Q1 Preview: Street Estimates on GE (GE) May Prove Conservative, Analysts Say

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Shares of GE ( GE ) outperformed the broader stock market Thursday as traders are anticipating the company's first-quarter report, due out Friday before the opening bell rings. While the Dow closed down about 0.5 percent, GE shares closed the session up about 0.2 percent to $19.14.

Analysts on the Street are expecting a 6.5 percent year-over-year surge in quarterly profit to 33 cents per share. Sales are expected to be down from $38.33 billion reported in last year's first quarter to $34.7 billion.

Data from SteetInsider.com's Earnings History shows GE has beaten the Street's earnings estimates by an average of 7 percent over the last four quarters.

16 analyst firms currently rate GE shares a Buy, six rate the stock a Hold, and just one recommends selling the stock. The average analyst price target sits around $22.50, ranging from $21-$25.

Shares of General Electric are up about 7 percent so far in 2012, but down about 4 percent since the beginning of April.

Analyst Comments:

  • Goldman Sachs - Looking for EPS of 32 cents (20 cents for Industrial, 13 cents for GE Capital) on sales of $34.8 billion. Sees a worse-than-guided 10 basis point move higher in Industrial margins.

    According to Goldman, "Following outperformance in December and January, we highlighted potential for GE shares to tread water near-term on a lack of 1Q catalysts...However, we believe the core drivers of the longer-term bull case remain in place..."

    The firm maintains a Buy rating and $21 price target on GE shares.

  • JPMorgan - Modeling for earnings of 32 cents per share. The firm noted "a low consensus bar that already discounts a somewhat back-end-loaded earnings profile. Importantly, we expect a relatively clean result with some hot button issues like GT pricing declines improving versus a tough 4Q."

    GE one of is JPMorgan's top picks this year amid "visible Industrial growth and potential catalysts from the GECS dividend..." The firm said it is not yet concerned with a sluggish first quarter in this segment.

    JPMorgan maintains an Overweight rating and $21 target.
GE generally reports right at 6:30am ET. Stay tuned to our Earnings feed to get all the breaking news within seconds of the release.



The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.



This article appears in: Investing , Stocks

Referenced Stocks: GE

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