GE's stock opened in positive territory Friday after the company reported a 21.6 increase in profit in earnings for the second quarter and gave an upbeat outlook for the rest of the year.
The company reported before the opening bell Friday, showing profits were boosted by strong demand in foreign markets for heavy equipment including jet engines and electric turbines. GE's stock was up 0.43 percent (seven cents) to $19.23 at the market open.
Long considered a bellwether stock, GE is the largest U.S. conglomerate with diversified businesses including infrastructure. GE's strongest demand in the second quarter came in the company's railroad locomotive unit, which had a 74 percent increase in revenue after several sluggish quarters.
We are very optimistic about our growth prospects in the second half and beyond, GE chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt said, in perhaps his most bullish statement since the 2008-2009 recession which saw the company's stock drop below $10 a share.
GE did particularly well with big-ticket items in overseas markets like China and India, and the company's finance arm showed continued improvement from struggles during the financial great in the recession. The company's industrial revenue from international business represented 59 percent of total industrial revenue.
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GE's results beat analysts expectations, sending company shares higher. The company's operating earnings rose 18 percent to $2.7 billion, or 34 cents a share, beating Wall Street estimates by two cents. Revenue for GE fell in the second quarter to $35.6 billion due to the company's sale of NBC Universal to Comcast.
GE said excluding the lost revenues from NBC, revenue actually increased seven percent in the quarter, something Wall Street applauded at the market open Friday.
It was the second straight quarter GE has said its core businesses are gaining momentum. The company also suggested the momentum will continue into the second half of the year and into 2012.
GE reported its backlog of booked business increased in the second quarter to a record $189 billion.
We posted solid overall operating earnings growth of 18 percent, with strong contributions from GE Capital, Healthcare, Transportation, Aviation, and Oil and Gas, Immelt said, in a statement. We are very encouraged by second quarter orders and earnings momentum across the company...We are optimistic about our growth prospects in the second half and beyond.
Immelt said GE was building momentum for 2012.
GE's lone trouble spot in its earnings report were the energy and health care segments where profit fell short of estimates. GE Captial profit from continuing operations more than doubled to $1.66 billion on revenue that was little-changed at $12.4 billion.