(Note: The author of this fundamental analysis is a financial writer and portfolio manager. He and his clients own shares of GE.)
Shares of General Electric Co. (GE) have had a disastrous 2017, to say the least, with the stock down by 26 percent, versus an S&P 500, which is up over 14 percent. The problems have just been getting worse, and with the company set to report third-quarter results on October 20 before the start of trading, rumors have been swirling about the safety of GE's dividend and thousands of corporate job cuts. Investors must be wondering just how things got so bad, so fast. After all, John Flannery has only been CEO of the company for a few weeks.
But this is an exciting time to be a General Electric shareholder because if the new CEO can cut expenses and make GE a leaner, more streamlined company and drive revenue growth, the company has a very bright future ahead. The current situation is gut-wrenching, for sure, but remember that investing is always about the future and being able to look past a company's short-term struggles to its long-term opportunities.
It Wasn't So Long Ago
It was just at the end of the first quarter, only six months ago, that Jeff Immelt was the CEO when General Electric reported non-GAAP organic revenue growth of 7 percent while expecting cash-flow improvements throughout the year. The company is now facing significant and serious changes.
Looking To The Future
Wall Street is expecting GE's third-quarter revenue to have increased by 11 percent to $32.51 billion versus last year, while EPS is projected to have grown by nearly 54 percent to $0.49, according to YCharts. But nobody will be listening to what the numbers are; they will be looking to what the company says about the future, the dividend, and how the new CEO will drive the top and bottom line.
Worst Case Already Priced In?
Can things still get worse for GE shares? Potentially, but the options market is pricing a 5 percent rise or fall in the shares, based on the October 27, $23 strike price long straddle strategy, which isn't a tremendous amount. Additionally, with all the building up and commentary going into the earnings event, one has to think the options market has priced in all of the risks around GE's announcement.
Additionally, the market has been relatively consistent about finding support for the stock price around the $23 to 23.50 region, as previously discussed in an Investopedia article on September 19. (See more: The Worst May Be Over For GE's Stock.)
GE is still a very well positioned company that can succeed in the future, that is in the middle of some short-term pain. And that pain may be much closer to the end than the beginning.
Michael Kramer is the Founder of Mott Capital Management LLC, a registered investment adviser, and the manager of the company's actively managed, long-only Thematic Growth Portfolio. Kramer typically buys and holds stocks for a duration of three to five years. Click here for Kramer's bio and his portfolio's holdings. Information presented is for educational purposes only and does not intend to make an offer or solicitation for the sale or purchase of any specific securities, investments, or investment strategies. Investments involve risk and unless otherwise stated, are not guaranteed. Be sure to first consult with a qualified financial adviser and/or tax professional before implementing any strategy discussed herein. Upon request, the advisor will provide a list of all recommendations made during the past twelve months. Past performance is not indicative of future performance.