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United Technologies Tops Profit, Sales Targets

Boosted by strong demand from the aerospace and commercial construction sectors, diversified manufacturer United Technologies reported profit that topped Wall Street's expectations.

The company, which makes products ranging from Pratt & Whitney jet engines to Otis elevators, reported fourth-quarter profit of $865 million, or 87 cents a share, compared with
net income of $626 million, or 62 cents a share, a year earlier.

Analysts, on average, expected profit of 85 cents per share, according to Thomson Financial.

On a net basis, profit was up 38.2%. Factoring out a change in accounting standards, the company said it was up 20%.

Revenue came in at $12.79 billion, up 13.6% from $11.26 billion a year earlier. Analysts had expected $12.2 billion.

"We believe we are well positioned for earnings increases in 2007, and especially on favorable compares at Carrier and Sikorsky," Chairman and Chief Executive George David said in a statement. He confirmed the company's 2007 profit target of $4.05 to $4.20 a share.

While aviation has boosted the Hartford, Connecticut-based company, United Technologies said results at its Carrier air conditioner unit were hurt by a slowing U.S. housing market while Sikorsky, its helicopter operation, faced some operational problems.

The company said at an investors' conference in December that it sees generally favorable market conditions for its products, though it expects further weakness in residential housing.

United Technologies shares slipped 1.3% during the fourth quarter at a time when the blue-chip Dow Jones industrial average, of which it is a component, rose 7.7%.

In 2006, the company bought back $2.07 billion in shares, saying it was spending less on acquisitions in the face of rising valuations. Last month the United Technologies board approved a plan to buy back about $4 billion in shares.

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