Jeff Immelt Sees Better Economy for GE and Shareholders; Dividends and Buybacks Continue


General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) did not get treated well after its first-quarter earnings report. Perhaps the largest problem was that the conglomerate's stock had gotten ahead of itself. That was then. Now comes news that GE Capital is paying another big dividend to the parent General Electric Co., and we expect a dividend hike from the company in the months ahead. CEO and Chairman Jeff Immelt is speaking this Wednesday at the 2013 Electrical Products Group Conference, and he is talking up the economy and opportunities for GE and its shareholders.

Some key takeaways are that Immelt said the U.S. economy is getting a little better every day. GE Capital was shown to have ended the first quarter of 2013 with $402 billion in assets, and the goal is to get those assets down to $300 billion to $350 billion by the end of 2014. GE sees the U.S. at 45% of its industrial revenue, 35% for its growth markets, followed by 20% for Japan and Europe.

GE said that there is no change in the framework projected in 2013. The company has taken heat for not growing in total, but cutting GE Capital down in size is the reason here. 2013 industrial segment revenue in 2013 is expected to be 2% to 6% organic growth, while GE Capital revenues are projected to be -5% to flat in 2013. Earnings growth in the industrial segment is put at double-digit growth. GE also expects to return about $18 billion worth of cash back to its shareholders.


Whatever the expectations are, GE is continuing on its recovery path. Shares just hit a post-recession high and 52-week high of $24.13 on the day, and the current gain is 1.8% to $24.08, against a consensus analyst price target of $25.40. GE still outyields most DJIA components and conglomerates with a 3.2% dividend for its common stock.

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