Another "respected" American company looks to be in a bit of financial trouble. You'll recall that Goldman Sachs Group (NYSE: GS) recently received a $5 billion capital infusion from Warren Buffett. And today, the once-admired General Electric Company (NYSE: GE) accepted a $3 billion check from Buffett in exchange for preferred stock paying a 10% dividend and warrants to buy $3 billion common shares of GE at a strike price of $22.25 for five years.
This comes as the Credit Default Swap (CDS) market is charging GE a rapidly rising premium to insure its bonds. CDSs protecting against a default by GE Capital Corp. for five years climbed as much as 1.25 percentage points to 7.4% -- and last traded at 7%. This increase in perceived risk is happening as GE suspended its stock buyback, shifting capital to protect its dividend and AAA credit rating.
Will these moves be enough to protect GE's credit rating or is getting 40% of its pretax profit from financial services too risky? Who will be the next company to be stricken by this financial crisis? And which of these weak companies will pay this steep price for Warren Buffett's money?