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United Tech CEO Sees US Recession as Unlikely

George David, chief executive of United Technologies, the parent of Otis Elevator, said elevator sales are a good indicator of the economy's health, and he sees positive signs there that lead him to believe the odds of a recession in the U.S. are low.

In an interview on CNBC's "Squawk Box," David said he expects a 45% increase in elevator orders this year. This, he said, is a good indicator of the economy's health. And the pace is an increase over the past two years when orders rose 35% and 25%, respectively, he said.

"I do not see a recession in the United States," he said.

On Thursday, the diversified manufacturer , which also owns jet engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney, reaffirmed its forecast for this year, and forecast 2008 earnings in a range of $4.65 to $4.85 a share, or growth of 10 percent to 14 percent.

Speaking at an analyst conference , President and Chief Operating Officer Louis Chenevert, said the Hartford-based company would earn $4.22 to $4.25 a share this year, which is a 14-percent increase over last year.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial expected per-share earnings for 2007 of $4.26 and revenue of $54 billion. For 2008, analysts said per-share earnings would reach $4.85 and revenue $57.6 billion.

United Technologies also announced it would repurchase $2 billion worth of shares in 2008.

Chenevert credited United Technology's overall strength to aerospace and commercial construction markets that "more than offset continued deterioration" in the U.S. residential heating, ventilating and air conditioning market. Those businesses are under United Technologies' Carrier unit, which has exposure to the weak housing market.

United Technologies said in its guidance that Sikorsky Aircraft and Fire & Security will lead the corporation's businesses in operating profit growth next year. Both are expected to turn in about a 25 percent rise.

Separately, United Technologies said it set aside $2 billion for mergers and acquisitions.

Chenevert, 50, was previously president of Pratt & Whitney and was tapped by the board of directors in 2006 to succeed George David, United Technologies' 65-year-old chief executive officer, next year.

Reuters contributed to this report.