Defense Sector Outperforming S&P 500 Ahead Of Cuts

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With President Obama set to unveil the largest cuts to the US defense budget since the end of the Cold War, there has been a lot of talk that the defense sector is going to get hit hard from the cuts. If that is the case, however, the stocks are hardly showing it.

The table below highlights the members of the S&P 500 Aerospace and Defense Group as well as their performance since the start of 2011. While the stocks haven't quite hit the ball out of the park, on a collective basis they are outperforming the S&P 500. Of the 12 stocks highlighted, six are up and six are down, but the average return is a gain of 4.09% versus 1.13% for the S&P 500. The biggest winner in the group has been Goodrich (NYSE:GR) with a gain of 40.14%, while the biggest loser has been Textron (NYSE:TXT) with a loss of 20.94%. While it is true that not all of the companies highlighted are pure defense plays, given the hype surrounding the cuts, one would expect the group to at least be underperfoming.