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Honeywell Boosts First-Quarter Forecast; Shares Jump

Honeywell International increased its first-quarter earnings outlook Tuesday and said it will log a $13 million non-cash charge in relation to the recent health care overhaul legislation.

The manufacturing conglomerate now expects a profit of 45 cents to 49 cents per share for the quarter, compared with an earlier forecast of 40 cents to 45 cents per share.

Honeywell model T87 thermostat
Source: Wikimedia
Honeywell model T87 thermostat

For the full year, the company now expects its profit near the top of its previous outlook range of $2.20 to $2.40 per share. Get after-hour stock quotes for Honeywell here.

Shares of the company jumped about 3 percent in late trading Tuesday. The stock finished regular market hours at $44.95 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expect first-quarter profit of 44 cents per share and full-year profit of $2.40 per share. Honeywell cited a rise in orders and sales in several businesses, including its turbo technologies and some automation and controls solutions products businesses.

Honeywell also said it plans to log a one-time non-cash charge of $13 million in the current quarter, joining a growing list of companies who have said they will take accounting charges due to the recently passed health care reform bills. AT&T said last week that it would take a $1 billion charge in the first quarter. Companies including AK Steel , Caterpillar and 3M have also said they will take smaller charges.

Honeywell said that the health legislation, which was signed into law by President Barack Obama last week and includes a companion measure he signed Tuesday, will lower its tax deduction for retiree health care costs starting in 2013.

Companies that provide prescription drug benefits for retirees have been getting subsidies covering 28 percent of eligible costs but could deduct everything they spent on the benefits—including the federal money—from their taxable income.

However, beginning in 2013, the health care overhaul will allow them to only deduct the amount of their own money that they spent. Prudential said it had taken a charge to reflect the increase in taxes it expects because of the changes.