SOURCE: The Bedford Report

The Bedford Report

November 17, 2011 08:16 ET

Dividends and General Electric and 3M Start to Stagnate

The Bedford Report Provides Equity Research on General Electric and 3M

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - Nov 17, 2011) - In recent quarters conglomerates have returned to pre-recession profit levels. While companies such as General Electric and 3M have made efforts to raise dividends, shareholder return typically remains lower than in 2007. The Bedford Report examines the outlook for companies in the Conglomerates Industry and provides equity research on General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) & 3M Co. (NYSE: MMM). Access to the full company reports can be found at:

Earlier this week the board of directors of 3M declared a dividend on the company's common stock of 55 cents a share for the fourth quarter of 2011, payable Dec. 12, to shareholders of record at the close of business on Nov. 25.

3M reported third quarter earnings that fell well short of expectations due to weakness in the electronics market and inventory-reduction moves by its customers. 3M reported third-quarter net income attributable to common shareholders of $1.09 billion, or $1.52 per share, down from $1.1 billion, or $1.53 per share, a year earlier. 3M forecast full-year 2011 earnings of $5.85 to $5.95 per share. It previously forecast $6.10 to $6.25.

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General Electric reported earnings that met Wall Street expectations, but its shares slipped as investors worried about declining profit margins at its energy equipment division. The decline reflected weak demand for electric turbines holding down selling prices at the largest US conglomerate's biggest industrial unit.

General Electric's dividend remained unchanged -- the second consecutive quarter the company failed to boost its dividend. In the long-term, the company's Chairman and Chief Executive Jeff Immelt says the company aims to eventually return to its pre-recession tradition of predictable, annual increases in dividends.

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