Anticipating Iraq

The White House may not have made up its mind on going into Iraq, but many on Wall Street are ready. 

Some defense and aerospace analysts are factoring the Iraq invasion into their forecasts, even though it is still only a possibility. Bank of America Securities put a timeline on military action there, making comments early Wednesday that it may happen in 2003 and thus, its predicting more strength in defense stocks. 

"This is on the radar screen," said Standard and Poor's David Wyss. "Either way it can come back and bite us with higher oil prices or more terrorist attacks."

President George Bush has no military blueprint on his desk for toppling Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, but the ouster of America's Gulf War nemesis is a top policy goal.

"The president does believe the people of Iraq and the region would be better off without Saddam Hussein," said White House spokesman Ari Fleischer.

Other analysts are tracking how fast and how often the Pentagon is restocking its weaponry. They say its full speed ahead: keeping Raytheon churning out Tomahawks missiles and General Dynamics pumping up artillery. 

"The Pentagon tries to be prepared for whatever happens," said Jonathan Schraeder, defense analyst for Morningstar. "There is lots of talk that Iraq could be a possible target, so they want to be prepared for that eventuality."

While we have no indication if and when action in Iraq will take place, Wall Street is ready.