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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, United Technologies, Boeing and Northrop Grumman

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

CHICAGO, Aug. 20, 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 Lockheed Martin Corp. (NYSE:LMT-Free Report), Raytheon Co. (NYSE:RTN-Free Report), United Technologies Corp. (NYSE:UTX-Free Report), Boeing Co. (NYSE:BA-Free Report) and Northrop Grumman Corp. (NYSE:NOC-Free Report).


Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of the Day pick for free.

Here are highlights from Tuesday's Analyst Blog:

Defense Stock Roundup

Over the last five trading sessions, defense stocks have closed in the green thanks to geopolitical tensions that acted as a driver in the military and defense space otherwise beleaguered by budget constraints.

The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) eased restrictions on Lockheed Martin Corp.'s (NYSE:LMT-Free Report) fifth-generation fighter plane, the F-35. In another encouraging headline, the British government said that it will pay about 235 million pounds ($392 million) to the defense major Raytheon Co. (NYSE:RTN-Free Report) for unlawfully terminating a contract for an electronic border control system.

(Read the last recap here: Defense Stock Roundup for Aug 12, 2014).


Following a series of U.S. air strikes, Iraq's Mosul dam - the largest dam of the country - was recaptured. Kurdish forces had been fighting with U.S. air support to retake it since Aug 16. The U.S. military used fighters, bombers, attack and unmanned aircraft to conduct 35 strikes and destroyed 90 targets including nine Islamic State (IS) positions and eight vehicles around the Mosul dam.

The recapture marks a major victory against the IS jihadists since they launched a major offensive in northern Iraq in June, brushing aside Iraqi security forces.

Meanwhile, Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki resigned putting an end to his eight years of rule. This opens a new political period that U.S. officials hope will pose a more united front against IS militants. Mr. Maliki's departure came after intense pressure from other Shiite members of his political group, as well as Shiite religious figures. The U.S. and Iraq's close ally Iran have also been all for ousting Maliki.

Recap of the Week's Most Important Stories

1. Aerospace and defense operator Raytheon Company received a favorable decision from the Arbitration Tribunal, which settled the ongoing dispute between Raytheon Systems Limited (Raytheon UK) and the United Kingdom Home Office relating to the eBorders program (Read more: Raytheon Awarded Damages in UK Contract Termination Suit)

2. The U.S. DoD has eased restrictions on Pentagon's prime contractor Lockheed Martin Corp.'s F-35 jet. This allowed more than 20 test planes in the U.S. fleet to fly six hours between engine inspections instead of three.

Lockheed Martin's F-35 Joint Strike Fighter - the world's most expensive weapons system, costing around $400 billion - came across an unexpected hurdle following an emergency at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida on Jun 23, when a fire in the rear of one plane compelled the pilot to terminate a takeoff. The jets were grounded for three weeks after the incident, and have since been imposed with flight limitations. Contract talks between prime contractor Lockheed and engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney - a unit of diversified conglomerate United Technologies Corp. (NYSE:UTX-Free Report) - are now progressing for the upcoming batch of aircraft and engines.

3. In a separate development, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company, a major unit of Lockheed Martin, received a $232.8 million contract from the U.S. Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) to perform non-recurring sustainment activities, to include procurement of 19 training devices and 69 items of complex support equipment. The work on this contract is expected to be completed in Jun 2017. This is a modification to a $535.3 million F-35 Lightning II Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) Lot VI contract awarded in Aug 2011.

4. The Boeing Co. (NYSE:BA-Free Report) won a $295.6 million contract from the U.S. Navy to buy parts required for production of 12 more P-8A spy planes, including 8 for the U.S. Navy and 4 for the government of Australia. The aircraft will substitute the P-3 spy planes of the U.S. Navy, which have been in service for more than 40 years. In February, Boeing had won a $2.1 billion contract to manufacture the initial batch of 16 P-8A Poseidon long-range maritime spy planes for the Navy.

5. Northrop Grumman Corp. (NYSE:NOC-Free Report) secured a $240.7 million U.S. Air Force contract for three Global Hawk unmanned aircraft of the Block 30 variety. Each unit will contain enhanced integrated sensor suite and an airborne signals intelligence payload (ASIP), as well as two additional ASIP sensors as retrofit kits. The work on this contract is slated for completion by the end of Jun 2017. This is a modification contract to a $114.2 million firm-fixed-price contract awarded in Sep 2013.

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