Watered stock

Watered stock 

Over the years, several experts, like Walter Rauschenbusch and George D. Herron, have harshly criticised the usage of watered stock. Identifying these undervalued stocks among many expensive equities requires much knowledge and expertise.  

To comprehend the foundations of the firm and its growth potential, it is important to study its operations before investing in it. 


What is watered stock? 

Any stock a business issues to a person in return for possessions that don’t adequately compensate for the shares is termed as “watered stock.” Early in the 20th century, when investors relied on stock par values to guarantee that corporations had at least a minimum level of worth, the situation became more serious. Watered stock is illegitimate when shares are sold to investors at inflated prices. 

Those who own watered stock find it challenging to sell their holdings, and if they did, they did so at significantly reduced rates compared to the initial asking price. Holders of watered stock may be responsible for the gap between the company’s book value and its worth in terms of real estate and other assets if creditors foreclose on the company’s assets.  


Causes of watered stock 

Watering occurs when a company’s stock price is artificially inflated by issuing new shares. This can be done for various reasons, including raising capital, inflating the company’s value, or creating a false impression of demand for the stock. Watering can also occur when insiders buy up shares before selling them to the public to drive the price. 

There are several reasons why watering can be detrimental to investors:  

  • First, it can create an inflated sense of the company’s value, leading to over-investment.  
  • Additionally, it can lead to insider trading, as insiders attempt to cash in on the artificially high stock price.  
  • Finally, it is a sign that the company is in trouble and that its stock price does not reflect its true value. 

Advantages of watered stock 

Some potential advantages of watered stocks are: 

  • By selling the equities at a significantly inflated price and realising big gains, smart investors may profit from the market’s misunderstanding of the stocks. 
  • Watered stock can give investors a way to hedge their bets against a possible market downturn. If the market were to decline, the shares purchased at a discount would be worth less than those purchased at market value. 
  • The company’s promoters often profit from this knowledge asymmetry. 

Disadvantages of watered stock 

  • The unknowing owners of the watered stocks are held responsible for the lenders’ funds during the deception’s exposure. 
  • In a market distorted by watered stocks, novice or inexperienced investors frequently fail as they are unable to conduct a thorough study and get concrete facts. 
  • Watered stock is difficult to sell once its true nature is known, and when it is, it usually sells for a significant discount to what it initially costs. 

How does watered stock work? 

A stock or share is considered watered when offered at an inflated price, frequently higher than the price of its underlying assets. Various circumstances cause the issuing of watered-down shares, some of which include artificially inflated stock prices, unrestricted stock issuance by companies, and increased stock book values.  

Nevertheless, it’s crucial to be aware that an issuing firm may purposely inflate the value of a stock issuance only to deceive its investors. Watered stocks were formerly a common tactic used by businesses to deceive investors. When watered-down equities are issued, investors suffer losses while businesses profit. 

Several procedures and rules have been set up to monitor how corporations issue shares. Regulations force issuing firms to issue shares with a par value less than or equal to zero. There is no guarantee, nevertheless, that a stock’s par value represents its true worth; there are alternative ways to tell a share’s true worth from its low or absent par value. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Watered stocks are those in which the company has issued more shares than its assets are worth. This often happens when a company is first starting, and it may issue more shares than it has cash on hand to raise capital. This can also happen when a company is struggling and tries to issue new shares to raise money. In both cases, the value of the company’s stock is diluted, and investors may lose money. 

If creditors foreclose on business assets, for instance, an investor who paid 8,000 USD for a share that was only worth 6,000 USD may be responsible for the 2,000 USD difference. 

Any stock that a business issues to a person in return for possessions that don’t adequately compensate for the shares are referred to as “watered stock.” Early in the 20th century, when investors relied on stock par values to guarantee that corporations had at least a minimum level of worth, the situation was more serious. 

Watered stock is a term used in financial management to describe a security purchased at a price higher than its intrinsic value. This can happen for various reasons, including investor speculation, fraudulent activities, or incorrect valuations. When a stock is “watered down,” the company’s share price is artificially inflated, which can lead to significant losses for investors when the truth is revealed. 


A company’s stock or capital is said to be watered if assets don’t back it with equal worth. Watered capital is when a company’s book value is less than the real value of its assets. 

One of the key reasons for over-capitalisation is watered capital. However, it does not always imply overcapitalisation. Water frequently enters the capital during the first phase or at the moment of promotion. Only after the firm has been operating for a few years can over-capitalisation be seen. 


The causes of watered stock are: 

  • Failure to implement the depreciation policy 
  • Purchase of a company’s assets for a much greater cost 
  • Acquisition of useless intangible property at a considerably greater cost. 

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