This allegation may incite a riot: General Electric ( GE) is only worth $2 a share. That's the opinion of Charles Ortel, managing director of Newport Value Partners, who told Yahoo! ( YHOO) Tech Ticker that he thinks GE is overpriced at $11 because of its massive $470 billion debt load vs $2.8 billion of tangible common equity. Funny how that phrase -- tangible common equity -- keeps making the rounds these days. It's basically a measure of a bank's ability to remain solvent. So why is Ortel applying TCE to GE? That's simple, he thinks GE is more like a bank than an industrial conglomerate these days due to its GE Capital unit. GE Capital is, in fact, among the beneficiaries of our government's banking bailout largesse. So combining the impact of the financial crisis on GE Capital and the collateral damage to the industrial side of GE's operations as the global economy slowed to a crawl and you've got a recipe for more share price erosion. True believers in GE, those who've suffered the dividend cut and forgiven CEO Jeff Immelt for that insult, will not like hearing what Ortel has to say. But he's just one bear. The average expectation among analysts is that GE shares are worth about $14-$15 and only 1 of 13 analysts suggests selling the stock at this point, according to TheStreet.com's analyst ratings data. Most analysts think you should hold the stock and a few adventurous souls even say you should buy it right now.
Clearly Ortel is off the deep end with this call. He's essentially saying GE is worth less than Citigroup ( C) or AIG ( AIG), which have all of financial services liabilities and none of GE's actual production. Come on, Ortel, GE actually makes things. That counts for something. So maybe you can safely ignore this renegade bear named Ortel. Just remember the immortal words of Clint Eastwood as Dirty Harry: You've got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky?" Well do ya?