I had been thinking of selling my General Electric (NYSE: GE) shares in my RRSP. The company has been struggling for a long time, with its financial division dragging down the rest of the company. As I see it, the company will continue to grow slowly and recover from its past mistakes, just as slowly. I see that growth at less than 5% per year. With a current dividend yield around 3%, I think I can find a better use for that money.
So I've sold GE and used the money to purchase shares of 3M Company (NYSE: MMM). The company is also a large conglomerate with diversified income streams, but without the financial division that's been pulling GE down. 3M keeps innovating and developping new products. Current yield is a bit lower at 2.6%, but the company keeps increasing the dividend at a steady pace and its payout ratio is lower.
My money could have been put into a different company with better growth prospects. But GE (and now 3M) fulfilled a specific role in my portfolio and moving my money into a growth-oriented company would not have satisfied that role.
As I sold GE and purchased 3M on the same day, I was able to same on currency conversion fees (what is sometimes called a "wash trade"), reducing them almost to nothing.
I also own a few shares of 3M in my DRiP portfolio.