General Electric's (GE) price action continues to be a train-wreck in 2018.

The latest news from GE is that the firm is delaying its third-quarter earnings results. GE had originally planned to deliver its Q3 numbers to Wall Street on Oct. 25, but the firm announced this morning that it will push its reporting date to Oct. 30 in order to give CEO Larry Culp more time to figure out how to right the ship.

While shares have managed to shake off early losses in Friday's session, GE's buoyant price move pales in comparison to the massive relief rally taking place just about everywhere else in this market following two sharp days of selling.

More importantly, GE's long-term price action still points to downside risk ahead for buyers. To figure out what's happening - and what would need to change to make GE buyable again - we're turning to the chart for a technical look.

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You don't need to be a trading expert to figure out what's been happening to shares of GE for the last year and change; shares have been moving down and to the right in a parabolic downtrend that's plunged GE 42% lower on a total returns basis in the last 12 months.

While GE managed to break out of a short-term downtrend at the start of this month, the upside-move was short-lived and ultimately overridden by the longer-term downtrend. That mirrors what happened at the very start of 2018, when GE surged higher only to capitulate in dramatic fashion in the second half of January.

The fact that GE was extremely obedient to trendline resistance with Monday's selling should be seen as a major red flag for buyers. Even if GE's downtrend has been cooling off in recent months, the general trend of the rest of the broad market has been bullish in the second half of this year, widening the performance gap even further.

GE would need to materially trade above its peak from Monday in order to push out of downtrend territory. That represents a double-digit upside move from current levels. Until that happens, it makes sense to steer well clear of the long side of GE.

Make no mistake, there are certainly some attractive elements to GE's business - and a stock price that's around half of what it was a year ago might look tempting to value investors, especially given the frothy valuations found elsewhere in this market. But this isn't a defensive play in 2018. GE's stock looks a lot less appealing than its business might right now. Sellers remain in control of shares this October.

Want to Buy $1 Worth of Stock for 90 Cents or Less? You can with certain so-called "closed-end" mutual funds - an often overlooked investment class. Click here to register for a free online video in which TheStreet's retirement expert Robert Powell and an all-star panel tell you all you need to know.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.

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