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5 Industrial Stocks Funds Love for 2012

Stocks in this article: GE BA HON CAT UPS

Boeing

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From GE, and onto one of GE's major partners: Boeing (BA). Last quarter, funds picked up 9.72 million shares of Boeing, adding onto their $39 billion position in the firm. That share addition makes Boeing the second-most-bought industrial name in the fourth quarter.

For example, Steven Cohen's SAC Capital boosted his position by 82.7% to 2.2 million shares, while Fortress Investment Group initiated a new 48,000-share position in the stock .

Boeing is a $55 billion aerospace company that targets the commercial aviation and defense markets. As black clouds form over defense contractors, Boeing is benefitting from the increased impetus on more efficient airliners. After long delays, the firm's 787 entered commercial service in October, offering airlines a 20% reduction in fuel consumption from the similarly sized 767. And new engine systems on the popular 737 offer carriers better efficiency on a familiar platform.

With rising oil prices weighing on airlines' profitability, Boeing should have a strong tailwind at its back this year.

That's not to say that Boeing is bowing out of the defense business. The firm holds lucrative contracts right now, including one to replace nearly half of the Air Force's aging refueling tanker fleet. Boeing's mission-critical contracts should keep it more immune to defense budget cuts than most.

Boeing, one of the top-yielding aerospace and defense stocks, shows up on a list of JPMorgan's 24 Stocks That Are More Attractive Than Apple.

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