Why General Electric Stock Popped 7% Today

GE could soon get back to "normal."

Rich Smith
Rich Smith
Jan 7, 2019 at 1:52PM
Industrials

Check out the latest GE earnings call transcript.

What happened

General Electric (NYSE:GE) shares are soaring again today -- up 6.8% as of 1:20 p.m. EST -- and once again, investors have JPMorgan to thank for it.

Last month, as you may recall, JPMorgan sparked a rally in GE stock when it withdrew its sell rating on GE shares for the first time in more than two years, saying investors finally knew enough about GE's potential bad news to make an informed decision about whether to buy or sell the stock.

Today, JPMorgan explained how the situation might clarify even further, saying we may be approaching the time when GE will resume looking like a more "normal" company, generating positive free cash flow from its business and getting a handle on its "$100 billion of net liabilities."

Buyer spelled out with blocks

Hold your horses, GE investors. This analyst isn't a buyer of GE stock yet! Image source: Getty Images.

So what

Mind you, JPMorgan isn't saying we have reached that point yet. The analyst still sees GE's mammoth debt load, and its lack of free cash flow, as serious problems that need to be overcome. But JP also thinks that if GE gets serious about taking "more tangible" steps to fix its business, "perhaps shrinking the balance sheet," for example, then the company should become easier to value.


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Now what

Another thing to bear in mind, though, is that GE investors (who are buying the stock hand over fist today) might not be entirely pleased with GE's value once it becomes clear. A full "cleanse" of the company's accounting structure, warns JP, could yield a "substantially lower run rate fundamental anchor than many appreciate."

Thus, while many investors are jumping on JP's comments today as an excuse to bid up GE stock as high as $8.70 and more, JPMorgan itself is still not comfortable assigning the shares anything more than a neutral rating and a $6 target price.

Momentum buyer beware.