Wall Street’s outlook on the aerospace and defense industry and its companies can be a universe apart from Top-Performing Companies (TPC) and other rankings, and 2015 is no exception.

To be sure, traders of publicly held stock and debt have always had a different perspective than aviators, engineers, warfighters and even industry managers. Traders focus on making money, of course, while the others often put a higher value on advances in technology, safety and efficiency.

For traders, the method for making money typically revolves around changes in stock prices, as well as share repurchases, dividends, debt transactions and other investment plays. Hence, Wall Street can favor individual A&D companies or the sector as a whole, even as others lament mediocre program performance or shareholder value maximization that may come at the cost of research investments.

In turn, companies like Precision Castparts (No. 3 in its TPC category) and Spirit AeroSystems (No. 4) are recommended as stock “buys” by a slim majority of financial analysts who cover them—the first has been on an acquisition binge, and the second is considered a turnaround story—even though they do not lead their TPC categories or five-year averages. Not surprisingly, TPC-leader Boeing also is seen as a “buy” by most professional stock pickers.

Yet Lockheed Martin (TPC No. 2) sees more than twice as many “hold” recommendations as “buys,” according to Dow Jones & Co. data. That is despite high annual and five-year TPC scores that—after Boeing—far exceed the rest of industry. One reason cited by analysts is a lack of organic growth from core operations.

Still, as a whole, analysts continue to suggest A&D as an investment sector for their clients, albeit with more caution this year than last. One concern is that the U.S. federal budget is again uncertain as Congress wrestles with the potential return of so-called sequestration spending caps. “The budget will be key for the sector,” say Sanford C. Bernstein analysts. “It is probably too early for management teams to know where their program budgets are headed in fiscal 2016.”

But analysts expect brighter days ahead, nonetheless. “The outlook for defense contractors has improved, as military spending in the core U.S. market is now heading back up, complementing budget growth in Asia and the Middle East, and potential stability in Europe,” say RBC Capital Markets analysts. After the financial crisis of 2008, the Great Recession and the end of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, “U.S. defense spending looks to have troughed in 2015.”

In the meantime, commercial aerospace remains an attractive niche segment and can carry the whole sector into profit. “Our stable outlook reflects our expectations that strong demand for large commercial aircraft will continue to offset budgetary pressure for defense contractors,” says Moody’s Investors Service.

According to Moody’s, “favorable” air traffic trends and “robust” airline profitability will continue to support sustained commercial demand. And despite lower oil prices that could dilute incremental replacement demand for airliners, fleet expansion should be largely unaffected. Above all, record backlogs provide an “ample” cushion if there are greater-than-expected order deferrals and/or cancellations. “Demand fundamentals remain strong in the commercial aerospace sector,” Moody’s says..

Moody’s said April 1 that it expects overall operating profit growth for the A&D sector of 2-4% during the next 12-18 months, an improvement from a December forecast of flat to 2% growth for 2015.

Based on stock prices, RBC said April 13 that the global A&D sector it covers has rallied by 212% since March 2009, 63% over the S&P 500 index’s growth.