Going with the bold tit-for-tat strategy, President Donald Trump followed North Korea's Kim Jong Un in letting the world know they have the nuke codes on their desk.
Specifically, Trump tweeted, "Will someone from [Kim Jong Un's] depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!"
So will the world be pushed to the brink of war? That may be a bold jump, given that North Korea and South Korea could actually have some positive discussions in the not-too-distant future. It would be an important step between the two countries, particularly with the Winter Olympics' opening ceremony starting in 42 days on Feb. 9 in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Hopefully—fingers crossed—the world leaders can find a way to diffuse the North Korea situation peacefully. Until then though, militaries will continue to stockpile weapons and position themselves accordingly. That's been one catalyst driving up stocks like Boeing (BA) - Get Report , Raytheon (RTN) - Get Report , Lockheed Martin (LMT) - Get Report , General Dynamics (GD) - Get Report , Northrop Grumman (NOC) - Get Report , United Technologies (UTX) - Get Report and L3 Communications (LLL) - Get Report .
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The worst performer on that list over the past year is General Dynamics, and shares are still up 16% over the past 12 months. Is escalating tension with North Korea the only thing driving these stocks? Of course not, but it is one factor.
In particular, anti-defense missile systems are one solution the U.S. military is working with in the event that North Korea were to decide to strike either the U.S., a U.S. territory or a U.S. ally. The goal for these systems is to destroy the missile while it's still in the sky, but before it causes catastrophic damage.
Some systems are more accurate than others and it works better for potentially smaller attacks—such as one from North Korea—as opposed to a theoretically larger attack from a more well-equipped country.
There are several systems in the works: the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System, the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, Patriot Air and Missile Defense system and the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense system.
Lockheed and Raytheon are two major players in several of these systems (particularly the Aegis and Patriot systems). Up 28% and 32% over the past year, respectively, these two stocks are hovering just below their all-time highs. But with a government flush with a near-endless spending budget when it comes to its military, their missile defense systems could be in high demand for quite some time.
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This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author had no positions in the stocks mentioned.