General Electric Company logo

General Electric Company (NYSE:GE) released a slightly better-than-expected earnings report for the December quarter prior to the markets opening on Friday, and shares jumped in pre-market trading as a result. The stock rose almost 3 percent before the markets opened. Earnings previews for General Electric Company (NYSE:GE) indicated expectations of $38.74 billion in revenue and 43 cents in earnings per share.

The company just barely missed earnings per share estimates, coming in at 38 cents per share for net earnings, but it beat expectations for revenue, coming in at 39.33 billion. Operating earnings per share were 44 cents per share for the fourth quarter, while continuing earnings per share were 41 cents per share.

General Electric Company (NYSE:GE) reported $4.01 billion in profits, an increase from last year’s December quarter, which was 3.73 billion. The company’s operating margin rose to 13.4 percent from 11.9 percent. A statement from General Electric Company reported that this is the eleventh quarter in a row that it has shown “strong operating earnings growth.”

The company reported full-year operating earnings of $16.1 billion, an increase of 8 percent over 2011. Its fully-year revenues were $147.4 billion, which was flat with last year and up 3 percent excluding the pre-tax gain on the sale of NBC Universal in 2011.

“We ended the year with a strong quarter despite the mixed global economic environment,” GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt said in the company’s statement. “The outlook for developed markets remained uncertain, but we are seeing growth in China and the resource rich countries. With our largest backlog in history and a substantial amount of cash generated by our businesses in the fourth quarter, we have great momentum going into 2013.”

During 2012 General Electric Company (NYSE:GE) invested in research and development and launched new products like FlexEfficiency 60, the company’s new power plant technology, and produced a prototype locomotive that will be the most fuel-efficient freight locomotive ever. GE also repurchased $2.1 billion of its stock during the fourth quarter of 2012 and $5.2 billion for the whole year. It returned $12.4 billion to investors through buybacks and dividends.