Dividend Stocks

7 Defense Stocks to Buy Amid Peace Summit Tensions

Although labeled as the peace summit, an international call for an end to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine effectively did little more than harden ideological lines. While a great many support a roadmap to peace that encompasses Ukraine’s territorial integrity, key players – namely Russia and China, along with a few others – believe differently. What can be said is that defense stocks to buy present a cynically positive framework.

Unless the Russians agree to pull back their troops – something that Moscow has demonstrated zero intention of doing without receiving what Ukraine considers unacceptable concessions – and return to internationally recognized borders, the conflict will likely continue. At this point, then, the U.S. and its allies have little to do except to bolster their military capabilities.

Frankly, the conflict may come down to who is going to blink first. For the U.S. to keep its superpower reputation intact, it just can’t blink at all.

What makes defense stocks to buy even more compelling is that no matter who’s president next, foreign policy will likely play a huge role in any administration. Being the long superpower affords the U.S. with great economic advantages that can be lost if that power is shared with other nations. While it’s a controversial topic, it’s time to consider these defense plays.

Lockheed Martin (LMT)

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Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT) is one of the biggest names in defense stocks to buy. Fundamentally, the company is important for its ability to project power. Thanks to its massive aerospace division, U.S. forces and allies maintain air superiority across vast regions of the world. Of course, Lockheed is vital in myriad other areas. However, the ability to respond to saber rattling has never been more important.

Financially, LMT stock doesn’t offer the most exciting profile, I’m just keeping it real. However, it benefits from consistency. Between the second quarter of last year to Q1 2024, the company’s average earnings per share hit nearly $6.91. This print translated to an average earnings surprise of 5.5%.

During the trailing 12 months (TTM), Lockheed posted net income of $6.78 billion or earnings of $27.34 per share. Revenue in the period reached $69.64 billion. The latest quarterly sales rate (year-over-year) landed at 13.7%.

For fiscal 2024, covering experts anticipate a slight dip in EPS to $26.27. However, revenue could rise by 3.2% to $69.76 billion. Further, it offers a forward yield of 2.69%. Again, LMT isn’t exciting but it’s one of the top defense stocks to buy.

Northrop Grumman (NOC)

Northrop Grumman (NOC) logo on a corporate building

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Another revered (and feared) name among defense stocks to buy, Northrop Grumman (NYSE:NOC) makes a strong case for inclusion in your portfolio. Frankly, tensions in Europe are only going to rise unless the Russians encounter a catastrophic battlefield defeat. In the meantime, China consistently presents an adversarial presence. Essentially, Northrop’s myriad weapons systems keeps honest people honest.

Financially, Northrop occupies similar ground to Lockheed Martin. Neither company is particularly riveting from an investment standpoint. However, Northrop – like its rival – is consistent. During the past four quarters, it posted EPS of $6.03. This print translated to an earnings surprise of just under 6%.

During the TTM period, Northrop posted net income of $2.16 billion or $14.35 per share. In the cycle, revenue reached $40.12 billion. Further, the company’s most recent quarterly sales growth rate hit 8.9%. For fiscal 2024, experts believe EPS may rise 6.35% to land at $24.77. On the top line, sales could rise 4.6% to reach $41.11 billion.

Lastly, Northrop offers a forward dividend yield of 1.92%. It’s a solid idea if you’re looking for a stable candidate among defense stocks to buy.

RTX (RTX)

Raytheon (RTX) defense company logo hanging from glass building

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Formerly known as Raytheon Technologies, RTX (NYSE:RTX) is a key player within the aerospace and defense sector. Per its public profile, RTX provides systems and services for commercial, military and government customers. It’s easily one of the top defense stocks to buy thanks to its weapons systems, especially its interceptor missiles.

Raytheon of course plays a major role in responding to saber rattling. However, it’s also important to back up the tough talk: Raytheon does a lot of backing up, let’s put it that way. Even better, RTX stock isn’t all doom, gloom and boom. In the past four quarters, the underlying company’s EPS landed at roughly $1.27. This print translated to an earnings surprise of 6.45%.

In the TTM period, RTX posted net income of $3.48 billion or $2.54 per share. Moreover, revenue in the cycle hit $71.01 billion. The latest quarterly sales growth rate stands at 12.1%. For fiscal 2024, analysts see EPS rising by 6.3% to hit $5.38. On the top line, revenue may clock in at $79.07 billion, up 6.4% from last year.

RTX offers a decent forward yield of 2.48% for those on the fence.

Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII)

Person holding smartphone with logo of US company Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc (HII) on screen in front of website Focus on phone display

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One of the distinct plays among defense stocks to buy, Huntington Ingalls Industries (NYSE:HII) designs and builds military ships. It’s also responsible for their overhauling and repairs. This business will be increasingly significant, not only from a capacity perspective but also as a projection of power. Unlike the Russians, the U.S. commands a dominant naval force.

Further, with tensions rising with China, both the current and future administrations can’t afford to show weakness. The U.S. Navy will be called upon to demonstrate the nation’s broader military supremacy. Therefore, I see a huge demand influx for HII stock. So far, the financials bear this out. During the past four quarters, the average earnings surprise came out to a robust 21.03%.

In the TTM period, Huntington posted net income of $705 million, translating to $17.71 per share. Revenue in this cycle reached $11.59 billion. The most recent quarterly sales growth rate comes in at 4.9%. For fiscal 2024, experts see a slight dip in EPS to $16.56. However, the top line may rise modestly to $11.72 billion from last year’s $11.45 billion.

Huntington also offers a forward yield of 2.07%. While you might not get rich with HII, it’s one of the most relevant defense stocks to buy.

AeroVironment (AVAV)

The logo for AeroVironment (AVAV) is seen through a magnifying glass on the company's website.

Source: Pavel Kapysh / Shutterstock.com

A higher-risk, higher-reward idea within the aerospace and defense sector, AeroVironment (NASDAQ:AVAV) flew to fame with its self-destruct zones. Essentially, military operators can hide behind cover while directly an unmanned drone. Should a target be cited, an operator can deliberately crash into it, with the aim of destruction or disablement.

Drone warfare represented one of the key takeaways in the conflict in Ukraine. I’d imagine that future conflicts will involve the same, meaning that AeroVironment may cynically benefit from increased demand. It hasn’t always been the most consistent financial performer, with the company missing in its fiscal Q1 2023 report. However, during the past four quarters, its average earnings surprise clocked in at 107.5%.

During the TTM period, AeroVironment posted a net loss of $106.85 million or $4.44 per share in the red. However, sales hit $705.78 million. Further, the most recent sales growth rate soared to 38.8%.

For fiscal 2024, analysts anticipate a big jump in EPS to $2.81. Also, revenue may reach $708.15 million, a 31% increase from last year. It’s one of the enticing defense stocks to buy.

Boeing (BA)

Royal Air Force Boeing (BA) Chinook HC2A (352) [ZH895] lifting off from runway

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Aerospace giant Boeing (NYSE:BA) presents a controversial narrative, not just for the underlying relevance to defense stocks to buy but also because of troubles in its civilian unit. Without going into all the details, Boeing for the last few years has struggled due to safety concerns associated with its jetliners. That’s the kind of stuff that happens when doors blow off airplanes.

It appears that the controversies have weighed on the firm’s financials. In the past four quarters, Boeing incurred an average loss per share of $1.33. In fairness, the red ink came in at a lesser degree than experts anticipated. Therefore, the average quarterly surprise came out to 18.08%. Still, BA stock is down heavily on a year-to-date basis.

In the TTM period, Boeing suffered a net loss of $2.15 billion or $3.54 per share. Sales in the period landed at $76.44 billion. For fiscal 2024, analysts expect a major improvement to a loss of $1.36. Last year, the company posted a loss of $5.81 per share.

On the top line, sales may dip 5.4% to $73.58 billion. Still, a recovery could materialize in fiscal 2025, with sales projected to rise to $88.36 billion.

Blacksky Technology (BKSY)

futuristic image of earth from space to represent aerospace stocks

If you want to roll the dice with your defense stocks to buy, Blacksky Technology (NYSE:BKSY) might be an enticing prospect. For all intents and purposes, when you consider the lowly share price and the nothing-burger market capitalization, Blacksky is a penny stock. However, it’s part of the burgeoning geospatial intelligence ecosystem. Therefore, it could play a huge role in critical data collection.

Understanding where enemy positions are located along with potential areas of movement will offer military operators a potentially pivotal advantage. Therefore, BKSY stock could reasonably see a demand influx if more people recognize the opportunity. For now, it’s a hit-or-miss affair financially. Still, it must be said that in terms of mitigating expected losses per share, Blacksky posted a quarterly surprise of 11.45% between Q2 2023 and Q1 2024.

During the TTM period, the company incurred a net loss of $52.35 million or 37 cents per share. Revenue in the period hit $100.33 million. For fiscal 2024, experts believe Blacksky will post a loss per share of 34 cents, an improvement from last year’s 39 cents in the red.

Revenue may land at $108.94 million, up 15.3%. Further, fiscal 2025 sales could soar to $138.54 million, up 27.2%.

On the date of publication, Josh Enomoto did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.

A former senior business analyst for Sony Electronics, Josh Enomoto has helped broker major contracts with Fortune Global 500 companies. Over the past several years, he has delivered unique, critical insights for the investment markets, as well as various other industries including legal, construction management, and healthcare. Tweet him at @EnomotoMedia.

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