NEW YORK (
might balk at being lumped in with
, but that seems to be the logic behind a recent GE upgrade from JPMorgan Chase.
Citing a "the recent run in the most disliked stocks," JPMorgan analyst Stephen Tusa upgraded General Electric Tuesday, lifting his price target to $17 from $12. GE shares were up 4.9% Tuesday to $14.55, having closed at $13.87 before the holiday weekend.
"This is not necessarily a fundamental upside call, rather the last of the low expectations plays," Tusa writes.
Tusa cites several other reasons for his newly bullish view, including that the conglomerate's book of distressed real estate holdings "should go to
fair market value by 2012," and that its NBC Universal stake may be more attractive to buyers as M&A in the media sector looks to be perking up.
However, he wrote the upgrade was "mostly on sentiment, as one of the last stocks for which a little good news can still go a long way."
While Tusa did not say specifically which stocks he was talking about in this regard, it certainly describes what has happened to the shares of beaten-down companies like AIG, Fannie, Freddie,
and others. All have had major rallies in the last month on just the slightest sign of good news, never mind that
Fannie and Freddie
are insolvent, and their former regulator thinks they won't pay back the U.S. government, to which they are deeply in hock.
, companies that have filed for bankruptcy protection, have participated in the rally.
GE has been winding down its loan book in an effort to shrink the balance sheet of GE Capital, which has worried investors in the company at least since the onset of the credit crisis. It is also expected to sell assets.
reported last month that GE had tapped
to sell its security unit.
Written by Dan Freed in New York