GE Profit Jumps 16%: Ahead of the Ticker

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- General Electric ( GE) reported a first-quarter profit increase of 16%, coming in line with analysts' expectations.

The company's results were driven by strong sales of oil and gas drilling equipment, as well as the $18.1 billion sale of its stake in NBCUniversal in February. That sale boosted profit by 4 cents a share, according to GE.

Since then, the company has annouced a $3.3 billion acquisition of Lufkin Industries ( LUFK) and accelerated share buybacks.

GE reported earnings of $3.53 billion, or 34 cents per share, compared with $3.03 billion, or 29 cents a share, in the same quarter a year ago.

Excluding items, the company said it earned 35 cents per share, meeting estimates.

Revenue beat expectations. The company reported revenue of $35 billion, compared to estimates of $34.51 billion.

The company also reported that its order backlog rose to $216 billion from $210 billion in the prior quarter.

Blackstone Group ( BX) is pulling out of its pursuit of Dell ( DELL).

In a letter to Dell's board, Blackstone attributed its withdrawal to Dell's slumping PC sales. Blackstone noted the 14% drop in PC shipments in the first quarter, its largest drop in the company's history, as well as Dell's weakening finances and the lower operating income forecast Dell has issued since Blackstone made its bid for the company. Dell revised its operating income projections for the current year to $3 billion from $3.7 billion.

The move comes less than a month after Blackstone announced a plan to top a buyout offer from CEO Michael Dell and a group of investors led by Silver Lake Partners for $24.4 billion, or $13.65 a share. Blackstone is pulling out of its plans without formally submitting a superior offer to the bid by Michael Dell and Silver Lake.

GlaxoSmithKline ( GSK) is being accused of paying off its rivals to delay launches of their versions of Glaxo's antidepressant drug Seroxat.

Britain's Office of Fair Trading alleges that Glaxo infringed upon competition laws through deals with several competitors over a cheaper version of Seroxat. The competition watchdog alleges that Glaxo made agreements with three generic drugmakers, Alpharma, Generics and Norton Healthcare, that paid the companies to delay launching the drug. The OFT says the moves is an abuse of Glaxo's dominant market position.

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