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United Technologies Profit Rises 23%, Confirms Outlook

Diversified manufacturer United Technologies said Wednesday quarterly profit rose 23 percent, boosted by strong demand from the aviation and commercial construction markets, and affirmed its 2008 outlook.

The world's largest maker of elevators and air conditioners said demand was strong in all its markets with the exception of North American residential air conditioning, which has been hit by the housing slump.

The company, with products ranging from Otis elevators to Black Hawk military helicopters, reported a fourth-quarter profit of $1.06 billion, or $1.08 per share, compared with $865 million, or 87 cents per share, a year earlier.

Factoring out 4 cents per share of one-time items, profit would have been $1.12 per share. On that basis, analysts had looked for $1.07 per share, according to Reuters Estimates.

Revenue was up 15 percent to $14.7 billion, ahead of estimates of $14.04 billion.

The company affirmed its 2008 profit forecast of $4.65 to $4.85 per share. Wall Street is expecting $4.85 per share.

"Although the U.S. economic outlook is mixed, UTC's balance across geographic and product markets should sustain yet another year of double-digit earnings per share growth," Chairman and Chief Executive George David said.

The Hartford, Connecticut-based company, which also makes Pratt & Whitney jet engines, generates about 60 percent of its sales outside the United States.

David noted that the Carrier air conditioning unit was able to offset weakness in the North American residential market with growth elsewhere in the world. Carrier profit was up 15.6 percent in the quarter.

United Technologies officials have said that strong investment in infrastructure in China, India and the Middle East has helped to drive recent results.

United Technologies shares, which rose about 23 percent last year, have fallen about 12 percent through the first weeks of 2008, sharper than the 10 percent drop of the Dow Jones industrial average.

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