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GE takes rare step of cutting dividend

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General Electric is cutting its stock dividend for only the second time since the Great Depression.

The company announced Monday that it will cut the dividend from 24 cents to 12 cents per share.

GE (GE) is one of America's most widely held stocks, and countless shareholders, including retirees, rely on the dividend payments. But the company is under enormous pressure to restore investor confidence. The stock has lost a third of its value this year.

The company also cut its dividend in 2009, during the Great Recession. But dividend cuts are rare these days. Many companies are increasing them because the U.S. economy is healthy and the stock market is booming.

GE plans an update for investors Monday morning and is expected to detail a strategy to stabilize the company by slashing costs and selling more businesses.

Related: The incredible shrinking GE is about to get even smaller

It has already gotten rid of its real estate portfolio, its dishwasher and appliance business, and media properties NBC and Universal Studios. More recently, it unloaded its water business and a unit that makes electrical equipment for utilities.

Even the light bulb division is up for sale as part of GE's mission to focus on being a modern industrial company that sells things like jet engines, power plants and MRI machines.

GE confirmed on Friday that job cuts, some of which have begun, are part of a previously announced plan to cut costs by $3 billion.



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