Wall Street ticks up as div­i­dend pay­ers rise, GE slashes pay­out

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US stock in­dices rose on Mon­day as a sharp drop in Gen­eral Elec­tric (GE) shares was more than off­set by gains in high div­i­dend-pay­ing sec­tors in­clud­ing con­sumer sta­ples and util­i­ties.

NEW YORK — US stock in­dices rose on Mon­day as a sharp drop in Gen­eral Elec­tric (GE) shares was more than off­set by gains in high div­i­dend-pay­ing sec­tors in­clud­ing con­sumer sta­ples and util­i­ties.

GE slashed its div­i­dend by 50% and cut its profit fore­cast while un­veil­ing a plan that nar­rowed its fo­cus on avi­a­tion, power and health care.

Shares of the in­dus­trial con­glom­er­ate fell 7.20% to $ 19.02 af­ter touch­ing a more than fiveyear low of $18.75.

“Peo­ple who were in GE for their div­i­dend may be look­ing for a bet­ter place to put their money,” said Kim For­rest, se­nior eq­uity re­search an­a­lyst at Fort Pitt Cap­i­tal Group in Pitts­burgh.

Util­i­ties and con­sumer sta­ples rank among the sec­tors with the high­est div­i­dend yield on the S&P 500. They were also the largest per­cent­age win­ning sec­tors on Mon­day.

The Dow Jones In­dus­trial Av­er­age rose 17.49 points, or 0.07%, to 23,439.70, the S&P 500 gained 2.54 points, or 0.10%, to 2,584.84 and the Nas­daq Com­pos­ite added 6.66 points, or 0.10%, to 6,757.60.

In­vestors are closely track­ing de­vel­op­ments around the tax bill af­ter US Se­nate Repub­li­cans last week un­veiled a new plan that dif­fered from the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives’ ver­sion.

Some re­lief for in­vestors did come from the reg­u­la­tory side, and shares of re­gional banks rose af­ter the Wall Street Journal re­ported a bi­par­ti­san group of Se­nate law­mak­ers reached a ten­ta­tive agree­ment to ease some reg­u­la­tions on the sec­tor. The KBW Re­gional Bank­ing In­dex gapped lower at the open but turned pos­i­tive mid- ses­sion and ended up 1.30% af­ter steadily climb­ing in af­ter­noon trad­ing.

Toy­maker Mat­tel jumped 20.70% to $ 17.64 af­ter a re­port that ri­val Has­bro made an ap­proach to ac­quire the com­pany. Has­bro rose 5.90% to $96.84.

Qual­comm gained 3% to $ 66.49 af­ter the chip­maker re­jected ri­val Broad­com’s $103-bil­lion takeover bid, say­ing the of­fer “dra­mat­i­cally” un­der­val­ued the com­pany.

Tyson Foods shares climbed 2% to $75.59 af­ter the meat pro­ces­sor said low prices for live­stock feed will help boost re­sults again next year. Shares touched their high­est since Septem­ber 2016.

De­clin­ing is­sues out­num­bered ad­vanc­ing ones on the NYSE by 1.27 to one; on Nas­daq, a 1.02-to-1 ra­tio fa­vored de­clin­ers.

About 6.18 bil­lion shares changed hands in US ex­changes, fewer than the 6.67 bil­lion daily av­er­age over the last 20 ses­sions. —

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