GE Matches Views as 4Q Profit Climbs 5%

General Electric’s (NYSE:GE) fourth-quarter earnings rose 4.8%, as strength in the conglomerate’s industrial units overshadowed declines at GE Capital.

GE reported on Friday a profit of $4.2 billion, or 41 cents a share, compared to $4.01 billion, or 38 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Operating earnings jumped nine cents to 53 cents a share, matching Wall Street estimates.

Revenue checked in at $40.38 billion, up 3.1%. Analysts were looking for $40.22 billion in revenue.

The Fairfield, Conn.-based company has been aggressively cutting costs to offset weaker revenue growth. For all of fiscal 2013, GE reduced expenses by $1.6 billion.

GE’s cost-cutting moves helped widen margins by 100 basis points to 18.3% in the fourth quarter.

GE has also shifted its focus to the company’s industrial businesses, which make jet engines, locomotives and other products, while slimming down its finance arm.

In the latest period, revenue from the industrial units was up 6.1% at $29.95 billion. GE said it saw growth in oil and gas, aviation and transportation in particular. Infrastructure orders grew 8% to $30.7 billion.

GE Capital logged a 4.5% decline in revenue to $11.08 billion. The company plans to offer about 20% of its North American retail finance arm, which issues store credit cards, in an IPO before spinning it off entirely.

GE closed out the fiscal year with $89 billion in consolidated cash and equivalents.

“GE ended the year with strong fourth-quarter earnings and margin growth in an improving but mixed environment,” chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt said. “We saw good conditions in growth markets, strength in the U.S., and a mixed environment in Europe.”

Fourth-quarter orders rose 8% in the U.S., 3% in Europe and 13% in growth markets, the company said.

Shares of GE fell 2.3% to $26.57 in pre-market trading. The stock is up about 16.1% over the last six months, outpacing the broader S&P 500.