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A Honeywell thermostat is shown in Portland, Ore., manufacturing company.

Rick Bowmer/AP

Honeywell International Inc.'s quarterly earnings increased 45 per cent on strength in its commercial aerospace unit, and the company lifted its full-year outlook, it said on Friday.

Shares of the maker of cockpit electronics, auto products and control systems for buildings rose more than 3 percent in premarket trading, as it expressed confidence in the near future even as it was seeing signs of an economic slowdown.

Honeywell reported third-quarter net income of $862-million (U.S.), or $1.10 per share, attributable to common shareholders, compared with $598-million, or 76 cents per share, a year earlier.

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Analysts on average were expecting earnings of $1 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S, but it was not immediately clear whether that figure was comparable with net income.

Honeywell said net income included a benefit from a lower tax rate equal to 4 cents a share and other gains equal to 33 cents a share.

Aerospace sales rose 8 per cent due to increased volume, a favorable product mix and productivity improvements. Profit margins in that segment increased to 18.2 per cent.

Honeywell said it had experienced profit growth and margin expansion in all business segments.

Sales rose 14 per cent to $9.3-billion.

The company raised its 2011 sales forecast to a range of $36.5-billion to $36.7-billion, up about 13 per cent over 2010. It had previously said it expected $36.1-billion to $36.7-billion.

The new earnings forecast of $4.00 to $4.05 a share compares with a prior outlook of $3.85 to $4.00.

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In a press release, the company attributed the higher forecast to expectations of growth in its existing units, "despite signals of slower economic growth."

During an interview on CNBC following the earnings release, Chief Executive Officer Dave Cote said the company expected 2012 to be "a slow growth economy." It will stay conservative in terms of capital expenditures and hiring, he said.

Shares of Honeywell were up 3.2 percent at $50 in trading before the market opened.

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