General Electric said today that first-quarter cash flow from its industrial operations turned negative and was less than the company expected.

However its quarterly earnings and revenue exceeded analyst estimates. 

GE reported a negative $1.6 billion in cash flow from industrial operating activities compared with a negative $600m it expected for the quarter due to higher working capital and the timing of bills to customers. 

Still, GE said it expects to hit its cash target of $12 billion to $14 billion for the full year. 

Investors have been watching cash flow as an indicator of GE's operating performance. 

Revenue fell 1% to $27.66 billion at the maker of jet engines, power plants and other industrial equipment, due to lower sales in its oil-and-gas and lighting businesses. 

The figure beat analysts' estimates of $26.26 billion, according to Thomson Reuters. 

Earnings from continuing operations attributable to GE shareholders rose to $858m in the quarter ended March 31, from $248m a year earlier. 

Earnings per share from continuing operations rose to 10 cents from three cents. 

Adjusted earnings of 21 cents a share were unchanged from a year ago and beat analyst estimates of 17 cents, according to Thomson Reuters.