Shares of gun manufacturing stocks rallied on Oct 2, following the mass shooting that took place on late Oct 1 at a Las Vegas music concert. The violent attack that left more than 50 people dead and over 500 injured, has been described as the deadliest mass shooting on U.S. soil.
Why Did the Gun Stocks Spike?
Historically, gun stocks have experienced a surge following hostile attacks like mass shooting for reasons both political and emotional. Gun sales usually rise over concerns among customers that such violent events may lead to more stringent gun-control legislation. Additionally, customers race to buy guns to defend themselves in anticipation of more such attacks in future.
Prevailing Trends in the Industry
It is interesting to note that in the inexplicable dynamics of the gun industry, stocks in this space have witnessed upward movement under leaders who lobby for gun control and vice-versa. Evidently, shares of gun makers have remained constrained since Trump became President.
Statistically, U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) background checks in July fell 25% in over three years, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation. That was the worst year-over-year decline in background checks since November 2013, a year after Democratic President Obama won his second election. Background checks being a strong proxy for monthly gun sales, the current numbers hint at a lackluster future for this industry.
However, in a bid to revive the gun stocks, the Trump administration recently engaged in easing the export rules of small fire arms, including assault rifles, as per report released by Reuters last month. Per the report, Trump’s aides are chalking a plan that will transfer the surveillance of international non-military firearms sales rights from the State Department to the Commerce Department. It is believed that the new law will be more “lenient” and cut the government red tape regarding the arms sales.
Notably, the shift of arms export directive to Commerce Department is expected to increase arms sales by 15-20% annually, as projected by Lawrence Keane, senior vice president for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a firearms industry trade association.
Gun Stocks in the Spotlight
Following the Las Vegas incident, U.S. gun stocks witnessed notable gains in contrast to the double-digit slump most of them have been suffering.
Here are three top-rated gun stocks that have gained significantly following the Las Vegas mass shooting. Considering their positive traits, investors focused in the consumer discretionary stocks can keep these companies in their watchlist.
Sturm Ruger & Company Inc (NYSE:RGR): This company is engaged in the design, manufacture and sale of firearms and precision metal investment castings. Its firearms include single-shot, auto-loading, bolt-action, lever action and muzzleloading rifles in a range of hunting calibers; shotguns in three gauges; .22 caliber rimfire autoloading pistols and centerfire autoloading pistols in various calibers; single and double-action as well as muzzleloading revolvers.
Its earnings are expected to grow 20.9% in the next year. The company currently holds a Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell).
Following the Las Vegas shooting, the company’s shares gained 3.5%, in the last trading session.
American Outdoor Brands Corp (NASDAQ:AOBC): The company is a manufacturer and seller of firearms and accessory products for the shooting, hunting and outdoor enthusiast. The company’s product comprises pistols, revolvers, rifles, guns, handcuffs and firearm-related products and accessories.
Its earnings are expected to grow 65% in the next fiscal year. The company currently holds a Zacks Rank #5.
The company’s shares gained 3.2%, in the last trading session.
Vista Outdoor Inc (NYSE:VSTO): The company develops, manufacture and distribute optics, accessories and eyewear. Its product includes laser rangefinders, riflescopes, trail cameras, archery accessories, gun care products, mounts, powder, reloading equipment, targets as well as target systems.
Its annual earnings are expected to grow 32.7% in the next fiscal year. The company currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
The company’s shares rose 2.4% in the last trading session.
Bottom Line on Gun Stocks
The latest firearm attack has provided an impetus to gun stocks. However, it is unlikely that the trend will persist for long. That this attack may pose a threat to the amendment of the export law, it may also deter gun industry growth. Indeed, the amended law, if sanctioned, has the potential to significantly boost the stocks in this space. Alas, the law’s fate and so does that of the gun industry seems to hang in balance, for now.
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