Aerospace and defense exchange traded funds, including the iShares U.S. Aerospace & Defense ETF (Cboe: ITA), were among the best industry level performers last year, but amid fears of trade wars, the group has slumped in 2018.

For example, ITA entered Friday with a one-week loss of over 5% and was dangerously close to following below its 200-day moving average. Still, some analysts believe aerospace and defense stocks can get their momentum back.

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. Rivals to ITA, the largest ETF in this market segment, include the PowerShares Aerospace & Defense Portfolio (NYSEArca: PPA) and the SPDR S&P Aerospace & Defense ETF (NYSEArca: XAR).

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.

Expert View on Aerospace

Wells Fargo’s Sam Pearlstein “writes that defense stocks have historically outperformed most years. One recent period of underperformance, in 2009-2010, was largely due to worries about the sequester caps that came into play amid congressional wrangling about the budget, a situation he doesn’t see as similar to today,” reports Teresa Rivas for Barron’s.

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