General Electric's

(GE) - Get Report

fourth quarter earnings report will have no immediate effect on its rating from Standard & Poor's, the ratings agency said Monday.

GE is one of just a handful of industrial companies that have a triple-A rating from both Moody's Investor's Service and S&P. The rating is

an important asset

for GE, because it allows the conglomerate to raise capital more cheaply that other lenders with which it competes. That in turn helps GE lend at lower rates.

While Moody's currently rates GE as stable, S&P has had a negative outlook on its triple-A rating since December.

Also on Monday, Deutsche Bank analysts published a report reiterating their hold rating, but saying they view the triple-A as "vulnerable." The report states the triple-A "is harder for management to control since this is ultimately the decision of the rating agencies, while the dividend is solely a decision for the board."

Deutsche lowered its price target to $17, saying it sees "few positive catalysts," despite what the analysts see as good value for long term holders of the stock.

The conglomerate on Friday reported a 44% year-over-year decline in net income to $3.7 billion, or 35 cents a share.


earned 36 cents a share from continuing operations in the quarter, down from 68 cents a share a year earlier, the company said. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected GE to report earnings of 37 cents a share.

GE shares were up 3.8% to $12.49 in recent trading.