"The weakest segment should be Oil & Gas, where order declines of 34% over the last four quarter may generate double-digit sales declines," says Bloomberg Intelligence Senior Industry Analyst Karen Ubelhart.
J.P. Morgan estimates that core sales down 17% year-over-year (y/y), with margins down 290 basis points y/y, "yielding profits down approximately 32% y/y."
The segment is expected to remain a headwind into 2017, adds Bloomberg's Ubelhart, but "declines should moderate."
GE's oil and gas business will have a vastly different look by mid-2017, however, when Baker Hughes (BHI) will merge its businesses with GE's. The two companies inked a definitive agreement during the fourth quarter to combine businesses, creating a $32 billion-sales oilfield services giant. Under the terms of the deal, GE oil and gas and Baker Hughes will form a new entity: the "New" Baker Hughes. GE will own 62.5% of the new company, while Baker Hughes shareholders will retain 37.5% of the shares.
Action Alerts PLUS Senior Portfolio Analyst Scott Berman says he'll be looking for any commentary on how the integration is going during GE's fiscal fourth quarter results. Particularly, Berman will be focused on GE's Predix platform and how it will be incorporated in the future -- which was listed as the top priority for the company at its most recent investor day.
"We remain in GE for the long haul as the company revolutionizes the industrial Internet of Things through its Predix platform, which has received an even further boost via the recent deal to merge GE oil and gas with Baker Hughes," wrote AAP portfolio co-managers Jim Cramer and Jack Mohr in a note to subscribers on Jan. 6.
While GE oil and gas remains a headwind, strength in the Power segment and gains in Aerospace, as well as Healthcare, should drive organic growth, says the Bloomberg Intelligence analyst.
The industrial giant's Power segment received another boost on Wednesday when GE announced that it won more than $1.4 billion in orders from Iraq's Ministry of Electricity to set up power plants and provide technology upgrades as well as maintenance services.
GE shares were holding relatively flat during the trading session following news of the agreement.
Overall, for the fiscal fourth quarter, GE is expected to report earnings of $0.46 a share on revenue of $34 billion. For the full year, the company forecasts EPS in a range of $1.48 to $1.52.
The company also recently reaffirmed its lofty $2 earnings per share target for 2018, which surprised investors and analysts alike. But, since questions remain about whether GE can "bridge the gap" created by oil-and-gas headwinds ($0.10 to $0.15 incremental), Berman will be checking for any commentary on how GE will be able to achieve such earnings.
Meanwhile, Baker Hughes is set to report its own fiscal fourth quarter results on Jan. 26. Analysts are anticipating a loss of $0.11 a share on revenue of $2.4 billion. BHI shares were declining slightly during the trading session on Wednesday.
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Action Alerts PLUS, which Cramer co-manages as a charitable trust, is long GE stock.