U.S. Markets closed

Tariff Talk Grounds Aerospace & Defense ETFs

This article was originally published on ETFTrends.com.

Aerospace and defense ETFs, including the iShares U.S. Aerospace & Defense ETF (ITA) , are being hampered by increasing trade tensions between the U.S. and China with Boeing Co. (BA), a major component in aerospace funds, in the crosshairs.

ITA slumped Wednesday “as the industry found itself in the crosshairs of tit-for-tat tariffs between China and the U.S. The fund had added as much as that on March 23 after U.S. President Donald Trump tapped John Bolton, an outspoken Iran hard-liner, as his national security adviser,” reports Bloomberg.

Aerospace and defense stocks are part of the broader industrial sector and have been important drivers of the sector’s performance over the past year. In fact, aerospace and defense names have been industrial leaders. Rivals to ITA, the largest ETF in this market segment, include the PowerShares Aerospace & Defense Portfolio (PPA) and the SPDR S&P Aerospace & Defense ETF (XAR) .

XAR is an equal-weight ETF. PPA holds 50 stocks “involved in the development, manufacturing, operations and support of US defense, homeland security and aerospace operations,” according to PowerShares.

Boeing's Tariff Woes

Dow component Boeing was one of the primary drivers of the aersospace industry's out-performance from the time President Trump won the 2016 presidential election. Now the company is being hampered by tariff talk.

“Much of the slump came from a tumble of more than 4 percent in premarket trading by Boeing Co., which accounts for more than 10 percent of the ETF’s holdings. United Technologies Corp., the fund’s second-largest component and a producer of aircraft engines,” according to Bloomberg.

Related: 4 Defense ETFs React to Trump’s Syria Plan

The trade struggle between the U.S. and China is speeding up as China took less than 11 hours to respond which led to a sharp selloff in global stock markets and commodities.

According to The Street, “China is Boeing’s biggest export market and the 737 is its biggest selling product. The country is expected to surpass the U.S. as the world’s biggest buyer of aircrafts by as early as 2022.”

Traders looking for a more aggressive play on aerospace equities can consider the Direxion Daily Aerospace & Defense Bull 3X Shares (DFEN) . DFEN, which debuted earlier this year, seeks to deliver triple the daily returns of the Dow Jones U.S. Select Aerospace & Defense Index.

For more information on the defense industry, visit our aerospace & defense category.