General Electric Looks to Break From Financials

FAIRFIELD, Conn. ( TheStreet) -- General Electric's ( GE) stock price is looking to make another run similar to one it had prior to the company's third quarter earnings report Oct. 16.

General Electric's stock price was positive Tuesday even as most big financials, including Citigroup ( C), Bank of America ( BAC), Wells Fargo ( WFC) and AIG ( AIG) were all lower. General Electric's stock price is up slightly during the past five trading days through Tuesday, while the S&P 500 is down over that time.

Industrial stocks, with which General Electric would like to be compared, were more mixed Tuesday, with Honeywell ( HON) and ITT ( ITT) trading higher while other industrial, including Caterpillar ( CAT) and United Technologies ( UTX) were lower.

While General Electric's volumes were lower Tuesday than their three-month trailing average, that is to be expected during a holiday-shortened week. Still, more than 80,000 General Electric shares traded Tuesday, or about 80% of the three-month trailing average of 100,000 shares. By contrast, the 192,000 Citigroup shares that traded were less than half the trailing three-month average of 590,000 shares.
Stockpickr: Who Owns GE?

The positive sentiment Tuesday may have been driven by options activity. CNBC noted a massive purchase of General Electric call options that won't pay off unless General Electric's stock price hits $23.25 by January 2011 -- 44% higher than where it closed Tuesday.

General Electric may also have gotten a boost from a JPMorgan report Tuesday. Steve Tusa, a JPMorgan analyst, reiterated his "overweight" rating following a meeting with CFO Keith Sherin. Tusa predicted a "dramatic reduction" in losses at GE Capital "longer term." Still, his $17 price target does not seem to offer a great incentive to buy the stock.

Looking ahead to December, General Electric has two important presentations to investors Dec. 8 and Dec. 15 that Goldman Sachs analyst Terry Darling thinks could provide positive catalysts for the stock. Darling argues quarterly updates GE has been providing on the health of its financial services unit have given a boost to General Electric's stock price. Nonetheless, General Electric's stock price has underperformed the broader market since the updates began just over a year ago.

Another positive catalyst for General Electric could come if GE announces it has finalized a deal with Comcast Corp. ( CMCSA) in which the cable operator is expected to take a controlling stake in NBC Universal. A recent Financial Times report indicated General Electric and Vivendi, which holds a 20% stake in NBC Universal, may be as much as $1 billion apart on how to value Vivendi's stake.

-- Written by Dan Freed in New York.

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