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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Alcoa, Aluminum Corporation of China, Atlatsa Resources, BHP Billiton and Lockheed Martin

Companies mentioned in this article: Zacks Investment Research, Inc.

CHICAGO, June 2, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Zacks.com announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include the Alcoa Inc. (NYSE:AA-Free Report), Aluminum Corporation of China Ltd. (NYSE:ACH-Free Report), Atlatsa Resources Corp. (AMEX:ATL-Free Report), BHP Billiton Ltd. (NYSE:BHP-Free Report) and Lockheed Martin Corporation (NYSE:LMT-Free Report).

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Here are highlights from Friday's Analyst Blog:

Alcoa to Produce Jet Engine Parts in Indiana

Aluminum giant Alcoa Inc. (NYSE:AA-Free Report) announced that it has broken ground on its new $100 million aerospace expansion in La Porte, IN, where it will produce nickel-based superalloy jet engine parts for large commercial aircraft, including narrow- and wide-body and military airplanes.

The plant's construction is expected to complete by the end of 2015. The plant will provide highly engineered parts that are required to build some of the best-selling engines and at high volumes to its customers. The facility will utilize the latest technologies in order to meet particular product specifications.

The 32,000 square feet plant will increase Alcoa's capacity to supply engines for narrow-body aircraft. It will also enable Alcoa to produce parts about 60% larger than components it already produces, thus expanding its market presence to wide-body airplanes.

The Indiana Economic Development Corporation has offered Alcoa up to $4 million in conditional tax credits, based on the company's job creation plans. Further, the city of La Porte has approved tax incentives of $7.1 million over a 10-year period. This is the second major aerospace investment by Alcoa in Indiana in two years. The first one being Alcoa's plans of constructing a $90 million greenfield state-of-the-art aluminum lithium facility at its Lafayette operations, as announced in 2012.

Alcoa is witnessing healthy airline fundamentals. The company, on Apr 8, increased its global aerospace growth expectations for 2014 to 8%-9% from 7%-8% factoring in strong demand for both large commercial aircraft and regional jets and sustained growth in the business jet market.

Alcoa, a prominent player in the mining industry along with Aluminum Corporation of China Ltd. (NYSE:ACH-Free Report), Atlatsa Resources Corp. (AMEX:ATL-Free Report) and BHP Billiton Ltd. (NYSE:BHP-Free Report), is a world leader in production and management of primary aluminum, fabricated aluminum, and alumina. The company currently holds a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Lockheed to Acquire Astrotech Unit

Aerospace and defense major Lockheed Martin Corporation (NYSE:LMT-Free Report) has inked a deal with Astrotech Corporation to acquire the latter's Astrotech Space Operations ("ASO") business for an undisclosed amount. The transaction is subject to several approvals. If approved, the deal is expected to be completed in third-quarter 2014.

Titusville, FL-based ASO is a leader in satellite launch preparation services. It provides the necessary support required for spacecraft processing, including pre-launch hardware integration and testing, satellite encapsulation and fueling. The company's launch facilities offer perfect processing areas for a wide range of spacecraft which includes earth observation, complex communications and deep space satellites.

To date, the company has contributed products and services to more than 300 successful spacecraft missions. ASO serves both government as well as commercial customers and has facilities in California and Florida.

Post transaction, the products and services of ASO will be regarded as Lockheed's wholly owned subsidiary and managed by its Space Systems division.

Lockheed continues to expand its product coverage under the satellite division and has completed significant deliveries. On May 22, 2014, the company announced that its Commercial Launch Services will launch the WorldView-3 commercial remote sensing spacecraft and place it in orbit on Aug 13, 2014 for DigitalGlobe.

On May 6, Lockheed had completed the propulsion module for the fourth Space-Based Infrared System Geosynchronous Earth Orbit space vehicle. The latest addition of a satellite launch services provider will enable Lockheed to strengthen its product and service offering under the Space Systems operations besides increasing the customer base.

Lockheed makes strategic acquisitions that boost its product coverage and increase market penetration. In Mar 2014, the company acquired BEONTRA AG, which provides integrated planning and demand forecasting tools for airports. The company also signed several acquisition contracts, including Industrial Defender in Mar 2014 and Amor Group last year.

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About Zacks Equity Research

Zacks Equity Research provides the best of quantitative and qualitative analysis to help investors know what stocks to buy and which to sell for the long-term.

Continuous coverage is provided for a universe of 1,150 publicly traded stocks. Our analysts are organized by industry which gives them keen insights to developments that affect company profits and stock performance. Recommendations and target prices are six-month time horizons.

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