So far this earnings season, we've seen results from a number of different stocks in the Dow Jones Industrials (DJINDICES:^DJI), each of which has represented a key sector of the economy. But longtime Dow component and conglomerate General Electric (NYSE:GE) has a strong presence in a number of very different sectors, and tomorrow morning, Dow investors will find out a lot about how those different areas balance each other. As a result, General Electric's report will have implications for stocks in areas ranging from energy and aerospace to health care and finance, and investors in a wide range of companies in those areas will get guidance from what GE has to say about them.
General Electric expects to release its earnings report before the market opens Friday morning, with the conglomerate releasing last quarter's report at 6:30 a.m. EDT. General Electric will follow up with a conference call at 8:30 a.m. EDT in order to discuss the results.
Investors are fairly upbeat about General Electric's financial prospects, with modest gains in revenue expected to spur faster earnings growth. The ongoing energy boom in the U.S. and around the world has given General Electric's energy business plenty of promising opportunities for profit, and General Electric's expansion to cover alternative-energy production, oilfield services, and electric-grid technology has positioned the company to dominate the industry. At the same time, General Electric has tapped into the huge success that major customer Boeing (NYSE:BA) has had with its new designs, as General Electric provides engines on a number of Boeing aircraft. With Boeing having announced a number of new orders at the Farnborough International Airshow this week, General Electric should continue to reap the rewards of strength in the aviation sector.
But what Dow Jones Industrials investors should really focus on in General Electric's report is the more forward-looking commentary on its strategic direction. Like many companies, General Electric has recast itself in recent years, doing an about-face from the huge exposure it took with its finance arm and re-emphasizing its industrial roots. But that doesn't mean sticking completely with its distant past, as reports that General Electric is looking to sell off its well-known appliance division show. Shedding nonessential parts of its business will help General Electric focus more on its top prospects. Making sure CEO Jeff Immelt and his management team aren't pulled in too many directions is essential to keep the company moving in the right direction, especially amid the challenging integration of Alstom's energy assets.
General Electric will move the Dow tomorrow as investors pore through its different segments' results to see what's working and what's not for the conglomerate. Even though its own share price is small enough not to have a dramatic direct impact on the Dow Jones Industrials, the ripple effects from its earnings announcement could send many stocks across the market higher or lower depending on how General Electric performs.