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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Lockheed Martin, Huntington Ingalls Industries, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and MoneyGram International

Zacks Equity Research

For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – August 14, 2013 – 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. (LMT-Free Report), Huntington Ingalls Industries, Inc. (HII-Free Report), Northrop Grumman Corp. (NOC-Free Report), Raytheon Company (RTN-Free Report) and MoneyGram International Inc. (MGI-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:

Lockheed Gets PAC-3 Missile Contract

Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT-Free Report) received a contract worth $308 million from the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command for the sale of missiles to Kuwait. Per the contract, the company will provide hardware and services related to the combat-proven PATRIOT Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) Missile Segment program.

Specifically, the contract calls for the production of 244 hit-to-kill PAC-3 Missiles, 72 launcher modification kits and associated tooling, as well as program management.

Lockheed Martin manufactures combat-proven PAC-3 missiles under production contracts from the U.S. Army, Air and Missile Defense Program. The PAC-3 Missile is the most advanced and powerful terminal air defense missile. Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor on the PAC-3 Missile Segment upgrade to the PATRIOT air defense system.

The missile segment consists of the PAC-3 Missile, a highly agile hit-to-kill interceptor, the PAC-3 Missile canisters, a fire solution computer and an enhanced launcher electronics system and launcher support hardware.

This is the first PAC-3 Patriot variant sale by Lockheed Martin to Kuwait under a Foreign Military Sale program. This makes Kuwait the sixth international customer for the missile. Other international customers include Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Taiwan, and the United Arab Emirates.

Lockheed Martin is the largest U.S. defense contractor with a platform-centric focus that guarantees a steady inflow of follow-on orders from a leveraged presence in the Army, Air Force, Navy and IT programs. During second quarter of 2013, the company’s Missiles and Fire Control segment quarterly sales increased 10.9% year over year driven by higher volume for tactical missile programs, primarily PAC-3 and Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (:THAAD).

We expect the company to continue to benefit from a strong defense focus on a number of its platform programs, such as the C-130 Hercules & C-5 Galaxy transport aircrafts, F-16 Fighting Falcon multi-role jet, MH-60 Helicopters, the Advanced Extremely High Frequency & the Global Positioning Satellite III system satellites, the Littoral Combat Ship, the Aegis Weapons System for mobile and sea-based missile defense and the THAAD system. The company presently retains a short-term Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

Among the stocks worth considering in the space are Huntington Ingalls Industries, Inc. (HII-Free Report), Northrop Grumman Corp. (NOC-Free Report) and Raytheon Company (RTN-Free Report). While Raytheon carries a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Huntington Ingalls and Northrop Grumman hold a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

MoneyGram Boosts Network in China

Last week, MoneyGram International Inc. (MGI-Free Report) collaborated with Fuzhou Rural Commercial Bank (Fuzhou RCB) in an effort to further expand its money transfer services in China. Fuzhou is one of the largest cities of Fuji in China.

The addition of Fuzhou RCB along with the recent alliances in Romania, Portugal, Tanzania and Uganda, among others, has escalated MoneyGram’s global agent network to 327,000. The bank also aims to expand its money transfer network via MoneyGram into the cities of Fuqing and Changle, further raising the growth potential for the company.

According to the World Bank, China is the second largest hub of the significant remittances with estimated money transfers worth $60 billion from about 150 countries globally. Thus, China’s position in the world money market ensures a cyclical money flow.

MoneyGram continues to bolster its position as one of the leading money transfer companies in the world by constantly expanding its payment network via alliances. Simultaneously, the company is also enhancing its brand awareness by developing user-friendly payment solutions that suit the new market trends. In this regard, the company offers various self-service products such as mobile, kiosk and online money transfer payment processes.

Such efforts are not only creating demand for global remittances but are also boosting MoneyGram’s brand value. The effects of its consistent growth strategies were also visible in the company’s recently announced second-quarter 2013 results.

MoneyGram has been gaining traction with the steady momentum in money transfer transaction revenues that increased 13% in the last reported quarter, showcasing double-digit growth for the 9th consecutive quarter. Further, global agent locations increased 15% over the prior-year quarter.

Led by diversified and market-compliant growth strategies, MoneyGram aims to continue achieving double-digit growth in money transfer transactions and increasing free cash flow.

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