* United Tech confirms 13 pct profit growth forecast
* Textron sees 2013 earnings up about 12 percent
* Housing, commercial construction a lift
* Shares little changed in early trading
By Scott Malone
BOSTON, Jan 23 Top U.S. manufacturers sounded a
confident note about their expectations for 2013 on Wednesday as
the worries of the year-end "fiscal cliff" standoff in
Washington faded into memory.
Textron Inc laid out an earnings forecast that would
represent growth of about 12 percent, while larger peer United
Technologies Corp reiterated a projection that its
profit would rise about 13 percent.
Executives at each company said that, after seeing a
year-end pause in ordering as customers worried about a budget
standoff that could have triggered large spending cuts and
higher taxes in the United States, demand is recovering.
"What we see in the economy in the U.S. is that the rebound
in the housing market is really having a pull-through effect on
the rest of the economy," said Greg Hayes, chief financial
officer of United Tech, in an interview. "Commercial
construction is also coming back. We saw particular strength in
North America and Asia, not as much of a story in Europe, as you
The Hartford, Connecticut-based company is the world's
largest maker of elevators and air conditioners and also
produces Pratt & Whitney jet engines and Sikorsky helicopters.
It also noted that airlines' orders for spare parts for jet
engine had risen in the quarter, reflecting higher rates of
Meanwhile, Textron said it expects sales of its Cessna
corporate jets to pick up this year, after a year-end drop that
the Providence, Rhode Island-based company blamed on "fiscal
"We probably have had more order activity than we're used to
seeing at the beginning of January," reflecting orders that had
been delayed during the "fiscal cliff" standoff, said Chief
Executive Scott Donnelly, on a conference call with analysts.
"We'll see a degree of uncertainty in the jet market as
Washington works through its fiscal challenges, but we believe
demand will solidify as those uncertainties are reduced."
While the White House and Congress averted the crisis that
could have been triggered by allowing the U.S. economy to go
over the "fiscal cliff", an event that economists said would
have sent the nation back into recession, budget battles
On Wednesday, U.S. lawmakers are expected to vote to extend
by four months the government's ability to borrow money,
effectively suspending rules that allow the nation to borrow no
more than $16.4 trillion.
Both companies also have significant defense businesses, and
face the risk that the U.S. will continue to scale back spending
on weapons, such as United Tech's Black Hawk military
helicopters and Textron's heavy armored vehicles.
United Tech stood by its forecast, first issued last month,
that called for 2013 earnings to rise by about 13 percent to a
range of $5.85 to $6.15 per share, with sales up about 12
percent to a range of $64 billion to $65 billion.
Textron issued a 2013 forecast that called for profit to
rise by about 12 percent to a range of $2.10 to $2.30 per share,
with revenue up about 6 percent to $12.9 billion.
The results came a few days after General Electric Co
, the largest U.S. conglomerate, said that it ended 2012
with a record-high order backlog and sounded a confident note on
2013, sending its shares higher on Friday.
United Tech and Textron shares, each of which had risen
roughly 15 percent over the past six months, outpacing the
broader U.S. market, were little changed in early trading.
United Tech rose 41 cents to $87.88 and Textron gained 3
cents to $27.11. Both trade on the New York Stock Exchange.
Investors will get more news on the sector later this week,
when 3M Co and Honeywell International Inc are
due to report results.