It’s been a little over a year now …
That’s when I suggested taking profits in Apple (AAPL). The tech giant had just reported the most-profitable quarter of any company in history. Shares surged above $130 apiece.
However, the profit train was about to slow dramatically. After all, Apple receives more than two-thirds of its sales from its iPhone. And the company was not expected to launch a brand-new version of this best-selling product until late 2016.
Over the past 12 months, Apple saw its profits slow from over 30% annually to the mid-single digits. The stock is now trading at about $105 a share. If you followed my lead, you likely saved a lot of money.
In the same article, I said investors who are looking for dividends and growth should buy General Electric (GE) instead of Apple. The company was dirt-cheap and its dividend was nearly 4% at the time.
Since my call, GE is up nearly 25%.
GE is one of the largest companies in the world based on market cap. And after a major move like this, I would usually recommend taking profits.
However, the recent surge in GE is just the beginning. And I expect the stock to move much higher over the next few years.
A few years ago, GE made a game-changing decision. The industrial leader decided to transform its entire business model. This was a model put in place decades ago by legendary business executive and former CEO Jack Welch.
The first step was to become the biggest player in the industrial Internet megatrend.
The industrial Internet is the placing of GPS sensors and wireless modules on billions of machines. This includes jet engines, wind turbines and medical equipment.
Products that GE manufactures.
These sensors send millions of data points to supercomputers. This data is then analyzed using special software (Big Data analytics) to help predict the future.
Soon, entire fleets of airplanes and trucks will send and receive data to help ensure they run smoothly…
Factory machines will send out alerts before breaking down, reducing maintenance costs and downtime…
Doctors will be able to download patient data in seconds, which can reduce misdiagnosis and increase the amount of patients doctors can treat. This will not only result in huge cost savings for healthcare companies and hospitals, but also save millions of lives…
GE predicts the industrial Internet could benefit sectors accounting for more than $30 trillion in economic activity. This is almost twice the size of the combined market cap of every company in the S&P 500 Index.
Management also announced plans to sell its huge financial services arm. This division is classified as “too-big-to-fail” by the government. That means it’s regulated by the Federal Reserve — making this division almost impossible to grow.
Thus far, these asset sales have already generated more than $120 billion.
To put this in perspective, this amount is larger than the market cap of industry leaders MasterCard (MA), Schlumberger (SLB), Altria (MO), Boeing (BA) and Walgreens (WBA). GE said it will return most of this cash to investors (in the form of dividends and buybacks) over the next four years.
By 2018, GE expects to generate 90% of its profits from industrial operations. That compares to 55% in 2013. This means GE will be a pure play on the multitrillion-dollar industrial Internet megatrend.
And this trend is still in its infancy!
GE is a cheap stock. The company also pays a large dividend (3%) and finally has a growth strategy that will generate huge profits for many years. That’s why I expect fund managers and large institutions to build positions in GE over the next six to 12 months.
For investors looking for growth and income, I suggest buying GE at current levels. The stock offers a safe yield and will grow earnings much faster than the overall markets.