U.S. national security advisor Jake Sullivan announced on Sunday that a Russian attack on Ukraine could happen at any time. Unfortunately, it looks like Ukraine’s citizens agree due to widespread panic in Ukraine.
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In talks with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, President Joe Biden has said that the U.S. and its allies would respond “decisively” if Russia invades Ukraine.
Furthermore, the finance ministers of the G-7 nations issued a statement pledging financial support for Ukraine, and vowed to impose economic and financial sanctions on the Russian economy should Russia continue its aggressive stance.
What does this all mean for you? Well, you can actually use the situation to your advantage, even if doing so might eat at your moral code just a little. It’s natural to consider defense stocks, which have surged in recent trading sessions amid rising tensions, especially as the rest of the stock market shifts downward.
Let’s walk through defense stocks and the top defense stocks for your personal situation.
What Are Defense Stocks?
Defense stocks offer predictable and stable returns and move based on what’s happening in Washington, D.C. and in international events instead of moving in cyclical consumer cycles. Government contracting means these companies can offer a certain degree of predictability. In other words, some companies are defense contractors and receive regular business from the Pentagon, civil agencies or intelligence services for items like warplanes, missiles and tanks.
3 Defense Stocks to Double Down on
Take a look at a few stocks to consider in light of Ukraine-Russia tensions.
Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT)
Lockheed Martin Corp. is a global security and aerospace company that researches, designs, develops and manufactures technology systems, products and services through its various segments: aeronautics, missiles and fire control, rotary and mission systems and space. The company develops advanced military aircraft, including combat and air mobility aircraft, unmanned air vehicles, missile defense systems, tactical missiles and air-to-ground precision strike weapon systems, fire control systems, mission operations support, manned and unmanned ground vehicles and energy management solutions. It also creates a variety of military and commercial helicopters, ship and submarine mission and combat systems, mission systems and sensors for rotary and fixed-wing aircraft and sea and land-based missile defense systems.
Lockheed Martin Corporation reported Q4 2021 net sales of $17.7 billion compared to $17 billion in Q4 2020. Net earnings in Q4 2021 were $2 billion, or $7.47 per share compared to $1.8 billion or $6.38 per share in Q4 2020. Cash from operations was $4.3 billion in Q4 2021, compared to $1.8 billion in Q4 2020. Cash from operations in the fourth quarter of 2020 was after $1 billion of discretionary pension contributions.
Shareholders in 2021 collected $7 billion in dividends and share repurchases.
- Net earnings for the quarter included net gains of $85 million due to increases in the fair value of investments held in the Lockheed Martin Ventures Fund.
- Net earnings the end of 2021 included a noncash pension settlement charge of $1.7 billion associated with the $4.9 billion gross pension liability transfer completed in Q3.
The Biden-Harris Administration requested $715 billion for 2022 but the U.S. Senate allocated $740 billion in December last year, and it should propel Lockheed Martin further this year.
Northrop Grumman (NYSE: NOC)
Northrop Grumman Corp., headquartered in Falls Church, Virginia, is an aerospace and defense company which creates and delivers platforms, systems and solutions through autonomous systems and cyber, command, control, communications and computers, as well as intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and more. The company offers battle management and missile systems, airborne sensors, cyber and intelligence mission solutions, maritime systems, navigation, strategic missiles and space.
Northrop Grumman posted the following results for year-end 2021 and Q4:
- Sales of $8.6 billion in Q4 and 2021 sales of $35.7 billion
- EPS of $17.14 in Q4
- EPS of $43.54 in 2021
- 2021 cash from operations of $3.6 billion and 2021 transaction-adjusted free cash flow of $3.1 billion.
- $4.7 billion returned to shareholders via dividends and share repurchases in 2021
The company’s aeronautics and space segments have shown strong growth in recent years through manned and autonomous aircraft systems and strategic missile sales and continue to show promise throughout the year, as do its other segments.
Huntington Ingalls Industries (NYSE: HII)
Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc., headquartered in Newport News, Virginia, builds ships, specifically, non-nuclear ships, assault ships and surface combatants, including aircraft carriers and submarines. Huntington Ingalls Industries provides professional services such as fleet support, integrated missions solutions, nuclear and environmental support as well as oil and gas services.
Take a look at a few of the Q4 and year-end 2021 highlights for Huntington Ingalls Industries before you buy:
- Revenues were $2.7 billion in the fourth quarter, with revenues totaling $9.5 billion in 2021.
- Operating margin was 4.5% in the fourth quarter and 5.4% in 2021.
- Segment operating margin was 6% in the fourth quarter and a total of 7.2% in 2021.
- Diluted earnings per share was $2.99 in Q4 and $13.50 in 2021.
- Pension-adjusted diluted earnings per share was $2.84 in the fourth quarter and $13.03 in 2021.
In 2022, you may expect the following from Huntington Ingalls:
- Shipbuilding revenue will be between $8.2 and $8.5 billion and shipbuilding operating margin between 8% and 8.1%.
- Technical Solutions revenue will increase $2.6 billion with segment operating margin of approximately 2.5% and EBITDA margin of between 8% and 8.5%.
- Free cash flow will likely grow between $300 and $350 million.
- Cumulative free cash flow will grow to approximately $3.2 billion.
Consider Defense Stocks Right Now
If it seems heartless to consider the stocks you’ll buy when/if Russia invades Ukraine (talk about feeling like a profiteer), console yourself with the thought that you still have to look after your own portfolio. If you can’t save the world, at least make sure you have the right stocks in your portfolio.
During this tension-filled time, carefully consider investing in Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grummon or Huntington Ingalls.