I own shares in Sun Microsystems. Sun has recently made a couple of largely cosmetic changes to its stock. First of all, Sun has changed their stock ticker symbol from SUNW to JAVA. They put out a press release giving a few reasons for this change. The truth is that this change is mostly cosmetic. But I did have to manually change the stock ticker symbol in Microsoft Money and other records that I use to keep track of my cost basis. I also occasionally read the message boards at Yahoo Finance, and noticed that Yahoo has not yet setup a message board under Sun's new ticker symbol: JAVA.
Another largely cosmetic change is that Sun Microsystems will ask its shareholders to authorize a 1 for 4 reverse stock split at its Annual Meeting of Stockholders on November 8, 2007. This won't affect most shareholders, other than having to remember to correctly account for the change in their tax basis. As an example, suppose that a shareholder has 1000 shares of JAVA and it trades at $6 before the reverse split. After the split, this person would own 250 shares that are trading around $24. In either case, the total value of the stock holdings is the same, and the cost basis doesn't really change. However, an issue that might come up is if one ends up with a fractional share after the reverse split (i.e. one doesn't own a multiple of 4 shares of stock). In this case, the balance of the fractional shares will be paid out in cash. This, albeit small, transaction might end up being a taxable event for shareholders.
For years, I have used Sun Microsystems computers for my work, designing semiconductor chips. I remembered that the original stock symbol (SUNW) stands for Stanford University Network Workstation. But, I haven't heard it called that since I was in college.
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