Johnson Controls

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Johnson Controls ( JCI) is the last stock we'll take a look at today. A diversified manufacturer, the firm operates in three businesses: HVAC systems, automotive interiors, and car batteries. While that positioning has historically left Johnson Controls beholden to the automotive sector, that's actually been a good thing for the firm more recently. After all, car sales have been on fire as near-zero interest rates and a historically old national car fleet sent buyers looking for new rides.

But while things look good here at home in the world's biggest car market, they're looking less good in Europe, where economic headwinds are plaguing any U.S. company that earns in euros and then converts them to dollars for reporting purposes. Growth in the HVAC business has helped to offset that, as growth in Asia and more efficient upgrades stateside drive revenues for HVAC services and equipment.

With cash and investments of over $1.6 billion right now, and ample credit available (including euro denominated accounts), Johnson Controls looks capable of hiking its dividend payout above 18 cents in 2012. A 3% dividend yield makes it a solid core holding for income investors in search of manufacturing exposure.

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-- Written by Jonas Elmerraji in Baltimore.

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At the time of publication, author had no positions in stocks mentioned.

Jonas Elmerraji is the editor and portfolio manager of the Rhino Stock Report, a free investment advisory that returned 15% in 2008. He is a contributor to numerous financial outlets, including Forbes and Investopedia, and has been featured in Investor's Business Daily, in Consumer's Digest and on MSNBC.com.

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