Here’s How to Play Defense Stocks if Hillary Clinton Wins

Hillary ClintonHillary Clinton Favors, Unsurprisingly, a Focus on Cyberwarfare Tools

U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said that cybersecurity, the ability to protect U.S. secrets against hackers, would be one of her defense priorities. That said, while less specific, Donald Trump also would send defense money toward Silicon Valley if he were elected president.

Moreover, traditional defense contractors like Raytheon Company (NYSE:RTN), Rockwell Collins, Inc. (NYSE:COL), and others also have a tremendous electronics capability. After all, Raytheon invented the e-mail and even the microwave.

The important point is that apart from some specifics, either one of the two candidates for the office of U.S. President in 2017 would raise defense spending. The Pentagon’s suppliers of choice have much to offer, given that they started to expand their electronic warfare programs years ago. If Clinton wins, consider defense stocks that focus on the kinds of technology needed to advance cyberwarfare, and review the more traditional military hardware equities.

Not All Defense Stocks Are Defense Companies…

What might surprise you is that companies you never thought had anything to do with defense will have an increasing role to play in the future of defense. And to gain from equities, foresight into the future is a most necessary ingredient.

So don’t be surprised to find that one day, we might recommend Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) or Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) for their defense potential. Indeed, technology is spreading so quickly that traditional walls separating sectors will soon blur. Even medicine is starting to blend with electronics or cybertechnology.

Which company has recently made the boldest statement about finding a cure for cancer? Was it a pharmaceutical giant or a medical faculty at a prestigious university like Harvard or Cornell? No, it was Microsoft.

In fact, the possibilities for cybertechnology are endless. The next soldiers may not only be equipped with the best weapons; they will have special drugs at their disposal to enhance their human qualities.

The Age of Steve Austin and Robocop Has Arrived

Truly, we are entering the age of Steve Austin (the Six Million Dollar Man of 1970s TV fame) or Robocop. The combination of prosthetics, biology, chemistry, electronics, and software will allow the next generation of soldiers to enjoy such battlefield advantages as X-ray vision or strength-boosting suits.

New drugs would also cure injuries faster and better. Consider that the Nobel Prize for chemistry was recently awarded to three scientists who have managed to create “molecular engines,”  which are micro-machines, invisible to the human eye, that will make it possible to advance medicine and technology. This is why Microsoft could also be seen as a defense stock. (Source: “From cyberwarfare to drones, the future of conflict is electronic,” Yahoo! Tech, August 29, 2016.)

Does this mean that if Hillary Clinton wins, it would be the equivalent of finding coal under the tree? Not exactly; it might be more Easter than Christmas, but some of the same stocks that would benefit from a Trump defense budget would also gain under Clinton. It would just be for different reasons and through investment in different technologies. (Source: “Clinton’s Defense Spending: Vague But More Hawkish Than Obama,” Breaking Defense, May 12, 2016.)

Hillary Clinton Says She Favors Diplomacy, but Her Record Suggests Otherwise

Hillary Clinton favors diplomacy, but she’s not one to shy away from conflict. Indeed, as Secretary of State, she oversaw participation (or meddling, depending on your point of view) in the out-of-control phenomenon known as the “Arab Spring.” By now, many have realized that what happened in the Middle East was only “spring” in the sense of how that season is in the coldest reaches of the Antarctic.  The event has produced reactionary religious movements and groups that will keep the U.S. and its allies busy fighting them for years to come.

Strategic stealth bombers or fighter jets like the “F-22” are less effective against guerrilla groups and terrorist types than sophisticated electronics, cyberwarfare and drones. Therefore, Hillary Clinton might not expand the armed forces’ physical numbers, but she would encourage new technology to seep through the military ranks, investing in innovation, as she has said on many occasions.

Still, while Clinton has chosen more niceties and politically correct tones on defense than Trump, she would definitely release more funds for military contractors than President Barack Obama. Clinton would also promote investment to enhance America’s ability to prevent cyberattacks on American soil. To do so, Clinton intends to focus on greater intelligence coordination and the involvement of Silicon Valley companies.

This is how she intends to challenge such groups as ISIS, al-Qaida (it’s still out there), and who knows which other groups. Every presidency seems to have its special foe. What is clear is that Silicon Valley companies, from Google (Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)) to the stars of virtual reality, have a role to play in designing cyberdefense solutions.