April 20, 2012 | last updated June 1, 2012 2:03 pm

GE's 1Q profit falls 12 percent but tops estimates

General Electric's first-quarter net income topped Wall Street expectations on a strong performance from the conglomerate's industrial businesses, The Associated Press reports.

The Fairfield conglomerate has a stake in almost every sector of the economy, from light bulbs and credit cards to windmills.

GE said Friday that net income fell 12 percent to $3.03 billion, or 29 cents per share. Excluding charges, GE earned 34 cents in the quarter, a penny better than Wall Street estimates.

That compares with $3.4 million, or 31 cents per share, for the same part of 2011.

Revenue slipped by 8 percent to $35.2 billion. That topped Wall Street's forecast of $34.8 billion. Stripping out revenue from NBC Universal from last year's quarter, revenue rose 4 percent. GE sold its stake in NBC last year.

The industrial and financial giant said its primary manufacturing operation has rebounded after posting weak results following the global recession. Operating profit at its industrial businesses, which include transportation, health care and energy infrastructure, rose by 10 percent on a 14 percent gain in revenue.

That's an improvement from 2011, when GE was able to grow revenue in the industrial segment but operating profit remained flat.

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