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3 Stocks That Beat Petty Politics

It's easy to understand why the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI  ) plummeted 313 points, or 2.4%, after the re-election of President Obama: Wall Street bet again the wrong horse and there's doubt about whether the looming fiscal cliff can be resolved. That's why Bank of America (NYSE: BAC  ) was down more than 7% and JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM  ) was off more than 5%, but also why not a single component of the Dow managed to go up. With the makeup of the executive and legislative branches essentially unchanged from before, many doubt there's any political will to cure the problems that ail us.

Yet not every stock got sucked into the vortex of gloom. Some stocks managed to go the other way and score big gains, even rising by double-digit percentages. Below are three that bucked the riptide that swept Dow stocks out to sea.



VirnetX Holding (NYSEMKT: VHC  )


Tangoe (Nasdaq: TNGO  )


Smith & Wesson (Nasdaq: SWHC  )


Yet resist the urge to high-five everyone in the cubicles next to you. Smart investors won't celebrate until they know why their stock surged, because without a fundamental basis for the bounce, these stocks could just as quickly make the return trip down.

Right on target
There's also little guesswork behind the rise in Smith & Wesson Holdings' stock: fear of tighter gun control laws in a second Obama administration has investors thinking there's going to be a spike in sales before any new regulations can go into effect. It was enough to send Sturm, Ruger (NYSE: RGR  ) up 7%, too.

I suggested the other day the pullback in shares of the gunslingers based on an analyst's contention that FBI background checks were slowing was a skewed outlook. That's now been borne out by adjusted numbers published showing an 18% increase in such investigations with those for handguns up nearly 25%.  While rising crime rates and a poor economy may have contributed to increased valuations before the elections, there's little doubt as to what's behind the rise now. We can probably expect Smith & Wesson and Ruger to keep shooting out the lights for at least a few more months.

A patently absurd result?
Another good call I happened to make earlier this yeas was VirnetX Holdings, the owner of essential patents related to the security standards for 4G and LTE. According to the folks at iSuppli, capital spending on 4G and LTE standards will nearly triple over the next year to more than $24 billion and reach $36 billion by 2015. Owning the rights to what mobile telecom users provide will be a lucrative position to be in.

Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) gave in to VirnetX, licensing the technology last year. The tiny tech company also took on industry giants like Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) , Avaya and Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO  ) . After NEC saw the writing on the wall, it agreed to pay up in exchange for being taken off the infringement lawsuit.

Yesterday, the wall added another name: Apple. A Texas jury awarded VirnetX $368 million for having its patents infringed in Apple's FaceTime video calling service. Sure, there will be appeals, but it appears the security standards leader is paving the way to profits with court wins, and I don't think Apple will be successful. I'll be maintaining my outperform rating on VirnetX on Motley Fool CAPS, but you can tell me in the comments section below whether, despite some calling it a patent troll, it has a secure lease on life.

It takes two
Telecommunications software provider Tangoe also rose above presidential politics by reporting third-quarter earnings that came in well ahead of expectations. Analysts had forecast a $0.09 per share profit, but Tangoe, which bills itself as a telecom life cycle management firm, put up $0.13 per share in earnings.

The better results, which included a 47% increase in revenue, might dull the charge that it's operating a fraudulent business. Back in September, an outfit called Copperfield Research published a report suggesting Tango misrepresented facts about its growth rate and said the SEC needs to investigate its operations.

Although the bounce erased some of its losses, Tangoe still trades 38% below its 52-week highs. I'd hold off on weighing in here until more dust settles. Let me know in the comments section below if you think Tangoe is a fraud or was it short-sellers trying to bring shares low.

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10/21/2016 4:00 PM
AAPL $116.60 Down -0.46 -0.39%
Apple CAPS Rating: ****
RGR $59.85 Up +0.15 +0.25%
Sturm, Ruger and C… CAPS Rating: ****
SWHC $26.59 Down -0.05 -0.19%
Smith and Wesson H… CAPS Rating: ****
TNGO $8.29 Up +0.16 +1.97%
Tangoe CAPS Rating: *
VHC $3.15 Down -0.20 -5.97%
VirnetX Holding CAPS Rating: *