updated 7/16/2010 8:29:26 AM ET 2010-07-16T12:29:26

General Electric Co. posted its first quarterly profit gain since late 2007, helped by cost cuts and improvements at its beleaguered financing business.

The results from one of the world's largest industrial and financial companies suggest the economic recovery may still have steam, even as other indicators show a slowdown in growth. GE is trying to right itself after the recession and financial crisis punished its profits over the past two years.

Revenue fell 4 percent, in part because GE is shrinking the size of GE Capital, its financial arm. GE was also able to cut costs by nearly $3 billion.

(Msnbc.com is a joint venture of Microsoft and NBC Universal, a division of GE.)

GE had net income of $3.0 billion, or 28 cents per share. That was up from $2.6 billion, or 25 cents per share, a year earlier.

GE said orders are improving in its industrial units that make everything from jet engines to power plant equipment. GE Capital, which makes loans ranging from credit cards to office buildings financing, also posted a 93 percent gain in profits to $830 million. It was bolstered by lower losses.

"GE's economic environment continues to improve," said CEO Jeff Immelt.

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Video: Inside GE's earnings

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