General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) has by far been the best conglomerate of 2015. 24/7 Wall St. just ran a comparable analysis on all the large conglomerates to see which one would be the best opportunity in conglomerates for 2016. And while its views were very preliminary, Argus is looking for a solid 2016 for General Electric.
Wednesday’s analyst upgrades and downgrades showed that Argus has reiterated its Buy rating in GE shares. What stood out here is that GE’s price target at the firm was raised to $36 from $34 in the call. GE closed at $30.49, so if you include its dividend yield, this would imply more than 20% in upside in 2016.
It should be noted that Argus now has among the highest analyst price targets on Wall Street. Just recently the highest target was $35. Thomson Reuters now shows the highest analyst target being $38, but the consensus analyst price target is still only $31.77.
Argus noted that the GE’s 2016 outlook and updated 2015 guidance was a positive. CEO Jeff Immelt and team now see mid-teens earnings per share (EPS) growth based on 2% to 4% organic revenue growth in 2016. Immelt said that he again expects “slow growth” and a “volatile world” to take place in 2016. GE set its 2016 earnings guidance at $1.45 to $1.55 per share, which was up 11% to 19% from the Argus 2015 estimate.
Argus sees leadership in GE coming from integrating the Alstom power and grid businesses (adding five cents in 2016 EPS and $0.20 EPS in 2018), renewable energy and in health care operations. Oil and gas and transportation are expected to be laggards, and foreign currency is expected to have a negative impact of $0.02 per share next year. Argus said:
We expect a pick-up in EPS next year based on current restructuring efforts, the Alstom acquisition, and share buybacks. Our 2015 EPS forecast is $1.30 and our 2016 (EPS) forecast is $1.55. Now that the restructuring of GE Capital is essentially complete, the company plans to apply to regulators to deregister as a Systemically Important Financial Institution. Assuming the filing is approved, management will likely take out additional debt to buy back stock.
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