One of the biggest storylines in the industrials sector lately has been the anticipated merger of BAE Systems and EADS, otherwise known as the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company. However, it turns out that the deal is not going to happen anymore, with the call-off boiling down to the convergence of too many differing interests.

The question everyone's asking now is, what happens next? While that's little more than a guessing game at this point, one thing is for sure: BAE Systems has a very solid position in the world's biggest defense market, that of the U.S. There's speculation that its combat vehicle unit could be an attractive acquisition for General Dynamics' (NYSE:GD) land systems division, or even the possibility that BAE Systems could split up, with Boeing (NYSE:BA) potentially interested in its civil aviation unit and Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT) perhaps eyeing the military aviation business.

Whatever ends up happening, though, there will still be enormous hurdles to overcome, including Pentagon approval, anti-trust approval, and the huge risk inherent for defense contractors at a time when defense budgets are shrinking. In the video below, analyst Brendan Byrnes delivers an in-depth analysis on this story and the many issues at hand, and he also advises investors on how to proceed going forward.

With some industrials sectors looking rosy, others falling flat, and yet others seemingly stuck in endless negotiations, it can be hard to know where to place your bets in this space. For decades, though, investors had a no-fail fall-back: General Electric. After all, the conglomerate covers just about every sector and every corner of the world. To learn whether GE can continue on as the one "no-brainer" industrials investment, take a look at our premium research report in which The Motley Fool's top industrials analyst breaks down the company's multiple businesses. You'll find reasons to buy or sell GE, and you'll receive continuing updates as major events unfold throughout the year. Don't miss out on this invaluable information on a complex company -- simply click here now to claim your copy today.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.