Shares of General Electric Co. (GE) jumped in pre-market trading on Monday on an upbeat note from one team of bulls on the Street who expect the industrial conglomerate to recover some of its losses after an executive shakeup.
In a note to clients on Monday, Barclays upgraded shares of the Boston-based industrial giant to overweight from equal weight, as outlined by CNBC. Analyst Julian Mitchell suggested that the market has already priced in all potential downside for GE, and remains optimistic regarding its new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) as a catalyst for the firm's strategic turnaround.
(For more, see also: GE to Outperform on New CEO: RBC.)
GE Blue Sky Scenario: New CEO to Boost Profitability
"Even the most hardened skeptic might want to reconsider following the CEO change," wrote Mitchell.
Last week, GE announced that former CEO John Flannery would step down and be replaced by Larry Culp Jr., who previously served at the helm of Danaher Corp. for 14 years.
While Barclays noted that investors do not yet know the magnitude of the 2018 guidance cuts, the analyst noted that the market is already bracing for earnings per share (EPS) of $0.75 for 2018, free cash flow (FCF) of $0.50 and a dividend cut of 75% or more.
GE shares are up about 2.4% in pre-market on Monday, following a more than 16% increase last week, marking the stock's best weekly performance in over nine years. Including the recent rally, the stock has lost 24.5% of its value year-to-date (YTD), compared to the S&P 500's 7.9% return.
Mitchell's 12-month price forecast at $16 implies more than 21% upside from Friday close. In a "blue sky" scenario, however, wherein Culp successfully boosts profitability above expectations, Barclays forecasts a share price above $20, which would reflect a nearly 52% gain from Friday close.
"We think the upside potential in the shares is considerable now that an outside CEO has been put in place, which substantially increases the range of possibilities that could be pursued at GE, in terms of both the pace of restructuring as well as broader strategic options," stated Mitchell.