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Stock Markets Mostly Lower as GE Nears 30-Year Lows, Kodak's Winning Streak Ends

By Dan Caplinger – Jul 30, 2020 at 5:20PM

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The Nasdaq still managed to outpace the rest of the market.

There are a number of things that investors are nervous about, but that hasn't stopped stock market benchmarks from remaining relatively strong even in the face of uncertainty. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI 2.66%) and S&P 500 (^GSPC 2.59%) were lower on Thursday, but they finished well off their lows of the day. The Nasdaq Composite even managed to gain ground for the day.

Today's stock market


Percentage Change

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S&P 500



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Data source: Yahoo! Finance.

A variety of factors held stocks back on the day. General Electric (GE 2.73%) was down sharply, nearing the 30-year lows that it set earlier this year. Meanwhile, Eastman Kodak (KODK 1.96%) wasn't able to sustain its winning streak, but the stock remains at highly elevated levels even after today's modest decline.

Powering down?

General Electric shares were down another 5%, marking its second straight day of significant declines. The once-mighty conglomerate is now just a shadow of its former self, and investors aren't sure whether GE can get itself turned around successfully.

The stock's two-day loss comes in the aftermath of General Electric's Wednesday release of second-quarter financial results. Losses were significantly worse for the period than investors had thought likely, and although revenue was somewhat better than feared, a 24% decline still wasn't exactly good news for the ailing former Dow Jones Industrials component.

Wind turbine with GE logo on the side.

Image source: General Electric.

Unfortunately, things don't appear like they're getting better for GE. The company's free cash flow in its industrial segment came in at a whopping negative $2.1 billion. Orders were down 38%, signaling a slowdown in future work as well.

General Electric is going through a massive restructuring, in which it expects to sell its remaining stake in oil services company Baker Hughes (BKR 6.30%) in the next few years. Yet none of its segments are doing well, with aviation sales lower by 44%, healthcare falling 21%, power off 11%, and renewable energy easing downward by 3%. Until there's a turnaround in at least some of its businesses, GE is poised to break further and threaten to set a new multi-decade low point for the stock.

A pretty picture

Elsewhere, Eastman Kodak shares dropped more than 10% on Thursday. That gave up a portion of its gains over the past several days, but the stock remains far above where it was just a week ago.

Kodak's gains came as the company known for photographic innovation made a surprise announcement. The Rochester, N.Y.-based Kodak received a federal government loan for $765 million, with the directive to manufacture active pharmaceutical ingredients under the Defense Production Act. The idea is to use Kodak plants and equipment in Minnesota to produce essential ingredients in order to ensure a reliable supply amid growing geopolitical tensions abroad.

Critics of the move argued that existing pharmaceutical companies could use funding more effectively to produce the requested materials. Yet it's likely that politics are at play, and using a company outside the traditional pharmaceutical space is a loud warning for Big Pharma giants seeking to protect high-margin drug sales.

With the stock having traded between $1.50 and $4 per share for most of the past two years, the recent jump to as much as $60 per share has shown once again the inefficiencies of the stock market. Shareholders can expect plenty of volatility to continue until more is known about the government deal and whether Kodak can build on its success in its newest venture.

Dan Caplinger has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Stocks Mentioned

General Electric Company Stock Quote
General Electric Company
$63.60 (2.73%) $1.69
Eastman Kodak Stock Quote
Eastman Kodak
$4.68 (1.96%) $0.09
Dow Jones Industrial Average (Price Return) Stock Quote
Dow Jones Industrial Average (Price Return)
$29,490.89 (2.66%) $765.38
S&P 500 Index - Price Return (USD) Stock Quote
S&P 500 Index - Price Return (USD)
$3,678.43 (2.59%) $92.81
Baker Hughes Company Stock Quote
Baker Hughes Company
$22.28 (6.30%) $1.32

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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