NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- What's good for Jeff Immelt's General Electric (GE) is truly good for the USA. The problem for investors is it hasn't always been good for GE.

Since becoming CEO in 2001 Immelt has focused the company on the world's biggest problems, especially energy and health care costs. Over the last 10 years GE shares are down over 20% while the S&P 500 has gained over 78%. So far this year GE is down 6% and the S&P is up 7%. Its shares recently traded around $26.

The comparisons are better over different time frames. In the last five years GE shares are up 126% while the S&P 500 is up "only" 114%. At current prices GE sports a yield of 3.35%. Immelt's focus on the long run hasn't always paid off for shareholders in the short run.

That long-term focus may finally be paying off, however, thanks to high energy prices fueled by the Ukraine crisis, and pressure by insurers on hospitals and doctors to automate and push costs down under Obamacare.

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GE shares rose in today's pre-market trading after it reported quarterly revenue of $36.23 billion and net income of 39 cents per share, the last of which was in line with estimates.

GE, which has a market cap just shy of $264 billion, also expects to bring in $3.1 billion with the spin-off of its credit card unit, now called Synchrony, later this month. The GE focus on heavy industry will increase with the expected sale of its appliances unit. TheStreet considers GE shares a buy.

The GE release on its earnings emphasized that its industrial revenue rose 7% during the quarter, and profits rose 9% to $4.2 billion as margins expanded by 20 basis points year-over-year. Its order backlog at the end of the quarter was $246 billion, up almost 10%. Revenue for all of 2013 was $146 billion. In its release GE focused on new orders for locomotives, gas turbines and oil drilling systems, as well as jet engines.

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