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What: Shares of Smith & Wesson Holding (NASDAQ:SWHC) have lost about 13% of their value Wednesday after the company released fiscal first-quarter earnings that contained guidance far below what Wall Street had expected.
So what: Smith & Wesson's first quarter produced $131.9 million in revenue and $0.26 in earnings per share. Both results were well below the year-ago quarter's results -- revenue was 23% weaker and EPS fell 35% year over year -- and the top line missed analyst expectations of $134 million, but the company's bottom line beat estimates by a penny. However, Smith & Wesson now expects to earn only $0.89-$0.94 per share for the full fiscal year on a revenue range of $530 million-$540 million. Both guidance ranges are far lower than earlier guidance, which anticipated full-year EPS in the $1.30-$1.40 range on $585 million-$600 million in revenue.
Now what: This has not been a good year for publicly traded gun-makers, as a years-long frenzy of gun buying appears to have temporarily ebbed following President Obama's failed efforts to implement new firearms restrictions. This was the second consecutive quarter of year-over-year revenue declines for Smith & Wesson, something which last occurred in late 2010 after gun-friendly politicians were swept into the House of Representatives.
Firearms manufacturers have gone through such ebbs and flows before. The good news for Smith & Wesson and its peers is that the FBI's records of monthly background checks for firearm sales show year-over-year growth in background checks of 8% and 9% for June and July, respectively, after far fewer background checks were conducted in January and February than were conducted a year earlier. While this higher number of background checks may not result in a return to strong growth, it at least indicates that Americans are still interested in firearms ownership, and that's a long-term positive for Smith & Wesson.
Alex Planes has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.