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Business News/ Companies / News/  Israel-Hamas War: US defense stocks rocket while Israel-based stocks tank globally
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Israel-Hamas War: US defense stocks rocket while Israel-based stocks tank globally

Defence majors such as Lockheed Martin, Northrop Gruman, Huntington Ingalls, L3Harris Tech and General Dynamics have gained at least 8% each on the S&P 500 Index today

Representative Image: Traders at work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York (Image: Jin Lee/Bloomberg News) (Jin Lee/Bloomberg News))Premium
Representative Image: Traders at work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York (Image: Jin Lee/Bloomberg News) (Jin Lee/Bloomberg News))

Stock traders sent defense companies surging in US markets as an attack on Israel from the Gaza-based militant group Hamas renewed Wall Street’s focus on the security industry. 

Shares of arms makers — including Northrop Gruman Corp, L3Harris Technologies Inc., Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc., Lockheed Martin Corp. and General Dynamics Corp. — led gains in the S&P 500 Index on Monday. The stocks each gained at least 8% in the session, the most in more than three years. 

The assault on Israel is sparking fresh concern about geopolitical risk among investors who’ve already been grappling with the impact of elevated interest rates and signs of trouble in China’s economy. 

Also Read: Investors flee shares on widening war fear

“Hamas’ attack on Israel over the weekend will likely bring investor attention back to defense stocks," Truist Securities analyst Michael Ciarmoli wrote in a note to clients. The shares have been underperforming this year due to uncertainty about the US’s military budget, he said. 

Elsewhere in markets, oil prices surged, boosting energy companies and weighing on travel stocks from around the globe. Outside the US, the conflict weighed on shares of businesses with connections to Israel, including chipmakers and software providers.

Broad, regional stock indexes in Asia were little changed Monday, while European markets edged lower. Markets in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan were closed for a holiday, while a typhoon interrupted trading in Hong Kong. 

In the US, the S&P 500 rose 0.6% to 4,335.7, and the Nasdaq composite rose 0.4% to close at 13,484.2.

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“Nerves are showing signs of being frayed again, just as investors had started to breathe a sigh of relief that the US might be heading for a softer landing," said Susannah Streeter, head of money and markets at Hargreaves Lansdown. 

Here are some global themes to watch:

Defense 

The S&P 500 Aerospace & Defense Index rose 5.6% in US-based trading, the gauge’s best day since Nov. 2020. RTX Corp. and Leidos Holdings Inc. gained 4.6% and 3.8%, respectively. BAE Systems Plc gained 4.5% in London, the best day since August. 

Meanwhile, US shares of Israeli company Camtek Ltd fell 8.8%, the worst day since March 2022, and CyberArk Software Ltd. gained 0.5%. 

Travel

Airline stocks slid Monday after some companies halted flights with Israel. The Bloomberg World Airlines Index shed 2.6%, the biggest one-day drop since March. Delta Air Lines Inc., United Airlines Holdings Inc. and American Airlines Group Inc. shares all fell more than 4% as the cohort canceled services to Tel Aviv. 

Also Read: Israel-Hamas war impact: Oil prices dip; gold prices surge amid the turmoil

Flights to the city were also halted by European companies Deutsche Lufthansa AG, Air France-KLM and budget specialist Wizz Air Holdings Plc, sending shares lower. Iberia Express parent IAG SA fell 6.1%, and Ryanair Holdings plc lost 3.7% in local markets. 

Asian carriers including Air India Ltd. and Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. also suspended service to Israel.

Oil, Shipping

While Israel isn’t a big producer of oil, the rest of the region is. Already, the conflict is pushing up the price of the commodity and stocks linked to it.

West Texas Intermediate crude climbed 4.3% as a war-risk premium returned to markets. Shares of Asian producers — including Australia’s Woodside Energy Group Ltd. and Santos Ltd. — gained. In London, Shell Plc and BP Plc both advanced about 2.6%. US-based Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp. closed 3.5% and 2.8% higher, respectively.

Energean Plc was a notable exception to the energy rally, falling 18% in London. The natural-gas producer’s flagship production and development assets are fields off the coast of Israel.

Technology

Semiconductor stocks from Nvidia Corp. and Applied Materials Inc. were dragged down amid concern over the possible impact on Intel Corp.’s plans. Intel in June agreed to build a new manufacturing plant in Israel, as part of a push by the firm and its peers to diversify their production sources. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had at the time placed the deal’s value at $25 billion.

Traders will watch for potential impact in local shares of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. and Samsung Electronics Co. when trading resumes after a holiday.

Cybersecurity stocks were also in focus. US-listed shares of Check Point Software Technologies Ltd., which is headquartered in Tel Aviv, dropped 1.5%, while Datadog Inc. slid 3.9%. 

Shares of Indian software exporters with operations in Israel, including Infosys Ltd., Tech Mahindra Ltd. and Wipro Ltd., slipped.

Generic Drugs

Traders watched shares of global generic-drug makers given the potential for an impact on sector bellwether Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., which is based in Tel Aviv. Teva was up 2.9% locally. 

Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd. shares increased in Mumbai. India’s Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., which owns a 72% stake in Israel’s Taro Pharmaceutical, shed 0.4%.

Also Read: Israel-Palestine War: 'No justification for terrorism', US and allies offer ‘united support’ to Israel. Read here

Israel Revenue

Companies that count Israel among their major markets will continue to be on traders’ radar. These include China’s Nanjing Xinjiekou Department Store Co., which slipped 0.9%, as well as: US-listed Taboola.com Ltd., Kenon Holdings Ltd., and Taiwan’s Lanner Electronics Inc.

In Singapore, Israeli venture-capital firm Trendlines Group Ltd. fell 2.2%. India’s Adani Ports Ltd., which owns the Haifa port, slid nearly 5%.

Gold

Finally, Asian gold miners — such as Australia’s Newcrest Mining Ltd. — rose with the precious metal on haven demand.  

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Published: 10 Oct 2023, 09:24 AM IST
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