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3 stocks to keep in mind as a Red Sea conflict emerges

Stocks to watch Red Sea

Every cycle brings about its own set of surprises, ones that, by their very own definition, are quite unpredictable. Today, the market and investors, just like you, may have been accustomed to a low VIX environment, but that could soon change.

You see, a low VIX typically means that markets are sure about the future direction of the market, so any event that comes into play and changes the perception of the future or stability of the financial market could bring about a spike in volatility. Over the past week, the world has spit out its newest surprises to make this spike come to life.

An emerging conflict involving the United States, the United Kingdom, and Yemen is starting to increase oil prices as traders expect this conflict to affect global demand and supply. This could suddenly set a bottom for the price of oil and send it higher, which leads traders to look at stocks like Chevron (NYSE: CVX), Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT), and even Boeing (NYSE: BA).

House of cards

The international market is an interconnected machine, meaning that if one cog in the system speeds up or slows down, it can have a massive impact on a completely different set of mechanisms. Oil is one such cog looking to heat up today, and analysts at The Goldman Sachs Group (NYSE: GS) had been sending warning signs ahead of time.

In their intelligence reports, Goldman analysts predicted a range of $70 to $100 per barrel for 2024, and the Red Sea risks could act as the spark to light up the fire.

Whether a coincidence or just the mysterious ways of the market, Barron's included Chevron in its top stock picks for 2024; it looks like they will be proven right sooner than they expected. But it's not just Barron's and Goldman; most market participants are on board with Chevron, but more on that later.

It is clear that rising oil prices could prove bullish for Chevron, but when you really think of the defense side of the equation, this is where defense stocks like Lockheed begin to surface. Since the conflict was announced last week, this stock has risen by 3.3% in a matter of days, approaching a breakout of resistance at $465.0 a share.

A recent accident involving a Boeing jet in Alaska Air Group (NYSE ALK) sent Boeing stock lower by nearly 18.0% in a week. While Boeing is separated from this rising military engagement in the Red Sea, you could consider this stock a potential purchase to hedge your previous two considerations in Chevron and Lockheed; here's why.

Trader hats onĀ 

In these particular situations, investors cannot afford to turn on the auto-pilot system in their portfolio; now is the time to get stuck in and think things thoroughly if you want to avoid looking back at this situation and wondering what could have been. Every great trader worries about what could go wrong rather than only focusing on the good side.

Since this scenario is focused on the rising oil price, betting on Chevron and Lockheed is a one-way street to benefit from more expensive barrels. However, how do you protect your capital if the conflict deescalates and oil stabilizes? That's where Boeing comes in.

Chevron analysts see a price target of $184.9 a share, implying a 25.6% upside from where the stock trades today. With Lockheed, a $483.6 price target reflects a 4.4% upside. Now, remember, analysts had no way to price in a surprise like Yemen in their price targets, so you could 'safely' assume that the potential ceiling is a bit higher.

Now, Boeing brings a potential for an 18.8% upside in its $258.6 a share price target, but here's the interesting part. Because Boeing's earnings are dependent on new orders from airlines, and airline demand is extremely sensitive to oil prices (which drive ticket prices), a rise in oil could prove a headwind to Boeing's earnings.

Because the stock already sold off before the effects of oil took place, in a completely unrelated issue, there's an opportunity for you to be exposed to the rise in oil but also protect yourself in case it stabilizes and plays a recovery in Boeing once the FAA clears the 737 Max 9 for flight again.

Remember, there's no way to be 100% right in the market. Still, those who take an extra step to protect their downside live to trade another day, and staying in the game is the foundation for building wealth.

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