3. General Electric ( GE) is an industrial conglomerate, with operations ranging from energy infrastructure to turbine manufacturing. GE's sales have decreased 4.3% in the past 12 months as its net income rose 5.6% and earnings per share advanced 13%. GE's fourth-quarter net margin widened from 7.3% to 11%. Its trailing 12-month pre-tax margin, at 9.5%, ranks in the 70th percentile for industrial conglomerates. GE generated $150 billion of 2010 revenue and more than $14 billion of pre-tax income. Yet, it paid a paltry $4 million in current taxes to the U.S. and deferred expenses of $1 billion. GE had an effective tax rate of 7.4% for 2010.