General Electric announces it will bump up dividend in 2011
HARTFORD, Conn. — General Electric Co. says it will increase its dividend in 2011, two years after the industrial and commercial conglomerate reduced it to save money as its financial arm struggled in the recession.
The company also sees potential for retiring its preferred stock and opportunities for stock buybacks.
GE, one of the original members of the Dow Jones Industrial Average in 1896, cut its quarterly dividend in 2009 to 10 cents per share from 31 cents. It has remained at 10 cents per share since then.
The dividend cut, GE's first since the Great Depression, was intended to save $9 billion a year. GE's finance arm, GE Capital, had been the largest profit driver at the firm but as the financial crisis deepened, its losses mounted on growing loan defaults.
Analysts last year questioned GE's ability to pay a generous dividend while it hunted for money to shore up GE Capital, which was stung badly when markets seized up in 2008.
HONDA TO RECALL ODYSSEY MINIVANS, ELEMENT TRUCKS
DETROIT — Honda Motor Co. will recall more than 410,000 Odyssey minivans and Element small trucks in the U.S. because of braking system problems that could make it tougher to stop the vehicle if not repaired.
The recall includes 344,000 Odysseys and 68,000 Elements from the 2007 and 2008 model years.
Honda said in a statement that over time, brake pedals can feel "soft" and must be pressed closer to the floor to stop the vehicles. Left unrepaired, the problem could cause loss of braking power and possibly a crash, Honda spokesman Chris Martin said. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has reported three crashes due to the problem with minor injuries and no deaths, Martin said.
Honda has traced the problem to the device that powers the electronic stability control system, which selectively brakes each of the wheels to keep the vehicles upright during an emergency situation.
PEPSICO TO PULL SUGARY DRINKS FROM ALL SCHOOLS
NEW YORK — PepsiCo plans to remove sugary drinks from schools worldwide, following the success of programs in the U.S. aimed at cutting down on childhood obesity.
The company said yesterday it will remove full-calorie, sweetened drinks from schools in more than 200 countries by 2012, marking the first such move by a major soft drink producer.
Both PepsiCo Inc., the world's second-biggest soft drink maker, and No. 1 player Coca-Cola Co. adopted guidelines to stop selling sugary drinks in U.S. schools in 2006.
The World Heart Federation has been negotiating with soft drink makers to have them remove sugary beverages from schools for the past year as it looks to fight a rise in childhood obesity, which can lead to diabetes, heart problems and other ailments.