We have that lovely French national anthem running through our mind. The tune is ‘La Marseillaise’. It’s a catchy one. In fact, musically speaking, it’s one of our favourites around the world.
Admittedly the US is also up there. There’s nothing quite as rousing as a melismatic vocal of ‘Star Spangled Banner’.
But it’s the French one that’s on our mind today. There’s been a fair amount of coverage of the French second round elections. Marine Le Pen versus Emmanuel Macron.
Admittedly, I don’t really care which one wins. Either way it’s going to be some interesting times for the EU. But today I was thoroughly impressed by the antics of Le Pen.
Emmanuel Macron was meeting with a select set of union officials to discuss issues around the closure of a Whirlpool washing machine factory. The factory is leaving France and heading over to Poland.
As you’d expect, that means French people losing their jobs. And that never pleases the French. Heck, it never pleases anyone. While Macron was tucked away up in a special meeting, Le Pen decided to crash the party.
Not Macron’s meeting though. No. Le Pen headed to the picket line at the Whirlpool factory to talk to the workers who were soon to be unemployed.
They loved it. They loved her.
How young is too young?
It was the perfect political ambush. Macron eventually had to hit the picket line too. They didn’t like him. He actually even said to them that he’d ensure they could all still buy Whirlpool washing machines. Seriously. He said that.
They responded with the fact that none of them can afford Whirlpool washing machines. What a rookie.
And therein lies the challenge Macron faces. He’s just 39 years old. He’ll turn 40 in December. He’s very young. Too young perhaps? I’m not going to say that age should be a factor…but maybe it should be when it comes to running a country.
His actions today show that Macron is still a rookie. And is that the kind of person French voters want to run the show?
While Macron might end up as President, he wouldn’t be the only youngster running a major country. By political standards Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, is also virtually an infant.
Trudeau has the face of a 22 year old, but he’s actually 45. Still, that’s incredibly young to be running a country. Albeit he seems to be doing an OK job. And let’s be honest, when has a leader of a country ever been more than just OK?
Australia’s youngest Prime Minister was Chris Watson. Who? Well to be honest I had no idea who he was. But apparently at age 37 he became Australia’s third Prime Minister. He lasted four months.
Stanley Bruce was the same age as Macron, 39 when he took office. He did a bit better, lasting six years as PM from 1923–1929. Then we jump up to Robert Menzies who was 44 when he became PM.
A 30-something President, Prime Minister or even Dictator is actually quite rare in the world we live in.
Macron is one to watch. He might be good for France, or he might suck. But he’s not the only under-40 year old you need to watch out for.
The most mental 30-something in the world
There’s a guy that lives in a faraway land called ‘North Korea’ who’s way more interesting than Macron. And this young fella, who the locals call ‘Supreme Leader’, just might set off the Third World War.
After seeing the shenanigans of France the report that came next was a little more worrying. The leading pictures were of a submarine being pushed into the port of Busan by a couple of tugboats. Busan, by the way, is in South Korea.
This submarine was the USS Michigan. It’s heading to South Korea because North Korea is apparently an itchy finger away from dropping a nuclear bomb on Seoul. And it just so happens the maniac that’s the ‘supreme leader’ of North Korea is the 33-year-old Kim Jong Un. Although Swiss records apparently say he’s 32 years old.
Either way he’s apparently rushing North Korean scientists to reduce the size of their nuclear bombs to fit in the head of a long-range missile. No one really knows if they’re close to this or not. No one even really knows if they’ve even got long-range missiles that could carry a nuclear warhead.
No one knows, because North Korea is secretive and tightly controlled.
What we do know is that if North Korea attacks, North Korea will come off second best.
We know this because of weaponry like the USS Michigan.
This is one of the US’ most fearsome subs. So it’s not docking in Busan for kicks and giggles.
Apparently it’s packing a squad of Navy SEALS right now. And we also know it’s packing around 154 Tomahawk cruise missiles. The other thing we know is that these Tomahawks work. They work really well.
Someone wins when war breaks out
‘La Marseillaise’ aside, we think we’re starting to hear ‘Star Spangled Banner’ playing in our head now.
The Tomahawk missile is a long range, all-weather land attack missile. It’s the ‘go-to-guy’ when the US wants to bomb the daylights out of someone. And at a cool US$1.8 million apiece, they ain’t cheap, either.
That single sub, the USS Michigan, is packing US$277.2 million worth of Tomahawk missiles. If it empties its load then the Navy will need to spend another US$277.2 million spent to fill ‘er back up.
There’s only one benefactor if that happens. Raytheon Company [NYSE:RTN]. Raytheon makes the Tomahawk missile. Raytheon also makes other missile systems. Systems like the Mk 57 Mod3 Seasparrow. Or the RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile. Or the Phalanx CIWS.
We list those because those are the missile systems onboard the USS Carl Vinson. The Carl Vinson is a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier that can also hold around 90 fixed wing aircraft. That means strike fighter jets. The Carl Vinson also happens to be rolling up into South Korea, ready for war.
While we don’t condone war, you have to look at all this and think Raytheon must be making some serious money. And they are. Last year they made US$24 billion in revenue and a US$2.2 billion net profit.
The US already unloaded a bombardment of Tomahawks on Syria this year. And they’ll probably do the same to North Korea. Looks like 2017 could be another good year for Raytheon.
War is no good. War is bad. War is not what the world needs right now. War will kill innocent people, as it always does. It will result in nothing positive for the human race And it’s very likely war will result in some shaky stock markets.
But not every stock loses if war takes hold. Companies like Raytheon don’t lose out in these situations. They flourish. That doesn’t make the company evil. It doesn’t make investors in the company evil either. It simply means that, if you’re looking for a way to hedge your investments again the possibility of war, then a company like Raytheon is a smart way of going about it.
PS: One final thing. Raytheon might be a good hedge against war. But we think here’s another hedge that could be ever better. This could be the best hedge against war, financial crisis, and political instability — in it the best hedge against crisis we think we’ve ever seen. And it could even make investors more money than they’ve ever dreamed about. I’ll tell you more about it tomorrow, so make sure to keep an eye out in your inbox.