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Anchors Away...GE's Big Move

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

The big news, from the company that once boasted the largest market cap in the world, is that General Electric (GE) has thrown in the towel on its financial business which once made it the envy of the world. GE Capital is selling most of its operations and real estate for $26 billion, taking a $16 billion charge. Management is trying to comfort shareholders with a promise of $90 billion through a $50 billion stock buyback program and $40 billion in dividend payouts through 2018.


The implications are far and wide.

Crony boards of directors...why is Immelt still in charge? Over the past ten years, the Dow is up 75% while GE is down 29%

B. Once again, a stock soars on a big buyback announcement – is this the only arrow in the quiver and how long can corporate America keep it going? 

C) By focusing on global industrial businesses (including buying a coal grinding business) GE is saying the world will keep growing the way America once grew through dirty fingernails and energy.

The move might be right, but this company has become a case study in lost opportunity and exemplifies how even the mighty can fall asleep at the wheel or stop doing the things that got them to the top in the first place. I'm talking people, businesses and countries.

Friday's Session

False starts and the anxiety of the market have marked the action all week long. In the last three sessions, the Dow has been locked in a tight trading range of 150 Dow points. Down at the open in reaction to initial jobless claims, the Dow rebounded early in the session yesterday and then spiked into the close.


While the broad market marks time, there’s a lot of action in certain names like Altera (ALTR) which crumbed at the open on news Intel has pulled a takeover offer only to pop into the close as those rumors resurfaced anyway.

There is no doubt this market is setting up for a huge move…the question is in what direction? I still lean toward a big pop to the upside, but want to keep some cash on hand before a clear directional move has been established.

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