NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- General Electric ( GE) reported fourth-quarter earnings from continued operations of $4.2 billion, or 36 cents a share, topping the estimate of 32 cents a share by analysts polled by Thomson Reuters and increasing 33% on a per-share basis from a year earlier.

Total revenue for the third quarter was $41.4 billion, beating the consensus estimate of $39.9 billion, and coming in 1% higher than in the fourth quarter of 2009.

For all of 2010, earnings from continuing operations totaled $13.2 billion, or $1.15 a share, increasing 15% from 2009. Total revenue for 2010 was $150.2 billion, declining 3% from $155.3 billion in 2009.

The largest percentage increase in year-over-year revenue was in the NBC Universal division, which brought in $4.8 billion in fourth-quarter revenue - an increase of 12% from the fourth quarter of 2009 - and recorded a segment profit of $830 million. This week the Federal Communications Commission and the Justice Department approved the joint venture under which GE will sell a 51% stake in NBC Universal to Comcast ( CMCSA). The deal is scheduled to close next Friday and the company has previous said it expects to net $6.4 billion in cash on the sale.

Charlie Smith -- principal and CIO at Fort Pitt Capital Group in Pittsburgh - whose firm manages investor positions in GE, said the improvement in NBC Universal showed that "Comcast got a better deal than anybody expected."

The Technology Infrastructure segment's fourth-quarter revenue was up 9% year-over-year to $10.9 billion in the fourth quarter, with a profit of $1.9 billion, which was up 11%. Within this segment, Transportation revenue was up 66% year-over-year to $1 billion, with a $73 million profit, compared to a loss of $157 million a year earlier.

The Energy Infrastructure segment's fourth-quarter revenue declined 3% year-over-year to $10 billion in the fourth quarter, with a segment profit of $2.2 billion, down 2%.

While GE Capital's revenue declined 4% to $11.9 billion, the segment's profit increased ten-fold to $1.1 billion, as credit costs continued to decline. The fourth-quarter provision for losses on financing receivables was $1.4 billion, declining from $2.8 billion a year earlier. CEO Jeff Immelt said that there had been "100 million in unexpected recoveries" on credits the company had previously fully reserved. These recoveries directly improved the bottom line.

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