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This thread was quite interesting to me, and I wanted to inject one more (possibly unrelated) tidbit.

Even though your 401(k) plan may offer stocks for purchase, it strikes me that it may not be completely "self-directed" since I was left with the impression that the company would be choosing which stocks (or stock) to offer in the plan. If this is the case, you may not actually be investing in the actual stock, but in a paper account that mimic's the performance of a particular stock. My company has such a setup with its own stock. If you put money in the stock, you don't actually purchase shares of said stock, but you land in a mutual fund type vehicle that roughly matches the performance of the stock. Also, money moves can only be made after hours at some price that is either based on the closing price or some average across a trading period (like a trading day).

This may or may not be what you are looking at, but I've seen stocks in 401(k) plans implemented this way.

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