GE beats earnings forecasts, raises dividend

jeffrey_immelt.gi.top.jpgGeneral Electric's CEO Jeffrey Immelt. By Annalyn Censky, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- General Electric reported higher first-quarter earnings and revenue Thursday, topping analysts' estimates.

The Fairfield, Conn.-based industrial conglomerate logged earnings of $3.4 billion, or 31 cents per share, up 48% from a year earlier. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had expected earnings of 28 cents a share.

gestockchart.03.png
Click the chart for more on GE's stock

"As today's results show, GE has emerged from the recession a stronger, more competitive company," CEO Jeffrey Immelt said in a press release.

Immelt attributed the growth to GE's health care, transportation and aviation businesses.

GE Capital, the company's banking division, earned $1.8 billion after tax, more than triple its year-earlier results. The company's biggest division is still recovering from the huge losses suffered during the recession.

GE's energy infrastructure business, which accounts for roughly a quarter of overall revenue, reported a 7% decline in earnings -- but Immelt said he expects that business to "return to growth in the second half of this year."

Overall revenue came in at $38.4 billion, exceeding expectations for $34.6 billion.

The company also raised its quarterly dividend for the third time in a year -- this time by one cent, to 15 cents per share.

GE shares declined 2.2% in early trading.

GE (GE, Fortune 500) has recently been under pressure, facing criticism about its 2010 taxes and its role in the nuclear crisis following Japan's March 11 earthquake. GE designed all six nuclear reactors at Japan's crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

"Our teams are working diligently to support our customers in Japan," Immelt said in a conference call with investors.

GE reported a tax rate of 53%, up from 16% in the year-ago quarter. Immelt attributed some of that increase to taxes on GE's NBC Universal sale earlier this year.

During the first quarter, GE sold a major stake in its NBC Universal media unit to cable giant Comcast, whose programming includes E!, the Style Network and several cable sports stations. The new venture, called NBCUniversal, LLC, is now 51% owned by Comcast (CMCSA, Fortune 500) and 49% owned by GE.

GE said three quarters of the profit it earned on the deal was wiped out by restructuring costs. To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 17,028.72 -69.73 -0.41%
Nasdaq 4,580.94 0.67 0.01%
S&P 500 1,996.36 -7.01 -0.35%
Treasuries 2.41 0.07 2.82%
Data as of 1:13pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Apple Inc 103.37 0.87 0.85%
Bank of America Corp... 16.13 0.04 0.25%
Staples Inc 12.60 0.92 7.88%
Facebook Inc 75.74 0.92 1.23%
Intel Corp 34.48 -0.44 -1.26%
Data as of 12:58pm ET

Sections

The founding CEO of the Washington Post's big rival, Politico, will now be in charge of the Post More

Gas prices are falling to nearly $3 a gallon in some parts of South Carolina, and that will soon be common in much of the country. More

Microsoft is expected to begin showing off Windows 9's features later this month. Here are the expected changes you should be thrilled about. More

The Coolest Cooler is the most successful Kickstarter campaign in the site's history, raising $13.3 million from over 62,000 backers. More

A scam where fraudsters impersonate IRS agents has now stolen $5 million from taxpayers, and this woman - who lost her entire life savings -- is just one of its victims. More

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.