Aerospace- and defense-related ETFs offer weapons exposure.
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These days you can invest even in what some consider morally sinister activities. For example, the Market Vectors Gaming ETF (BJK | D-85) profits off the gambling market by investing in many of the world's biggest casino owners and operators.
The same could be said about the global arms trade. This week, the U.S. announced its biggest arms deal yet in 2014: selling $11 billion of patriot missiles and Apache helicopters to Qatar. Not that you necessarily want to go looking for a global-arms-trade ETF (I'm not condoning war), but if you were, aerospace and defense ETFs are a good place to look.
Ostensibly, these U.S.-focused ETFs invest in the domestic economy, but the arms trade is global, and the U.S. is one of the biggest dealers, so exposure is global to some degree. These ETFs hold companies like Honeywell, Boeing and Raytheon—the latter produces the Patriot Air and Missile Defense System.
Of the three ETFs, the iShares U.S. Aerospace & Defense ETF (ITA | A-80) earns our Analyst Pick designation for its superior liquidity, efficiency and exposure.