Updated from 8:50 a.m. ET with morning market action and comment from Nomura analyst Shannon O'Callaghan.
JPMorgan Chase analyst Stephen Tusa on Monday downgraded GE to a neutral rating, after his firm had recommended the shares with a "buy" rating for three years, saying in a note to clients that "the stock is dead money near term." The analyst lowered his price target for the shares to $22 from $24, while lowering his 2013 earnings estimate for the company by a penny to $1.64, and lowering his 2014 EPS estimate by 2 cents to $1.78.
General Electric's shares declined 4% on Friday to close at $21.75, after the company beat the consensus EPS estimates for first-quarter earnings and revenue, but disappointed investors by announcing a significant year-over-year revenue decline.GE's total industrial revenue for the first quarter was $34.209 billion, declining 6% from a year earlier. The most affected segment was Power & Water, with first-quarter revenue declining to $4.825 billion from $6.551 billion in the first quarter of 2012. The company had expected to see lower gas and wind turbine orders, but the numbers were still striking. GE Chief Financial Officer Keith Sherin said during the company's earnings call on Friday that GE received eight gas turbine orders during the first quarter, down from 23 a year earlier, while wind turbine orders declined to 584 in the first quarter from 696 in the first quarter of 2012. GE CEO Jeff Immelt said during the call that overall industrial orders during the first quarter were up 3% from a year earlier. "Equipment orders were up 10% and we had a 1.3 times book-to-bill ratio in the quarter," he said. "This gives us confidence in our delivery schedule for the second half and beyond." Immelt also said "margins were negatively impacted by some of the revenue shortfalls in Europe in Power & Water, but we remain on track to deliver the 70 basis points margin expansion this year and we will show you more details later in the deck."
GE's industrial margin for the first quarter was 12.9%, declining 70 basis points from a year earlier, "but up 40 basis points excluding the Power & Water cycle," according to Immelt.