General Electric Co. (GE) shares erased earlier gains on Wednesday, Jan. 24, after announcing that it is under investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission after the industrial conglomerate took a $6.2 billion charge related to its insurance business.
"We've been notified by the SEC that they are investigating the process leading to the insurance-reserve increase and fourth-quarter charge, as well as GE's revenue recognization and controls for long-term service agreements," GE Chief Financial Officer Jamie Miller said on the conference call with analysts.
GE said it is cooperating fully with the probe.
GE stock fell by about 2.1% to $16.52 at about 11:00 a.m EST. Shares had risen by 1.9% to $17.23 when the market opened at 9:30 a.m. EST.
The Boston-based company posted a net loss of $9.64 billion, or $1.13 a share. Adjusted earnings of 27 cents a share missed estimates of 29 cents. Revenue of $31.4 billion also fell short of forecasts that called for $33.8 billion.
While CEO John Flannery, who took over at the helm of GE in August 2017, said that EPS was at the low-end of guidance, he noted that the company's "cash performance was above expectations and our visibility and execution on cash is improving."
Of GE's core business units, aviation and healthcare had strong performances, Flannery said in a statement.
Stephen Guilfoyle, founder of the family-run trading operation Sarge 986 LLC and a contributor to TheStreet's sister publication Real Money, said that the strength in healthcare and aviation is "important because these are the two areas where GE actually sees very attractive profit margins."
But the company's power unit was down significantly -- operating profit was down 88% year over year to $260 million -- and Flannery expects "market challenges to continue."
Baker Hughes (BHGE) , GE's oil and gas business, was the "big winner," Guilfoyle said. The segment reported revenue of $5.8 billion, up 69% year over year.
"The team is focused on operational execution, capital allocation and deep cost reduction to position us for continued improvement in 2018," Flannery said.
GE's stock was rocked last week after the company said it would book a $6.2 billion charge to its fourth-quarter earnings, citing weakness in its North American Life & Health insurance portfolio. The company also said that its financing arm, GE Capital, would make $15 billion in payments over the next seven years to shore up NALH's statutory reserves, starting with around $3 billion in the first quarter of this year, and approximately $2 billion annually from 2019 to 2024. GE Capital will also suspend its dividend to GE "for the foreseeable future," the company said.
The charge and payments come as a result of GE's comprehensive review of its insurance reserves, and Flannery noted that he is reviewing the other portfolio of the business, even hinting at further restructuring efforts.
This story is developing. It was updated from 8:11 a.m. ET.
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