Indeed, today the company released strong second quarter numbers, reporting a 4.1% earnings increase, to $1.15 billion, or $1.16 cents a share. Revenues grew 13% to $13.9 billion.
But, in keeping with my posts about the weather conditions in the West, I'm picking UTX this week because of its Carrier unit, which is a world leader in the air condition, ventilation, and heating sectors, and because of its UTC Fire and Security division, which manufactures and sells fire-fighting equipment as well as fire security products.
Carrier's sales have actually been down a bit of late due to the decline in new construction in the United States, but this has been offset in part by continuing strength abroad. But with the droughts and unbelievably hot weather out West, I believe we'll see an upswing in this division of the corporation for the third quarter. The Fire and Security division, which is also a world leader in its markets, has been stronger than Carrier, with solid if not spectacular growth of 3% in the first quarter of 2007, and it too should see its sales grow as a result of the fires raging through the West this summer.
But even if these two divisions' sales don't bounce as I'm expecting, UTX is still a solid bet for any investor. It's a strong player in the aerospace industry, which has been very strong due to demand created by ever-increasing airline traffic. UTX is also the owner of Otis Elevators, which has a very strong market share abroad and is enjoying profits from rapidly developing nations like China, where Otis controls 75% of the elevator market.
There are some risks -- the company was negatively affected by a major labor strike in 2006; it has since been settled but it is vulnerable to future actions. UTX also relies on a wide variety of raw materials for its products, which creates a risk of rising commodity prices, and its strong international presence means UTX can be negatively affected by exchange rates. UTX can offset some of this risk with higher prices, but only to a degree, and the first quarter results would have been even better with a stronger dollar.
Type of stock: A diversified industrial and commercial products manufacturer with steady growth and a strong international presence.
Price target: UTX is trading right up near its 52-week high, thanks to strong forecasts for second-quarter results which have now come to pass. I'd wait for this to drop just a little and grab it if it dips below $70. This is one to hold for the long term.
UTX 1-yr chart: