General Electric, the nation’s largest industrial company, cut its dividend on Monday, only the second time it has done so since the Great Depression.
The company announced before the start of stock trading that it would reduce its quarterly payout by half, to 12 cents a share from 24 cents a share.
Last month, when G. E. reported disappointing financial results, Mr. Flannery said that the company would sharpen its focus on fewer industrial businesses and shed at least $20 billion in assets over the next two years.
There may well be more. Mr. Flannery added detail to his plans for G. E.’s future in a presentation on Monday. The units to be disposed of, he said, would probably include the lighting, and railway locomotives divisions and an industrial solutions business that sells energy-distribution and monitoring equipment. Ten smaller assets, which Mr. Flannery declined to identify, will also be shed.
In a GE research note, JPMorgan analysts said "A dividend cut or 'adjustment' as it is likely termed, is increasingly likely."
A GE spokeswoman replied "The dividend remains a top priority."
On Squawk Box Cramer proposed the board should have said: 'The board has listened to what people are saying, and the board has tremendous confidence, and the dividend will be kept intact at these prices.'"
Despite criticizing GE's statement on the dividend, Cramer said he still has confidence in new GE chief executive John Flannery.
According to Blair, "GE basically said they need a world war to cut the dividend." Obviously, that was his interpretation.
Largest Dividend Cuts in History
GE Weekly Chart
Jim Cramer's Big Mistake
- General Electric is not worth $20 per share — around the level where it opened on Monday, CNBC's Jim Cramer says.
- GE's forecast of free cash flow between $6 billion and $7 billion is "suspect," he says, adding there are divisions that are not "up to snuff."
Given Cramer's track record, today's dip just may well be a good buying opportunity, at least for the short term.
Here is a possible counter-point.
Mike "Mish" Shedlock