General Electric (GE) - Get Report reports tomorrow morning. Consensus expectations are for EPS of $0.20 on revenue of roughly $29.9B. There are some whispers out there that the EPS print could come in a couple of pennies high. So, for this stock, facing so many obvious obstacles, does beating expectations even matter? The fact is that certain impacts on forward looking performance have to be addressed, and how brand new CEO Larry Culp goes about that, and the level of confidence that he can exude, will be what goes a long way in tomorrow's early trade.
I think of the long-term shareholders. Many of these folks probably bought what they perceived as a blur-chip industrial name that paid a nice dividend. Some of their peers threw in the towel at several points along the way. If I recall, the Oracle of Omaha, Warren Buffet took his leave in the area of $27. Nice job, Oracle. The rest in reference to a different crisis a long, long time ago can only be referred to as Winter Soldiers. The Winter Soldier perseveres, but endures many miseries. In an investment sort of way, these folks qualify. So, is there hope, finally? Can anyone, namely the new Sheriff, turn this dog around?
JP Morgan analyst Stephen Tusa has been consistently correct on this name. When it comes to GE, ignore Tusa at your own peril. Last week, Tusa reiterated his "Underweight" rating on GE, and his $10 price target. Tusa said that it was important for investors to understand that ten bucks "Is not the worst case outcome." You may recall that aside from replacing outgoing CEO John Flannery, the firm over the past several weeks also warned that cash flow and earnings would not meet the firm's stated full year goals. The firm blamed the under-performing Power unit (remember those gas turbines that had to be shut down.). There is, however... more to it than that.
Gordon Haskett analyst John Inch joined in with an "Underweight" rating of his own, and a more generous price target of $11. Inch cited the potential that the $15B is already committed as insurance reserves could be insufficient due to an accounting change announced this past summer. What now?
The firm's debt load dwarfs cash and cash equivalents. In fact, the debt load is larger than is the firm's market cap. Is the firm's once again 4% dividend yield safe at this point. Is any dividend yield at all even responsible? I have a feeling that Larry Culp will do what he has to do. He would not have taken the job if he did not think that the firm was salvageable. That said... if there is more pain to be had, do you and I really need to be there?
There is some strength in the stock today ahead of earnings. Know what, that bullish divergence that I explained to you in Market Recon this morning? It's not present here. You have a lower low in Relative Strength last week alongside the "temporary bottom" in the share price. Listen, I don't know what happens tomorrow. If you buy this name, I wish you well. However, I am not in the next foxhole. I have had enough of this stock. If I owned it, I'd sell some into the strength.
(This column originally appeared at 12:20 p.m. ET on Real Money, our premium site for active traders. Click here to get great columns like this from Stephen "Sarge" Guilfoyle, Jim Cramer and other experts throughout the market day.)
At the time of publication, Stephen Guilfoyle had no position in the securities mentioned.