General Electric caught between sectors

GE's split personality may have kept the stock on the sidelines during two recent sector rallies.

By TheStreet Staff Jan 6, 2010 1:29PM

TheStreetBy Dan Freed, TheStreet

 

General Electric (GE) bulls can't catch a break. The company has been taking pains to get investors to view it as an industrial stock, but that strategy appears to be failing.

 

The stock has lost ground during the past three months, while the Industrial SPDR (XLI), an exchange traded fund that tracks industrial stocks, is up 10% -- more if you consider that GE represents more than 11% of the ETF's holdings.

 

GE's performance during that period mirrors that of the Financial Select Sector SPDR (XLF), a widely followed financial ETF whose largest holdings are JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Wells Fargo (WFC), Bank of America (BAC) and Citigroup (C).

 

What does that mean for investors?

 

"GE is still considered primarily a financial stock," says Tim Ghriskey, who oversees some $2 billion as chief investment officer of Solaris Asset Management.

 

That’s probably not what Jeff Immelt wants to hear. What is surprising, though, is that GE has been a laggard during the rally in financials this week. The financials ETF was up 3.8% from last week's close going into Wednesday's session, while GE rose 2.6% during that time. Ghriskey says GE may be suffering as investors shift from large-cap stocks to small- and mid-cap names.

 

The three best Dow stocks for 2010

 

Ghriskey says one of his analysts has another theory, which is that GE got an "artificial boost" from bullish analyst reports in late November. Solaris holds few, if any, GE shares. (Ghriskey says some accounts he manages may have small legacy positions.)

 

GE shares might be worth a look at these levels. It's hard to believe they will lag financials and industrials forever. Find out how you can get in on the rebound.

 

Related Articles

 

Five fast-growing companies to own this year

 

The best ETF to match Buffett's GE play

 

GE under pressure to reward investors

 

 

 

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