Honeywell: Recession? What Recession?

"It's the economy, stupid." Apparently, that famous phrase hasn't yet reached Honeywell's (NYSE: HON  ) New Jersey home, judging by the company's handy defiance of the ongoing economic slump.

On Friday, Honeywell joined the likes of Schlumberger (NYSE: SLB  ) and even downtrodden Citigroup (NYSE: C  ) in beating expectations for the quarter. But in Honeywell's case, it also topped year-ago results and boosted guidance for this year.

For the second quarter, Honeywell increased its sales by 13%, while also bringing in an 18% hike in earnings per share. There must be something in the Morristown water.

Don't assume that everything's coming up roses at the company, though. Profits from its Transportation Systems unit slipped somewhat, despite a modest hike in revenue. But that decline was more than offset by double-digit growth from Aerospace, along with Automation and Controls, both of which rang up mid-teens percentage improvements in earnings contributions.

With the company's picture far brighter than most, its management has chose to increase Honeywell's full-year earnings expectations to a $3.75 - $3.85 per share range. That compares to a $3.79 per share Wall Street consensus.

But perhaps most importantly, during his call following the release, CEO Dave Cote touted Honeywell's strong global presence, its positioning in the stronger markets, and its ability to remain strong amid economic softness. That's a compelling trio, but this energy aficionado also noted his discussion of Honeywell's role in solutions for converting heavy crude and cleaning up sour gas, along with "the development of next-generation renewable fuels like green diesel."

Following Honeywell's results, I'll be especially interested in upcoming reports from such other big international players as Dow Chemical (NYSE: DOW  ) , Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT  ) , and 3M (NYSE: MMM  ) , all of which will talk to us next week. In the meantime, I'd suggest that Foolish investors looking seeking steady performers keep at least one eye on Honeywell.

Sweet, delicious further Foolishness:

More than 750 investors have rated Honeywell in Motley Fool CAPS. What’s your call?

Fool contributor David Lee Smith doesn't own shares in any of the companies referred to in this article. He does welcome your questions or comments. Dow Chemical is an Income Investor pick, while 3M is an Inside Value recommendation. The Fool has a honey of a disclosure policy.


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