Thread regarding Weatherford International Ltd. layoffs

Employee Stock Purchase Plan

I'm assuming for those of you remaining with qualifying service time - have received the ESPP brochure... Is this something worth exploring or a waste/scheme? Honestly, I'm interested, but there are some red flags.... Share your HONEST & EDUCATED thoughts please...

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I am honored.

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Trolls. They're so cute. Someone must have put money in that plan and is now feeling butthurt.

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I like how the financial guru is bragging about a six figure portfolio. That's so cute.

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I'm retired and really late to this party, but I had to put my two cents in. This thread has been one of the most interesting reads on this board. Whoever 'an employees wife' is...you are right on the money. Your opposition seemed to be fixated on his little elementary math exercise. While it is sound and correct math, it does not work in the financial world. You are correct about investment bankers. Allow me to show a clear mathematical analysis. Let's say Weatherford's stock goes to 7.00 in February. It is stated that the better stock price, either in September or February, will be used to purchase the Weatherford stock at a 10 percent discount. So let's say the stock is 7.00. Ten percent of that would be .70. So you get the stock at 6.30 if the market rate on the day it is purchased is 7.00. That's .70 per share on however many shares you have purchased in this plan. Let's also say you've got 159 shares of stock in February, which comes to 1001.07 you've put into this plan. I've used the amount put into the plan for easier demonstrative purposes. If you sell the stock after the 24 hour hold your will 'profit' 111.30. Out of that profit you will pay whatever fees Merrill Lynch will be charging and you will pay short term capital gains taxes. Stocks held less than a year qualify for short term capital gains tax. I'm going to assume an average of 28 percent on that; it's a reasonable assumption given the likely income employees that are left are making. I do not know what the amount of the fees are for Merrill Lynch. So, 111.30 less 28% comes to around 31.16. That takes the 'profit' down to 80.14. And that doesn't include ML fees! Next I would like to point out her correct assessment of Weatherford's investment bankers. This is fact in the business world. Companies like Weatherford pay pennies on the dollar for their own stock. Why do you think Weatherford is being so 'generous' in picking the better stock price for you in either February or September? Because it doesn't matter to Weatherford. They are making a ton of money on people putting money into this plan. I am not privy to Weatherford's discount, but it is not unreasonable to assume they are getting a 50 or 75 percent discount on their stock compared to the market rate. This means while you are 'purchasing' the stock at a 10% discount, Weatherford is getting it for a much more likely 50 to 75 percent off. Oh, don't worry, everyone is making money. The investment bankers, Weatherford, everyone except the lowly employee. Using the number's above, the employee is going to get back less than 80.00 (remember the taxes and fees) after putting in a tad more than a thousand. If that's ok with you who are in this plan, that's great. The market needs people like you. Using the same numbers above, Weatherford is getting whatever gain made on the money while it is being accumulated (no company puts money up for six months without any gain) plus when you sell Weatherford is going to cash in big time. While you are paying a 'discounted' price of 6.30, Weatherford is likely paying (let's do a 50% discount to be nice) on the same stock, 3.50 per share with a 7.00 per share market rate. That means Weatherford is making 2.80 for every share of stock you sell with a market price of 7.00 and a 'discounted' price of 6.30. Now, multiply 2.80 per every share of stock the good employees of Weatherford are selling in this stock plan (and I'm lowballing) and compare that to the paltry less than 80.00 you will be getting back under these assumptions. It's mind blowing. I am aware Weatherford is in dire need of cash, it's just a shame they are s---ing even more out of their own employees. Feel free to plug in your own numbers. They might make you sick.

Just FYI. I am retired. I do a lot of my own investing and I've studied the financial markets for years. I also have Certified Financial Planners as friends. We have discussed the merits of companies offering stock purchase plans; not just Weatherford. Also, whoever posted 'you can't fix stupid', I had to laugh. Who were you aiming that comment at? Blue skies and may the wind be at your back.

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You can't fix stupid.

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Iran has indicated that they will be joining the OPEC meeting as their production is near pre-sanction levels.

All points to a potential agreement on a production cap.

If so, the end of September will see a decent rise in the oil price.

That would lead to a decent gain in service company share prices.

I agree that the ESPP will show good gains.

I'm glad I'm in.

Personally I have not seen a response to the question about how the ESPP loses or does not show gains. Everyone saying it is too risky but I agree it can't lose. I only see one poster showing their math.

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Thanks Employees Wife, I would love to have you as my advisor . This has been great reading.

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Just in case it isn't clear; since the 'payout' date is Feb 2017 I am talking about taxes due in April 2018. I realized this may not be clear once I read this over again. Capital gains taxes on short term stock sales are ridiculous, in my opinion. Look them up. Of course, there's always a chance Congress can change the rates again...but I wouldn't hold my breath on that in the near term.

...just an employee's wife

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To the buddy I've been going back and forth with: this is an employee's wife again. Just a couple of quick things. First, facts are not boasting. They are facts. Second, I am a long-term investor whereas you seem to be a short term investor (which generally is not a good idea.) Like day traders, you really have to know what you're doing or you will quickly lose your behind. I haven't met many successful day traders, but, again, it takes all kinds. Next, the 10 percent in six months or 20 percent in a year minimum does not hold. You are not taking into consideration the fees involved in the buying and selling of the stock. Next, companies like Weatherford do not purchase stock through Scottrade, TD Ameritrade, or a multitude of similar companies. No, companies like Weatherford purchase stock through investment bankers. Look that up if you don't know what they are. (Merrill Lynch is just a holding company for the stock money). Weatherford is able to purchase through investment bankers at a HUGE discount. It can be 25% or more. So, you can be happy as a lark thinking you're going to get a minimum of 10% back at the end of six months, which is wrong, (fees and taxes) and that's ok. Weatherford is making out like a bandit on your money, including whatever gains they receive during the six month accumulation period which you will not see a cent of. Also, something you never brought up, is the tax consequences. Yes, dear buddy, you will have to pay taxes on whatever gain you see come April 15. That gain you talked about suddenly seems smaller and smaller, doesn't it? At any rate, the window on this farce of a program closed two days ago. To those of you who put money in it, congratulations! Weatherford is going to make money off you and give you a tiny bit in return, which you will have to report on your taxes next year. Plus you have the added bonus of looking forward to a smaller take home paycheck due to the rise in health care premiums. To those of you who stayed out, congratulations! There are much smarter moves you can make with your money. Buddy, I have to say you did sound a bit desperate in your last post, sorta lashing out at me. If you were to walk into my office in such a state I would ask you to sit down, calm down, and not make any financial decisions in such a state. I wouldn't take your money until our next appointment, and only if you'd calmed down and carefully thought about what your goals were and what you wanted to do. Look. I've said it a couple of times. I don't want to see Weatherford fail, but right now it's now looking too good. I don't want to see any employees taken advantage even more. And that includes you. I wish you guys all the best.

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I've been following this quietly on the sideline. Someone beat me to it, the time to sign up is over. The person that keeps going on about a minimum of a 20% return refused to see that the other person answered that question several times. I would also like to know why my money would be held for all that time without getting even a little interest, and he never answered that. Weatherford has taken a hell of a lot from me. Why would I give them my money right now? Also, I don't think the financial person was boasting about what they had. Good for them! I think that person really has us employees that are left in mind. I'm just going to watch on the sidelines and see what happens to the 'guinea pigs' that put money in this.

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The time to sign up is over. Lots of good information here, which is unusual for an anonymous board. I keep thinking if it sounds too good to be true it probably is. Weatherford is not getting any more of my money for now. They've screwed me over too many times now.

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Nope, still don't see you explaining how this ESPP would lose your money. Unless the company folds, which, even though we are not in the best financial shape, we can last a couple of years at the status quo.

And brushing off a 10% return (minimum) in 6 months as small? I challenge anyone to find an interest paying account that will give you a rate of 20% APY. This is not intended to be a retirement fund, just a quick 6 month, in-out 10%.

I'll do you a deal; tell your husband to go the full 10% in to the plan. In February I'll cover any loss that is made from my own pocket, or if it increases in value we'll split the profit. In fact I'll extend that to anyone on this board. Because you can't lose!!

And the whole not boasting, but then boasting thing about owning house, land, cars, boat, 6 figure portfolio; on a Layoff site where people are coming while worried about losing their livelihoods. Not cool. Really not cool.

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You tickle me with your ignorance. Just for kicks I showed a few colleagues this ESPP and WFT's financials. I already knew the answer, but, as I said, for kicks I did so. I just got the feedback. They laughed at it. Suggestions included putting the after tax money in an IRA or Roth IRA depending on age, buying stock through a discounted brokerage house, and, if you have a business tax ID, go with a self-employed retirement account (I have one of those, by the way). Not a single person would touch this. These are financial people who've been in the business for YEARS. I have answered your question about getting money back on this plan. You have not answered mine on the six month no returns problem. Let me refresh you. The 10% gain you are so stuck on, will be minus fees (in fairness I do believe you touched on the fees). Since front line employees have not received a raise in three years and health care costs are going to rise substantially come January, take home pay is going to be much, much lower. People have bills. Mortgages, car payments, groceries, credit card bills, etc. Granted, there are those who are debt free, but on the average not many. The small amount of money you put into this ESPP will not get you very much. There are those employees who cannot afford to lose even a small amount of money every paycheck. (I and my colleagues have a big problem as to where this money is going to 'sit' for six months, with no interest to the employee.) But, hey. If you think this is going to get you a decent return, or even a small return, have at it! A ten percent return on 100.00 is only 10.00. That is an example, and does not thrill me. I am a humble person who does not brag. I am going to tell you a few things, and it's not bragging, it's facts. Everything we own is and has been for a while completely paid for. EVERYTHING. House. Acreage. Multiple vehicles. No credit card debt. Oh, and we do have a boat. No. You wouldn't be able to move it with a couple of paddles. And how do you know I have not responded to you from our boat? LOL! Hey, let's do this. You go ahead and put your money in this farce of a program. In February we can compare portfolios. I have to warn you. Ours is well into the 6 figures. Good luck to you, and God bless.

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A bank, at present, is pretty-much non-interest bearing; so you would advise against putting it in the bank?

Making 10% plus is better than sitting in the bank at 0.13% or in your pocket at 0%.

Since when is a 10% return over 6 months 'slight'? Before the crash a bank would give you 7% per year.

The funds do not generate interest over the 6 months as they accumulate, but then, on the day of stock purchase and transfer to your account, you make 10% if you sell immediately. That's why you should allow them to be in a non-interest bearing account. Answer your question?

Again, I don't claim to be a Wall Street banker, but a 10% return in one hit on your 6 months of 'savings' is a little better than the currently monthly interest from a bank compounded month-on-month. Yes?

And you still have not demonstrated how this will lose money, as you seem to keep telling everyone. How does this lose money?

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I'll ignore your personal insults. You have no idea who I am nor do you know my financial situation. You have not addressed why employees should put their money in a 'non-interest bearing fund' for six months or so before the stock is purchased. The possibility of a slight, and I emphasize slight, gain is not worth putting away hard earned money. This is a wretched plan. Employees need to be informed.

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Rivers go up. Obviously you are not aware of the recent Louisiana flooding situation.

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But this is not like the standard 'buy stock and hope it goes up' is it? I have not and will not just buy WFT stock from the market, you are right in saying that the company fundamentals are not in the right place for that yet.

However, the ESPP gives you an opportunity to beat the market.

This is the key part that you seem to be overlooking; the stock you purchase, after 6 months of saving up, will be bought at the lower of 2 prices; one in September, and one in February, with a further 10% discount.

So if the stock goes down and the lowest price is in February you can sell it at 10% profit.

But if the stock goes up you will buy it at the lower September price and sell it in February at a bigger profit.

The market is nothing like a river, whoever heard of a river going up?? Poor analogy there.

And I don't see how the example below assumes the market is static? It shows 2 scenarios, one with increasing price, and one decreasing at the time of being able to sell. It clearly demonstrates that, even with a falling price, profit will be made.

I'd like to see a clear and concise calculation from the 'No' camp showing why it is not going to show profit. Other than just saying you will lose out. Prove it.

After 25 years in finance, I would expect my broker/advisor to be sending me advice from the deck of their yacht in the Bahamas, not on a 'will my husband still have his job as a service hand' web board!

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One last comment. I finally quit laughing over the little math exercise previously posted. While it is sound math, I do agree, it is not 'financial' math. Stock prices are not static, and the math you so eloquently sketched out assumed that. I've watch WFT go from the 8.00 range to the 4.00 range this year alone. Your little exercise would be fantastic; if it were true about the markets, heck I would double down on it! But it is a futile exercise. Think of the market as a river. It's constantly moving. It can go up. It can go down. In my opinion, there is just too much risk associated with this plan. We have a saying in the financial world. It's called throwing good money after bad. Now. If there is improvement in WFT's financials, I will definitely take a look at investing. Stabilization has not happened for this company yet. An employee can take that same money (if they can afford it out of their budget) and put it in much, much safer investments. Last words: folks, the market can be extremely kind and extremely cruel. It doesn't care. Don't invest money (especially in WFT regardless of the 'discount') that you cannot afford to lose. This plan is by no means a safe way of making even a little bit of money. Best of luck!

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My work here is done. I've given my educated opinion. Your little math exercise assumes the employees have money to spend on a 'maybe'. I say save your money and go to the blackjack table. Better odds. As for OPEC, yes, I will read about their meeting. If you know anything about the oil industry then you know OPEC is past it's prime and basically impotent. It will make an interesting read and may move the markets a tiny bit for a few minutes, but that's about it. If you're not management, then you're an employee with stars in his/her eyes. The global oil glut isn't going to dissipate any time soon. Hey, any employee who wants to throw money at this scheme and has it to throw, I say go for it. I also say educate yourself first. I bought Home Depot at 32 a share when all signs pointed to the DIY craze being dead and gone. As I write this Home Depot is at 135.46. Needless to say, I've made out like a bandit. But Home Depot's financials were in far, far better shape than WFT when I bought in. Good luck to all of you hard working, no raise getting, no 401K match, increasingly getting soaked, still employed Weatherford people! Back to work for me.

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That looks like 10% to me, even if we fall to $3

It looks like 30% if we go to $7

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Even if the stock is down to $3 in Feb you will get it at 10% discount. $2.70.

If you opt for 10% contribution, for every $1k of monthly salary you will invest $100 per month.

That buys 222 shares for the 6 month period, which you will sell at $3 each if you cash out immediately.

$666 total so $66 pre tax profit per $1000 of salary,minus the fees which is a bit less than $40 if you have a wire transfer.

If the stock goes up to $7 ($9 is the 1 year target price, for all you non-finance professionals, not the 6 month price) you will buy at September price, assume that to be the same as today, for arguments sake; $5.73 minus 10% = $5.16

You get 116 shares. you sell them at $7.

$212 pre tax profit per $1000 of monthly salary. Minus $40 in charges.

Of course you don't have to sell them after 6 months, if the oil price is rising, along with service company stock, you could leave it to grow and head for $20 per share.....

Caveat: I am not a finance professional, nor am I WFT Management, but I can do basic Math.

Question, what is the finance professional's views on the upcoming OPEC meeting?

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There is no guarantee of a 10% return. I have tracked WFT for years. Your assumption (wrongly) is that the stock price will remain the same. There is a possibility of zero return, loss, or gain. To tell the good employees of Weatherford, hey, at the very least you'll get a 10% return! is absolutely nauseating. Employees of Weatherford, I ask you, please. Do some homework. Look at WFT's financials. Look at what's happened to you even in the past 12 months with this company. Don't take my word for it or those that are presenting this as a shiny new toy. Look beyond the surface and think!

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I am a financial professional. And you are wrong. As I write this WFT is selling at $5.73 (dangerously close to the 5.00 level you claim, don't you think?). Anything under 10.00 is a penny stock. Perhaps you would like to take up your conversation with the brokerage firms I deal with. I am not a short seller. I have no dog in this race other than a STILL employed husband. I am an aggressive investor, but WFT is in such bad shape I wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole. I have also said it is in my and my husband's interest to see this company succeed. So, there's always hope. I have to assume you have not torn apart WFT's financials like I have. You really think this stock is going to be in the 9.00 range by Feb 2018? That's like expecting Apple to be at or above 173 in Feb 2018. That is an over 60% gain!!! Yes, different industry, but the market works the same. I have to assume management has infiltrated this board and running shiny commercials about buying WFT stock. How much WFT stock is Bernie investing in? Don't you think this should be public? Why did WFT's stock sink after a 100 million share issuance in April/May after a (very) brief rise? (The rise was barely above 6.00, so that did not thrill me in the least.) Before you start slinging arrows at me, do your homework. I am providing information for the front line worker, to take or leave as he or she wishes, so they won't be blindsided by yet another scheme by WFT to steal even more from their employees.

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Cash out 24 hours after the stock hits your account, you make a mnimum of 10%. You can only lose by not putting in enough for the 10% to cover the Merryl Lynch fees. Or if the company folds, which is not likely in 6 months.

Try and find anywhere else that will give you a guaranteed 10% in 6 months, with the possibility of being 20 or 30% or more.

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Hahaha "we are winning". Reminds me of Charlie Sheen.

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The 'finance professional' wife of the ex-employee should look up the definition of 'penny stock'. It used to refer to stock under $1 but the Securities and Exchange Commission now includes stock under $5. A penny stock we are not.

Anyone that is saying that you should stay away from oil stocks probably has a short position that they are talking down trying to cover their bets that the company will fail. Parasitic Losers. Short sellers are people who cannot pick winners.

All the service companies have been making a loss for the past few quarters, of course they have; it doesnt mean we are all going bankrupt. I would still invest in SLB while they are a good price and wait for recovery, why not WFT?

I've made up my mind to have faith in little red; she has been good to me and I expect she will still be good to me in February :) High risks come with high rewards.

Fortune favours the bold.

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Instead of offering this employee stock purchase plan, Weatherford should re-institute the 401k match. That way, employees can choose where they want to invest within the 401k plan. The match was sure money. This stock purchase plan is way too high of a risk on one shaky investment. Also, the money starts to work almost right away in the 401k. It doesn't sit in an 'account' for six months or more before getting the chance to see some return. I do take offense at being called stupid for not wanting to put my hard earned money in what is basically a gamble straight out of Las Vegas. As for the disgruntled wife of an ex employee, I don't know about that. She made more sense than you. You sound like a commercial from upper management. I'm going to be keeping my money. Haven't seen a pay raise in three years. I can't afford to throw away money on a big 'maybe'.

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The problem with the last poster is that he/she is not looking at the entire market. There are plenty of oil analysts saying to stay away from WFT. Last quarter WFT showed a loss, although not as much as a loss as previous quarters, but still a huge loss. WFT is, and continues to remain, a penny stock which is an investment which carries THE MOST risk. Should the stock rise to 9.00, which is extremely unlikely, it would still be considered a penny stock. I have torn apart the financials for WFT. Have you? Your post may look good to someone uneducated in the financial markets, but it's pretty much a dream. The ESPP is a pure money grab from the desperate top. I stand by my previous posts, and no where did I suggest to put the money in a bank (which would pay very little return, but it would pay). My suggestion is to stay away from this ESPP regardless of the discount on the stock, and to look at other, healthier companies to put your hard earned money in. I'm wondering if you are from management. A gold plated pile of sh!t is still a pile of sh!t, and this is exactly what the 'new' ESPP is.

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You cannot make an analysis of the ESPP while only comparing to bank interest rates and not even hint at any factors related to oil price movement in the near-term.

OPEC meeting in September with a view to capping production. Venezuelan oil Minister visiting Saudi for talks... all points to oil taking a jump in September.

You can revise your % input down but not up.

So why not go a few hundred in September and see what happens to the oil price. If a production cap is agreed and WFT has a 'decent' H2 the stock will rise. You will make money. I think the price target of $9 is about right.

If none of the above happens you can reduce your input to 0%, if the stock does lose they buy at the lower price so you can still make 10% (minus ML charges).

As far as I see it, the only risk is if the company is bankrupt; with the refinancing that does not look like it will happen in the next 12-18 months anyway.

You could put the money in the bank and earn pretty much Zero interest. Calculate what the 0.25% per year would earn you on your $200 per month....

You'd be stupid, or a disgruntled spouse of an ex-employee, not to sign up, at least for September/October.

WFT/HAL/SLB/BHI are not doing well at the moment due to oil price, we all know that. WFT had a few years before that due to tax/corruption etc but that is all behind us; management changes (anyone noticed a load of Ex-SLB guys moving in?), forced streamlining etc means we are poised very well to do amazing things when it all comes back. Just look at the Q2 results compared to our peers. We are winning.

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I noticed WFT was not on the buy list. I would scrutinize these companies very carefully. Also, some analysts have been calling for oil to go up all year. This is nothing new. Financial companies send out these 'newsletters' all the time to entice people to buy. I highly recommend to do your homework!

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What a coincidense!

Merrill Lynch pops up in my WTF mail today..... "Invest Now Time Is Running Out"

Then this shows up on in a news feed

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Uncle Bernie can buy a sh--load of stocks himself if he is looking at pumping money back into the company. There must be a - very - good reason why he is not.

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Honestly, it all seems to point to one thing: robbing Peter to pay Paul. Seriously! "Big Red" as someone else said used to be a GREAT company... Not so much now. With all these cases pending against them for overtime, settlements, the cloud hanging over them that was once a suit for securities violations, and the list goes on... It just comes off as a method of making the employees and their families pay the debt! To entice someone or anyone who may NOT know much about finance and take advantage of that is definitely nauseating. I smell a big rat and a scheme to say the least... I for one believe in KARMA and I hope the upper echelon of Weatherford take notice to their questionable actions soon and make some changes for the better! I'm just sayin....

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It is not my intention to cost Weatherford all kinds of money. It is my intention to tell people the truth. Market conditions and mostly Weatherford's upper management put themselves in the position they are in. It is grossly unfair to ask employees for money for what looks to be a sinking ship. You guys do oilfield stuff. I'm a finance person. To shove this ridiculous plan down the throat of someone who is not educated in financial matters is outright larceny. I have no malice toward Weatherford. I'm just trying to educate and give options. It's just business, folks. I will all of you well. Contrary to how it may seem, I really do want to see Weatherford succeed. It's just not looking that way right now.

Signed...an employee's wife.

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Wow, I am sure this lady just cost Weatherford tens if not hundreds of thousands. A lot of people follow this website. I for one was planning to buy a couple hundred bucks a month WFT but not anymore. It is crazy how in this day and age ordinary people's voice matter: INTERNET

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You are most welcome. As I said before, I am the wife of a Weatherford employee. My husband was there when WFT was a really decent company to work for. It chaps my rear-end to see the shenanigans Big Red is pulling on it's employees now. As I do have a vested interest in seeing the company come back, my honest opinion is that is not going to happen. All these bandaid fixes they keep implementing are only putting off the inevitable. We do have contingency plans, but for now, I'm going to call out the BS when I see it. This ESPP is complete BS. Good luck to yall.

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To the individual who shared the last bit of educated info - thank you!

I think I'll dig further into the utility stocks and those with dividends. The sad part of this all is that Weatherford seems to be seriously losing ground when it comes to integrity and making wholehearted attempts to undermine the intelligence of its remaining workforce. I really hope that it turns around and they get back to being the company that I was once proud to work for... Like many - I stay because I have mouths to feed and I can't afford to lose anything else. Hell - they've all but taken everything away & cost my family so much!! :-/

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Thanks for the explanation, whoever you are.

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ESPP Questioner:

I should have added that at this time WFT is NOT a dividend paying stock.

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ESPP Questioner:

By participating in the Employee Stock Purchase Plan, your payroll deductions are accumulated and held in a non-interest bearing account. At the end of the offering period, your contributions are purchased and placed in your account, as soon as administratively possible.

The above was taken right off the Merrill Lynch enrollment page. The stocks will be purchased 'supposedly' in September and February according to the information I've read. It is my understanding you can get out at any time but you will not have any gain on your money. Also 'as soon as administratively possible' gives Weatherford so much breathing room, it could be a month or more before your stock is actually purchased. Can you see what kind of asinine deal this is? Again, this is my opinion only. My degree is in finance and I have been investing for 25 years. Another thing to consider. There is a trend for stock prices to rise around the ex-dividend date. (This is the date you have to fully own a stock in order to get dividends). It's capitalism economics at work. Investors want the good dividends from certain stocks, so they'll pour money into them, which causes the price to rise. Not every stock does this but it is a trend. The stock will usually settle back to equilibrium within a few weeks. Given this, when the market finds out the 'buy' days for WFT employee stock, it's possible to have an artificial lift in the stock price, making it much more expensive even with the discount, than a normal purchase. I'm trying not to be too technical so if you have any further questions I would be happy to answer. Meanwhile, if you're looking to invest in stocks that will pay decent dividends, I recommend looking at utility stocks (power companies, telephone companies, etc.). I like and have AT&T. They pay outstanding dividends. Good luck!

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