Big Winners after Paris Terror Attacks: Weapons Makers

Monday, November 23, 2015
Raytheon's Tomahawk missile launches from U.S. Navy ship (photo: Jonathan Sunderman, AP/U.S. Navy)

One of the predictable consequences of the tragic ISIS attacks in Paris is that good fortune has shone upon the international weapons industry.


In the immediate wake of the attacks, as France declared war on ISIS and sharply escalated its bombing campaign against the terrorist group’s targets in Syria, stock prices of major weapons manufacturers skyrocketed. Reuters reported “shares of aerospace and defense rose sharply on Monday in reaction to the attacks in France.”


“The markets could barely wait to start buying,” Glenn Greenwald at The Intercept wrote on November 16, three days after the terrorist attacks. “The Dow overall is up today only .12 percent, making these leaps quite pronounced… The private-sector industrial prong of the Military and Surveillance State always wins, but especially when the media’s war juices start flowing.”


Northrop Grumman took the lead among top weapons makers that benefitted from the tragic events in Paris. Reports of its soaring stock prices cited an increase of between 3.22% and more than 4%.


Raytheon, whose GPS-guided Tomahawk missiles have slammed into ISIS targets after being launched from ships more than 1,000 miles at sea, saw stock increases between 2.91% and in excess of 4%, its second largest gain in three years, according to CNN.


Lockheed Martin, which makes the Hellfire missile used in the recent U.S. drone attack on notorious ISIS terrorist “Jihadi John,” saw stock gains in the range of 2.45% and 3.5%, according to media reports.


One drone maker had a field day in the stock market—AeroVironment experienced a 6% increase, reported CNN. Stock prices for Booz Allen went up by 2.41% and for General Dynamics by 0.85%. Boeing, the manufacturer of small diameter bombs used against ISIS, saw a 1% jump.


Inside embattled France itself, the nation’s largest manufacturer of arms—Thales—won a stock leap that was close to 3%.


“Clearly, investors are anticipating the Paris terror attacks and other recent incidents will lead to more lucrative military contracts to fight ISIS,” wrote CNN’s Patrick Gillespie. “That would be a welcome change for defense companies that have been struggling to deal with big spending cuts by the Pentagon in recent years.”


“Given the likely military operations that result from the Paris attack, and worsening tensions in the Middle East, there are few doubts that defense spending in the West and in export markets will continue to rise,” Richard Aboulafia, vice president of analysis at Teal Group, told CNBC.


While the defense industry is expected to ride high into the foreseeable future on the back of the anti-terrorist juggernaut, another industry—tourism and leisure—has taken a hit. “Some investors fear the tragic events may have lasting implications for tourism in the region,” reported CNBC’s Jenny Cosgrave.

-Danny Biederman


To Learn More:

Stock Prices of Weapons Manufacturers Soaring Since Paris Attack (by Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept)

'War on ISIS' Stocks Rise after Paris Attacks (by Patrick Gillespie, CNN)

Defense Stocks Predicted to Surge on Paris Terror (by Jenny Cosgrave, CNBC)

Violence in Iraq Means Profits for Beechcraft, Lockheed, Raytheon and other Weapons Makers (by Steve Straehley, AllGov)

U.S. Weapons Makers on a Record-Setting Roll (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)


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