As TheStreet.com wrote last week, General Electric had an exhausting 2009. With the majority of concerns linked to the company's massive finance unit, GE has had many of the same problems as big banks. The unit has placed a huge amount of debt on the company's balance sheet and is now suffering wave after wave of loan write-downs, which make the subsidiary nearly unprofitable.
This mess on the financial side of the business has led to a good deal of stock volatility, as is evident by the company's high beta value of 1.7. As a result, the once all-powerful GE finds itself in the bottom tier of Dow stocks. Price stability and an end to write-downs are necessary for General Electric to regain its swagger. That may take some time because debt totals about half a trillion dollars. While still a "hold," GE needs to do some major work to get its house in order to be considered a safe bet.