GE Announces Massive Restructuring, Apple Launches Apple Watch - Economic Highlights

Taking headlines this Friday morning prior to statements from Fed Presidents today and Apple's ( AAPL ) new product launch, in addition to the slow stream (thus far) of Q1 earnings announcements, major American conglomerate General Electric ( GE ) has announced a massive restructuring of its financial business, GE Capital.

Reports state GE aims to sell most GE Capital assets over the next 2 years. Blackstone ( BX ) and Wells Fargo ( WFC ) will have bought $26 billion in real estate assets from GE Capital. GE's board has further authorized a $50 billion share buyback.

Earnings per share (EPS) for GE over the past few years had been quite flat at around 35 cents per share each quarter until most recently, when earnings shot up to around 50 cents in the most recent quarter. Ahead of Q1 earnings - but prior to this morning's announcement - GE had received 3 downwardly revised estimates for the quarter and 5 for the current fiscal year. As of yesterday's market close, GE carried a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).

Apple launches its Apple Watch today, with lines typically around the block before Apple stores open. Whether a higher percentage of consumers opt for the cheaper or more expensive versions - and there are lots and lots of combinations; there are 10 different versions of the sports-watch alone - remain to be seen. Not that Apple Watch should matter much to AAPL shares overall, especially in the near term. Even if the new product brings in $2-3 billion upon the launch, it's still a drop in he bucket for Apple earnings overall.

As lines begin to be drawn around Fed interest-rate policy expected later this year, this morning Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker, generally understood to be more hawkish than others of the FOMC when it comes to raising rates, is speaking. Following the release earlier this week of the March Fed minutes, Lacker is expected to make an argument why some increase in interest rates should occur sooner than later.

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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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