The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Alcoa, Aluminum Corporation of China Limited, Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton and Brookfield Office Properties

Tue Jun 21, 2011 9:30am EDT

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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Alcoa, Aluminum Corporation of China Limited, Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton and Brookfield Office Properties

PR Newswire

CHICAGO, June 21, 2011 /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: Alcoa Inc. (NYSE: AA), Aluminum Corporation Of China Limited (NYSE: ACH), Rio Tinto plc. (NYSE: RIO), BHP Billiton Ltd. (NYSE: BHP) and Brookfield Office Properties (NYSE: BPO).

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Here are highlights from Thursday's Analyst Blog:

Alcoa Re-aligns for China

Alcoa Inc. (NYSE: AA) stated that the company's Asia-Pacific regional headquarters will report to Alcoa's Business Excellence and Corporate Strategy organization, which is part of an initiative to support the expanding footprint of Alcoa's three business groups in the fast-growing and strategically important Chinese market.

This change goes into effect  on July 1, 2011.

Asia-Pacific President Jinya Chen was elected Vice President of Alcoa by the company's board of directors and will oversee Alcoa's China strategy. Chen joined the company in 2007.

The company also announced that Jiming Zhu will join Alcoa as President of China Rolled Products, with responsibility of managing all of Alcoa's Global Rolled Products (GRP) operations in China. Zhu succeeds Mark Vrablec. Zhu, who was chairman of Caterpillar China, will join the company in mid-July.

Alcoa expects to grow its rolled products business three times faster than the market in the next three years by expanding its reach to customers in China's automotive, packaging and consumer electronics markets.

Alcoa, a Pennsylvania-based corporation, is among the world's leading producers of primary and fabricated aluminum and alumina. It involves the technology of mining, refining, smelting, fabricating and recycling of aluminum. We believe that Alcoa's cost reduction efforts are, to some extent, offsetting the negative impact of higher energy and raw material costs on profitability.

The company is divesting underperforming assets through its restructuring program. The annual global consumption of aluminum products, both upstream and downstream, is expected to double over the next 15 years. This consumption boom will be driven primarily by growth in China, India, Russia and Brazil, whose demographics are accelerating development.

Alcoa faces stiff competition from Aluminum Corporation Of China Limited (NYSE: ACH), Rio Tinto plc. (NYSE: RIO) and BHP Billiton Ltd. (NYSE: BHP).

Currently, Alcoa has a short-term (1 to 3 months) Zacks #3 Rank (Hold) and a long-term (6 months) Neutral recommendation.

BPO Upgrading World Financial Center

Brookfield Office Properties (NYSE: BPO) is planning a $250 million retail redevelopment of the World Financial Center in downtown Manhattan. The redevelopment will include a connector to the area's transit hubs, which  offers high-end fashion, a European-style marketplace, and dinning destinations. The construction is expected to  commence by October 2011 and will likely be completed  by 2013.

The World Financial Center is an 8 million-square feet complex located in downtown Manhattan surrounded by an affluent residential population and is home to some of the most well-reputed international corporate firms. Brookfield made significant investment in the redevelopment of this space considering the vested interest for office space by many corporate firms. The Center is also ideally located for retailers and restaurant operators.

These improvements are coming at the perfect time as it coincides with the Hudson River Park's recent completion, the anticipated completion of the two downtown transit centers and a $20 billion private and public investment in lower Manhattan.

Brookfieldowns develops and manages premier office properties in the United States, Canada and Australia. Its portfolio consists of 109 properties spanning 78 million square feet in the downtown cores of New York, Washington, D.C., Houston, Los Angeles, Toronto, Calgary, Ottawa, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, making it the global leader in the ownership and management of office assets. Brookfield is currently in negotiations for more than two million square feet space with other major office tenants in the financial service and media sectors.

Brookfield currently retains a Zacks #3 Rank, which translates into a short-term Hold rating. We are also maintaining our long-term Neutral recommendation on the stock.

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