GE shares jump after Barclays upgrades to buy, sees possible upside to $20

  • Investors have already priced in a dramatic reduction in earnings guidance and 75 percent cut in the dividend by GE, so the bottom may be in, according to Barclays.
  • "Even the most hardened skeptic might want to re-consider following the CEO change," analyst Julian Mitchell says.

Barclays upgraded General Electric to overweight from equal weight on Monday, saying the new CEO will lead a turnaround and most of the possible bad news is already priced into the stock.

"Even the most hardened skeptic might want to re-consider following the CEO change," wrote analyst Julian Mitchell. "While we do not yet know the magnitude of the 2018 guidance cuts, talking to investors we believe they are broadly braced for EPS of $0.75 for 2018, FCF (free cash flow) of $0.50, and a dividend cut of 75 percent plus."

GE shares jumped 2 percent in premarket trading Monday, continuing their surge from last week. The stock jumped more than 16 percent last week, its best weekly run in nine years, after ousting CEO John Flannery and naming former Danaher CEO Larry Culp to replace him.

Mitchell's 12-month price target remains at $16, which represents a 21 percent jump from Friday's close of $13.18. But Mitchell also laid out a "blue sky" scenario that takes the stock to more than $20 a share if Culp can aggressively improve profitability.

"We think the upside potential in the shares is considerable now that an outside CEO has been put in place, which substantially increases the range of possibilities that could be pursued at GE, in terms of both the pace of restructuring as well as broader strategic options," he said.