As December comes to a close, 2013 is just around the corner, and it's a good time to look at the future prospects for the stocks you own. If you don't know where a company's headed in the next year and beyond, then it's impossible to make an informed decision about whether you should add the stock to your portfolio -- or sell it if you already own it.

Today, I'll look at General Electric (NYSE:GE). General Electric has been a member of the Dow Jones Industrials (DJINDICES:^DJI) ever since 1907, and the industrial giant vaulted higher in 2012 thanks to a reinvigorated performance by its core industrial businesses. Will GE keep the good times going in 2013? Below, you'll see more about General Electric's prospects for the year ahead.

Stats on General Electric

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Full-Year 2012 EPS Estimate


Full-Year 2013 EPS Estimate


2012 Sales Growth Estimate


2013 Sales Growth Estimate


Forward P/E


Source: Yahoo Finance.

Will General Electric light up the stock charts in 2013?
Based on analyst target prices, GE could see about a 17% advance from current levels. That might be difficult, though, given some frightening new guidance from the company.

Earlier this week, CEO Jeff Immelt gave his annual outlook on the company, pulling down full-year 2012 expectations for the conglomerate's industrial segment by a couple percentage points and looking for just 0% to 5% revenue growth for 2013. Yet that forecast is consistent not only with analysts' expectations for GE, but also with similarly situated companies such as Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) and its own recently reduced prospective guidance.

More encouraging is the fact that GE is pulling away from its GE Capital division and boosting its efforts in energy and transportation. Although uncertainty about the future of the wind energy tax credit has led producers like NextEra Energy (NYSE:NEE) to reduce spending on turbines, long-term prospects for alternative energy remain strong. Moreover, with GE getting on board the natural-gas infrastructure bandwagon with its decision earlier this year to team up with Chesapeake Energy (OTC:CHKA.Q) in creating a 250-location fueling station network around the country, GE wins no matter which direction U.S. energy policy goes.

GE hasn't shied away from innovation, either. Its "Internet of Things" initiative aim to provide link-ups that help power plants, airplane engines, and other GE-made products perform better and make troubleshooting easier.

GE needs a strong economy to thrive, and that's far from a certainty right now. But GE's in good position to make the most of whatever help it gets from overall macroeconomic growth.

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This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.