Smith & Wesson’s stock hits year low

After four years of steady growth and expansion, the stock price for Smith & Wesson’s holding company — American Outdoor Brands Corporation — closed Wednesday at its lowest point for the past year.

At $18.84 per share, the price has dropped 37 percent from the high point in August and has continued on a downward trend since the unpredicted election win for Donald Trump.

Gun rights organizations stumped for the billionaire businessman over Hillary Clinton, who made gun control part of her campaign platform. Despite supporting gun control measures in the past, Trump had adopted pro-gun policies and even gained an early endorsement from the National Rifle Association, a close relationship he’s maintained into his presidency.

While the gun industry believed the massive swings in sales spurred by political influence under the Obama Administration would continue under Clinton, gun sales overall have dropped since the election. Compared to last year, December sales decreased by 17 percent and in January by 23.8 percent, according to data reviewed by Guns.com.

AOBC’s third quarter, which ended Jan. 31, may reflect that decline. Yet, while firearms make up the lion’s share of sales, the company’s longterm plan has been expanding into outdoor goods and shooting accessories to supplement sales. Second quarter earnings showed growth with that segment increasing by 97.9 percent, up $39 million from $19.7 million the year before.

Competitor and fellow conglomerate Vista Outdoor also saw a severe drop in its stock price even though the company reported nearly identical results from last year for gun and ammo sales. The company said many distributors and retailers prepared for a Clinton victory by increasing inventory, but when Trump won they saw a swift drop in demand.

Gun maker Sturm, Ruger & Company’s stock price saw a sharp 26 percent drop immediately following the election, but has held steady around $50 per share.

AOBC is scheduled to release quarterly results next month and hold a conference call with investors March 2.