Wall Street seems to believe the long-awaited General Electric comeback has finally arrived. But GE’s problems are far from over.
After a horrific performance the past two years, GE (GE) shares have spiked 20% in 2019.
GE is still trading in single-digits and it’s worth just a fraction of its all-time high. But the rally is built on hopes that the worst is over, and it places GE among the top 10% of all S&P 500 stocks this year. If GE were still in the Dow (it was kicked out last summer), it’d be neck-and-neck with Boeing (BA) for the top spot.
New GE CEO Larry Culp deserves credit for taking difficult steps to fix the maker of light bulbs, jet engines and MRI machines. Under Culp, GE slashed its dividend to a penny, sped up its divorce with oil-and-gas giant Baker Hughes (BHGE) and unloaded more assets.
But GE’s earnings report, which is due out before the market opens Thursday, is likely to provide more evidence of how challenging it will be for Culp to pull off a speedy turnaround in a slowing economy. More difficult decisions loom as GE races to fix its debt-saddled balance sheet.
“Larry Culp’s mission is to save GE, regardless of the short-term pain,” John Inch, an analyst at Gordon Haskett, told clients in a note this week. Inch, who has long been warning of trouble at GE, has a $7 price target on the stock. GE was trading above $9 on Wednesday.
’Show about nothing’
While analysts remain bullish on GE’s booming aviation business, they are still worried that land mines lurk at the slumping power div