Top 3 Defense Stocks to Buy Amid Ongoing Global Conflicts

November 10, 2023
By The Investing Insider Staff

Key Takeaways:

  • Lockheed Martin (Ticker: LMT) is a dominant player in aerospace and defense with a diverse product portfolio including the F-35 fighter jet program. It posted strong Q2 2023 results and has growth potential in international markets.
  • Northrop Grumman (Ticker: NOC) is a leader in niche defense areas like cybersecurity and unmanned systems. It recently delivered solid Q2 2023 results and has major upcoming projects like the B-21 bomber.
  • Raytheon Technologies (Ticker: RTX) offers a balanced mix of commercial and military products. It exceeded expectations in Q2 2023 results and is poised to benefit from recovering commercial aerospace and strategic acquisitions.

In a world increasingly shaped by geopolitical tensions, the defense industry has become a cornerstone for both national agendas and investment strategies.

Current conflicts in places like Russia-Ukraine and Israel-Palestine aren't just isolated incidents… they're signs of a larger move towards ramping up military capabilities and defense budgets.

For investors, this changing landscape means they'll need to shift gears and adapt to new market realities. Today’s article aims to dig into three defense stocks that are well-positioned to capitalize on these global shifts.

Top Defense Stock #1: Lockheed Martin (ticker: LMT)

Why do we think Lockheed Martin is a Top Stock to buy?

Lockheed Martin is a titan in the defense industry, with a market cap that easily crosses the $100 billion mark.

Known for consistently delivering top-notch aerospace and defense solutions, they're a first-choice contractor for governments around the world. Their wide array of offerings, from fighter jets to advanced radar systems, gives them a financial footing that's notably resilient to market ups and downs.

Latest Results

Lockheed Martin's Q2 2023 financials were a testament to its operational excellence.

The company reported a revenue of $16.7 billion, an 8.1% YoY increase. This was primarily driven by its Aeronautics and Missiles & Fire Control segments.

Notably, the company’s operating margin expanded from a mere 4.23% in Q2 2022 to a robust 13.4% in Q2 2023, indicating improved operational efficiency and cost management.

The last four quarters' revenue of Lockheed Martin stood at a whopping $67.4 billion, which is its highest revenue ever for a 12-month period.

Growth Catalysts

  • F-35 Program: The F-35 Lightning II program remains a cornerstone for Lockheed. With a backlog of orders and potential new contracts from NATO countries, this program alone could be a significant growth driver.
  • Space Exploration: Lockheed's Orion spacecraft and other space exploration initiatives open up a new frontier for revenue generation. The company is a key player in NASA's Artemis program, aiming to return humans to the Moon.
  • International Markets: Lockheed has been making inroads into markets in the Asia-Pacific and the Middle East. These regions represent untapped opportunities and could significantly contribute to revenue diversification.

Top Defense Stock #2: Northrop Grumman (ticker: NOC)

Northrop Gruman is a top defense stock to buy

Why do we think Northrop Gruman is a Top Stock to buy?

In the defense world, Northrop Grumman is a name that commands attention.

They've got their hands on everything from aerospace and mission-critical systems to cutting-edge tech services. Their commitment to R&D and pushing the tech envelope makes them a first-choice partner for long-term defense projects, particularly in niche areas like cybersecurity and drone tech.

With a workforce nearing 95,000 and an annual revenue exceeding $35 billion, there's no doubt that Northrop Grumman is a global powerhouse in both military tech and arms manufacturing.

Latest Results

In Q2 2023, Northrop Grumman reported a revenue of $9.6 billion, marking an 8.8% YoY increase.

The Aerospace Systems segment was particularly strong, contributing 40% of the total revenue.

The company’s gross margins stood at 21.3%, and the gross profit depicted a YoY growth of 4.13%. The company reflects a strong bottom-line performance, with the last four quarters' net profit totaling $4.65 billion.

Growth Catalysts

  • B-21 Raider: Northrop is currently developing the B-21 Raider, a next-generation long-range strike bomber. The U.S. Air Force plans to acquire at least 100 of these bombers, representing a multi-billion-dollar contract.
  • Cybersecurity and High-tech: As cyber threats become increasingly complex, Northrop's expertise in cybersecurity solutions is likely to see growing demand. The company's growing emphasis on Advanced AI, supercomputers, and related services underscores its focus on this segment.
  • Unmanned Systems: Northrop's Global Hawk and Triton UAVs have seen increased adoption for surveillance and reconnaissance missions. These systems are likely to see further orders as nations ramp up their intelligence capabilities.

Top Defense Stock #3: RTX Corporation (ticker: RTX)

Raytheon Technologies is a top defense stock to buy

Why do we think Raytheon Technologies is a Top Stock to buy?

Based in Arlington, Virginia, RTX Corporation, formerly known as Raytheon Technologies, is a major player in the aerospace and defense sectors.

With a global footprint, the company is a top contender in the industry, both in revenue and market value. They're also a go-to name for intelligence services.

From jet engines and cockpit tech to cybersecurity and guided missiles, RTX's product lineup is as diverse as it is extensive.

A big chunk of their income comes from U.S. government contracts, making them a key partner for national defense.

The company's unique selling proposition lies in its balanced portfolio, which includes commercial aerospace products alongside military hardware. This diversification allows Raytheon to mitigate risks associated with downturns in either sector, making it a resilient investment option.

Latest Results

In the second quarter of 2023, RTX Corporation delivered a financial performance that exceeded market expectations on both revenue and earnings metrics.

Raytheon reported top-line revenue of $18.3 billion, representing a YoY growth of 12.2%. This was driven by strong performances across all its four key business segments: Pratt & Whitney, Collins Aerospace, Raytheon Intelligence & Space, and Raytheon Missiles & Defense.

Additionally, the company's earnings per share (EPS) reached $1.29, marking an 11% improvement compared to the same period last year. Despite facing headwinds such as escalating inflation and supply chain issues, RTX adeptly navigated these challenges through strategic execution and operational excellence.

Growth Catalysts

  • Advanced Missile Systems: Raytheon is a market leader in missile defense systems, including the Patriot and the Standard Missile-3. As nations look to upgrade their missile capabilities, this segment is poised for growth.
  • Commercial Aerospace Recovery: The gradual recovery of the commercial aerospace sector post-pandemic offers a growth avenue for Raytheon. Its Collins Aerospace unit stands to benefit from increased aircraft production and maintenance contracts.
  • Strategic Acquisitions: Raytheon has a robust balance sheet, providing it with the financial flexibility to pursue strategic acquisitions. The company's successful acquisition of Blue Canyon Technologies, a leader in small satellites, is a case in point.


Amid a shifting landscape fueled by global unrest and tech innovations, defense giants like Lockheed Martin (ticker: LMT), Northrop Grumman (ticker: NOC), and Raytheon Technologies (ticker: RTX) are in a prime spot to seize new growth opportunities.

These companies have shown they've got the financial muscle and multiple avenues for expansion that could give their stock a nice upward nudge in the foreseeable future.

For investors aiming to add some variety to their holdings and get some protection against geopolitical uncertainties, these defense stocks are worth a serious look.

But remember, investing is never a sure bet. Always do your homework and maybe even get some advice from a financial pro to make sure these options fit your own risk tolerance and financial goals.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: Why is the defense industry growing in importance for investors?

A: Rising global conflicts and geopolitical tensions are causing nations to ramp up military spending and capabilities. This is driving growth and opportunities in the defense sector.

Q: What are Lockheed Martin's key strengths as an investment?

A: Lockheed is a dominant player with a diverse product portfolio, consistent execution, and growth potential from programs like the F-35 and expansion into international markets.

Q: What upcoming projects make Northrop Grumman an attractive investment?

A: Northrop has major upcoming projects like the B-21 bomber that represent multi-billion dollar contracts. Its niche focus areas like cybersecurity also have strong growth potential.

Q: How does Raytheon's balanced business model benefit investors?

A: Raytheon's mix of commercial and defense products makes it resilient across business cycles. Its commercial aerospace business can offset defense-related risks.

-Investing Insider Staff
This article is informational purposes only and is not investment advice.  See full disclaimer here
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