Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

GE Free Fall Makes It Feel Like the Recession All Over Again

Updated on
  • Stock tumbles to longest daily losing streak since 2009
  • ‘The fundamental recovery will take time,’ says analyst

It must be feeling an awful lot like 2009 for General Electric Co. shareholders. That’s not a good thing.

The stock fell Thursday for the ninth straight daily loss, the longest in eight years. During the latest streak, GE also suffered the worst single-week decline since March 2009 and closed its biggest monthly drop since February of that year.

The recession-era slump has become a frequent point of comparison as the industrial giant struggles with a raft of problems, from poor cash flow to weak power and oil markets. New Chief Executive Officer John Flannery has said he’ll consider all options to revitalize GE, which is the worst performer by far on the Dow Jones Industrial Average this year.

The shares fell 0.4 percent to close at $19.94 Thursday in New York. GE has dropped 37 percent this year, wiping out more than $100 billion in market value, even as broader indexes have risen.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. on Wednesday cut its price target for GE to $17 a share from $19, with analyst Stephen Tusa citing weak revenue and profit in the power-generation business. Jeff Sprague, an analyst with Vertical Research Partners, warned that a rebound may be underwhelming.

“Once the bottom is in, GE will still have a challenging growth outlook,” Sprague said in a note. “While there could be a short-term technical pop, the fundamental recovery will take time.”

Investors and analysts are also bracing for a possible dividend cut, particularly after the Boston-based company last month slashed its cash-flow forecast for 2017. Flannery, who took the top post in August, hasn’t ruled out such a move.

If the payout is reduced, it would be the first time since -- you guessed it -- 2009.

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