Financial Performance

GE Shares Sink 2.9% Despite Q2 Earnings Beat

Analysts said the underlying quality of earnings was mixed, "with the beat driven almost entirely by lower corporate expense and restructuring."
Matthew HellerJuly 21, 2017

In the last earnings statement of CEO Jeff Immelt’s 16-year tenure, General Electric reported a smaller-than-expected decline in profit but its shares sank to a 21-month low.

For the second quarter, GE’s earnings fell to 28 cents per share from 51 cents a year ago as revenue dropped 11.7% to $29.56 billion, in part reflecting divestitures. Analysts had predicted earnings of 25 cents a share on revenue of $29.015 billion.

Industrial cash flow was $1.5 billion, reversing negative cash flow of $1.6 billion in the prior quarter. Industrial orders climbed 6% from a year ago to $28.3 billion.

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“We expect cash flow to continue to improve throughout the year,” Immelt said in a news release. “We’ve reduced our industrial structural costs year to date by $670 million and we are on track to meet or exceed our $1 billion cost reduction target for the year.”

On news of the earnings, GE dipped as much as 5% in trading Friday before closing 2.92% lower at $25.91 — the lowest level since October 2015.

“GE’s headline 2Q17 operating EPS of $0.28 was nicely above our estimate and consensus of $0.25,” analysts at RBC Capital Markets said. “That said, underlying quality of earnings was mixed, with the beat driven almost entirely by lower corporate expense and restructuring.”

Immelt will be replaced as CEO by John Flannery on Aug. 1. “The fear among the analyst community is, with a new CEO, General Electric is going to implement some massive restructuring and possibly lower its longer-term 2018 earnings estimate,” TheStreet said ahead of the second-quarter earnings release.

On Friday, GE confirmed its full-year EPS forecast of $1.60-$1.70 on organic sales growth of 3% to 5%. But CFO Jeff Bornstein said EPS is trending to the bottom end of that $1.60-$1.70 range due to oil and gas weakness.

As Investor’s Business Daily reports, “The oil and gas industry has been weaker than expected with oil prices down in 2017. Customers are delaying purchases and hurting legacy businesses.”