Stocks Opened Higher; GE Set Restructuring

U.S. stocks opened slightly higher on Friday as a surge in General Electric Company (GE) after its restructuring news helped lift the main benchmarks. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately added 21.83 points, or 0.12%, to 17,980.56. The S&P 500 was up 3.77 points, or 0.18%, to 2,094.95. The Nasdaq Composite gained 4.43 points, or 0.09%, to 4,978.99.

General Electric is getting out of the lending business and back to its industrial roots. The conglomerate  announced on Friday that it was shedding most of GE Capital, its financial arm. It also said it would use the proceeds to fuel a massive $50 billion share buyback program.

U.S. import prices fell in March as rising petroleum costs were offset by declining prices for other goods, a sign of muted inflation that supports the view the Federal Reserve will probably not raise interest rates in June. The Labor Department said on Friday import prices dropped 0.3 percent last month after a downwardly revised 0.2 percent gain in February.

Excel Trust, Inc. (NYSE: EXL) today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement with Blackstone Property Partners L.P., under which Blackstone will acquire all outstanding shares of common stock of Excel Trust for $15.85 per share in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $2 billion.

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