FAIRFIELD, Conn. (AP) _ General Electric Co. said Thursday its second-quarter earnings rose 20 percent, led by strong growth in its power systems, aircraft engines and NBC units.

GE's earnings came to $3.38 billion, or 34 cents per share, up from $2.82 billion, or 28 cents per share, in the same period a year ago.

The results beat Wall Street expectations by 1 cent per share, according to First Call/Thomson Financial.

Revenues increased 20 percent to $32.86 billion, up from $27.41 billion.

Despite the better-than-expected results, GE's stock fell amid overall weakness in blue chips. GE shares were off $0.50 Thursday to close at $53 on the New York Stock Exchange.

The company said all seven of its business segments had strong growth.

At GE's Power Systems division, earnings rose 46 percent to $752 million, compared with $516 million a year ago. The company said strong demand for new power generation equipment in the United States drove orders up 80 percent from last year's quarter to $5 billion.

At NBC, profits rose 17 percent to $635 million from $544 million a year ago. NBC tied for first place during the May ratings period in the key adult 18-49 demographic category.

At GE Capital Services, the company's financial services unit, earnings rose 17 percent to $1.28 billion from $1.09 billion a year ago.

At Aircraft Engines, profit climbed 20 percent to $609 million from $509 million a year ago. The unit continued to win the majority of the world's orders for airline jet engines, including a $1 billion order from Southwest and orders totaling nearly $900 million from Trans Air.

``The record results for the second quarter once again demonstrate the ability of GE's diverse mix of leading global businesses to deliver top-line growth, increased margins and strong cash generation,'' GE Chairman John F. Welch said in a statement.

For the first six months of the year, GE's earnings grew 20 percent to $5.97 billion, or 59 cents per share, compared to $4.98 billion, or 50 cents per share, in the same period of 1999.

Revenues rose 22 percent to $62.86 billion, up from $51.58 billion a year ago.