Shares of Dow component General Electric (NYSE: GE) are up 7.5% Friday to trade at the highest levels since late 2013 after the company said it is leaving the lending business to focus on industrial efforts, including manufacturing aircraft engines and parts, railroad locomotives and turbines.
Connecticut-based GE, which also announced the sale of $26.5 billion of real estate, will sell GE Capital over the next two years, which could result in the return of up to $90 billion to shareholders. In a statement issued earlier today, GE said it expects to get approximately $35 billion in dividends GE Capital and that its board authorized a new share repurchase plan of up to $50 billion.
GE said that by 2018, more than 90% of its earnings will come from its core industrial business. Some exchange traded funds are cheering the idea of a more streamlined GE.
For example, the Market Vectors Wide Moat ETF (NYSEArca: MOAT) is up half a percent today and trading at its highest levels since January thanks to a 4.9% weight to GE. MOAT is an equal-weight ETF and its 21 holdings range in weight from 4.77% to 5.29%. [New Additions for Wide Moat ETF]
GE was added to the $925 million MOAT in October 2014. As its name implies, the ETF espouses the virtues of investing in companies with sustainable and wide competitive moats. MOAT’s roster features three other Dow stocks – International Business Machines (NYSE: IBM), Merck (NYSE: MRK) and Exxon Mobil (NYSE: XOM).
Up half a percent this year, MOAT allocates 30.6% of its weight to energy stocks and another 25.4% to healthcare names.