NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. defense shares jumped on Wednesday, with companies including Northrop Grumman <NOC.N> hitting lifetime highs, as the presidential victory by Republican Donald Trump lifted expectations of increased military spending here and overseas.
Shares of Northrop, Raytheon <RTN.N> and General Dynamics <GD.N> hit intraday lifetime highs after gapping higher at the opening.
Shares of Raytheon were last up 7.5 percent at $146.70, while General Dynamics was up 5.8 percent at $162.6,2 and Northrop was up 5.7 percent at $242.95.
Shares of Lockheed Martin <LMT.N> rose 6.5 percent to $254.75 and hit their highest intraday level since about mid-August. Other defense names rose more modestly: Boeing <BA.N> was up 2 percent at $145.05.
Defense shares had already been higher this year, underpinned in part by signs of increased global conflict.
While Trump's rival in the race for the White House, Democrat Hillary Clinton, also had advocated tough defense and foreign policies, Trump has been a big supporter of increased defense spending, saying he would expand the Army and add to the number of ships.
"It's basically he believes in stronger preparation. It's strength equals preparedness," said Quincy Krosby, market strategist at Prudential Financial in Newark, New Jersey.
Trump has called on NATO alliance partners to do more to pay for their own security.
Elsewhere, shares of the U.K.'s BAE Systems <BAES.L> gained 6.8 percent.
(Reporting by Caroline Valetkevitch; Editing by Leslie Adler)