#5: General Electric
Berkshire Shares: 5 million
YTD Returns: 16% (vs. 12% for the S&P)
General Electric (NYSE:GE) has become a significantly smaller part of Buffett’s holdings, dropping from 7.8 million shares at the end of March to just 5.0 million at the end of June. That’s still a big stake, but the fact Berkshire unloaded a third of its position is telling.
GE burned a lot of dividend investors back in 2009 when it slashed its payout 68%, from 31 cents to just 10 cents a quarter. But while payments are not what they once were, GE has steadily increased its payouts and currently dishes dividends of 17 cents a quarter — good for a 3.3% yield right now, which puts it among the Dow Jones’ top dividend stocks.
General Electric is a diversified industrial company with health care, infrastructure and aviation businesses. But what’s really encouraging for income investors right now is the fact that its GE Capital arm has finally won approval to start delivering dividends back to shareholders. This could mean even more income potential in shareholders’ future.