Gunmaker Stocks Rise as Hillary Clinton Urges Crackdown

  • Proposals after mass shooting buoy Smith & Wesson, Sturm Ruger
  • Industry joke is that Obama is `best gun salesman:' Analyst

Smith & Wesson Holding Corp. and Sturm Ruger & Co. rose after comments by Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton fueled concern among gun enthusiasts that restrictions on sales may be coming.

Clinton detailed proposals Monday aimed at closing gun-sale loopholes and holding sellers more accountable for how the weapons are used. President Barack Obama last week said he would pressure Congress to enact legislation that would curb firearms violence after a gunman killed nine people in Oregon.

“There’s a joke in the firearms industry that President Obama is the world’s best gun salesman and there is data to support increased purchases of firearms heading into the 2008 and 2012 elections,” said Andrea James, an analyst with Dougherty & Co. “Of course, Hillary Clinton is vying for the same job.”

Smith & Wesson, whose brands also include M&P and Thompson/Center Arms, surged 7.3 percent to close at $17.81 in New York, the biggest one-day jump since Aug. 28. Sturm Ruger, maker of Ruger American, Gunsite Scout and Hawkeye weapons, increased 2.6 percent to $57.93.

Retailers that sell firearms also benefited. Cabela’s Inc. gained 2.9 percent to $45.40, while Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc. increased 2.5 percent to $52.28.

Past Surges

The gunmakers’ shares have seen gains in recent years in the wake of mass shootings that have led to increased calls for gun-ownership restrictions. Both companies also have seen sales rise in response to the politicians’ demands for tougher legislation. Those efforts have all fizzled.

“The threat of legislation can cause temporary buying surges,” said James, who has a buy rating on both gunmakers. “The best thing for firearms demand is to have the constant threat of legislation without ever actually having the legislation.”

James estimated that firearms sales will rise at about two times the U.S. gross domestic product, as more women, young people, and urban dwellers want personal protection and as target shooting increases in popularity.

“Target shooting is basically the new bowling,” James said.

The Oregon mass shooting occurred Thursday at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg. The gunman then killed himself, authorities said.

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