This morning, the giant conglomerate exited the now-even-more-select ranks of companies with a AAA bond rating. S&P announced that is was downgrading the company's debt to AA+, with a note that it mostly meant you should start worrying about GE's long-term debt . . . though not worrying very hard.
What happened next was surprising, in a "What the goddamned $@%! hell just happened?" sort of way: the stock price rose 8%. This is about 1600 basis points more than you would expect. The market had clearly already priced in the risk of a downgrade, and Immelt's statement that the company was prepared to operate as a AA+ company sounded soothing even to me.