The top five US weapons firms outperformed major Wall Street indexes in the last year, mostly on the backs of American taxpayers.

by Eli Clifton, Responsible Statecraft

In January 2022, Raytheon CEO Greg Hayes told investors that global instability presented a profit opportunity for his weapons firm. “[W]e are seeing, I would say, opportunities for international sales,” said Hayes, citing, among other global events, “tensions in Eastern Europe.” He went on to add, “All of those things are putting pressure on some of the defense spending over there. So I fully expect we’re going to see some benefit from it.”

Russia’s catastrophic invasion of Ukraine unleashed financial and humanitarian pressures around the world driven by rising energy prices, ballooning inflation, and food supply chain disruptions.

Raytheon Technologies exhibitor pavilion at Dubai Airshow 2021 exhibiting the American aerospace and defense company's latest technological innovations.

But Hayes was right. Raytheon and fellow weapons manufacturers have profited handsomely, even while most investors suffered losses.

The big five weapons firms have achieved impressive stock growth since Russia’s invasion,  dramatically outperforming the major indexes. Shares in Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Boeing, Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics appreciated in value 12.78 percent on average in the one-year span since the day before the Russian February 24 invasion last year until the close of financial markets on Thursday.

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