The only current mutual fund that is directly targeted to the aerospace and defense sector is the Fidelity Select Defense and Aerospace Fund. However, investors can alternatively gain exposure to the aerospace industry by investing in other mutual funds that, while not specifically focused on the industry, nonetheless have significant holdings in aerospace stocks. Investors can also consider direct investments in individual stocks within the sector or exchange-traded funds (ETFs) with an aerospace focus.
The Fidelity Select Defense and Aerospace Fund
The Fidelity Select Defense and Aerospace Fund is a mid-cap value fund that aims for maximum capital appreciation. Since its inception in 1984, the fund has done very well, with average annual returns in excess of 9%. Typically, at least 80% of the fund's investments are in common stocks of companies with principal business in research, manufacturing or marketing of products and services in the aerospace and defense industries. Most of the fund's investments are in technology or industrial stocks. Primary holdings of the fund include the Boeing Company, TransDigm Group Inc., Orbital ATK Inc. and B/E Aerospace Inc.
The expense ratio for FSDAX is 0.8%. There is a redemption fee of 0.75%. The fund offers a dividend yield of 0.79%. The estimated risk level of the fund is slightly above average.
As an alternative to investing in the Fidelity fund, investors can search for other funds that have significant holdings in aerospace stocks, or consider investing directly in some of the same stocks that make up the portfolio of FSDAX.
The Boeing Company is considered a major aerospace firm in the United States. In addition to producing both commercial and military aircraft, Boeing also manufactures rockets, rocket launch systems and satellites through its Boeing Defense, Space & Security division. The company manufactures parts and component systems that are utilized in space shuttles and space stations.
The TransDigm Group Inc. is engaged in manufacturing actuators, control components, and gear and ignition systems for the aerospace industry. Important acquisitions for the company include Marathon Power Systems, Adams Rite Aerospace, Champion Aviation Products and Avionic Instruments.
Orbital ATK, Inc. was formed through a merger of Orbital Sciences Corporation and the defense and aerospace division of Alliant Techsystems. The company designs and manufactures satellites, launch vehicles and propulsion systems, aerospace component systems and aerospace structures. Orbital manufactures the Cygnus spacecraft that is used to deliver cargo to space stations.
In addition to producing aircraft interior components for commercial aviation, B/E Aerospace, Inc. is the world's leading supplier of aerospace fasteners and consumables. Its consumables management systems provide inventory management, data interchange services, bar-coding, quality assurance testing and differential supply chain management programs.
Another alternative to mutual fund investments for investors interested in accessing the aerospace sector is ETFs that track the sector. Some of the available aerospace-focused ETFs include the SPDR S&P Aerospace and Defense ETF and the Powershares Aerospace and Defense Portfolio ETF, which tracks the benchmark SPADE Defense Index.