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I received 5 shares of Microsoft a few years ago as a gift. (It is now at 10-point-something shares due to a split and the new dividend.) I am just starting to put together an investment strategy for myself and I am not convinced that this company matches my goals. I haven't made a final decision yet, but would like to know what I need to do if I do indeed decide to sell the stocks.

* These stocks were purchased directly. I have 5 shares worth of a stock certificate and 5-point-something shares in plan. Should I send in the certificate now? Would it make it easier to sell later on?
* How do I sell if I hold these stocks directly?
* What do I use as my cost basis? I'm guessing the value of the stock on the date my aunt purchased them for me, right? What if (ha!) the value of the stock then was worth more when it was purchased than it is now... can I take a loss on a gift that I essentially didn't ever spend money on? Also, how does the split/dividend factor in?

I could take that last question to the Tax Strategies board, if necessary. I just felt this was a safe place to start. I've never worked with stocks directly; I'm just getting my feet wet at this point.

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