Shares of industrial giant General Electric (GE 0.93%) rose 3.4% in early trading today. The move comes after the market continues to digest the company's second-quarter earnings released the previous day. In truth, there was nothing spectacular about GE's earnings, and management walked back 2022 free cash flow (FCF) guidance -- noting that there would be a $1 billion "push out" in FCF.
Moreover, on the earnings call, management fell short of confirming the $7 billion in FCF aim for 2023 -- even though CFO Carolina Dybeck Happe said at least "two-thirds of the $1 billion of push out" would occur in 2023. Furthermore, the updated guidance for $3 billion in GE Healthcare profit implies a reduction of $100 million to $300 million from its original guidance for 2022.
That said, there were enough positives in the results for investors to buy into, not least the strong sales and earnings momentum in commercial aerospace at GE Aviation. The segment's strength -- Raytheon Technologies and Honeywell reported excellent aviation results -- is offsetting deterioration at GE Renewable Energy and softening at GE Healthcare. Meanwhile, GE Power continues to impress with its turnaround firmly in place.
It all adds up to a company muddling through a challenging environment. But given that management maintained its headline guidance, it was enough for investors to buy into a beaten-down stock. Investors had anticipated a problematic set of earnings.
GE investors need to keep a keen eye on conditions in the commercial air travel market because it's the key driver of its earnings right now. Meanwhile, an easing of the supply chain constraints in the economy would help GE Healthcare meet its challenging-looking guidance. The results weren't fantastic, but they were enough to justify buying into a stock that looks like an excellent value right now.