How Defense Stocks Reacted to Missile Attack on Syria

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The U.S. missile attack against a Syrian airport marks a significant departure in U.S. Middle East policy that may indicate a greater willingness to use military force against the Syrian regime. Such a change would bring with it a demand for more military hardware, and investors are signaling this morning that U.S. defense contractors are expected to benefit from a more hard-power policy.

President Donald Trump on Thursday evening ordered the firing of at least 59 Tomahawk missiles from two U.S. Navy battleships as a retaliatory strike against the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad for its use of chemical weapons against the country’s own citizens earlier this week.

For investors, interest in defense stocks rose Friday morning, with U.S. defense contractors posting solid share price increases. Here’s a rundown of which stocks are moving and why.

Raytheon Co. (NYSE: RTN) is the prime contractor for the Tomahawk missiles that were used in last night’s attack. Raytheon stock traded up about 1% Friday morning, at $152.23 in a 52-week range of $124.75 to $157.59.

Lockheed Martin Corp. (NYSE: LMT) subcontracts the weapon control system for the Tomahawk and is the top U.S. defense contractor. Lockheed’s shares traded up 0.9%, at $269.52 in a 52-week range of $224.11 to $274.57.

Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) provides the command and control system for the Tomahawk missile and is the second largest U.S. defense contractor. Boeing stock traded up about 0.1%, at $177.59 in a 52-week range of $122.35 to $185.71.

BAE Systems traded up neatly 3% in London on Friday. The company makes vertical launch systems for the Tomahawk and other missiles under contract to the U.S. Navy.

The iShares US Aerospace & Defense ETF (NYSEMKT: ITA) traded up about 0.5% to $149.20, in a 52-week range of $117.01 to $154.46.