-for-1 split.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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