Talking Numbers

You won't guess the stock trailing the market this year

You won't guess the stock trailing the market this year

General Electric announced Monday that it would sell its century-old appliance business to Sweden's Electrolux for $3.3 billion, the largest deal in the company's history.

Electrolux, commonly known for brands like Frigidaire, is the world's second-largest home appliance maker after Whirlpool.

But the announcement failed move the needle on GE's stock, which has widely underperformed the broader market over the course of this year. General Electric shares are down 7 percent while the S&P 500 and Dow Jones industrial average have made high after high.

So, is GE still the same value play it once was?

"The Electrolux deal is consistent with GE's strategy to reduce exposure to nonindustrial, lower-margin sectors and to exit businesses where it is not the No. 1 or 2 player," said S&P Capital IQ's equity chief investment officer, Erin Gibbs. "The company's focus has shifted to higher-growth, higher-margin business like energy management, power generation and jet engines."

Gibbs noted that while the appliance business is a large part of GE's public persona, it is only a very small part of its revenue, 8 percent, and operating profit.

"We already expect this sale to add about 5 to 7 cents on the quarter to EPS," Gibbs said. "And it offers over a 3 percent dividend yield. It's a really good defensive play."

But according to Carter Worth of Sterne Agee, GE looks quite the dullard. "The principal here is that this is a stock that is obviously badly underperforming the market year to date."

Worth noted that when looking at the stock alone, the uptrend appears to be intact, but, as aforementioned, the real problem comes with you compare it with the overall market. "[GE] is underperforming by 13, 14, 1,500 basis points on a trailing 12-month basis. It's lost its way."

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