NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Hundreds of companies across the market spectrum are scheduled to report earnings this week. Given the mixed action during the opening weeks of earnings season, it will likely make for an exciting period for investors.The aerospace and defense industry will be of particular interest during the middle and latter half of the week. A wide collection of top names from this industry are expected to report quarterly earnings and provide outlooks for the remaining months of the year. Names on tap include Boeing ( BA), Lockheed Martin ( LMT), Raytheon ( RTN), General Dynamics ( GD), and Precision Castparts ( PCP). In this week's Five ETFs to Watch, I noted these companies, as well as others that are on tap to report earnings over the next few days, represent major slices of funds such as the iShares Dow Jones U.S. Aerospace & Defense Index Fund ( ITA). The aerospace and defense industry has held up noticeably well throughout the past few months as macroeconomic concerns have ignited doubts and led many to question the global growth picture. While this soured mood has weighed on the broad industrials, shares of ITA have managed to handedly and consistently outperform the Industrial Select Sector SPDR (XLI) over the past six months. Since late April, ITA has dipped 6%. XLI, meanwhile, has fallen approximately twice that amount. However, XLI has has a standout performance over the past month, helping it close some of this gap. ITA, however, does not appear to be showing signs of slowing down. On the contrary, investors have already seen hints of what can be expected from this week's battery of aerospace-related earnings. So far, the results have been promising. Last week, both Honeywell ( HON) and United Technologies ( UTX) were the latest companies to follow Google ( GOOG) and beat analyst earnings estimates for the most recent three-month period. In addition to surpassing forecasts, the two firms boosted their full-year outlooks. Despite seemingly sweeping concerns about slowing growth in the emerging markets, both companies highlighted how the hardy demand from the developing world played a key role in contributing to their standout performances. Representing nearly 9% of its assets, United Technologies ( UTX) is ITA's largest holding. Meanwhile, UTX and Honeywell together account for over 10% of another aerospace-related ETF, the PowerShares Aerospace & Defense Portfolio ( PPA).
Looking ahead, it will be interesting to see if companies like Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and others can follow suit. In their earnings preview published in Barron's, RBC Capital notes that commercial aerospace will be a major factor to keep a watch on. Defense-related business, on the other hand, is forecasted to be "surprise free." Given the preview that UTX and Honeywell have provided, it may be tempting to take on exposure to either ITA or PPA in anticipation for the earnings reports scheduled for the week ahead. This strategy may prove satisfying for risk tolerant, short term-minded traders. For conservative individuals, it may be more effective to wait on the sidelines until the initial earnings-fueled excitement subsides. Written by Don Dion in Williamstown, Mass.