Gun stocks soar as riots, looting erupt across America

Sturm, Ruger & Co. was up 11%

Gun-related stocks soared on Monday after a weekend of civil unrest stretching from New York to Chicago to Los Angeles.

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Gunmakers American Outdoor Brands and Sturm, Ruger & Co., ammunition maker Vista Outdoor and police body cam and Taser stun gun maker Axon Enterprise were all trading sharply higher as investors priced in the possibility the violence could propel already surging sales.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
AOBCn.a.n.a.n.a.n.a.
RGRSTURM RUGER61.58-0.24-0.39%
VSTOVISTA OUTDOOR20.96+0.34+1.65%
AAXNAXON ENTERPRISE102.91-0.73-0.70%

Americans flocked to gun stores as states began issuing stay-at-home orders to slow the spread of COVID-19 amid concerns the stores would be deemed nonessential and forced to temporarily close their doors.

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April gun sales spiked 71 percent from a year ago to nearly 1.8 million, according to data released by Small Arms Analytics and Forecasting. That followed an 85 percent year-over-year gain in March.

Separate data released by the FBI showed the number of background checks rose 25 percent year over year in April to more than 2.9 million.

Firearms typically see a boost in sales during election years as Americans stock up amid concerns the possibility of a new administration could bring gun-control measures.

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Ruger was up 33 percent year to date through Friday while rival American Outdoor Brands gained 11 percent. Vista Outdoor has advanced 35 percent and Axon Enterprise has climbed 3.66 percent. The benchmark S&P 500 was down 5.77 percent.