GE posts improved 4Q results, led by strong showing from power, water and transportation units

MarketsAssociated Press

General Electric Co. posted higher revenue and net income for the fourth quarter, but was held back from even better results by a sputtering performance from its expanding oil and gas division.

GE reported net income of $5.15 billion, up from $3.21 billion in the same quarter last year. Adjusting to remove the effect of one-time items, the company reported a 4 percent gain in net income, to $5.64 billion

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The company earned 51 cents per share, up from 32 cents a year ago. On an adjusted basis, the company earned 56 cents a share, a penny more than analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research expected, on average.

Revenue rose 4 percent to $42 billion in the period but fell short of the $42.4 billion expected by analysts, according to Zacks.

GE reported progress in trimming expenses and increasing profit margins as it works to reshape itself into a more focused industrial conglomerate. GE has been shrinking its banking division and shedding other operations, while acquiring other industrial companies.

GE's results were propelled by a strong performance from its power and water and transportation divisions in the quarter. But the company's recent expansion of its oil and gas division held it back in the quarter as oil prices tumbled and led to a slowdown in drilling activity.

Oil and gas revenue fell 6 percent, though the division's profit rose 1 percent. Orders have fallen 10 percent for the division, GE said.

GE shares were up 24 cents, or 1 percent, in trading about two hours before the market opened Friday. The stock has decreased almost 7 percent in the last 12 months.

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Elements of this story were generated by Automated Insights (http://automatedinsights.com/ap) using data from Zacks Investment Research. Access a Zacks stock report on GE at http://www.zacks.com/ap/GE

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Keywords: General Electric, Earnings Report, Priority Earnings