The year is nearing its end, and now's a good opportunity to look at what happened throughout 2012 to the stocks you follow. If you know the important things that a company achieved, as well as any challenges it failed to overcome, then you can make a better decision about whether it really deserves a spot in your portfolio.

Today, I'll look at Honeywell (NYSE:HON). The company makes a wide variety of products, including a full range of aerospace units and systems as well as environmental controls, performance chemicals, and parts for autos and commercial vehicles. Despite a sluggish economy, Honeywell found a way to keep its stock moving in the right direction. Read on for more about what happened with shares of Honeywell this year.

Stats on Honeywell

Year-To-Date Stock Return

18.8%

Market Cap

$49.3 billion

Revenue, Past 12 Months

$37.6 billion

Net income, Past 12 Months

$2.37 billion

1-Year Revenue Growth

4.9%

1-Year Net Income Growth

(13.9%)

Dividend Yield

2.6%

CAPS Rating (out of 5)

*****

Source: S&P Capital IQ.

What went right for Honeywell in 2012?
Honeywell has seen plenty of favorable trends in 2012, but the largest is the boom in the aerospace industry. With Boeing (NYSE:BA) posting huge order totals for commercial aircraft, Honeywell stands to gain from all the engines, power systems, environmental control systems, and sensors that those planes will need. In October, Honeywell announced a deal to provide environmental, communications, and navigation systems for Textron's (NYSE:TXT) Cessna division, along with an Air Force contract to improve energy efficiency at an Oklahoma base.

Another way Honeywell has been growing is through acquisition. Three months ago, the company bought a 70% stake in Thomas Russell, a company that provides natural-gas processing equipment. Given the huge potential of natural gas, this could well be a big growth area for Honeywell. In addition, just a few weeks ago, Honeywell said it will buy Intermec (NYSE:IN) for $600 million. With Intermec specializing in providing services to help companies manage their supply chains, the move will help boost Honeywell's scanning and mobility segment, although it will also cut 2013 earnings by $0.03 to $0.04 per share.

Honeywell is also looking to innovate. With its Open Automated Demand Response solution, it's trying to have temperature control systems make energy-smart decisions. Given that Exelon's (NYSE:EXC) CPower division and other rivals are also aiming to provide useful information to commercial clients, Honeywell will have to work hard to cement its position in the space.

Honeywell has capitalized on some promising opportunities, and with areas like aerospace continuing to shine, the company looks poised to continue its winning ways into the future.

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Fool contributor Dan Caplinger has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. You can follow him on Twitter, @DanCaplinger. The Motley Fool owns shares of Textron. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Exelon. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.