GE earnings plunge, but beat expectations

General Electric (GE) announced today that second-quarter 2009 earnings fell a smaller than expected 47 percent, as earnings from energy equipment somewhat offset declines in finance, health care and NBC Universal arms. Profit from continuing operations was $2.9 billion, or 26 cents per share. Revenue from continuing operations was down 17 percent to $39.1 billion. The results beat analyst earnings estimates of 23 cents per share, but were below the top line estimate of $42.16 billion.

"In a global economic environment that continues to remain challenging, GE delivered solid second-quarter business results," GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt said. But what Immelt calls solid and what the results show may not satisfy investors as the declines were widespread across many segments, and the good news kept being "offset" -- a word that starred in the report -- by less than stellar news.