Shares in Smith & Wesson, the world’s biggest gun company, rose by more than 11 percent on Tuesday to $25.86, their highest level in more than a decade, the Guardian reports. Earlier in the day, President Obama announced a plan expanding background checks for gun sellers.
S&W said sales were already up in the wake of the San Bernardino shooting. The company’s annual revenue for 2015 is expected to total around $650 million, up from $627 million last year, with a considerable jump (about $25 million) in the last three months alone.
Last month, on a call with analysts, CEO James Debney explained the growth thusly: “Obviously there have been some tragic recent events, but we’re in the holiday season with people shopping for firearms.”
In the past year, the company’s stock has risen 125 percent. Black Friday 2015 was “the highest single day in NICS [National Instant Criminal Background Check System] history,” Debney said.
On Monday, in a statement, S&W said, “The sell-through rate of its products at distribution has been stronger than originally anticipated, resulting in reduced distributor inventories of its firearms.” In other words: People are buying so many guns that retailers are running out of them.
The company added that Adjusted National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) data for the month of December, which serves as an indicator of consumer purchases, “reflected strong growth versus December 2014”. The NICS data shows a jump of 37.6% in December. Black Friday was the biggest single day in NICS history.
Smith & Wesson’s statement was welcomed by investors and analysts, with its shares jumping almost 6% on Monday and a further 12.5% to $26.30 by 2pm ET on Tuesday. The shares had earlier spiked as high as $26.54, the highest intraday value since February 1999.
Shares in the nation’s other big listed gun company, Sturm, Ruger & Company, rose by 7.4% to $66.
“Many demand drivers (presidential elections, potential regulations, and new product introductions) should allow for very strong top- and bottom-line growth for [Ruger],” Brian Ruttenbur, an analyst at BB&T Capital Markets, said in a research note. Ruttenbur upgraded Smith & Wesson from a “hold” to “buy.”