Expect Lackluster 'Transitional' Quarter for General Electric

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Investors can expect a lackluster second-quarter showing General Electric ( GE), leading into what CEO Jeff Immelt expects will be a strong second half of 2013 for industrial orders.

The company will announce its second-quarter results early on Friday, with analysts polled by Thomson Reuters estimating earnings of 35 cents a share, declining from 39 cents in the first quarter and 38 cents during the second quarter of 2012.

Following a messy first quarter, when the company completed the sale of its remaining stake in NBCUniversal to Comcast ( CCV), Morgan Stanley analyst Betsy Graseck expects "a more normalized" second quarter, with a 1% reduction in revenue year-over-year, driven by sharply lower sales volume in the Power & Water segment, with some offsetting growth in the Oil & Gas and Aviation segments.

Graseck rates GE "equal-weight" and in a report on July 11 estimated the company's industrial margin would be "flattish" at roughly 14.9%, "with a bias to the downside given -2ppts Y/Y P&W erosion that could somewhat threaten the FY13 outlook" of an increase in 70 basis points over the 2012 industrial margin of 15.1%.

GE Capital

During the first quarter, GE Capital paid the parent company $447 million dividend, after paying $6.4 billion in dividends to the parent during 2012. The financial subsidiary had $524 billion in total assets as of March 31. GE Capital is now under Federal Reserve supervision as a systemically important non-bank financial company, and will have its dividend payouts subject to review through the regulators annual stress tests, beginning in March 2014.

GE CEO Jeff Immelt's long-term strategy for GE Capital has been to reduce its asset size and improve its liquidity, thus lowering its risk profile. Excluding non-interest bearing liabilities, cash and equivalents, the finance unit's "ending net investment" (ENI) was $402 billion, declining from $419 billion the previous quarter and well below Immelt's earlier target of $425 billion.

CFO Keith Sherin said during GE's first-quarter earnings call in April that "we have got over $60 billion of non-core assets. We continue to run those off." So investors can expect both total assets and ENI to continue to decline for GE Capital.

Graseck estimates GE Capital's profit for the second quarter will total $1.943 billion, increasing from $1.569 billion during the second quarter of 2013. She also estimates GE Capital will pay a dividend to the parent company of $2.5 billion.

Industrial Segments

The consensus second-quarter operating revenue estimate for General Electric is $35.555 billion, compared to $35.010 billion the previous quarter and $36.501 billion a year earlier.

Graseck estimates the segment will show a 13% year-over-year decline in second-quarter revenue for the segment, to $6.031 billion. Oppenheimer analyst Christopher Glynn has an even harsher view, estimating on July 8 that GE's second-quarter Power & Water revenue would come in at $5.796 billion, down 16% from a year earlier.

Investors would love to see an upside surprise in the Power & Water segment, but a bit more patience may be required. Immelt said during the first-quarter conference call that "we expect shipments to significantly improve in the second half," as Power & Water order commitments increased during the first quarter.

Grasek expects second-quarter Power & Water segment profit of $1.042 billion, declining from $1.303 billion a year earlier, according to GE's revised segment operating summary filed in December when the firm reorganized its industrial segment reporting. Her second-quarter operating profit margin estimate for the segment is 17.33%.

Glynn estimates second-quarter Power & Water profit will come in at $985 million.

Graseck estimates the Aviation segment will see second-quarter revenue of $5.146 billion, with a profit of $1.042 billion and a margin of 18.4%. The Aviation unit's revenue during the second quarter of 2012 was $4.855 billion, with a segment profit of $922 million.

Glynn estimates Aviation revenue for the second quarter will total $5.098 billion, with a segment profit of $1.020 billion.

GE's Stock

General Electric's shares closed at $23.54 Wednesday, returning 14% during 2013, following a 21% return last year.

The shares trade for 13 times the consensus 2014 EPS estimate of $1.82. The consensus 2013 EPS estimate is $1.66.
Based on a quarterly payout of 19 cents, the shares have a dividend yield of 3.23%.

Despite having lower second-quarter earnings projections than Graseck, Glynn rates General Electric "Outperform," with a 12-to-18 month price target of $26.00. In his note to clients on July 8, Glynn wrote that he was continuing "to project transitional 2Q results, with ramping 2H organic growth." He added that "Sequential improvement into 2H for wind and heavy gas turbine units appears solid, although we note potential pressure vs. year-over-year framework for 2H flat to slightly up."

GE Chart GE data by YCharts

Interested in more on General Electric? See TheStreet Ratings' report card for this stock.

-- Written by Philip van Doorn in Jupiter, Fla.

>Contact by Email.

Philip W. van Doorn is a member of TheStreet's banking and finance team, commenting on industry and regulatory trends. He previously served as the senior analyst for TheStreet.com Ratings, responsible for assigning financial strength ratings to banks and savings and loan institutions. Mr. van Doorn previously served as a loan operations officer at Riverside National Bank in Fort Pierce, Fla., and as a credit analyst at the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York, where he monitored banks in New York, New Jersey and Puerto Rico. Mr. van Doorn has additional experience in the mutual fund and computer software industries. He holds a bachelor of science in business administration from Long Island University.

More from Stocks

Trump's 'Space Force' Could Launch a $1 Trillion Industry, Morgan Stanley Says

Trump's 'Space Force' Could Launch a $1 Trillion Industry, Morgan Stanley Says

Abiomed Stock Should Rise Some 12% From Here, Piper Jaffray Analyst Says

Abiomed Stock Should Rise Some 12% From Here, Piper Jaffray Analyst Says

Video: Here Is Why Carvana Isn't Worried About Amazon

Video: Here Is Why Carvana Isn't Worried About Amazon

Video: What Oprah's Content Partnership With Apple Means for the Rest of Tech

Video: What Oprah's Content Partnership With Apple Means for the Rest of Tech

REPLAY: Jim Cramer on the Markets, Oil, Starbucks, Tesla, Okta and Red Hat

REPLAY: Jim Cramer on the Markets, Oil, Starbucks, Tesla, Okta and Red Hat