Earlier this month, General Electric (GE) made new 52-week lows at $22.83, but with earnings coming up on Friday, many are wondering if those levels will be tested again. Shares are down about 1.1% Tuesday to $23.10.
A recent research report from the analysts at Goldman Sachs suggested GE may have to shrink in order to return to growth. But it can't do that with its current cash-flow situation, TheStreet's Jim Cramer said on CNBC's "Mad Dash" segment. That is, unless management trims the dividend.
In Cramer's view, the stock price is beginning to reflect that reality. In his estimation, investors seem to be pricing in about a 60 cent cut to the 96 cent per share annual dividend. "I don't think that GE can continue to maintain that dividend," he contended.
Management has to talk the numbers down, they need to lower expectations, he added. And if they do trim or cut the dividend, they need to make it clear it will free up the necessary cash flow for the company to do everything it wants in 2018.
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Years of ill-timed M&A has put GE in an unfavorable position. Buying into oil and gas near the top of the cycle and selling its financial businesses near the bottom have been a real anchor on GE. At least its health care business is a "standout," said Cramer, noting that current CEO John Flannery previously ran the division.
"This has been the worst industrial of our time," Cramer, who also manages the Action Alerts PLUS charitable trust portfolio, said of GE. He reminded investors that GE will have an important investor meeting Nov. 13.
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