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Widely followed analyst Tusa says GE report shows 'material and negative' disclosures

Key Points
  • "There were a few disclosures that we would consider material and negative to anyone building a model and doing fundamental analysis," J.P. Morgan's Stephen Tusa writes.
  • The embattled industrial company released its annual report late Tuesday and went into greater detail on the state of its insurance liabilities.
  • The analyst gained a following on Wall Street for his work on GE after his negative call in May 2016.
A mechanic works on a jet engine at General Electric's GE Aviation factory in Cincinnati.
Luke Sharrett | Bloomberg | Getty Images

General Electric's latest annual update to shareholders justifies a below-consensus view on earnings and free cash flow, according to widely followed J.P. Morgan analyst Stephen Tusa.

"There were a few disclosures that we would consider material and negative to anyone building a model and doing fundamental analysis," Tusa wrote to clients. On industrial free cash flow, it's the "same result and now working capital benefits officially peak out."

The embattled industrial company released its annual report late Tuesday and went into greater detail on the state of its insurance liabilities and how its financial and industrial arms work together. But that wasn't enough to pacify some analysts, including Tusa.

The analyst gained a following on Wall Street for his work on GE after his negative call in May 2016. Tusa was the first to warn investors that shares of the one-time Dow Jones Industrial Average member were going to fall. That was back when the stock was above $30. It closed Wednesday at $10.88.

Tusa said the latest annual report has a lot of incremental disclosures that are a challenge for average investors to understand. "There are still a myriad of moving parts between and into and out of GE and GECS, a significant amount of restatement versus the 2017 10-K, and even another reclassification of cash flow from operating to investing which was $5 billion," he said.

"Lastly, the word 'adjusted' was used 113 times, two times the amount it was used in the 2017 10-K," he wrote. "So far little change and little of value around important items we had previously highlighted as key to better understanding the story."

GE's stock jumped on the day in December that J.P. Morgan upgraded the company's rating to neutral from underperform. Tusa has been critical of the idea that GE's stock should rise because of CEO Larry Culp providing more insight to the company's business.

"You don't just get an entitlement for saying 'we're going to call it what it is and we're going to operate above board,'" Tusa said Wednesday.

— CNBC's Michael Sheetz contributed reporting.