Don't count out GE yet, cash flow problems are temporary: Analysts

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General Electric may have some issues right now — but two analysts told CNBC on Wednesday that they are bullish on the stock because they see better news ahead.

“Investors need to pause and take a deep breath,” said Gabelli analyst Justin Bergner a day after GE CEO Larry Culp’s comments sent shares sinking.

Culp said at a J.P. Morgan conference on Tuesday that GE’s industrial free cash flow in 2019 “will be negative.”

Free cash flow is defined as money left over after a company pays for operating expenses and capital spending and is often used as a gauge of efficiency. GE’s industrial free cash flow is a key measure watched by investors.

Shares of GE closed down 4.7 percent on the news Tuesday and dropped another 7.9 percent to close at $9.11 on Wednesday. After Culp’s comments Tuesday, J.P. Morgan analyst Stephen Tusa said his price target of $6 a share now “looks generous.”

Bergner, who has a buy rating on the stock but no price target, said GE still faces uncertainty with its power business and how it continues to restructure the company. However, he believes the “cash flow drag is temporary.”

“Investors do need to look out past the negative power period, into 2020 and 2021,” he said on “Power Lunch.” He thinks the stock could get back earning close to $1 per share, will have “better free cash flow conversion and private market value, which is how we look at it, upwards towards $20, high teens per share.”

Culp is in the process of trying to turn around GE’s fortunes by improving the company’s cash generation and cutting costs. In a letter to shareholders last week, he said the industrial conglomerate wants to rebuild around four businesses: power, renewable energy, aviation and health care. GE also announced last week that it is selling its biopharmaceutical business to Danaher.

Jim Corridore, director of industrials equity research at CFRA Research, thinks GE is moving in a positive direction and has valuable assets. He has a buy rating and $15 price target on the company’s stock.

“They have issues to work through, certainly, but they have a leader here who has shown that he’s willing to make tough decisions,” he said on “Power Lunch.” In fact, last year’s dividend cut to just a penny per share was “a strong indicator that the company will do whatever it needs to survive.”

That’s why he thinks it pays to be patient.

“Nobody should expect GE to be cash flow positive this year. Nobody should expect a quick turnaround. It didn’t take them one year to get into this mess. It’s not going to take them one year to get out,” Corridore said.

—CNBC’s Michael Sheetz contributed to this report.


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