General Electric Chairman and CEO Larry Culp can turn J.P. Morgan’s recent downgrade of GE shares into a positive, using the firm’s note as a sort of road map to fix the struggling conglomerate, CNBC’s Jim Cramer said Monday.
Shares of GE dove Monday after J.P. Morgan’s Stephen Tusa downgraded the stock to underweight from neutral and cut his 12-month price target to $5 from $6. Tusa, who first went negative on the stock in May 2016 before most on Wall Street, said, “We believe many investors are underestimating the severity of the challenges and underlying risks at GE, while overestimating the value of small positives.”
Instead of seeing it as a negative, Culp could read the downgrade note as a “working document,” Cramer said on “Squawk on the Street.” “If you worked at GE, and you presented this, [Culp] would say, ‘Let’s study this. Let’s see what we can correct if we’re off.’ Because that’s who Larry Culp is.”
Cramer has been critical of GE in the past but placed renewed hope in Culp, saying the executive has what it takes to turn the business around. In November 2017, when GE’s stock first fell below $20 per share, Cramer said there was a lot wrong with the company and it was “one of the biggest” investment mistakes of his career.
On Monday, Cramer said he would “buy Culp,” to illustrate his faith in the CEOs leadership.
Culp, formely a GE board member and CEO of Danaher from 2001 to 2014, became General Electric’s chief executive in October, after John Flannery was abruptly removed, just 14 months into the job. The GE board, at the time, grew frustrated with the slow pace of change under Flannery.
Flannery took over for then-longtime GE chief Jeff Immelt, who was forced out in 2017 after a 16-year tenure that saw the stock plummet from the Jack Welch heydays. Immelt was criticized for poor leadership decisions that left GE cash-strapped.
Shareholders have been largely happy with Culp’s management, however some were disappointed last month when he revealed the company could burn as much as $2 billion more in cash than it makes in 2019.