General Electric Ups Guidance

General Electric ( GE) said earnings in its first and second quarters will be at the high end of guidance because of strong revenue growth in its main industrial segments. The company also announced a $900 million acquisition of InVision Technologies ( INVN).

Fairfield, Conn.-based GE expects to earn 32 cents per share in the first quarter and 39 cents in the second quarter, reflecting 20% year-over-year revenue growth in its industrial holdings. The company said "the broad-based growth in industrial orders and financial services assets that we saw in January and February has continued into March," giving it "greater visibility into results for the first half."

Analysts surveyed by Thomson One Analytics were forecasting earnings of 31 cents a share on sales of $31.74 billion in the first quarter and earnings of 38 cents a share on sales of $34.45 billion in the second quarter. The shares were recently trading for $30.90 on the Instinet premarket session, up 29 cents, or 1%, from their Friday close.

A much bigger gain was being felt in shares of InVision, which GE said it will acquire for $50 each in cash. The company is a maker of bomb-detection systems for airports and other facilities. InVision shares were recently fetching $49.40 on the Instinet premarket session, up $8.18, or 19.8%. GE predicted the acquisition will be accretive to earnings this year.

"By combining InVision and GE Ion Track, GE will be able to provide a suite of complementary high-technology detection and security solutions to help protect airports and other mass transportation systems; border interdiction and customs sites; high security installations like power plants, chemical plants and military bases; and entertainment facilities such as sports arenas," General Electric said.

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