General Electric (GE) is planning to leave the appliance business, but what will it mean for exchange traded funds (ETFs) that count the company as a holding?

General Electric was once best known for its appliance division, which for more than 100 years sold refrigerators, air conditioners and ovens to millions of homes, reports John Christoffersen for the Associated Press. But the division has been hurt by the housing slump.

What exactly will happen is still up in the air: GE could either make an outright sale, form a strategic partnership or spin it off. GE has its hands in a number of sectors, including health care, media, electricity and finance. The company posted a disappointing first quarter earnings report in early April.

GE’s diversification might not impact the ETFs that contain the company too much, and in fact, could help. The appliance division is predicted to decline between 10% and 12% this year, so maybe it’s just shedding dead weight. In fact, the industrial ETFs have outperformed GE, which is down 11.9% year-to-date:

  • Industrial Select Sector SPDR (XLI): GE is the top holding at 16.5%; the fund is up 1% year-to-date.
  • iShares Dow Jones US Industrial (IYJ): GE is the largest component at 16.6%; up 0.5% year-to-date.


  • DIAMONDS Trust, Series 1 (DIA): GE is one of the Dow Jones Industrial Average’s original components. It makes up 2.1% of DIA, which is down 1.2% year-to-date.
  • SPDRs (SPY): GE is the second-largest component at 2.7%; SPY is down 2% year-to-date.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.