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General Electric Expects to Burn Cash in First Quarter

General Electric Expects to Burn Cash in First Quarter

General Electric Co. expects cash flow to be negative in the first quarter, typically the slowest period of the year, but the conglomerate isn’t chan

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General Electric Co. expects cash flow to be negative in the first quarter, typically the slowest period of the year, but the conglomerate isn’t changing its outlook for 2021.

Speaking at an investor conference Tuesday, Chief Executive Officer Larry Culp said the first-quarter performance would still be better than a year ago when the company burned through $2.2 billion in cash for the period. He played down the first-quarter results so far, saying they were “nothing more than what we see typically at the start of a new year.”

GE shares, recently up 10 cents to $11.83, are up 78% in the past six months as the company has posted improving results.

The Boston company booked $4.4 billion of cash flow in the fourth quarter, resulting in cash flow coming in positive by about $600 million for the full year. GE projects 2021 cash flow of $2.5 billion to $4.5 billion.

Mr. Culp has pledged to make GE’s business more consistent throughout the year rather than depending on strong fourth-quarter results. Last month, he said the timing of projects and orders can be difficult to predict. The company wasn’t sure if the deals that helped boost results at the end of 2020 would close in time or if they would land in the first quarter instead, he said.

This post first appeared on wsj.com

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