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GE Earnings, Revenue Climb in 3Q

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STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) _ General Electric Co.'s third-quarter earnings rose 11 percent and revenue jumped 15 percent as orders rose sharply, the company said Friday.

The Fairfield-based industrial, financial services and media conglomerate said it earned $4.05 billion, or 38 cents per share, in the July-September period, up from $3.65 billion, or 36 cents a share, a year ago.

The results matched the consensus estimate of 38 cents per share of analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call.

``The economy we see continues to be very strong, with our total orders for the quarter up 27 percent,'' said Jeff Immelt, GE's chairman and chief executive. ``Eight of our 11 businesses delivered at least double-digit earnings growth with continued strong performance on cash flow from operating activities.''

Revenue for the quarter was $38.3 billion, up from $33.4 billion a year ago. Health care and transportation were among the businesses with a jump in orders.

GE had $300 million in hurricane-related insurance losses in the quarter.

GE forecast earnings for the year of $1.57-$1.60 per share, the high end of its previous range. Analysts expected earnings of $1.58 a share for the year.

``We also remain confident we will achieve 10-15 percent earnings per share growth in 2005,'' Immelt said. Analysts are expecting earnings of $1.78 a share for 2005, up more than 12 percent from their 2004 estimate.

During a conference call with analysts, Immelt said newly acquired businesses are doing well and business cycles are improving key segments.

``We see really broad-based strength throughout the company,'' Immelt said.

For the first nine months of 2004, GE reported earnings of $11.2 billion, or $1.08 per share, on revenue of $108.7 billion. That compared with earnings of $10.4 billion, or $1.04 per share, on revenue of $97.2 billion a year ago.
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