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G.E. Profits Fall for 8 Straight Quarters
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General Electric has seen a 19% drop in earnings in the fourth quarter, the eighth straight quarter of falling profits for the conglomerate.  WNPR's Harriet Jones reports.

Fairfield, Connecticut-based G.E. announced earnings of $2.9 billion, or 28 cents a share in the fourth quarter. That’s down from 35 cents a share in the same period of 2008. During the whole of 2009, G.E.’s earnings dropped 37%. But the fourth quarter represented a slowing in the downward trend, and CEO Jeff Immelt told analysts he sees hopeful signs:

"The G.E. environment has improved. We’ve seen orders strengthening – service orders grew by 14%. Our delinquencies have stabilized, so the world we look at really has improved."

The numbers were dragged down by continuing problems with commercial real estate investments at G.E. Capital, the conglomerate's finance arm, and by poor results at NBC. G.E. has recently struck a deal to sell a majority stake in the network to cable giant Comcast. Meanwhile, better results came G.E.’s large infrastructure businesses. Immelt has projected that earnings will be flat for G.E. in 2010, but that solid growth will return in 2011.

For WNPR, I'm Harriet Jones.