UBS Changes Course on General Electric (GE) Stock; Here’s Why

Normally analysts reiterate stock ratings – so when a stock is upgraded, it’s worth taking note. This afternoon, UBS analyst Markus Mittermaier upgraded his firm’s rating on General Electric (GE) from Neutral to Buy, while boosting the price target from $11.50 to $14.00. If everything goes right, the analyst expects the industrial giant’s stock to soar nearly 30% over the next 12 months.

Mittermaier says “2020 will be a critical inflection point for the turnaround and the stock,” and investors are taking note. The stock is up 1.5% in after-hours trading and edging closer to its 52-week high of $11.84. GE has been one of Wall Street’s biggest standouts of 2019, with shares skyrocketing over 50%.

Mittermaier noted, “We think 2020 will be an inflection year for the GE stock as confidence in the turnaround increases, risks are better understood, and both EPS and Industrial Free Cash flow inflect upwards. We have seen the stock perform strongly on the back of 2019 FCF guidance upgrades and expect this “relief rally” to continue as the narrative on the stock shifts from survival to transformation. We think investors today can get exposure to a much narrower conglomerate (vs. ~12 months ago) with leading industrial franchises (Aviation and Healthcare) at a discounted relative valuation. We expect an inflection in free cash flow, with 2020E industrial FCF of ~$2.3B (up from $0.7B in 2019E) and a medium term trajectory of $5-6B+, moving cash conversion up towards 70%+ (from a dismal 13% last year) as the turnaround progresses.”

Granted, not everyone is as enthusiastic about GE as Mittermaier. In fact, Wall Street is almost evenly split between the bulls and those choosing to play it safe. Based on 13 analysts tracked by TipRanks in the last 3 months, 7 rate GE a Buy, 5 say Hold, while 1 recommends Sell. Meanwhile, the 12-month average price target stands at $11.75, marking a modest 7% upside from Wednesday’s closing price. In other words, much of this goodness is already reflected in GE’s share price. (See GE’s price targets and analyst ratings on TipRanks)

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