General Electric Raises Dividend 17%

Shareholders of General Electric (GE) received an early Christmas present on Friday as its board agreed to raise the company's quarterly dividend by 17% -- from 12 to 14 cents per share. GE had already raised its dividend 20% in July -- from 10 to 12 cents per share. Shares of GE jumped 1.8% or 31 cents on the news in early afternoon trading.

"We are able to increase the GE dividend for the second time this year because of continued strong cash generation, accelerated recovery at GE Capital and solid underlying performance in our Industrial businesses through year-end 2010," GE CEO Jeff Immelt said in a statement. "In addition, the company plans to continue capitalizing on complementary and financially attractive inorganic growth opportunities, opportunistic share repurchases and investing in innovation as part of our thoughtful capital-allocation efforts."

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The dividend is payable January 25, 2011 to shareowners of record at the close of business on Dec. 27, 2010.

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