During a recession, it is more important for a company to post positive operating cash flows than to post positive earnings: Cash, not accounting profits, pays the bills. It's a good sign if a cyclical's cash flow from operations is positive even in tough years.
From the 10-year financial history in its annual report, we learn that United Technologies has indeed posted positive operating cash flows in every year of the 1990s. The company is extremely cyclical, but it generates cash even in slumps.
How Steady Are the Company's Dividends over a Cycle? >>