* GE set for $50 bln buyback plan; most active on NYSE
* Import prices decline, in line with expectations
* Indexes up: Dow 0.5 pct, S&P 0.4 pct, Nasdaq 0.3 pct (Updates to afternoon trading)
By Ryan Vlastelica
NEW YORK, April 10 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks climbed on Friday, putting major indexes on track for a week of solid gains as investors lauded GE’s decision to divest most of its high-risk GE Capital business and repurchase up to $50 billion of its shares.
All 10 primary S&P 500 sectors were higher on the day, but the S&P Industrials index was by far the best performer, up 1.5 percent, driven by gains in GE shares.
General Electric shares had their biggest one-day jump since March 2009, up 8.7 percent to $27.97. More than 228 million shares changed hands, making the stock the most active name on the New York Stock Exchange by far. The advance came after GE said there was potential to return more than $90 billion to investors through 2018.
“The GE deal is very transformative. The stock has been under-owned by institutional investors and that’s going to change now,” said Tom Donino, co-head of equity trading at First New York Securities.
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 rose 2 percent at $39.99 and Wells Fargo inched up 0.2 percent to $54.30.
In another real estate deal, Excel Trust was up 14.2 percent at $15.81 after it said it would be bought by Blackstone for about $2 billion.
“The real estate market will appreciate as long as the rates remain low or rise marginally which points towards a bullish market,” said Adam Sarhan, chief executive of Sarhan Capital in New York.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 85.74 points, or 0.48 percent, to 18,044.47, the S&P 500 gained 9.27 points, or 0.44 percent, to 2,100.45 and the Nasdaq Composite added 16.97 points, or 0.34 percent, to 4,991.53.
For the week, the Dow is up 1.6 percent, the S&P is up 1.6 percent and the Nasdaq is up 2.1 percent. Both the Dow and S&P are 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.
Citrix Systems shares fell 1.8 percent to $63.49 after the cloud-computing software maker cut its first-quarter forecast for earnings and revenue.
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by 1,717 to 1,229, for a 1.40-to-1 ratio on the upside; on the Nasdaq, 1,547 issues rose and 1,113 fell for a 1.39-to-1 ratio favoring advancers.
The benchmark S&P 500 index was posting 24 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite was recording 85 new highs and 14 new lows. (Additional reporting by Tanya Agrawal; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Meredith Mazzilli)