US defense stocks rally after Russia launches attacks on Ukraine

US defense stocks rally after Russia launches attacks on Ukraine
Raytheon, a technology and innovation leader specializing in defense, hosts an exhibition stand at the Farnborough Air Show, England.In Pictures Ltd./Corbis via Getty Images
  • Defense stocks rose in Thursday trading as Russia launched attacks in Ukraine.
  • While global equities have plunged, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, and others weapons suppliers were up.

Shares of top defense stocks gained Thursday after Russia commenced attacks on Ukraine, while global equities overall plunged.

Northrop Grumman was up about 3%. Lockheed Martin, Raytheon Technologies, and General Dynamics were up about 2%.

Elsewhere, shares of Britain's largest defense company, BAE Systems, climbed 4.8%, and Germany's Rheinmetall gained more than 5%.

The US and European allies have supplied Ukraine with military equipment leading up to Russia's invasion. And the start of war there could increase pressure on NATO countries to boost defense spending.

Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a "special military operation" in Ukraine on Thursday after deploying troops into separatist areas of the country earlier this week.


In a speech announcing the attack, Putin threatened the West with "consequences greater than any you have faced in history" if it intervenes in Ukraine, and he boasted about Russia's nuclear arsenal.

Meanwhile, Ukraine said it is facing a "full-scale invasion" from multiple directions, and NATO accused Russia of a "brutal act of war."

The attacks rocked global markets and currencies. The Russian ruble hit a record low, gold surged to its highest level in over a year, and oil surpassed $100 per barrel. Bitcoin, too, has tumbled to a one-month low as investors react to the geopolitical crisis.