GE’s Shares Still Dead

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Analysts who believe a rebound for General Electric Co.’s (NYSE: GE) business is just around the corner argue that it is the best performing Dow stock so far this year as support for their cases. However, a few days is not a fair measurement of broad sentiment.

GE’s shares are still down 41% over the past year, and this remains one of the major share price collapses in years for a huge American company. An overall negative assessment of GE’s future is still in place.

Among the recent breathless comments about GE’s shares is that it has done better than Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) and Boeing CO. (NYSE: BA) so far this year. Boeing and Apple were two of the best performing Dow stocks for all of 2017, and deservedly so.

By most measures, the launch of new iPhones has been a resounding success, despite worries that overuse of smartphones can affect child development. Boeing management recently announced 2017 was a year of record deliveries and backlog size. Boeing delivered 763 commercial aircraft in 2017.

There is no new news that GE is set to reverse over a decade of mistakes under former CEO Jeff Immelt. John Flannery, the new board chair and chief executive, has even conceded there is nothing shocking about the drop in shares of the company he took over. Flannery’s restructuring plans have been too vague. He plans to sell some GE assets and focus on aviation, power and health care. These have been among GE’s largest businesses under Immelt. However, the new focus will not make the markets in which these businesses operate any less competitive. GE’s new focus is not by any means the start of improving financial performance.

Much of the recent discussion about GE’s future revolves around a dividend cut, layoffs and the end of management’s appetite for corporate jet travel. Not a single one of these will dig GE out of the hole in which its management finds itself. GE’s share price remains a catastrophe, the early results of 2018 notwithstanding.