GE ( GE), citing solid growth in flow, major equipment and services orders, said it expects to report third-quarter earnings at the high end of its projection. The conglomerate also elevated the bottom end of its full-year outlook, saying that momentum has carried into the fourth quarter, and added to its share buyback plans. GE put its third-quarter earnings at 44 cents a share, which matches analysts' average estimate. The company had projected earnings of 43 cents to 44 cents a share. For the full year, GE now sees earnings of $1.81 to $1.83 a share, narrowed from a prior guidance of $1.80 to $1.83. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call have an average estimate for earnings of $1.82 a share. For 2004, GE earned $1.59 a share. GE had said
in September that third-quarter and full-year earnings remained on track despite the losses at its insurance division related to the destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina. The company inadvertently reissued that press release on Monday. GE also said Thursday that it now sees cash flow from operating activities at more than $19 billion, higher than its forecast of $17 billion to $18 billion. With the increased cash, the company plans to boost its share buyback plan by $1 billion to over $4 billion for 2005. GE shares gained 2%, or 65 cents, to $33.33 in morning trading.