While Fools should generally take the opinion of Wall Street with a grain of salt, it's not a bad idea to take a look at particularly stock-shaking analyst upgrades and downgrades -- just in case their reasoning behind the call makes sense.
What: Shares of Smith & Wesson (NASDAQ: SWHC ) gained about 4% today after Wedbush upgraded the firearm products specialist from neutral to outperform.
So what: Along with the upgrade, analyst Rommel Dionisio raised his price target to $20 (from $13), representing about 33% worth of upside to yesterday's close. So while contrarian traders might be turned off by Smith & Wesson's price strength in recent months, Dionisio's call could reflect a sense on Wall Street that industry tailwinds give it plenty of room to run.
Now what: According to Wedbush, Smith & Wesson's risk/reward trade-off is rather attractive at this point. "Our recent spring checks of U.S. firearms dealers and distributors indicate recent new handgun launches by Smith & Wesson, particularly in small frame/concealed carry pistols and revolvers, continue to drive significant market share expansion, enabling S&W to sharply outperform the industry overall," said Dionisio. "With industry demand now normalizing, dealers indicate this environment is again separating the market share winners from the losers, and S&W is benefiting from recent new products such as the M&P Bodyguard 380." When you couple that upbeat outlook with Smith & Wesson's cheapish forward P/E of 10, it's tough to disagree with Wedbush's upgrade.
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