General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) spent the final 24 weeks of 2017 as the worst-performing stock among the 30 equities included in the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA). Yet, at the end of the first week of trading in 2018, GE ranks as the top performer among the Dow 30, after posting a share price gain of 6.25% ($1.04 per share).
The second-best performer for among the Dow 30 this past week is International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM), 2017’s second-worst performer, which posted a gain of 5.91% in the week. DowDuPont Inc. (NYSE: DWDP) added 5.9%, and Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA), last year’s big winner, added another 4.72% during the first week of 2018.
The Dow posted an all-time high of 25,299.79 on Friday and closed the week at 25,295.87. The index gained about 1.9% in the first week of the year.
Are investors buying GE shares again because they’re so cheap or because all of a sudden they have become true believers in CEO John Flannery’s turnaround program? Here’s something to consider from our report last week on the bull/bear case for GE:
The broader S&P 500 was valued at 18.5 to 19.0 times expected 2018 earnings per share. GE ended 2017 valued at closer to 17 times earnings, but that is without considering all the abnormal issues around restructuring and asset sales. The reality is that GE could currently be valued at just 13 times earnings, or it could just as easily be valued at 25 times earnings. The market just won’t have a better handle on what its real value is until more of the asset sales are seen and more of the future business is quantifiable.
GE’s shares closed up less than 0.1% Friday, at $18.54 in a 52-week range of $17.25 to $31.66. The consensus 12-month price target on the stock is $21.99, unchanged from last week’s target. The low end of the price target range remained at $15, and the high end remained at $36.