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Honeywell CEO says bookings 'very, very strong,' in sign global economy may be rebounding

An aircraft engine is being tested at Honeywell Aerospace in Phoenix.
Alwyn Scott | Reuters
Key Points
  • As concerns about a global slowdown mount, Honeywell CEO Darius Adamczyk says things are actually looking pretty good.
  • "Our backlog was up high single digits for the quarter, and we had double-digit booking gains in places like China and the Middle East, Latin America," he tells CNBC.
  • "Overall we're actually not seeing the softening of this environment, and actually I was very pleased with the bookings, which is really a predictor of our future."
  • The company beat earnings estimates when it reported third-quarter results last week, but revenue did fall short of estimates.

Companies may be sounding the alarm on global growth, but Honeywell CEO Darius Adamczyk says things are actually looking pretty good.

"What predicts the future is bookings, and our bookings performance was very, very strong," he said Wednesday on CNBC's "Squawk Box." "Our backlog was up high single digits for the quarter, and we had double-digit booking gains in places like China and the Middle East, Latin America and so on. A lot of markets that really aren't doing well. Even Europe was up nearly double-digits for us as well," he said.

VIDEO8:3708:37
Honeywell CEO Darius Adamczyk on mixed third-quarter earnings results

Honeywell is a multinational company that makes a range of goods, including home products for consumers, automation software for warehouses and construction technology focused on energy efficiency. The company is valued at $120 billion, and the shares have gained 27% this year.

The company topped EPS expectations when it reported third-quarter earnings last week, and it raised the lower end of its full-year 2019 earnings forecast.

Revenue did come up short, however, at $9.086 billion versus the $9.12 billion analysts polled by FactSet were expecting, and profit fell by 30% as the company sold off some of its businesses last year. The company also lowered the top-end of its full-year sales forecast.

But Adamczyk said the global environment is strong.

"Overall we're actually not seeing the softening of this environment, and actually I was very pleased with the bookings, which is really a predictor of our future," he said.

Despite the global scope of the company, Adamczyk said it focuses on local supply chains and has managed to navigate the imposition of tariffs well. But he said that he would like "to have a fair trade resolution between China and the U.S."

Trade war

"I think I'm pretty much consistent with every other CEO, particularly multinational CEOs. We would love to see this resolved," he said of the trade war.

"There was a little bit of progress earlier this month. We hope that energy continues, that momentum continues toward talks in Chile," he said. "So that's something not just from a pure tariff perspective, but just a trust and confidence factor in both directions. Hopefully the two administrations will come together and get something done."

While Honeywell is showing strength, other multinationals aren't faring as well.

Caterpillar, for instance, missed estimates by a large margin when it reported earnings on Wednesday. Executives at the company said in a press release that weakness could persist due to "global economic uncertainty."