NBC Universal Profit Down 30%

By Andrew Gauthier 

Associated Press

General Electric Co.’s fourth-quarter net income fell 19 percent, but the industrial bellwether is seeing signs of stability as it moves into a key rebuilding year.

The drop in profit was smaller than previous quarters on gains in areas like power plant turbines and oil field equipment. Orders for big equipment improved near the end of the year. And results surpassed Wall Street forecasts for the conglomerate, which is coming off one of the worst years in its 117-year history.

Company shares rose 48 cents, or 3 percent, to $16.50 in morning trading.

“We saw some encouraging signs at year-end,” GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt said Friday in a statement announcing quarterly and 2009 results. More…