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Industrial-goods maker Honeywell (NYSE: HON ) recently posted first-quarter results that topped market expectations, and the market reacted favorably with a jump in its share prices.
Honeywell, whose products range from control systems to chemicals, displayed strength in its aerospace and specialty materials segments that ultimately helped its bottom line grow.
Quick look at the quarter
Honeywell's geographic expansion, coupled with the introduction of new products and technologies, led to a 7.3% revenue improvement to $9.3 billion. Investors should note that 6% of this growth was organic in nature, which reflects strength in the company's core businesses.
Honeywell earned a profit of $823 million during the quarter, a sharp 17% increase compared with the previous year. This translates into earnings of $1.04 per share, which comfortably beat analyst estimates of $0.99.
The company was boosted by higher demand for its products in the United States as well as other high-growth regions and raised its earnings guidance for the entire year, despite the continuing weakness in Europe. But then, Honeywell had correctly assumed that Europe would undergo a recession for the entire year and has been gearing up to meet this challenge.
So, what worked in its favor?
The company's aerospace business, which accounts for nearly 32% of its total revenue, recorded a 14% profit surge, largely because of better commercial aerospace demand from the end markets. But the competition wasn't far behind. Industry peer Textron (NYSE: TXT ) also generated 15% higher revenue in its first quarter compared with last year, boosted by increased demand for its Citation business jets.
Honeywell's quarterly show had other bright spots as well. Its chemical and fiber business, or "Performance Materials and Technologies" division, as Honeywell calls it, recorded a whopping 19% growth in sales, spurred by strong demand for catalysts and absorbents from the refining and petrochemical industries. Further, new orders, increased volumes, licensing sales, and an acquisition boosted this part of the company's business considerably. Perhaps the sole disappointment for Honeywell was the performance of its "Automation and Control Solutions" division, which recorded a meager 3.6% rise in revenue from the company's prior-year quarter, as its short cycle operations recorded a slowdown.
The Foolish bottom line
Honeywell has raised its annual earnings outlook to between $4.35 and $4.55 a share. The company also expects to earn more than what it estimated earlier in the second quarter itself, which should spell good news for investors.
Earnings season is here in full force, and earnings reports offer a great peek into how a business is performing, as well as how it might deliver over several years. Make sure to check out our free report, "5 Stocks Investors Need to Watch This Earnings Season," for more.