GE earns 21 cents per share vs 19 cents EPS estimate

GE EPS beats, revenues in line

General Electric on Friday reported a rise in quarterly profit, topping analysts' estimates, but organic revenue fell 1 percent, raising questions about the company's full-year revenue target.

Shares of GE were down 1 percent in premarket trading. (Get the latest quotes here.)

The industrial conglomerate affirmed its forecast of 2 percent to 4 percent growth in annual organic revenue, a figure that excludes foreign exchange and discontinued operations. Some analysts had said the top end of that range appeared difficult to achieve due to sluggish demand for GE's oil and gas equipment and a weak industrial economy.

"The oil and gas environment is challenging," Chief Executive Jeff Immelt said in a statement. But GE was "able to offset this with better performance across the portfolio."

GE said power generation equipment shipments were low in the first quarter but that a pickup in the second half of the year would help it hit the revenue target.

The company reported earnings of 21 cents per share, excluding finance businesses it is winding down, on revenue of $27.6 billion. Analyst had expected EPS of 19 cents on $27.6 billion in sales.

Not excluding those costs, the Fairfield, Connecticut-based company said it had a loss of 1 cent per share.

"I'm positively surprised that in this environment, with the weakness in oil and gas, they were able to come through with numbers like this," Jack De Gan, chief investment officer at Harbor Advisory, told CNBC's "Squawk Box."

"The shares being fully valued, I was worried we'd see weaker organic revenue, or weaker order intake, or a slight decrease in backlog," he said.

GE shares have fallen 0.5 percent since the beginning of the year, while the S&P 500 index has climbed slightly more than 2 percent. The stock has risen 16 percent in the last 12 months.

GE expects full-year earnings in the range of $1.45 to $1.55 per share.

— Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this story.