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Boosted by GE surge, U.S. stocks close the week on a high note

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Investing.com -

Investing.com -- Stocks on the U.S. equities market moved broadly higher on Friday, propelled by a massive restructuring plan from General Electric that could return up to $90 billion to investors.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 Composite index both gained more than 0.5% to close higher for the second consecutive week. The NASDAQ Composite index, meanwhile, continued its rally back toward 5,000 by gaining 0.43% or 21.41 to close at 4,995.98.

Shares in GE soared more than 10% on Friday to reach a 52-week high, after the multinational conglomerate announced a major plan to divest most of its financial arm. The plan includes a $50 billion stock buyback, the second-largest ever, behind a $90 billion plan by Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) last April. During the next two years, GE plans to sell over $165 billion in assets, while retaining only 10% of its capital division.

GE, the top performer on the Dow and the S&P 500, gained 2.82 or 10.94% to close at 28.55. In November, the French government approved GE's $13.5 billion acquisition of energy company Alstom (PARIS:ALSO).

"With sustainable growth, investments in competitive advantage, productivity programs and the addition of Alstom, we expect this performance to continue in the future," GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt said in a statement. "We will focus our efforts on these businesses."

As a result, the Dow gained 98.92 points to 18,057.65. The Dow is now in positive territory for the year.

The worst performer on the Dow, though, was Nike Inc (NYSE:NKE), which lost 0.69% to 100.03. Apple gained 0.59 or 0.46% to 127.15 on the first day customers were given the opportunity to try on the new iWatch product.

Led by gains in the Industrials, Utilities and Health Care sectors, the S&P 500 rose 10.88 to 2,102.06. Stocks in the Industrials sector gained 7.10 or 1.35% on the session. While all 10 sectors closed in the green, stocks in the Financials sector lagged gaining only 0.02%.

The worst performer on the S&P was Fidelity National Information Svcs (NYSE:FIS), which fell 2.97 or 4.36% to 65.11 after the Banking and Technology company lowered forecasts for its first quarter earnings. The Boston-based financial services company now expects to earn $0.64-$0.66 a share, down from previous estimates of $0.67-$0.72.

The biggest gainer on the NASDAQ was Symantec Corporation (NASDAQ:SYMC), which rose 1.13 or 4.64% to 25.35. The worst performer was VimpelCom (NASDAQ:VIP), which fell 0.14 or 2.31% to 5.71, while Keurig Green Mountain Inc (NASDAQ:GMCR) also fared poorly dropping 1.99 or 1.68% to 116.45.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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