Even though honeybees have apparently gone AWOL, diversified manufacturer Honeywell (NYSE:HON) generated plenty of noise with its Q1 earnings report Friday morning. Motley Fool CAPS users and Wall Street's finest alike expected a strong performance from the Dow component, judging by the preponderance of outperform calls out there. Sure enough, Honeywell hit the sweet spot.

Revenues came in a touch greater than $8 billion, handily exceeding estimates of $7.7 billion. Ditto for the bottom-line results, which benefited from healthy year-over-year increases in net margin. In tandem with share buybacks, quarterly EPS grew an impressive 27%. In that light, it becomes clear why many investors picked up shares at the opening bell. The company's shares are up roughly 5% from Thursday's close.

After looking at the financials, I noticed that free cash flow came in somewhat below net income. But for a company like Honeywell, which is partly geared toward large contract wins, this figure can be expected to have very high variability from quarter to quarter. Over the past few years, annual FCF has comfortably outpaced net income, and I expect that encouraging trend to continue.

While all four of Honeywell's segments posted gains, automation and control solutions was the real standout, due in part to a strong global construction wave recently overshadowed by the residential slump here at home. This firm strikes me as a sound way for investors to bank on that worldwide trend. While a foreign firm like Mexican cement giant and Motley Fool Stock Advisor selection Cemex (NYSE:CX) has significant exposure to weak U.S. construction and a falling dollar, Honeywell experiences a net benefit as an exporter to Europe and elsewhere. It's not as geared toward overseas markets as other Dow stalwarts Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO), McDonald's  (NYSE:MCD), or 3M (NYSE:MMM), but the firm does provide some nice foreign currency exposure.

Though there are many attractive aspects of the business, Honeywell's shares don't have me doing the waggle dance at these elevated levels. I don't see a margin of safety in the shares today, even though management seems to disagree. It recently dedicated an investor presentation slide to demonstrating how the shares were undervalued relative to a basket of peers. I'd prefer it if management stuck to outperforming, leaving the table-pounding to others, but that's just me.

While we don't recommend trying to time the market around here, we certainly encourage waiting for the market to throw a sale on whatever stock you're eyeing. Otherwise, you might get stung.

For past Honeywell Foolishness:

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Fool contributor Toby Shute is allergic to various vespidae, but he has no beef with bees. He doesn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned. Coca-Cola and 3M are Inside Value picks. The whole colony abides by The Motley Fool's disclosure policy.