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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Boeing, Safran, General Electric, United Technologies and Cooper Companies

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – June 24, 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 Boeing Company (BA - Analyst Report)-Free Report), Safran SA -Free Report), General Electric Company (GE - Analyst Report)-Free Report), United Technologies Corp. (UTX - Analyst Report)-Free Report) and The Cooper Companies Inc. (COO - Analyst Report)-Free Report).

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

Here are highlights from Friday’s Analyst Blog:

Heyday Back for Aerospace Industry?

If reports from the Paris Air Show are anything to go by, the global commercial aviation industry has clearly booked its ticket for an upward flight after a prolonged cessation due to an anemic macroeconomic environment and spending cuts by big-ticket players. So, is the beleaguered Aerospace industry getting back to its hay days?

Latest data from the exhibition reveal that jet engine makers had booked orders and service contracts worth $24 billion, signifying an avid interest in the industry to replace fuel-guzzling aircrafts with fuel-saving jets as gasoline reserves get hollowed out each day and environmental safety issues take the driving seat.

In addition, the industry is likely to face increased demand as the International Air Transport Association trade group projects that passenger traffic is expected to grow at an annual rate of 5% in the near future.

Consequently, aircraft manufacturers across the globe are focusing on introducing new plane designs, which will further push the envelope of flight performance and efficiency measures, through technological innovations and automation of factories. Experts believe that in the next few years, highly skilled aircraft manufacturing jobs could be done by machines and engine parts could be delicately fabricated by an industrial 3-D printer or a paint job could be applied by a robot.

As the industry gets flooded with a huge order pile, more and more companies are gearing up to open their wallets for investments in automation to produce high volume at low costs. Industry players foresee that such initiatives could eventually help in delivering over 35,000 jets in the next 20 years for a cumulative value of about $4.8 trillion. Aviation expos like the Paris Air Show, which is one of the world’s oldest and largest aviation exhibitions, have emerged to be such an avenue to turn the tide in favor of the aircraft manufacturers and generate a buzz in the industry.

Leading jet manufacturers like Airbus and The Boeing Company (BA - Analyst Report)-Free Report) have garnered healthy business at the exhibition for 908 aircraft, estimated to be worth $134.7 billion at list prices. While Airbus raked in orders for manufacturing 466 aircrafts, Boeing was not too far behind at 442.

CFM International, a 50-50 joint venture between Snecma S.A., a French multinational aircraft manufacturer and subsidiary of Safran SA -Free Report); and GE Aviation Systems, an operating unit of General Electric Company (GE - Analyst Report)-Free Report), procured an aviation contract worth $13.06 billion, bringing its tally for the show to $15 billion to date.

Others in the fray included Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., a subsidiary of diversified business conglomerate United Technologies Corp. (UTX - Analyst Report)-Free Report), which generated significant customer interest for its diversified helicopter fleet. Even Pratt & Whitney, one of the other operating segments of United Technologies, booked large orders for manufacturing engines for various aircraft.

However, despite the encouraging findings, critics are cautious about the ambitious production plans of the industry and remain wary of the fallouts of huge investments failing to justify the returns. Nevertheless, we believe that a potential global market will shield the aeronautical sector from regional shocks, and the bullishness is here to stay.

Cooper Biofinity Lens Performs Well

CooperVision, a part of The Cooper Companies Inc. (COO - Analyst Report)-Free Report), a company focused on contact lens and women’s health, recently revealed that its Biofinity brand was the most rapidly growing brand of contact lenses in the U.S. market during the 12-month period ending Mar 2013. In fact, Biofinity added more users than any other frequently replaced lens brand over the preceding year. Cooper’s toric lenses led in the 30-day category.

COO’s Biofinity lenses use its Aquaform Technology. These lenses are made of a natural wettable substance that cuts down on deposits for day long comfort. Biofinity lenses retain moisture during usage and an additional wetting substance may therefore not be required. These lenses may be prescribed for 7 straight days and 6 nights. 

The lens material uses a breakthrough substance that is porous to oxygen with a higher content of water. This yields a better experience for the lens user. The Aquaform knowhow from Cooper permits less silicone to be used in building the lens which permits greater permeability to oxygen. It also retains more water in the lens resulting in greater comfort and lower deposits. 

The Biofinity set of products from Cooper includes Biofinity toric, Biofinity multifocal and Biofinity sphere. As per the company, 80% of contact lens users prefer the comfort of Biofinity toric lenses after about a month of usage.   

The outlook for the contact lens industry is favorable. Trade up to value added lenses, such as silicone hydrogel or one-day lenses, constitutes a major avenue for growth. A trade up to 1-day disposable lenses sharply increases per user sales and profit. Cooper continues to grow sales at higher than market growth rates.

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

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