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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: J. M. Smucker, PepsiCo, Snyder's-Lance, Mondelez International and 3D Systems

CHICAGO, Aug. 11, 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 J. M. Smucker Company (NYSE:SJM-Free Report), PepsiCo Inc. (NYSE:PEP-Free Report), Snyder's-Lance, Inc. (Nasdaq:LNCE-Free Report), Mondelez International, Inc. (Nasdaq:MDLZ-Free Report) and 3D Systems Corporation (NYSE:DDD-Free Report).

Zacks Investment Research, Inc., www.zacks.com

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

Here are highlights from Friday's Analyst Blog:

Smucker to Expand Snacks Biz, Acquires Sahale from Seattle

Food manufacturer The J. M. Smucker Company (NYSE:SJM-Free Report) is on track to expand its snacks portfolio. It recently signed a definitive agreement to acquire Seattle, WA-based Sahale Snacks, Inc. for an undisclosed amount.

Sahale is a privately-held company, which manufactures and deals in marketing of premium, branded nut and fruit snacks. Its products are primarily sold in the United States under the Sahale Snacks brand.

Per the deal, Smucker will acquire a leased facility in Seattle and approximately 150 employees of Sahale. The transaction is expected to conclude by mid-September and will benefit the company's earnings only after fiscal 2015.

The acquisition is expected to enhance Smucker's portfolio with innovative and in vogue snacking products. The deal is a strategic fit for Smucker as Sahale's premium lifestyle snacks brand perfectly complement its products like fruit spreads, retail packaged coffee, peanut butter, shortening and oils, ice cream toppings and sweetened condensed milk.

With the change in consumer preferences, there is a huge demand for innovative snack products with unique flavors. Other snacking companies like The Frito Lay division of PepsiCo Inc. (NYSE:PEP-Free Report), Snyder's-Lance, Inc. (Nasdaq:LNCE-Free Report) and Mondelez International, Inc. (Nasdaq:MDLZ-Free Report) have been focusing on introducing different snacking options for its customers, which help maintain a steady energy level throughout the day.

Besides the snacks business, Smucker has also tried its hand at specialty and organic foods. Demand for healthy, nutritious and natural foods has grown in recent years as people are more concerned about obesity and other health problems. In Aug 2013, the company acquired CA-based Enray Inc., which is a privately-held company that manufactures and sells organic, gluten-free ancient grain products.

The American Heart Association estimates that currently about one-third of U.S. adults are obese. If the current obesity growth trend continues, total healthcare costs attributable to obesity could account for as high as 16% to 18% of U.S. health expenditure. As a result, Americans are gradually spending more on higher-priced organic and specialty food products despite overall decline in consumer spending.

Smucker holds a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

3D Systems Gains on Laser Reproduction Acquisition

Shares of 3D Systems Corporation (NYSE:DDD-Free Report) gained 3.6% after the company announced its acquisition of Columbus based Laser Reproductions, leading provider of services for rapid prototyping, manufacturing, product development and stereolithography. The acquisition announced on Aug 6 will enhance 3D Systems' Quickparts Solutions business in the U.S.

Laser Reproductions possesses prolific experience in advanced manufacturing services stretched over three decades. Apart from infrastructure to support high production volumes, the company boasts of strong relationships with a number of blue chip firms in the region.

3D Systems has been leveraging its robust financial position to broaden its presence in the materials, medical and metal industries. In the recently reported second quarter results, despite a number of acquisitions the company saw strong year-over-year growth in both cash and cash equivalents and operating cash flow. Though the company has kept the financial terms of the transaction under covers, the deal is likely to be significantly beneficial to its business.

Operational Synergies

Quickparts Solutions offers speedy and customized manufacturing of complex prototypes of parts in both plastic and metal. This apart, the company provides relevant production tooling and part options for a smooth transformation from prototyping to the production phase. 3D Systems' is likely to gain substantially from Laser Reproductions' advanced production capabilities. This along with its strong networks comes as a positive. Laser Reproductions will perfectly complement Quickparts Solutions to drive growth in its on-demand, quick-turn cloud manufacturing offerings while expanding it further in North America.

Further, the acquisition of Laser Reproductions, being immediately accretive to 3D Systems is expected to add to its non-GAAP earnings within a year.

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Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Inherent in any investment is the potential for loss. This material is being provided for informational purposes only and nothing herein constitutes investment, legal, accounting or tax advice, or a recommendation to buy, sell or hold a security. No recommendation or advice is being given as to whether any investment is suitable for a particular investor. It should not be assumed that any investments in securities, companies, sectors or markets identified and described were or will be profitable. All information is current as of the date of herein and is subject to change without notice. Any views or opinions expressed may not reflect those of the firm as a whole. Zacks Investment Research does not engage in investment banking, market making or asset management activities of any securities. These returns are from hypothetical portfolios consisting of stocks with Zacks Rank = 1 that were rebalanced monthly with zero transaction costs. These are not the returns of actual portfolios of stocks. The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index. Visit http://www.zacks.com/performance for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.

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