Where Will General Electric Go Next?

With shares of General Electric (NYSE:GE) trading around $25, is GE an OUTPERFORM, WAIT AND SEE, or STAY AWAY? Let’s analyze the stock with the relevant sections of our CHEAT SHEET investing framework:

T = Trends for a Stock’s Movement

General Electric is a diversified industrial, technology, and financial services company that operates worldwide. The products and services of the company range from aircraft engines, power generation, water processing, and household appliances to medical imaging, business and consumer financing, and industrial products. General Electric’s segments are Energy Infrastructure, Aviation, Healthcare, Transportation, Home & Business Solutions, and GE Capital. General Electric is a leading provider of a wide range of products and many are essential in daily lives of consumers and companies around the world.

General Electric plans to intensify research focusing on complex energy projects such as waterless fracking and gas turbine efficiency by earmarking an additional $10 billion through 2020 for its “ecoimagination” budget. The new spending is set to be announced by Chief Executive Jeff Immelt on Monday. The research budget shows how reliant GE has become on the energy industry, its fastest growth area, as it works to become a dominant supplier of equipment and services to oil, natural gas and alternative power companies at a time when the United States undergoes an unprecedented energy boom. While GE doesn’t forecast what it plans to spend on its main capital budget in future years, the new commitment gives investors a clue as to what the company’s priorities will be into the next decade. The “ecoimagination” project, which was formed in 2005 to broadly focus on sustainability and other environmental issues and has cost nearly $15 billion, had been set to expire next year. Executives are extending it to 2020 with the additional $10 billion.

T = Technicals on the Stock Chart Are Mixed

General Electric stock has been trending higher over the past several quarters. However, the stock is currently trading sideways and may need time to consolidate before heading higher. Analyzing the price trend and its strength can be done using key simple moving averages. What are the key moving averages? The 50-day (pink), 100-day (blue), and 200-day (yellow) simple moving averages. As seen in the daily price chart below, General Electric is trading between its rising key averages which signal neutra price action in the near-term.

GE

(Source: Thinkorswim)

Taking a look at the implied volatility (red) and implied volatility skew levels of General Electric options may help determine if investors are bullish, neutral, or bearish.

Implied Volatility (IV)

30-Day IV Percentile

90-Day IV Percentile

General Electric options

19.39%

20%

18%

What does this mean? This means that investors or traders are buying a minimal amount of call and put options contracts, as compared to the last 30 and 90 trading days.

Put IV Skew

Call IV Skew

March Options

Average

Average

April Options

Average

Average

As of today, there is an average demand from call and put buyers or sellers, all neutral over the next two months. To summarize, investors are buying a minimal amount of call and put option contracts and are leaning neutral over the next two months.

On the next page, let’s take a look at the earnings and revenue growth rates and the conclusion.

E = Earnings Are Increasing Quarter-Over-Quarter

Rising stock prices are often strongly correlated with rising earnings and revenue growth rates. Also, the last four quarterly earnings announcement reactions help gauge investor sentiment on General Electric’s stock. What do the last four quarterly earnings and revenue growth (Y-O-Y) figures for General Electric look like and more importantly, how did the markets like these numbers?

2013 Q4

2013 Q3

2013 Q2

2013 Q1

Earnings Growth (Y-O-Y)

7.19%

11.11%

3.45%

17.24%

Revenue Growth (Y-O-Y)

1.89%

-1.46%

-3.50%

-0.49%

Earnings Reaction

-2.27%

3.52%

4.61%

-4.05%

General Electric has seen rising earnings and revenue figures over the last four quarters. From these numbers, the markets have had conflicting feelings about General Electric’s recent earnings announcements.

P = Weak Relative Performance Versus Peers and Sector

How has General Electric stock done relative to its peers, United Technologies (NYSE:UTX), Phillips (NYSE:PHG), Siemens (NYSE:SI), and sector?

General Electric

United Technologies

Phillips

Siemens

Sector

Year-to-Date Return

-9.58%

3.15%

-5.19%

-5.09%

-3.17%

General Electric has been a poor relative performer, year-to-date.

Conclusion

General Electric is a globally diversified industrial, technology, and financial services company. The company plans to intensify research focusing on complex energy projects such as waterless fracking and gas turbine efficiency. The stock has been trending higher over the past several quarters, but is currently trading sideways. Over the last four quarters, earnings have been rising while revenues have been decreasing, which has produced conflicting feelings among investors. Relative to its peers and sector, General Electric has been a poor year-to-date performer. WAIT AND SEE what General Electric does this quarter.

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