JPMorgan downgrades General Electric: 'It's worse than we think'

General Electric has had a rough year.

The Boston-based company’s stock is down 23% since January 1, and it isn’t showing signs of a rebound around anytime soon.

JPMorgan isn’t convinced there will be a turnaround, and this morning downgraded the stock to a $US22 price target — 21% below Wall Street consensus, according to Bloomberg.

“We remain negative with a PT of $US22 derived from $US24 that we view now as a ceiling as opposed to a floor prior, with something in the high teens as an ‘investable fair value’,” analyst Stephen Tusa wrote in a note titled “Preparing For The Fall: It’s Worse Than We Think.”

“This is a reset to a lower number off of which future growth is uncertain and realistically below average, different from a ‘kitchen sink’ which implies a base that is unrealistically depressed and can snap back.”

GE’s new CEO John Flannery, who took over in June, is looking for ways to reduce costs by eliminating senior-level jobs and implementing a technology hiring freeze, Reuters reported last week. This could help bring GE’s costs down closer to its peers.

Cutting costs is key to returning to profitability, but GE’s margins in many business areas are already much higher than its competitors, especially in oil and gas, aviation, and power. Renewables and healthcare, on the other hand, are another story. Here’s how the company’s margins in select areas compare to its peers, according to JPMorgan:

A GE spokesperson declined to comment on the downgrade. The company’s stock took a hit when markets opened, and was trading down as much as 2.57% midmorning in New York.

Ultimately, we expect the company to migrate consensus closer to cash EPS and, importantly, do not view this level of FCF as depressed,” the bank wrote. “The mosaic here essentially validates our thesis in direction but the magnitude is worse than we have been assuming.”

Get the latest General Electric stock price here.

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