General Electric

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upped its quarterly dividend by 17% to 14 cents per share from 12 cents per share, the company announced Friday.

"We are able to increase the GE dividend for the second time this year because of continued strong cash generation, accelerated recovery at GE Capital and solid underlying performance in our Industrial businesses through year-end 2010," GE CEO Jeff Immelt said.

General Electric's dividend had been a tradition among the company's large base of retail investors and a bedrock of sorts until Immelt, who had said he would not lower it, changed course in the wake of the financial crisis. Immelt called the shift, which led to investor lawsuits, one of his most difficult decisions as CEO.

Several banks, including

U.S. Bancorp

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PNC Financial Services

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JPMorgan Chase

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Wells Fargo

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are expected to begin raising dividends shortly after they get approval from the Federal Reserve.

Bank of America

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also recently said it hopes to raise its dividend next year.


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, in which the government still owns a stake, is expected to take longer than those institutions.

While GE did not receive a preferred equity investment from the government, it did receive other forms of government support extended to banks like such as a temporary guarantee of its debt issuance.--

Written by Dan Freed in New York


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