General Electric (GE) shares have fallen back to earth, wiping out this year's gains, as the frenzy dies down.
In late July, GE reported better-than-expected Q2 numbers, beating analysts’ estimates on both revenue and EPS. However, investors are still nervous on the road ahead, and one analyst says it’s time to take profits.
5-star J.P. Morgan analyst Stephen Tusa, a frequent GE bear, has maintained his Underweight rating on GE stock, with a $5 price target, which implies nearly 45% downside from current levels. (To watch Tusa's track record, click here)
Overall, Tusa says GE’s recent quarterly results showed an operational miss driven by Aviation, with FCF below his estimates. Free cash flow — a major point that many look to — came in below Tusa’s estimates, further contributing to his disregard for the stock.
The main takeaway for Tusa is that the company operationally slipped. The analyst says, “the combined Power/Renewables segments [came in] worse,” despite help from “modest” growth in Healthcare. But the worst offender came from Aviation, which missed profit estimates and the segment Tusa calls “the key value driver.”
Indeed, GE’s aviation segment is the backbone of the company right now, and the lead generator of revenue. In the second quarter, the segment generated the plurality of total revenue, at $7.9 billion, or almost 30% of total revenue. Through CFM International — a joint partnership between GE and the French Safran — Aviation produces jet engines, including the new LEAP engines. But a major challenge of late for Aviation has been the grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX, a major buyer of the LEAP engines. While the company is still booking sales of the engine to other aircraft, there will be a continued holdback in revenue until the 737 MAX gets back in the air.
Tusa continues to look at the numbers, and just does not believe GE’s stock is priced right. The analyst believes "the underlying core fundamentals are actually a bit worse,” which push him to reiterate his bearish rating.
All in all, for much of the year, Wall Street was bullish on GE. But that sentiment is beginning to change. TipRanks analysis of 10 analyst ratings shows a consensus Hold rating, with three analysts saying Buy, four suggesting Hold, and three recommending Sell. However, the average price target among these analysts stands at $11.36, which implies about 24% higher from where the stock is currently trading. (See GE's price targets and analyst ratings on TipRanks)