Business

Orlando shooting sends gun stocks Smith & Wesson, Ruger higher

Shares in companies that make guns were higher Monday, the first trading day after the shooting in Orlando that is the deadliest in American history.
Shares in gun companies typically go up after mass shootings, as civilians tend to buy more guns in anticipation of the government moving to curb sales. (Jeff McIntosh/Canadian Press)

Shares in companies that make guns were higher Monday, the first trading day after the shooting in Orlando that is the deadliest in American history.

Gun maker Smith & Wesson was up more than eight per cent to above $23 a share and rival Sturm, Ruger & Co. was up by more than 10 per cent on Monday, two days after Omar Mateen killed 49 people in an Orlando gay dance club using assault weaponry.

Gun companies often see their shares rise in the aftermath of deadly shootings, as such events typically prompt a wave of gun-buying by those who think the government will attempt to crack down on private gun ownership as a result.

Gun sales jumped in January after President Obama vowed to use executive powers to expand background checks for buyers and bolster licensing requirements for dealers. 

That announcement had followed the mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, where a couple pledging allegiance to Islamic State killed 14 people.

Smith & Wesson saw its sales increase by 61 per cent in the quarter that followed that shooting. But short sellers — people who make money by betting against a stock — have increased their bets against Smith & Wesson by more than a third since February, Bloomberg data shows.

Gun sales slowed in May according to adjusted data from National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), which processes applications to own firearms.

Smith & Wesson is scheduled to release its quarterly earnings after markets close on Thursday. The company sold almost $630 million US worth of weaponry last year, its highest total ever.

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