Thursday posted record third-quarter earnings, surpassing Wall Street analysts' expectations by a penny.
GE's earnings were bolstered by the continued strength of its power systems division, where service orders rose 37%, along with rising sales of aircraft engines and solid ratings for the
GE said its third-quarter operating margin rose to 16.7% of sales from 15.5% a year ago, setting a record for the quarter. Third-quarter margin growth reflects the increasing benefits from GE's focus on product services and Six Sigma quality initiatives, the company said.
The strong report made little impression on GE stock, which was off 11/16 to 123. In anticipation of the earnings report, GE's stock rose 2 3/4 Wednesday as the market rose nearly 200 points.
For the third quarter ended Sept. 30, earnings rose 16% to $2.65 billion, or 80 cents a diluted share, from $2.28 billion, or 69 cents a diluted share, a year ago. Revenue rose 13% to $27.2 billion from $24.14 billion a year earlier.
Analysts polled by
First Call/Thomson Financial
had projected the Fairfield, Conn.-based company would show a 10-cent earnings gain for the quarter, to 79 cents per share. Over the years GE has become one of Wall Street's most consistent performers, regularly turning in double-digit earnings and revenue growth and routinely beating analysts' estimates.
John F. Welch, the chairman of the diversified industrial corporation, said GE has readied itself for a record-setting year.
"In addition to delivering record third-quarter results, GE's businesses continued to make aggressive moves to position themselves for strong future growth," Welch said in a statement.