Have we hit bottom?

Is it still possible to make money in this economy? Apparently so.

The price of a share of General Electric has shot up 32 percent in less than a week, and in the process gave some hope to people wondering if we’ve hit bottom.

“The rundown due to finance exposure has been excessive. It is still a very large, well operated industrial company and I think the pessimism about the finance sector has hurt the value of the stock much beyond reason,” Peter Jankovskis, co-chief investment officer at Oakbrook Investments in Lisle, Illinois, told Reuters.

That’s his take, financial writer Terry Keenan looks at the same stock and sees this:

“Having lost 48 percent of its value just since Obama took office, GE shares traded at 16-year lows this week and its very survival is being questioned. The stock, once a store of savings for millions of retirees, has lost $380 billion in value in the past 18 months, the greatest wealth destruction by any stock in history.”

So which is it? A company on life support or a company coming back? It’s a microcosm of every conversation surrounding the economy.

GE is still down 30% from Inauguration Day, but that’s still an 18% climb back.

And it’s not as if there aren’t a few positive news nuggets about the markets:

  • CitiGroup, the poster child of economic disaster, says it turned a profit in the first two months of the year.
  • Sun Country Airlines has repaid its debt and is projecting a profit for the first quarter.
  • Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke gave a speech about the economy and didn’t break it in the process.

    Granted things are bad; nobody can argue about that. An unemployment will continue to increase even in the initial stages of a recovery. It took months of arguing about whether we were in a recession before we finally determined we were, it’ll probably take months of arguing about whether we’re in a turnaround before we determine that we are.

    At the very least, there’s at least a whiff of better times.

    Update 3:04 p.m. – Here’s where it gets frustrating. Listen to Sen. Arlen Specter claim we’re on the verge of a depression. He says our economic problems are “more serious than are publicly disclosed.” Perhaps he should disclose them, then.

    • BJ

      Sen. Arlen Specter – Disclose them already, we have a lot of smart people, and bloggers, that will tell you how to fix it if the problem is know. (BC – exception to the blogger snip).