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GE earnings, revenue rises, posts record backlog

MADRID (MarketWatch)
General Electric reported higher earnings and revenue amid strong orders and a record backlog for the fourth quarter
The company reported operating earnings of $5.4 billion for the period, or 53 cents, a gain of 20% from the same period a year earlier
Revenue rose 3% to $40.38 billion in the fourth quarter, a gain of 3% from the year-ago period Analysts polled by FactSet Research were forecasting earnings per share of 53 cents on revenue of $40.27 billion
The company said infrastructure orders for the period were $30.7 billion, a rise of 8% and the backlog of equipment and services at the end of the quarter was at a record $244 billion Industrial-segment margins improved 100 basis points over the prior-year period
Growth-market revenues were up 10% for the period, with double-digit growth in six of nine growth regions

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geniopolis.net dijo...

General Electric Co. said its fourth-quarter income improved 4.8% as the conglomerate's industrial revenue rose.

Overall, GE reported a profit of $4.2 billion, or 41 cents a share, up from $4.01 billion, or 38 cents a share, year earlier. Revenue grew 3.1% to $40.38 billion.

At a time of weak revenue growth, GE and its competitors have been able to eke out more profit by cutting cuts and improving productivity. GE also has been under pressure to rely less on earnings from its finance arm and to improve the performance of its industrial businesses. GE has invested in developing new industrial operations such as oil and gas, while shedding financial assets such as real estate and stakes in international banks

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By Saabira Chaudhuri

Morgan Stanley's fourth-quarter profit plunged 70% as strong performance in the firm's wealth management business was offset by weak fixed income trading results and large legal costs.

Morgan Stanley reported a profit of $181 million, compared with a year-earlier profit of $594 million. The quarter included a pre-tax legal expense of $1.2 billion, or 40 cents a share. Stripping out the legal expense and other items, per-share earnings were 50 cents and revenue rose 9.7% to $8.2 billion. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters most recently expected per-share earnings of 45 cents, on revenue of $8.01 billion, both excluding accounting impacts.

The results capped a year in which Morgan Stanley Chief Executive James Gorman gained momentum that had eluded him since taking over the corner office from former chief John Mack in 2010. The firm finished 2013 with four straight quarters of profits, the first time it ended a year like that under Mr. Gorman.

Mr. Gorman has been pushing to transform the New York investment bank into a less risky, more diversified firm. Morgan Stanley, which nearly collapsed with some of its Wall Street brethren during the financial crisis, has made its way back from the brink by bolstering its wealth-management business and steering clear of the riskier trades that landed the firm in trouble in the first place.

On Friday, the bank reported its wealth management revenue rose 12% from a year earlier, however fixed income trading revenue--adjusted for accounting impacts--fell 14% from the year earlier, mainly reflecting weakness in interest rate products.

Recently, Alliance Bernstein analyst Brad Hintz noted tthe investment bank's 2009 wealth management initiative appears to be nearing completion, providing a tailwind for the wealth management segment.

"Effectively, the new Morgan Stanley has arrived with leading positions in investment banking and institutional equity trading, complemented by a wealth management business that in time will represent half the firm," Mr. Hintz said.

geniopolis.net dijo...

Citigroup Inc.’s fourth-quarter profit more than doubled from a year earlier as the bank reined in expenses and bounced back from a 2012 quarter weighed down by heavy charges.

Still, results sharply missed the estimates of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters as Citigroup reported continued weakness in its mortgage pipeline and fixed-income business.

Citigroup reported a profit of $2.69 billion, or 85 cents a share, compared with a profit of $1.2 billion, or 38 cents a share, for the fourth quarter of 2012, which was weighed down by $2.3 billion in legal charges and costs tied to layoffs. Revenue edged down 0.8% to $17.78 billion.

Meanwhile, stripping out one-time items and accounting adjustments, per-share earnings were up at 82 cents from 69 cents. Revenue dropped 2.5% on an adjusted basis to $17.94 billion. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected per-share earnings of 95 cents on revenue of $18.18 billion.

geniopolis.net dijo...

By Ben Fox Rubin and Leslie Scism

NEW YORK — Travelers Cos. said its fourth-quarter profit soared, as the large commercial and personal-lines insurer benefited from a quarter with no major catastrophes.

Overall, Travelers TRV +0.04% posted earnings of $988 million, or $2.70 a share, up from $304 million, or 78 cents a share, a year earlier. Operating profit, which excludes some investment results, rose to $2.68 a share from 72 cents.

The per-share figures are records, reflecting the company’s strong commitment to buying back shares in recent years, the company said. The per-share operating results outpaced the expectation of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters, who had expected $2.16 a share.

Travelers, one of the largest property-casualty insurers in the U.S., serves as a bellwether for the industry, and will be one of many insurers posting strong comparisons with the year-earlier period.

Catastrophe costs totaled $53 million, compared with $1.05 billion a year earlier when the company was tallying homeowner and business claims from superstorm Sandy. Net written premiums rose 4.6% to $5.63 billion, driven by the acquisition of Dominion of Canada General Insurance Co. The deal closed Nov. 1.

The company posted a combined ratio of 87.7%, meaning it spent 87.7 cents on claims and expenses for every dollar it collected in premiums. In the year-earlier quarter, the combined ratio was 105.4%.

Net investment income rose 1.9% to $702 million. Insurers have struggled to deliver strong investment income amid ultra-low interest rates on the bonds they buy with policyholders’ premium dollars

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