Raytheon stock rockets amid news of Syria strike

Less than an hour before the closing bell, the company's stock price dipped down to $75.25 a share but remained far higher than $52.24 per share, the stock's low point over the last year.

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Raytheon is the prime manufacturer of the long-range Tomahawk cruise missile, among other weapon systems and components the company develops for the Defense Department. 

The Tomahawk has long been a staple for U.S. Navy warships, and were last used to take out targets in Libya during a 2011 operation to oust former dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

Several Arleigh Burke-class U.S. destroyers outfitted with Tomahawk missiles are on station off the coast of Syria, awaiting orders to begin missile strikes against targets inside the country. 

The Obama administration is targeting particular military units and bases in Syria that officials believe are responsible for carrying out chemical weapon attacks against rebel forces in the country. 

The entire target list drafted by U.S. military and intelligence officials includes no more than 50 sites inside Syria where forces loyal to President Bashar Assad are stationed, according to recent reports. 

Other targets include command and control stations, Syrian military airbases and several "conventional military targets," a U.S. defense official told The New York Times on Tuesday. 

If successful, the U.S. strikes could cripple the Syrian military's ability to carry out attacks on rebel forces and bring the government to its knees. 

However, White House officials said the goal of these strikes is not to force Assad from power. 

"The options we are considering are not about regime change," White House press secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday.

"That is not what we are contemplating here," he told reporters at the White House.

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