Shares of General Electric Co. (GE), down a whopping 51.8% in the most recent 12 months and 17.5% year-to-date (YTD), compared to the S&P 500's 1.5% gain this year, are poised to sink further, according to one team of bears on the Street. (See also: GE Stock to Gain 50%: William Blair.)
In a note to clients Wednesday, analysts at Deutsche Bank warned investors on negative headwinds to hit the industrial conglomerate following President Donald Trump's proposed new tariffs. Last week, the White House announced a 25% tax on steel on 10% tax on aluminum, the most substantial trade restrictions to date, which some analysts see as preceding a departure from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). While the decision has not been made official, the resignation of free-trade advocate Gary Cohn from the Trump administration Tuesday sent the market tumbling, particularly stocks reliant on the imported materials.
As GE stock trades near an eight-year low, Deutsche Bank's John Inch reiterated his sell rating on the stock, which he expects to be removed as a component from the 30-member Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA). He sees the Boston-based company as "among the most at fundamental risk from rapidly rising steel and aluminum prices—both directly in terms of competitive cost pressure and indirectly in terms of the risk of reduced global economic activity due to trade/tariff retaliation by other countries." The analyst noted that GE's product suite is comprised of very heavy, expensive equipment made largely from metal that includes steel and aluminum.
Impact Overstated: GE Spokesperson
The note comes as GE struggles to pull off a turnaround championed by new Chief Executive John Flannery, who took over for long-standing leader Jeff Immelt after he was forced to step down on pressure from activist investors.
A GE spokesperson responded to CNBC indicating that reports regarding the impact of tariffs on the company's costs are "completely ungrounded" considering internal data shows the impact to be minimal. The firm is monitoring the situation as it develops, the spokesperson said. (See also: GE ‘Brushing Things Under the Rug’: Deutsche Bank.)