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GE Says 3rd-Quarter Earnings Will Meet Estimates

October 03, 1998|From Times Wire Services

General Electric Co. said Friday that it will meet third-quarter earnings estimates with "double-digit" profit gains and denied speculation that it's planning to break up its GE Capital unit.

Analysts said GE may streamline the unit as a way of boosting profit even more at a time when other large multinational companies are warning that economic woes overseas will hurt their earnings.

Meanwhile, Revlon Inc. joined that list, saying its earnings would fall well short of market expectations for the rest of this year and in 1999, sending its stock into a tailspin. The New York-based cosmetics giant also said it would close three factories overseas.

Revlon said its profit from continuing operations would be about 7 cents per share--significantly lower than the average estimate of 73 cents for this year's quarter set by First Call Corp.'s survey of analysts and the 65 cents Revlon reported a year earlier.

The announcement sent Revlon's shares plunging $12.38 on Friday, to close at $15.44 on the New York Stock Exchange, a new year low.

GE, which owns NBC and makes everything from light bulbs to airplane engines, made its announcement after its shares fell as much as 7% on reports it was considering splitting the world's largest non-bank finance firm into three units.

Fairfield, Conn.-based GE said its earnings will match the 69 cents a diluted share analysts expected for the third quarter and $2.80 for 1998, when it reports next week. GE earned 60 cents a share a year ago and $2.46 in 1997.

GE shares fell 19 cents to close at $75.38 on the NYSE.

Among other earnings pre-announcements Friday:

* Aspen Technologies Inc. said after the close of trading that it would issue preliminary first-quarter results on Monday showing an "unexpected shortfall in earnings and revenue." The software maker's shares slid $9.19 to close at $14.81 on Nasdaq.

* Owens Corning said it expects third-quarter profit to meet analysts estimates of $1.20 to $1.35 a share, indicating that economic crises in Asia and Latin America won't result in disappointing earnings for the biggest U.S. producer of insulation.

Shares of Owens Corning rose 13 cents to close at $31.75 on the NYSE.

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