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Ameritrade Holding splits stock

The online trading brokerage, which has seen its stock rocket higher in recent months, announces a two-for-one stock split.

Online trading brokerage Ameritrade Holding, which has seen its stock rocket higher in recent months, today announced a two-for-one split of its Class A and Class B common stock, hoping to increase its shareholder base by making its stock more affordable to individual investors.

Stockholders of record as of the close of business on February 5, 1999 will receive, in the form of a stock dividend, one additional share for each share held. Upon completion of the split, the company will have approximately 58,057,892 shares of common stock outstanding.

"The rise in our stock price reflects the financial strength of our company and the proven soundness of our business model," Ameritrade CEO Joe Ricketts said in a statement. "With this stock split we'll be able to increase our shareholder base and provide more liquidity for the Ameritrade stock."

Just last week, Ameritrade posted better-than-expected earnings of $3.7 million, or 13 cents per share, for its fiscal first quarter. Analysts had expected the company to post earnings of 9 cents per share, according to First Call. Investment bank Raymond James also last week upgraded its outlook on Ameritrade to "buy" from "accumulate."

Shares of Ameritrade surged higher at the opening bell, rising 9.25 percent to 54.63. The stock has traded as high as 72 and as low as 11.16 during the past 52 weeks.