Can Honeywell Earnings Put It Into United Tech and General Electric's League?

Honeywell (NYSE: HON  ) will release its quarterly report on Friday, and investors are pleased that the stock has risen to all-time record highs recently. The conglomerate isn't as large as rivals United Technologies (NYSE: UTX  ) and General Electric (NYSE: GE  ) , but shareholders hope that Honeywell earnings can grow at a faster pace over the long run because of its own particular strengths.

Honeywell's business includes a number of different divisions, ranging from thermostats and security systems to aerospace and defense components and systems. It has plenty of overlap with United Technologies and General Electric, especially on the aircraft side of their respective businesses, as each of them serves as a supplier to plane giant Boeing (NYSE: BA  ) . Yet Honeywell also has opportunities of its own that could help it catch up to its larger peers. Let's take an early look at what's been happening with Honeywell over the past quarter and what we're likely to see in its report.

Stats on Honeywell

Analyst EPS Estimate

$1.24

Change From Year-Ago EPS

3.3%

Revenue Estimate

$9.92 billion

Change From Year-Ago Revenue

6.2%

Earnings Beats in Past 4 Quarters

4

Source: Yahoo! Finance.

Can Honeywell earnings grow faster this quarter?
Analysts have largely held tight on their views on Honeywell earnings in recent months, keeping third-quarter and full-year 2013 projections unchanged. But they've raised their 2014 estimates by $0.04 per share, and that could be responsible for the stock's rise of about 5% since mid-July.

Honeywell came into the quarter with substantial positive momentum from its second-quarter earnings. Although revenue growth was limited to just 3%, the company managed to boost earnings per share by 12% and grew cash flows at an even greater clip. Operating margins showed improvement and topped both General Electric's and Boeing's respective margins by a sizable amount.

Indeed, Honeywell has had substantial success from its relationship with Boeing. That's what left the supplier vulnerable when problems on an Ethiopian Airlines 787 Dreamliner surfaced in July. Investigations centered on an emergency locator system that Honeywell had produced for Boeing, and last month, FAA regulators ordered 3,800 inspections of Honeywell locator beacons to ensure that they didn't have wiring problems that could cause fires. Yet both General Electric and United Technologies have survived similar inquiries in the past, and there's no reason to believe Honeywell can't bounce back as well.

Yet Honeywell also has other sources of revenue that give it some diversification. The company has a solid contract relationship with the Defense Department, with Honeywell having won a contract extension worth nearly $100 million in August to provide support services for a Marine Corps command center in Florida. Late last month, it followed that up with a nearly half-billion dollar award for technical, training, and engineering support for a navigation system based on GPS signals. General Electric and United Technologies also do substantial amounts of business for the Defense Department, but Honeywell's particular areas of expertise seem to have particular demand in the military, helping to sustain its growth prospects despite budget pressures on the U.S. government.

In the Honeywell earnings report, watch to see where the company is seeing the most growth. If Honeywell can keep its revenue sources well diversified while still making the most of high-value areas like aerospace, it could become as important as General Electric and United Technologies, both in the eyes of Boeing and for investors generally.

Can Honeywell profit from the world's growth?
Aerospace is just one area that's helping companies like Honeywell benefit from the global economy. Even though many global regions are still stuck in neutral, their resurgence could result in windfall profits for select companies. A recent Motley Fool report, "3 Strong Buys for a Global Economic Recovery," outlines three companies that could take off when the global economy gains steam. Click here to read the full report!

Click here to add Honeywell to My Watchlist, which can find all of our Foolish analysis on it and all your other stocks.


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