Is now the time to bet on General Electric Company (NYSE:GE) and GE stock?
The industrial conglomerate didn’t excite investors Friday with breathtaking earnings results, but the polarizing Dow Jones Industrial Average component continues to improve its Aviation segment — the second-largest unit — which posted a modest jump in first-quarter revenue.
GE stock is trading slightly down in Friday’s pre-market session. But considering a 3.2% annual dividend yield — better than the S&P 500’s 2% payout — and still-promising results, patient investors can still do well in this industrial giant.
Powerful First-Quarter Earnings
In the three months that ended March, the Boston-based company not only swung to a first-quarter profit, it also delivered revenue that beat expectations.
General Electric posted net earnings of $619 million (7 cents per share) that compared well to last year’s loss of 61 cents (-1 cent per share). After backing out one-time gains and costs, GE earned 21 cents per share, topping the average analyst estimate of 17 cents, according to Thomson Reuters estimates.
First-quarter revenue declined 1% year-over-year to $27.66 billion, dropping from $27.85 billion last year. But that was still enough to beat the Thomson Reuters estimate of $26.37 billion. The revenue decline was mostly due to the woes of the energy business, which has impacted the entire sector.
Nevertheless, save for the energy segment, GE benefited from solid results in all operating segments, including oil-and-gas, aviation, power and renewable energy, which all topped Street forecast.
Looking ahead, not only did GE affirm its industrial operating and verticals EPS outlook for 2017, the company said it expects cash flows to improve throughout the year.
“We expect cash flows to improve throughout the remainder of the year, with no change to our full year cash flow framework,” CEO Jeff Immelt said in a statement. “We reaffirm our 2017 operating framework for Industrial operating + Verticals EPS, organic revenue growth and Industrial operating margin expansion.”
The company, which in 2016 returned $30.5 billion to shareholders, said it returned $4.4 billion to shareholders during the quarter through a combination of dividends and buybacks.
Bottom Line for GE Stock
General Electric shares have declined by a little more than 4% year-to-date, but presents solid value for investors who are looking for strong dividend payer that can outperform the market in the next 12 to 18 months.
GE stock, which is currently priced at just 16 times fiscal 2018 estimates of $1.90 per share, looks like a solid bargain. Assuming General Electric does achieve $2 per share in 2018, this puts the forward P/E at 15, or four points below the S&P 500.
If you apply a reasonable multiple of 18 to those estimates, General Electric’s fair value points to $36, calling for 20% returns.
As of this writing, Richard Saintvilus did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.