GE shares are pennies away from their 2015 flash crash lows

In the midst of the August 2015 flash crash, when the Dow plummeted 1,000 points in a matter of minutes, General Electric shares fell 21 percent and touched an intraday low of $19.37 before rebounding.

Now, two years later, despite an epic bull market that has seen the S&P 500 rally 31 percent over that time, GE shares are nearly right back to where there were on that scary August morning. And some traders see more pain to come.

"I would be concerned," said Chad Morganlander, portfolio manager at Washington Crossing Advisors. "Because what you have to do is not only look at the market cap, but you also have to look at the total amount of debt that they have on their balance sheet. So that's one reason we would stay away from General Electric," he said Tuesday on "Trading Nation."

Shares of GE have fallen 36 percent this year as the worst-performing Dow component. However, the decline is nothing new. In fact, since topping out in August 2000, GE shares have lost 67 percent and shed more than $400 billion in market cap during that time.

With the decline, GE's dividend yield has grown to nearly 4.8 percent. But that, according to Morganlander, is not reason alone to buy the stock. The company could see "more selling pressure due in part because dividend [cut] concerns, as well as more tax selling coming in," said Morganlander.

Analysts are turning bearish as well.

In a note to clients Wednesday morning, JPMorgan slashed its General Electric price target to $17 per share from $19 per share ahead of GE's investor meeting in two weeks, citing in part concerns about the company's free cash flow. The firm holds an underweight rating on the stock.

By some measures, the stock's technical picture looks equally dire.

"The stock has already been hit, but it really hasn't found footing yet," said Craig Johnson, chief market technician at Piper Jaffray.

"It broke through key support around $23 and change, and we're starting a whole other leg lower. This is trying to catch that proverbial falling knife at this point in time," Johnson said Tuesday on "Trading Nation."

The fundamental picture could improve with regard to a restructuring within the company, Johnson said, "but until we see some more evidence here in the charts that things are bottoming out and we're finding support, this isn't really a stock that you want to step into."

Disclosure: Chad Morganlander does not personally own shares of GE, nor does his firm.


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Trading Nation is a multimedia financial news program that shows investors and traders how to use the news of the day to their advantage. This is where experts from across the financial world – including macro strategists, technical analysts, stock-pickers, and traders who specialize in options, currencies, and fixed income – come together to find the best ways to capitalize on recent developments in the market. Trading Nation: Where headlines become opportunities.

Michael Santoli

Michael Santoli joined CNBC in October 2015 as a Senior Markets Commentator, based at the network's Global Headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, N.J.  Santoli brings his extensive markets expertise to CNBC's Business Day programming, with a regular appearance on CNBC's “Closing Bell (M-F, 3PM-5PM ET).   In addition, he contributes to CNBCand CNBC PRO, writing regular articles and creating original digital videos.

Previously, Santoli was a Senior Columnist at Yahoo Finance, where he wrote analysis and commentary on the stock market, corporate news and the economy. He also appeared on Yahoo Finance video programs, where he offered insights on the most important business stories of the day, and was a regular contributor to CNBC and other networks.

Follow Michael Santoli on Twitter @michaelsantoli

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