Will a Spinoff Help General Electric’s Stock?

With shares of General Electric (NYSE:GE) trading around $23, is GE an OUTPERFORM, WAIT AND SEE, or STAY AWAY? Let’s analyze the stock with the relevant sections of our CHEAT SHEET investing framework.

T = Trends for a Stock’s Movement

General Electric is a diversified industrial, technology, and financial services company that operates worldwide. The products and services of the company range from aircraft engines, power generation, water processing, and household appliances to medical imaging, business and consumer financing, and industrial products. General Electric’s segments are: Energy Infrastructure, Aviation, Healthcare, Transportation, Home & Business Solutions, and GE Capital. General Electric is a leading provider of a wide range of products and many are essential in daily lives of consumers and companies around the world.

General Electric is planning to spin off its store credit card business in a move that follows the conglomerate’s plan to scale back its financial arm in order to focus on manufacturing, according to The Wall Street Journal. General Electric provides store credit cards to 55 million Americans and brought in $2.2 billion last year. People familiar with the matter who spoke to the Journal said that the company is preparing an IPO of the business, as a straightforward purchase would likely face too many regulatory hurdles.

T = Technicals on the Stock Chart Are Mixed

General Electric stock has been flying higher over the pat several years. The stock is currently searching for value near mid-range prices for the year. Analyzing the price trend and its strength can be done using key simple moving averages. What are the key moving averages? The 50-day (pink), 100-day (blue), and 200-day (yellow) simple moving averages. As seen in the daily price chart below, General Electric is trading between its key averages, which signals neutral price action in the near term.

GE

Source: Thinkorswim

Taking a look at the implied volatility and implied volatility skew levels of General Electric options may help determine if investors are bullish, neutral, or bearish.

Implied Volatility (IV)

30-Day IV Percentile

90-Day IV Percentile

General Electric Options

22.64%

96%

95%

What does this mean? This means that investors or traders are buying a significant amount of call and put options contracts as compared to the past 30 and 90 trading days.

Put IV Skew

Call IV Skew

September Options

Steep

Average

October Options

Steep

Average

As of Friday, there is average demand from call buyers or sellers and high demand by put buyers or low demand by put sellers, all neutral to bearish over the next two months. To summarize, investors are buying a significant amount of call and put option contracts and are leaning neutral to bearish over the next two months.

E = Earnings Are Mixed Quarter Over Quarter

Rising stock prices are often strongly correlated with rising earnings and revenue growth rates. Also, the last four quarterly earnings announcement reactions help gauge investor sentiment on General Electric’s stock. What do the last four quarterly earnings and revenue growth (Y-O-Y) figures for General Electric look like and, more importantly, how did the markets like these numbers?

2013 Q2

2013 Q1

2012 Q4

2012 Q3

Earnings Growth (Y-O-Y)

3.45%

17.24%

8.72%

50.00%

Revenue Growth (Y-O-Y)

-3.50%

-0.49%

3.57%

2.79%

Earnings Reaction

4.61%

-4.05%

3.47%

-3.41%

General Electric has seen increasing earnings and mixed revenue figures over the past four quarters. From these numbers, the markets have had mixed feelings on General Electric’s recent earnings announcements.

P = Average Relative Performance Versus Peers and Sector

How has General Electric stock done relative to its peers – United Technologies (NYSE:UTX), Phillips (NYSE:PHG), and Siemens (NYSE:SI) — and sector?

General Electric

United Technologies

Phillips

Siemens

Sector

Year-to-Date Return

10.24%

22.33%

16.01%

-3.09%

11.76%

General Electric has been an average relative performer, year to date.

Conclusion

General Electric is a global diversified industrial, technology, and financial services company. It is being reported that General Electric is planning to spin off its credit card arm. The stock has been moving higher in the past several years and is currently trading near mid-prices for the year. Over the past four quarters, earnings have been rising while revenues have been mixed, which has produced mixed feelings among investors. Relative to its peers and sector, General Electric has been an average year-to-date performer. WAIT AND SEE what General Electric does this coming quarter.

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