Gun stocks slide after American Outdoor Brands earnings report

Gun stocks for major manufacturers slid last month as Smith & Wesson’s parent company, American Outdoor Brands, forecasted as much as a 17 percent dip in earnings next year.

Sturm, Ruger and Vista Outdoor dipped 8.2 percent and 3 percent, respectively, as of June 30, according to Seeking Alpha.

Shares for American Outdoor Brands also dropped 8.8 percent after President Jeff Debney said a promotion-heavy environment “will have an impact on gross margins” in the first and second quarter.

“It’s certainly going to be down over last year,” Jeffrey Buchanan, executive vice president of American Outdoor Brands, told investors during a June 29 conference call. “The last year was definitely an aberration. But if you look at the graph of NICS … we expected just to follow with a typical seasonal pattern last year and did not. But this year that’s what we expect.”

“Right now, we’ve got to really wait until the fall to understand how strongly that consumer returns to the retailer and their appetite for buying firearms,” Debney added. “So that’s really where we find ourselves right now.”

Debney said last month the company broke records, raking in $903.2 million through the end of the fourth quarter — a 25 percent earnings increase overall.

Estimated gun sales in April, when the fourth quarter ended, defied seasonal trends, rising 4 percent over 2016, the industry’s biggest year ever. May sales followed suit, rising 6 percent.

June gun sales plunged 12 percent over 2016 to just over 947,000 estimated transfers, according to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System. The gun industry uses the system as a proxy measure for gun sales.