The Fairfield, Conn., company said its operating profit for the last three months of 2012 rose to $4.01 billion, or 38 cents per share, compared to $3.73 billion, or 35 cents per share. Revenue climbed 4 percent to $39.33 billion. Analysts polled by Reuters expected $38.72 billion.
GE's earnings before interest and taxes, typically seen as a better guide to the quality of a company's earnings than net income, rose to $4.67 billion, or 44 cents per share, from $4.14 billion, or 39 cents per share. Analysts expected operating earnings of $4.5 billion, or 43 cents per share.
"The outlook for developed markets remains uncertain, but we are seeing growth in China and the resource rich countries," CEO Jeff Immelt said. "With our largest backlog in history and a substantial amount of cash generated by our businesses in the fourth quarter, we have great momentum going into 2013."
For all of 2012, GE had $16.07 billion, or $1.52 per share, on revenue of $147.36 billion compared to the previous year, when it earned $14.92 billion, or $1.38 per share, on revenue of $147.288.
Shares rose 1.9 in premarket trading.