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GE at 52-week high. Conspiracy?

October 5, 2012: 12:49 PM ET

These Fairfield, Conn. guys will do anything.

Shares of General Electric (GE) rose 1% Friday and hit a 52-week high. The stock is now up nearly 30% this year, making it the third-best performer in the Dow Jones Industrial Average for 2012. Only Bank of America (BAC) and Walt Disney (DIS) have done better.

Yet, there was little chatter about GE's earnings, valuation or the performance of its various industrial, health care and aerospace units Friday. Instead, most of the comments on StockTwits centered on a tweet from former GE CEO Jack Welch Friday morning.

Welch seemed to insinuate that the Labor Department may have manipulated the September jobs report, which showed a surprising drop in the unemployment rate to 7.8%, in order to benefit the re-election campaign of President Obama.

Traders were quick to feast on the irony in this accusation. After all, GE under Welch was notorious for "managing" earnings in order to please Wall Street.

MawiLoca: Jack Welch, the guy who convinced everyone that $GE stock was worth 60 bucks, is calling shenanigans?

Wait. GE isn't worth $60? Well, it is nearly 60% off its all-time high from 2000.

IgorGreenwald: I blame the kooky @jack_welch payrolls conspiracy theory on his long history of manipulating $GE earnings.

researchpuzzler: kind of rich to have Jack Welch talk about fudging numbers ~ one of the best earnings "managers" in history $GE

lamonicabuzz: Note to @jack_welch. Lucky Twitter wasn't around when $GE was "managing" earnings. The shorts would have lots of conspiracy theories too.

It really is quite astonishing that Welch decided to take issue with the government's jobs numbers. Barry Ritholtz (@ritholtz) has an inspired rant on this over on his blog, The Big Picture.

But maybe Welch is trying in some small way to improve the jobs picture?

RAEckart: Ugh, @jack_welch just increased employment at "conspiracy" websites. $SPY $GE

Ha! I guess we'll see that in the October jobs report due out just four days before the election!Before Welch put his virtual foot in his mouth this morning, I was definitely leaning towards awarding my Reader Comment of the Week to one of the many humorous remarks about Zynga (ZNGA) following its earnings warning Thursday.

But Matt O'Brien of The Atlantic takes the cake with this joke about a fictional conversation between Welch and his successor.

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Paul Lamonica
Paul R. La Monica
Assistant Managing Editor, CNNMoney

Paul R. La Monica is an assistant managing editor at CNNMoney. He is the author of the site's daily column, The Buzz, and also tweets throughout the day about the markets and economy @LaMonicaBuzz. La Monica also oversees the site's economic, markets and technology coverage.

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