The Morristown, N.J., industrial conglomerate also boosted its full-year forecast for earnings per share and shares rose nearly 3 percent.
Profit rose 17 percent to $823 million, or $1.04 per share, compared with $705 million, or 88 cents per share, in the first quarter of last year. Analysts polled by Reuters had expected earninngs per share of 99 cents.
There was a lower number of shares outstanding in the recently completed quarter compared with the year-earlier period.
Sales were up 7 percent to $9.3 billion compared to the first quarter of 2011.
The company also said it expected growth in U.S. and emerging markets to offset weakness in Europe. Specifically, Honeywell expects second-quarter earnings from continuing operations to increase between 9 percent and 13 percent, or $1.09 to $1.13 per share.
Shares rose 3.9 percent in premarket trading; by midday the stock was up $1.94, 3.34 percent, to $59.94.
In its quarterly statement, Honeywell said it expected continued strength in its aerospace business, which rose 9.4 percent to $2.95 billion in the first quarter. Sales in its chemicals division, which produces chemicals for and offers supplies and services to the petrochemicals industry, increased 19 percent to $1.62 billion in the first three months of this year.
The company's transportation division saw a 1.1 percent decline to $954 million due to a slowdown in vehicle production in Europe.