Exchange-traded funds that track defense-related sectors rose on Wednesday, after President Donald Trump hinted at an imminent U.S. military response to an alleged chemical-attack by Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad. The SPDR S&P Aerospace & Defense ETF rose 1% while the iShares U.S. Aerospace & Defense ETF was up 0.7% and the PowerShares Aerospace & Defense Portfolio was up 0.3%. All three outperformed the broader market; the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.6% while the S&P 500 lost 0.3% and the Nasdaq Composite Index was off 0.2%. Trump has been marshaling international support for a military strike in the wake of the alleged chemicals-attack that left scores injured and dead in a Syrian suburb over the weekend. But it could draw the U.S. into a conflict with Russia, in particular, which backs the Assad regime. Among notable movers in the defense industry, drone maker AeroVironment Inc. spiked 17%. It was also supported by an upgrade at Stifel Nicolaus, which also raised its price target on the stock. Lockheed Martin Corp. was up 1.1%. General Dynamics Corp. rose 0.9%.
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