GE’s Q1 well below expectations


NBC Universal was fine for Q1, with profits up 3%, but most of the rest of General Electric saw double digit declines and the company shocked Wall Street with an 8% drop in earnings from continuing operations. The performance well below even the most pessimistic analyst’s forecast sent GE’s shares sharply lower on Friday and the industrial giant dragged the rest of the market along with it.

GE’s commercial finance business was thrown a loop by the near-collapse of Bear Stearns, although company officials insist it was not hurt nearly as badly as several large financial institutions. Q1 profits for the commercial finance business fell 20% to 1.16 billion. GE Money, the consumer finance business, saw profits fall 19%, healthcare 17% and industrial 16%. Aside from NBCU, the only other up segment was infrastructure, where profits rose 17%.

NBCU’s 3% gain put profits at 712 million for the quarter. Revenues were up 3% as well to 3.58 billion. Revenues for the network and stations were flat, although local ad sales were soft, falling 11%. DVD sales were strong for the quarter. The company said to expect Q2 to be much like Q1 for NBCU.