General Electric Co. shares plummeted after two Wall Street analysts sounded more alarm bells around the company’s liquidity, and a report said former General Electric employees were being questioned by federal investigators about its troubled insurance business.
Deutsche Bank slashed its GE price target to $7 a share on Friday, saying revenue for the conglomerate’s struggling power business “remains flattish but does not continue to decline.”
“We think the key debates can be boiled down to the trajectory of GE Industrial [free cash flow] and whether the company is headed for a liquidity crisis,” Deutsche Bank analyst Nicole DeBlase said in a note to investors. The firm’s base case assumes “an economic downturn does not happen” through the end of 2021, DeBlase said.
Even in Deutsche Bank’s bear case, DeBlase said the firm does “not forsee a liquidity crisis.”
The other blow came as the Wall Street Journal reported that several former General Electric employees have said the company’s insurance business failed to internally acknowledge worsening results over the years. The employees also said that they were interviewed by government lawyers.
Shares were down 5.8 percent at 9:54 a.m. in New York, after dropping as much as 6.4 percent earlier in the session. The stock has remained below $8.00 per share over the past two weeks, a level it last saw in March 2009 at the financial crisis market bottom.
General Electric’s 4.418% notes due in 2035, issued out of the GE Capital entity, also fell this morning and now trade at a spread of about 286 basis points above Treasuries, 12 basis points wider than where the bonds closed yesterday. The notes are the most active in the investment-grade bond market today.