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GE Shares Rise On Reports Of Increased Revenue, Settlement

The General Electric logo appears above a trading post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. (Richard Drew/AP)
The General Electric logo appears above a trading post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. (Richard Drew/AP)

After years of belt-tightening and spinoffs, General Electric Co. reported fourth-quarter net income of $761 million, sending shares up 10 percent in premarket trading.

The Boston-based company also reached a $1.5 billion settlement with the Department of Justice over its subprime mortgage business before the 2008 financial crisis. The industrial conglomerate is considerably smaller now than it was before becoming entangled in the financial crisis a decade ago and is seeking to get even smaller, intending to sell its health care business and possibly others.

GE said it had profit of 7 cents per share. Earnings, adjusted for non-recurring costs and discontinued operations, came to 17 cents per share, slightly less than the 18 cents per share that analysts were expecting.

Even though earnings came up short of projections, investors seemed encouraged by increased revenue and profit across most of its segments.

The industrial conglomerate posted revenue of $33.28 billion in the period, surpassing Street forecasts of $32.01 billion and last year's $31.6 billion fourth quarter.

Despite the mostly good news for GE, the struggles in its power division continued. Orders in the segment were down 19 percent and revenue was down 25 percent from the same quarter in 2017, resulting in a loss of $872 million.

The company blamed "execution and operational problems," among other issues, and said discipline and project management were among its priorities in the power division going forward.

GE announced last quarter that it was splitting its power business into two separate divisions: a gas-focused division and a second unit that will include steam, grid solutions, nuclear and power conversion. That planned split has led some analysts to think that GE might be considering spinning off all but the gas-related parts of its power business.

All other segments earned a profit with the exception of its financing division, GE Capital, which the company said it intends to shrink. GE's aviation segment was particularly strong, with increased orders and revenue generating 20 percent in profits.

GE shares have increased 20 percent since the beginning of the year, but are still down 43 percent in the last 12 months.

In 2016, GE announced it would move from Connecticut to Boston, lured by incentives and an urban environment that the company hoped would be more attractive to workers.

Initially, GE promised to bring 800 jobs to Boston. Renovations are underway on two buildings that GE plans to occupy in the Seaport District, and the company is planning to build a new 12-story building nearby. It remains unclear whether the new building will open as scheduled in 2021.

With reporting by the WBUR Newsroom

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