FAIRFIELD, Conn. (AP) _ General Electric Co.'s profits rose 16 percent in the third quarter, led by strong growth in its aircraft engines, power systems and NBC divisions.

The conglomerate, the nation's fifth-largest company, earned $2.65 billion, or 80 cents per share, compared with $2.28 billion, or 69 cents per share, in the same period a year ago.

The results were a penny over the expectations of analysts surveyed by First Call/Thomson Financial. GE's stock fell $1.81 1/4 to $121.87 1/2 in New York Stock Exchange trading amid a mostly down day for the stock market.

GE said its revenues rose 13 percent to $27.2 billion from $24.14 billion a year ago.

Chairman John F. Welch said the increase was driven by global growth, expansion of the company's product services and the introduction of new products.

At GE's Power Systems division, profit rose 51 percent to $383 million, up from $254 million a year ago.

At Aircraft Engines, earnings rose 28 percent to $535 million, up from $417 million a year ago. The division continued to win more than half of the global orders for airline passenger jet engines.

NBC's earnings increased 31 percent to $265 million, up from $202 million a year ago.

At GE Capital Services, GE's financial services arms, earnings rose 17 percent to $1.26 billion, up from $1.08 billion a year ago.

At Industrial Products and Systems, earnings increased 25 percent to $491 million, up from $393 million. The Technical Products and Services division's earnings rose 27 percent to $316 million from $249 million.

At GE Appliances, earnings fell 28 percent to $137 million, down from $189 million.

And in GE's plastics segment, earnings fell 5 percent to $390 million from $412 million a year ago.

For the first nine months of the year, earnings rose 15 percent to $7.62 billion, or $2.29 a share, up from $6.63 billion, or $1.99 a share, in the same period in 1998. Revenues grew 10 percent to $78.77 billion, up from $71.83 billion a year ago.