GE and Markets

What General Electric's earnings say about where we're headed.

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General Electric's earnings today offer a stark look at what's going wrong (and a bit of what's right) in the market.

Second-quarter profits fell 6 percent, and the company said it's selling off its Japanese consumer finance business. That's the latest surprise just weeks after GE said it would consider selling its consumer and industrial unit, which includes its signature appliances and light-bulb divisions.

For GE and for investors, finance and the consumer are just about the last places most folks are looking for growth.

"Many markets and industries remain healthy, while the U.S. economy is challenged," GE Chief Executive Jeff Immelt said in a statement.

Healthy bets remain in energy, infrastructure, and overseas growth. GE's infrastructure group saw profits jump 24 percent, benefiting from international growth that is still intact.

Also, that infrastructure boost should cheer green investors. The unit includes GE's turbines, which are finding homes in wind farms around the globe.

This week, GE's energy finance arm passed the $4 billion mark in investing in green technologies, according to Earth2Tech. It's planning to invest $6 billion by 2010.