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Tickers in this Article: UTX, GE, TYC, BA
One of the companies that is shaping up to be a solid longer-term play is United Technologies (NYSE:UTX), a Connecticut-based company with several high profile businesses including Pratt & Whitney Engines, Otis Elevators, and Sikorsky helicopters.

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On Monday before the opening bell, United issued a press release where it mentioned its expectations for 2009. More specifically, it indicated that it is looking for "earnings per share in the range of $4.00 to $4.50." This is particularly encouraging because in May the company offered the same outlook.

Very simply, the fact that the company didn't alter this target, particularly in this environment is a positive that will attract attention that could drive the share price higher.

However, you might wonder if the news is so great, why is the stock lower? One explanation is that with the Dow was off around 200 points, the stock is taking a hit. But this could actually make for a good buying opportunity. Of course this release in and of itself isn't the only thing that making investor ears perk up about United. In fact, there are a number of other items, contributing to a bullish bent.

Other Reasons UTX Stands Out
When looking at diversified companies or conglomerates, try to get a feel for whether or not the businesses they operate in are likely to perform well in the future. In United's case, I think they will.

Take Otis Elevator for example. As the building starts to perk up, it certainly stands to reason that its wares will be in demand. Same thing with its Sikorsky helicopter business, as the economy picks up I think it will do well. Right now with the economy on the ropes don't expect too much, but longer-term the demand for both civil and military aircraft will likely be very strong.

This line of thinking causes me to be bullish on Boeing (NYSE:BA) as well. The aircraft maker trades at a low multiple of expected earnings and seems ultra well-positioned to see the benefits of a growing world's population.

Then there is the valuation issue of United. At present, the company trades at roughly 13.3 times the current year estimate (currently $4.09). That's not super cheap, but I think it is a good value given that the company is expected to grow at a 9% clip per annum in the next five years according to analysts.

General Electric (NYSE:GE) is another diversified company that is garnering interest. It trades at about 8.5 trailing EPS and is expected to grow a little more than 8% per annum in the next five years. Since we are talking about earnings, it's also important to point out that United has actually beat or met estimates in each of the last four quarters, an impressive feat. Of course, this is no guarantee of future results. But it does inspire some confidence that it could do so again in the coming quarters.

Tyco (NYSE:TYC) is another example of a diversified company that comes to mind that has beaten expectations, handily, in each of the last four quarters. It's also a company that is heavily involved in businesses, like its security business, that seem like they have really good potential over a longer-term. (For more, check out Can Earnings Guidance Accurately Predict The Future?)

The Bottom Line
United's '09 outlook was nice to see. I remain bullish on the company, and of the other aforementioned companies General Electric is probably my top pick at the present. (Read Buy When There's Blood In The Streets, to learn how contrarian investors find value in the worst market conditions.)

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