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When the Syrian conflict escalates, defense stocks outperform the market a week later, history shows

Navy guided-missile destroyer USS Ross fires a Tomahawk missile from the Mediterranean Sea, April 7, 2017.
Robert S. Price | Courtesy U.S. Navy | Reuters
Navy guided-missile destroyer USS Ross fires a Tomahawk missile from the Mediterranean Sea, April 7, 2017.

President Donald Trump's firing of Tomahawk missiles on a Syrian air base should lift the price of defense stocks past the market benchmark next week, according to a CNBC analysis of historic data.

Using hedge fund analytics tool Kensho, we looked at the performance of defense stocks and the S&P 500 a week following significant developments in the Syrian civil war. There have been more than 200 major events during the conflict in the last six years, including those involving the U.S., Russia, Turkey, the U.K. and France.

Here is the performance of the iShares U.S. Aerospace & Defense ETF, major defense shares and the S&P 500 a week after such events:

The major defense stocks, including Raytheon, which makes the Tomahawk missiles used in Thursday's airstrikes, all beat the market during the week following an escalation of the conflict, on average.

Oil and Treasurys also beat the S&P 500 in the week following an event, yet gold underperforms, according to Kensho.

CNBC's parent NBCUniversal is a minority investor in Kensho.