What a shock! TASER International
This morning's earnings report showed 56% sales growth over the year-ago period and 150% higher net profits. Getting a 6% jolt from the news, the shares touched a price level not seen since January 2005 and 2.5 times the 52-week low.
Large orders from customers such as the French Ministry of the Interior and the California Highway Patrol put a gloss on the report. Some orders were pushed into the fourth quarter, giving TASER a nice starting point of guaranteed sales, so the forward outlook sounds bright, too.
And if that's not enough good news for one day, consider that TASER is now taking commissioned orders from the U.S. military to fill the needs of ground troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Depending on how the 2008 elections shape up, that could be a massive opportunity for the stun-gun specialist.
More lawsuits against the company were dismissed, and now the all-time total of favorable legal results for TASER stands at 58-0. And litigants just aren't filing new suits at the rate they used to -- the cost-effectiveness of doing that is approaching zero. CEO Rick Smith explained that the company has done very well in court cases simply because "the science is really pretty compelling."
I'm not a law enforcement officer, but if I had to protect myself against an armed lunatic, I'd rather hold a TASER than anything from competitors such as Stinger Systems, Armor Holdings, or car-wash operator and pepper-spray manufacturer Mace Security
So the product is solid, and the business is picking up. The two largest threats to TASER's success were always wrongful-death lawsuits and management quality. With the legal picture clearing up day by day and management stepping away from the hype of yesteryear, the company is growing up quickly.
The stock is expensive by any traditional metric -- but that's one of the defining qualities of Rule Breakers such as TASER, LoopNet
TASER, LoopNet, and Universal Display are three of the picks on the market-stomping Motley Fool Rule Breakers' scorecard. Find more stocks worth every penny with a free, 30-day trial subscription. LoopNet is also a Motley Fool Hidden Gems pick.
Fool contributor Anders Bylund is a Universal Display shareholder but holds no other position in any of the companies discussed here. He'd get his citizenship just to vote for Stephen Colbert. You can check out Anders' holdings if you like, and the mere mention of Foolish disclosure is enough to drive a nervous man distracted.