Smith & Wesson gun shares on the rise after upgrade

The Smith & Wesson booth during SHOT Show 2018 in Las Vegas. (Photo: Daniel Terrill/

Share prices for Smith & Wesson’s parent company climbed nearly 5 percent this week after stock advisers upgraded the company from “hold” to “buy.”

Lake Street Capital offered the positive assessment on American Outdoor Brands on Thursday, suggesting a target price of $13.

Share prices for gun makers fell hard post-election, with Smith & Wesson crashing more than 65 percent from its 2016 high. Analysts at Lake Street believe the industry “is bottoming out,” according to Seeking Alpha, and “will stabilize ahead of the 2018 election.”

Lake Street’s forecast would come as welcome news to the prolific gun manufacturer. Chief Executive Officer James Debney told investors last month he couldn’t speculate how changing corporate attitudes toward gun sales would impact the company’s bottom line.

“Going forward, we will operate our business under the assumption that the next 12 to 18 months could deliver flattish revenues in firearms,” he said.

American Outdoor Brands reported a 32.6 percent decrease in revenue for the third financial quarter ending Jan. 31. The company’s firearms segment tanked 40 percent while its burgeoning outdoor product segment increased more than 13 percent. Debney said the company also reduced its manufacturing workforce 25 percent over the last year, eliminating 200 positions overall.

Overall, our long term strategy remains focused on being the leading provider of quality product for the shooting, hunting and rugged outdoor enthusiast,” he said. “Continued growth in our outdoor products and accessories business helped us better balance our overall revenue by mitigating the volatility we have experienced with our firearms business.”

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