General Electric's Dividend Hike of 5%

GE Electrical meter
Source: Thinkstock
General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) announced Friday morning that the company is raising its quarterly dividend by 5% ($0.01) to $0.23 per share payable in January to shareholders of record on January 22. The ex-dividend date is December 18.

Earlier this month we picked GE to be one of five Dow stocks to boost its dividend before the end of the year. Our estimate for a one penny raise was right on target, following the partial spin-off of its GE Capital into Synchrony Financial (NYSE: SYF) and a promise to distribute the rest of the stock to GE shareholders next year. GE’s dividend yield was already 3.4% before the increase.

The announcement did not pull the shares into positive territory in Friday’s trading session. Shares are down about 1% at $25.17, in a 52-week range of $23.69 to $28.09. Friday’s drop in the DJIA is slightly worse, with the index down 1.1% and just four of 30 stocks trading higher.

GE needs the energy markets to stabilize, preferably with crude selling for more than $58 a barrel. The company has invested serious money in the oilfield equipment business, and an expected slowdown in drilling is not something GE wants to see next year. A crude price closer to $90 than to $60 could turn GE into the Dow’s best-performing stock of 2015.

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