All eyes will be on General Electric's ( GE) special meeting tomorrow as it strives to calm the market jitters surrounding its financial services unit GE Capital.The parent company recently lost its AAA rating from Standard & Poor's as a result of weakness in GE Capital. Analyst Nick Heymann of Sterne Agee will be attending the meeting in person. He expects that the company will be more realistic in its estimates and will increase loss provisions. "They are in the second or third inning of this process, whereas the banks are in the eighth." He points out that much of its exposure is on the consumer side, which is just now experiencing escalating problems. "I expect they'll increase the unemployment numbers to 10% and then increase the loss provision in credit cards to $1.8 billion," said Heymann. The GE analyst also doesn't expect to get any vision on 2010. For its part, Standard and Poor's wrote that it expected "GECC's subpar financial performance could well continue through 2010." S&P also doesn't expect GE will benefit from any meaningful earnings from GECC through 2010. In fact, S&P noted that GE will need to provide significant amounts of cash to support GECC, and if the losses at GECC continued for an extended period, it would have to revisit its outlook and ratings. GE also cut its dividend in order to boost its cash levels. Heymann likes that GE controls the fear factor in the market. "Each step is done in increments, so that there is no sudden change," said Heymann. "It's not a quick fix."
GE is also expected to detail its real estate holdings and argue that it shouldn't be subject to fair market values as it plans to hold many of the properties to maturity. GE sees itself as an owner of investment properties, not a speculator. The meeting will begin at 9 a.m. Thursday in New York.