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Defense stocks rise after U.S. kills Iranian general in Iraq

Wall Street sign on Wall Street (JSquish/WikiCommons)

Defense-sector stocks rose Friday on Wall Street after the United States killed Iran’s top military official and braced for escalated conflict in the region.

After the targeted killing in Baghdad late Thursday of Gen. Qassem Suleimani, head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, Iran’s government vowed “harsh retaliation,” and a U.S. military official confirmed reports that more than 3,000 additional Army troops were deploying to the Middle East.

Even as the broader Standard and Poor’s 500 index lost ground, the S&P Aerospace & Defense Select Industry index climbed 1.4% as of about 11:30 a.m. Pacific time Friday.

Northrop Grumman Corp. stock jumped 5.2%. Based in Falls Church, Va., Northrop Grumman makes such aircraft as the B-2 bomber and the upcoming B-21 bomber and is the sole bidder to build the next generation of intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Shares of Lockheed Martin Corp., which makes the F-35 fighter jet, were up 3.5%. Missile and radar technologies maker Raytheon Co.’s stock was up 1.4%.

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Of the major U.S. defense companies, only Boeing Co. saw a decline. Its shares slipped 0.6%.

Suleimani was killed in a U.S. airstrike ordered by President Trump. The Trump administration said Suleimani was plotting to kill American soldiers and diplomats in an “imminent attack,” but it has provided few details about such a plot.

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© 2020 the Los Angeles Times