SOURCE: Five Star Equities
NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - Aug 23, 2012) - The S&P 500 Index reached a four-year high Tuesday on renewed optimism that European leaders are making progress with their region's current debt crisis. "The odds have increased that the Europeans will craft some kind of devil's bargain," said the chairman of Marketfield Asset Management, Michael Shaoul, in a recent Bloomberg Television interview. "At the same time that that's going on, U.S. economic data's been a lot better." Five Star Equities examines the outlook for companies in the S&P 500 Index and provides equity research on General Electric Company (NYSE: GE) and 3M Co. (NYSE: MMM).
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After six consecutive weekly gains the S&P 500 Index reached 1,426.68 in Tuesday trading, the highest level seen since May 2008. The index has rallied approximately 12 percent since hitting a five-month low in June. Despite having the worst earnings growth since 2009, roughly 72 percent of S&P 500 companies have reported profits that beat analysts' expectations.
"Stocks have been a pretty strong story," Omar Aguilar, chief investment officer of equities at Charles Schwab Investment Management Inc., said in a telephone interview. "It's very consistent to the cycle that we've seen since 2009. It's been driven by accommodative policy, strong corporate profits and a stable economy. There's a lot of political will in Europe to maintain the stability in the region."
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General Electric currently offers investors an annual dividend of $0.68 per share for a yield of around 3.25 percent. Shares of the company are up over 16 percent for the year. Bloomberg recently reported that General Electric plans to sell $563 million of asset-backed debt.
The Board of Directors of 3M recently declared a third quarter of 2012 dividend on the company's common stock of 59 cents per share for a yield of roughly 2.5 percent, payable Sept. 12, 2012, to shareholders of record at the close of business on August 24, 2012. Shares of the company have gained over 14 percent this year.
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