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First up is
Emerson Electric(EMR - Get Report), a $37 billion firm that owns a diverse portfolio of businesses, manufacturing electric motors, valves and switches, air conditioning compressors and tools. That positioning gives EMR hefty exposure to the cyclical industrial sector, a business that's been under pressure in the last few years as demand slows for manufactured goods.
Still, Emerson has made some big strides at recovering from the Great Recession. In 2011, the firm finally eclipsed its pre-recession revenue and profit levels.
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With a massive presence in factories around the world, Emerson has turned its focus to emerging markets to seek out growth going forward. As a burgeoning middle class drives up wages in countries with major manufacturing operations, the firm's expertise in process automation should help it to attract customers who want to keep human workers on tasks that machines can't do. Big investments in Emerson's power business in recent years should also help drive sales in the lucrative (and less cyclical) infrastructure projects taking place around the globe.
Emerson has a long track record of rewarding shareholders. Historically, the firm has paid out around 80% of free cash for dividends and share buybacks. The firm's 40-cent quarterly dividend payout gives EMR a yield of 3.2% right now, but this stock has all the markings of a firm set to hike its dividend later on in 2012.
Investors looking for industrial exposure in their portfolios should consider EMR a good core income holding right now.