BRK.A) chair Warren Buffett. Buffett and GE have developed a well documented relationship in recent years. In the throes of the 2008 financial meltdown, the Oracle of Omaha lent a hand to the struggling conglomerate, providing $3 billion in return for preferred stock and warrants to buy $3 billion in GE common shares at a set price. Buffett's investment played an instrumental part in saving the firm when it was on the brink of catastrophe. Although the company has recovered during the period following the financial meltdown, GE's stock hasn't seen the type of dramatic upward trajectory that fellow Buffett-holding, Goldman Sachs ( GS) has seen. Nevertheless, the world famous investor has remained faithful and held onto his GE preferred shares. This equity has not only provided him with a front row seat to the company's resurgence but also a well received annual 10% dividend. There is a good chance that General Electric will end up being another homerun for Buffett in 2011. ETF investors may find funds including the Vanguard Industrial ETF ( VIS), iShares Dow Jones U.S. Industrial Sector Index Fund ( IYJ) and the Industrial Select Sector SPDR ( XLI) attractive ways to follow the Oracle's lead.
These funds are notable for their heavy exposure to General Electric. In all three, the firm is listed as the No. 1 holding, accounting for 12%, 11% and 10% of VIS, IYJ and XLI respectively. Aside from GE, however, all three boast heavy exposure to other notable industrial household names including 3M ( MMM), Caterpillar ( CAT) and United Technologies ( UTX). These companies will also benefit in 2011 as the global economy continues to recover. Written by Don Dion in Williamstown, Mass.
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