Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.
What: Shares of Smith & Wesson Holding Corp (NASDAQ:SWBI) and Sturm, Ruger & Company (NYSE:RGR) were up 13.4% and 9.9%, respectively, as of 12 p.m. Wednesday after the former raised its financial guidance on strong firearm orders.
So what: Specifically, Smith & Wesson told investors Wednesday morning that "orders throughout its fiscal fourth quarter have been stronger than originally anticipated and it is therefore increasing its guidance."
For its fiscal fourth quarter 2015, ending April 30, Smith & Wesson now expects net sales between $175 million and $179 million, compared to previous guidance for revenue between $162 million and $166 million. That should translate to adjusted earnings per share between $0.39 and $0.41, compared to Smith & Wesson's previous range of between $0.29 and $0.31. Analysts, on average, were modeling fiscal-fourth-quarter earnings of just $0.26 per share on sales of $164.6 million.
Assuming Smith & Wesson's results are an indication of broad strength in demand for firearms, this seems to be great news and explains the sympathetic increase in share price enjoyed today by fellow gun manufacturer Sturm, Ruger. Incidentally, Sturm, Ruger did announce less than two weeks ago that it used $2.8 million in cash on hand to repurchase 82,100 shares of its common stock during the first quarter. And remember, last year I noted Ruger management is notoriously careful in understanding the math required to ensure their repurchases are in the best interests of long-term shareholders.
Now what: Today's news shouldn't be terribly surprising because both companies previously indicated normalizing gun sales signaled impending relief from stubbornly high distributor inventories, which hampered sales of new product in previous months. At the same time, it's encouraging that Smith & Wesson's orders have been stronger than even it expected during its current quarter. Whether that strength is short-lived remains to be seen. But I can't blame investors in both Smith & Wesson and Sturm, Ruger for driving up the stock price of their respective businesses today.