General Electric announced that it will maintain its dividend for 2009, giving it an 8.6% yield, based on yesterday's close. Often a yield at that level should raise a red flag, as companies can cut their dividends when they are facing a financial crisis like we are seeing today. However, GE reported today that it will maintain its $1.24 dividend for 2009 as it restructures GE Capital (see full story here).
According to data from Thomson Reuters, GE now ranks third in the Dow for dividend yield, behind Citigroup and Bank of America . Note that these rankings are based on historical dividend yields. Citigroup, for example, announced at the end of November (see press release) that it would be cutting its dividend to $.01 / share, effective the its next dividend payout date.
Below is a table listing the yields of all 30 Dow components. The average yield for the index based on yesterday's close is 4.8%. This number will come down a bit today as the market opened to the upside. Even if you are suspicious of the higher yielding financials, there may be some good value plays to consider here.
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