Like the rest of the big defense contractors, General Dynamics’ financial performance has been buoyed, for the most part, by expectations of increased defense spending under President Trump, even if other parts of the federal budget get slashed. Under CEO Phebe Novakovic, a former CIA operations officer, the company has reined in spending. Known for building tanks and nuclear submarines, General Dynamics has been focusing its funds on investing in R&D, repurchasing stock, and kicking back steady dividends to shareholders rather than shelling out on big acquisitions. Last year the company bought back 14.2 million shares for $2 billion, down slightly from years prior. Secretary of Defense James Mattis divested his stock and resigned from the company’s board after his Senate confirmation.
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