General Electric has reported higher second-quarter earnings following cost-cutting efforts as it announced a late-July stock listing for its North American retail finance arm.

Earnings for GE, considered a proxy for US industrials, came in at $3.5bn, up 13.2% from the year-ago period.

GE notched higher profits in six of its seven industrial segments, including the two largest areas, power and water and aviation.

However, revenues increased in only three of the segments.

"GE had a good performance in the quarter and in the first half of 2014, with double-digit industrial segment profit growth, 30 basis points of margin expansion, and nearly $6bn returned to shareholders," said chief executive Jeff Immelt.

The company said a pair of important deals were on track to enable it to reach a target of achieving, by 2016, 75% of earnings from industrial segments and 25% from finance.

GE is targeting the initial public offering of its North American Retail Finance business, Synchrony Capital, for the end of July, the first step in a planned exit from that business.

GE expects to complete its acquisition of Alstom's power and gas business in 2015 after its offer was accepted in June by the French industrial giant and blessed by the French government following a number of concessions. 

GE's results translated into operating earnings per share of 39 cents, meeting analyst expectations.

Revenues rose 3.3% to $36.23bn, just under the $36.3bn forecast by analysts.