Investors Flee GE Despite Soaring Profits

Fears about GE's capital arm and a possible loss of AAA rating stoke concerns
By Clay Dillow,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 5, 2009 7:00 AM CST
Investors Flee GE Despite Soaring Profits
Jeffrey Immelt, CEO of General Electric Inc., recently purchased 50,000 shares in his company as a show of confidence to investors. So far, it hasn't worked as investors have dumped the stock.   (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, file)

General Electric, long considered a reliable growth company paying an attractive dividend, is taking a beating ahead of a possible cut to its AAA debt rating, Bloomberg reports. Though GE recently posted its third-highest annual profit ever, the company has lost $264 billion in market value in 12 months and yesterday fell to its lowest close since 1992 as investors fear GE’s capital arm needs outside funding—a presumption the company denies.

Calling GE's stock decline "overdone," CFO Keith Sherin acknowledged the likelihood of a rating cut while stressing it wouldn't have an "operational effect." GE, the largest maker of jet engines and power turbines, cut its dividend last month to save $9 billion per year, but uncertainty surrounding GE Capital’s debt and real estate loans is causing investors to flee, emphasizing the loss of confidence among even the sturdiest companies with finance operations.
(Read more General Electric stories.)

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