U.S. defense stocks like Raytheon Technologies (NYSE: RTX) have been explosive.
In fact, since Russia attacked Ukraine on Feb. 24, RTX ran from about $89.31 to a high of $104.34. While the stock has since pulled back to $101.23, I’d use weakness as opportunity.
For one, no one knows when the war will end.
Neither side is giving up. Russia wants total victory. Ukraine doesn’t want to concede and things could escalate for months down the road. On top of that, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said, “the alliance is likely to bolster troops along its eastern flank, deploying four new battle groups in Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia,” as noted by CNBC.
Two, the U.S. Senate just finalized a $1.5 trillion spending bill, which includes $13.6 billion in new aid to Ukraine. It also includes $728.5 billion in discretionary funding for the U.S. Department of Defense. That is an increase of 5% year-over-year.
And finally, third, European nations are also increasing their defense spending.
All of these points could send defense stocks, like Raytheon Technologies, to higher highs.
Raytheon Is in a Prime Position
With a dividend yield of 2.01%, Raytheon is an attractive opportunity – especially with its anti-drone and its hypersonic weapons a timely offering as war rages.
Also, with the crisis showing no signs of slowing, analysts are turning their attention to companies like Raytheon. Jefferies analyst Chloe Lemarie said:
“With the open war situation in Ukraine, and NATO forces being deployed to neighboring countries, defense consumables (ammunition, countermeasures etc.) should be the first products to experience restocking and order uplift.”
While the analyst didn’t mention RTX by name, it falls into their argument.
In addition, RTX should benefit from Stinger anti-aircraft demand. Especially as Ukraine’s use of stinger missiles outstrips U.S. production. In fact, Forbes contributor Craig Hooper notes that:
“For air threats, America’s well-known portable antiaircraft missile, the FIM-92 Stinger, is out of production in the U.S. and cannot be replaced easily. The missile system was first produced in the 1970s, and with tens of thousands of updated Stingers sitting in the U.S. inventory, the missile wasn’t expected to be replaced until the 2030s. The Ukraine conflict may well change the supply calculations.”
Raytheon Technologies Is Fundamentally Strong
The company just hiked its dividend to 51 cents, payable on Mar. 24, 2022, to shareowners of record on Feb. 25, 2022.
Earnings haven’t been anything to write home about in its last quarter, but chances are good that will change with an increase in defense spending. In its fourth quarter, the company posted adjusted earnings per share (EPS) of $1.08 per share on sales of $17 billion. Analysts were looking for adjusted earnings of $1.02 on sales of $17.3 billion.
Moving forward, Raytheon expects to post full year adjusted EPS of $4.60 to $4.80 a share, with sales falling within a range of $68.5 billion and $69.5 billion. While both are below expectations, I expect that to change moving forward.
Bottom Line on RTX Stock
I would use any weakness as an opportunity with RTX stock.
Currently trading at $101.23, I’d like to see the stock up to $110 in the longer-term. With no end in sight to the war, increased demand for defense and an increase in military spending could make RTX stock soar.
Barclays analyst David Strauss just raised his firm’s price target from $100 to $107 with an overweight rating on the stock. Wolfe Research analyst Michael Maugeri also raised his firm’s price target from $110 to $111 with an outperform rating.
Again, with tensions still high and no end in sight to the war, RTX should be in your portfolio.
On the date of publication, Ian Cooper 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.