Countrywide Financial Corp., Calabasas, Calif., will hold a special meeting of stockholders on Jan. 9 to seek approval of a proposal to more than double the number of shares of common stock the company has the authority to issue.The company plans to increase the authorized number of shares from 240 million to 500 million. The company recently announced a 4-for-3 stock split, effected as a stock dividend, to be payable Dec. 17 to shareholders of record on Dec. 2. Countrywide's management said the proposed amendment is in the best interest of stockholders, primarily because it will allow for additional stock splits in the future, as well as facilitate the potential issuance of shares to support future company growth and maintain the company's stock-based employee compensation programs. Countrywide's stock closed down 1.50% (at $99.75) on Nov. 20, the day the share proposal was announced.

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