Sturm, Ruger & Company: Zacks’ Bull of the Day Play

Guns remain a hot button issue as the debate rages on over the role of firearms in American society. But one thing can’t really be up for debate anymore, and that is the strength of the gunmaker stocks, and the soaring demand for firearms.

Take a look at Sturm, Ruger & Company (RGRSnapshot Report) as an example. This Connecticut-based company designs, manufacturers, and sells a variety of rifles, pistols, revolvers and related accessories. The company had its earnings report a few weeks ago and it easily crushed the consensus estimate, beating out expectations by 17.3%. And with the current political climate as well as a rising demand for firearms, this trend of outperformance could definitely continue.

Outlook

The political climate over the past few years has been that gun control is just around the corner. However, there has been little progress made on this front, though the constant threat of action has allowed gunmakers to boost sales. This trend looks to continue and analysts are definitely in agreement with this sentiment.

Current growth projections call for EPS growth year-over-year of about 17.9% for this quarter, and roughly 23.8% in the full year time frame. We haven’t seen a single estimate cut for any of the time periods we study, while we have seen a few increased in the past month for the full year time frame to better reflect the rising growth prospects of RGR.

In fact, the full year consensus estimate was just $3.35/share sixty days ago, and now it is at $3.98/share. Add these rising estimates into a solid history of beating on earnings– including an average surprise of 10.2% in the past four quarters– and you have a compelling story at hand for RGR.

No wonder the company has a Zacks Rank #1 (strong buy) and that we are looking for outperformance in the near term. But also, thanks to the broad interest in the space, the industry rank is in the top 10% and fellow gunmaker Smith & Wesson (SWHCSnapshot Report) has secured a ‘Strong Buy’ rating too.

Caveat & Bottom Line

As we have seen over the past seven years, a Democrat in the White House isn’t necessarily doom for the firearm makers. If anything, it has actually proven to be a great time to be in the stocks as the constant threat of a crackdown has helped to keep sales humming along.

However, some candidates, namely Hillary Clinton, the Democratic frontrunner, have called for the repeal of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which protects firearm makers from being held liable if their products are used to commit crimes.

If the act was repealed, it would definitely be troublesome for the space to say the least. However, until we get closer to the election and have an idea of how Congress will shake out, it appears to be relatively smooth sailing for the space. Analysts seem to like the stock, while it has great grades for both growth and momentum. So if you are willing to overlook some of the political concerns here, this could be an interesting stock worth adding to a well-diversified portfolio.

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