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GE Profits Slide, But Beat Street
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General Electric has seen a 35% slide in first quarter profits.  But the Fairfield based conglomerate still managed to beat Wall Street’s expectations.

GE earned just under $3b dollars from its continuing operations in the quarter – 26 cents per share.  Analysts had forecast earnings of 21 cents a share.  Profits at GE Capital, the conglomerate’s finance arm were down 58% from the first quarter last year, as the unit continues to be buffeted by the financial crisis.  But CEO Jeff Immelt says he does see some positive signs. 

"Capital markets are improving.  We’ve seen some bond issuances and some IPOs recently, I think that’s encouraging.  But there’s still some volatility.  The commercial credit cycle, we believe, will be very difficult, and we’re planning for that eventuality, and we still see weak consumer and business confidence – we had more capacity, quite honestly, to lend to our commercial customers in Q1 than we had demand."

Immelt says he does not believe the company will have to raise additional capital to bolster its finance arm.  Elsewhere in the conglomerate, sales were down or flat in most segments, except energy infrastructure, which posted a seven percent gain in revenue.