General Electric Stuck in Role as DJIA’s Worst Stock of 2017

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General Electric Co.’s (NYSE: GE) share price fell again last week. Shares dipped 2.3% week over week, after dropping 2.2% in the previous week, and the company widened its lead as the worst performing equity of the 30 stocks that comprise the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Shares set a new 52-week low on Friday and are now down 22.31% for the year to date.

This is GE’s fifth consecutive week as the Dow’s worst performer. The company still has a big lead over the second worst stock, International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM), which is down 15.84% for the year. Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM), the third-worst stock, now is down 15.09%.

The big news on GE last week came from Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway. Buffet dumped all his GE stock. Berkshire’s remaining stake in GE was valued at around $315 million, not a king’s ransom in the portfolio, but the optics, as they say, were lousy.

The company had no significant news of its own last week. New CEO John Flannery presumably is working on his promised strategy review, and just about the only question about that may be, “Who cares?”

Even if Flannery comes up with a new strategy that promises to turn GE into a growth company again, will investors believe it? At Friday’s closing price, GE now pays a dividend yield on 3.88%, and there are probably few investors willing to believe that the company can afford to continue doing that without boosting GE’s cash flow.

If Flannery’s plan fails to offer evidence of increased cash flow, there is likely to be little enthusiasm for the plan and the shares will continue dropping. Flannery has some time to figure things out, but not much.

GE’s shares closed down 0.2% Friday, at $24.55 in a 52-week range of $24.55 to $32.38. The consensus 12-month price target for the stock is $29.31.