General Electric Earnings: Profit Falls, Snapping Streak of Rising Profits

S&P 500 (NYSE:SPY) component General Electric Company (NYSE:GE) reported its results for the fourth quarter. General Electric is an advanced technology, services and finance company that provides services ranging from aircraft engines to business and consumer financing.

Investing Insights: Will the iPad 3 Be the Next Catalyst for Apple’s Stock?

General Electric Company Earnings Cheat Sheet for the Fourth Quarter.

Results: Net income for General Electric Company fell to $3.73 billion (35 cents per share) vs. $4.54 billion (42 cents per share) a year earlier. This is a decline of 17.8% from the year earlier quarter.

Revenue: Fell 5.7% to $37.97 billion from the year earlier quarter.

Actual vs. Wall St. Expectations: GE reported adjusted net income of 39 cents per share. By that measure, the company beat the mean estimate of 38 cents per share. It fell short of the average revenue estimate of $40.03 billion.

Quoting Management: “GE’s portfolio demonstrated strength and resilience, delivering earnings growth for the seventh consecutive quarter while also generating substantial operating cash flow to support investment in our business and dividend growth,” said GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt. “We are confident in our 2012 framework to realize double-digit earnings growth in our Industrial and Capital segments, increase margins and provide dividend growth to our shareholders in line with earnings.”

Key Stats:

Last quarter’s profit decrease breaks a streak of four consecutive quarters of year-over-year profit increases. In the third quarter, net income rose 56.9% from the year earlier, while the figure increased 21.1% in the second quarter, 76.5% in the first quarter and 50.5% in the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year.

Revenue has fallen for the past three quarters. In the third quarter, revenue declined 1.5% to $35.37 billion while the figure fell 4.9% in the second quarter from the year earlier.

The company beat estimates last quarter after being in line with expectations in the third quarter with net income of 31 cents per share.

Looking Forward: Over the last 30 days, analysts have not been optimistic about the company’s next quarter performance. The average estimate for the first quarter of the next fiscal year is now 35 cents per share, down from 36 cents. For the fiscal year, the average estimate has moved up from $1.34 a share to $1.36 over the last thirty days.

Competitors to Watch: Siemens AG (NYSE:SI), 3M Company (NYSE:MMM), Hitachi, Ltd. (NYSE:HIT), United Technologies Corp. (NYSE:UTX), Koninklijke Philips Electronics NV (NYSE:PHG), Honeywell Intl. Inc. (NYSE:HON), Danaher Corporation (NYSE:DHR), Textron Inc. (NYSE:TXT), OSI Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:OSIS), and Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE:BIO).

Investing Insights: Will the iPad 3 Be the Next Catalyst for Apple’s Stock?

(Company fundamentals provided by Xignite Financials. Earnings estimates provided by Zacks)

To contact the reporter on this story: Derek Hoffman at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Damien Hoffman at