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General Electric Beats by a Penny (Update 1)

  • General Electric reports first-quarter operating earnings per share of 34 cents.
  • Analysts were expecting EPS of 33 cents.
  • GE Capital earnings rise 10% sequentially.

Updated with comments from BernsteinResearch analyst Steven Winoker.

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- General Electric (GE - Get Report) on Friday reported that first-quarter operating earnings increased 3% year over year, but would have risen 17% excluding one-time items.

The company reported first-quarter operating earnings of $3.6 billion, or 34 cents a share, compared to $4.2 billion, or 39 cents a share, during the fourth quarter, and $2.3 billion, or 21 cents a share, during the first quarter of 2011.

The first-quarter earnings came in ahead of the 33-cent estimate among analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.

Total first-quarter revenue was $35.2 billion, compared to $38.0 billion the previous quarter and $36.6 billion a year earlier. Revenue for the first quarter exceeded the consensus revenue estimate of $34.7 billion.

The 8% year-over-year revenue decline reflected the one-time gains from the company's sale of 51% of its stake in NBC Universal in the year-earlier period.

CEO Jeff Immelt touted the company's "double-digit Industrial earnings growth and the return of the GE Capital dividend to the parent."

Immelt also said that GE "witnessed broad-based strength in orders across all our Infrastructure businesses and in both equipment and services," and saw "encouraging leading indicators driven by global growth."

GE Capital saw a $1.8 billion profit during the first quarter, but excluding the $381 million gain during the fourth quarter of 2011 from its sale of Garanti Bank, the financial segment's profit increased 27% year over year.

GE Capital's revenue declined 12% from a year earlier to $11.4 billion.

Total industrial segment revenue was $23.7 billion during the first quarter, increasing 14% year over year, with gains in all five industrial groups, including a 41% increase in revenue for Transportation to $1.3 billion. Energy Infrastructure revenue increased 18% to $11.2 billion, while Aviation revenue increased 12% to $4.9 billion.

Total industrial segment profit grew 10% year over year to $3.3 billion.

The company said that "infrastructure orders were a record high for the first quarter at $23.1 billion, up 20% from the prior year," while "industrial growth market orders were up 21%," and that "all businesses grew equipment orders at double-digit rates for the quarter."

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