* GE set for $50 bln buyback plan; most active on NYSE
* Import prices decline, in line with expectations
* Indexes up: Dow 0.21 pct, S&P 0.22 pct, Nasdaq 0.1 pct (Updates to open)
By Tanya Agrawal
April 10 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks gained in morning trading Friday as investors lauded GE’s decision to divest the bulk of its high-risk GE Capital business and on its share repurchase plan.
The S&P Industrials was up 1.3 percent as the best performing of the 10 major S&P sectors, paced by GE’s gain.
General Electric jumped 8.7 percent to $27.96 as the most active stock on the New York Stock Exchange, with more than 120 million shares changing hands. The advance came after GE said there was potential to return more than $90 billion to investors through 2018.
“I expect buybacks to continue because a lot of major stocks, including Apple, are undervalued,” Adam Sarhan, chief executive of Sarhan Capital in New York.
GE will sell the bulk of its $30 billion real estate portfolio over the next two years as it returns to its industrial roots, with Blackstone and Wells Fargo snapping up most of its assets. Blackstone shares were up 1.5 at $39.77 and Wells Fargo shares inched up 0.3 percent to $54.36.
In another real estate deal, Excel Trust was up 14.3 percent at $15.82 after it said it would be bought by Blackstone Group for about $2 billion.
“The deal is good for the economy and especially for Blackstone. The real estate market will appreciate as long as the rates remain low or rise marginally which points towards a bullish market,” Sarhan said.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 36.93 points, or 0.21 percent, to 17,995.66, the S&P 500 gained 4.6 points, or 0.22 percent, to 2,095.78 and the Nasdaq Composite added 5.10 points, or 0.1 percent, to 4,979.66.
The S&P 500 is up 1.4 percent for the week and is on track for a second week of gains, helped by a pickup in merger activity. Investors are also bracing for corporate results after earnings season kicked off earlier this week.
Data Friday showed import prices for March declined 0.3 percent, as expected.
Consumers flocked to Apple Inc stores around the world to have a glimpse of the Apple Watch. Reviews have been mixed, however, and Apple shares were off 0.2 percent at $126.27.
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by 1,653 to 1,130, for a 1.46-to-1 ratio; on the Nasdaq, 1,500 issues rose and 942 fell for a 1.59-to-1 ratio.
The benchmark S&P 500 index posted 14 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 58 new highs and 8 new lows. (Editing by Bernadette Baum)