ITA is a cap-weighted ETF, meaning it has larger weights to big-name defense stocks, including Dow components Boeing (NYSE: BA) and United Technologies (NYSE: UTX). XAR is an equal-weight ETF. PPA holds 50 stocks “involved in the development, manufacturing, operations and support of US defense, homeland security and aerospace operations,” according to PowerShares.
“This year alone, stocks like Boeing and Honeywell are up as much as 17 percent and 9 percent, respectively. But even among defense stocks that haven’t hit record highs, names like Northrop Grumman are up more than 25 percent just over the past year,” according to CNBC.
Aerospace and defense stocks are part of the broader industrial sector and have been important drivers of the sector’s performance over the past year. In fact, aerospace and defense names have been industrial leaders. Over the past 12 months, ITA is ahead of the largest diversified industrial ETF by more than 1,100 basis points.
For more information on the defense industry, visit our aerospace & defense category.