06 March 2009

Just a Couple More Numbers

A quick follow-up to a post from earlier this week, about the increase in sales of firearms and ammunition. Not only do the sales numbers appear to be real...but they're having a real impact on the value of those companies. Most gun and ammunition makers are privately-held corporations, but two in particular are publicly-traded.

Sturm, Ruger and Company (RGR) closed today at $10.32. It opened the year at $5.97 and was at $6.02 on Innauguration Day. Since the innauguration, it has increased 71%.

Smith & Wesson (SWHC) opened the year at $2.27. The day Barack Obama was innaugurated, it had inched up to $2.45. It closed today at $4.43. That's an increase of 81% since Innauguration Day.

By comparison, the S&P 500 closed today at $683. That's a decline of 15% since the Innaugural.

And, to follow up on my previous post about the price of gold: the spot price of gold exceeded the value of the S&P 500 on Innauguration Day (for the first time since the 1991 Gulf War), and has remained comfortably ahead of that index ever since. The two were at a rough parity on January 20th; one ounce of gold is now 37% higher than the weighted average of the 500 largest publicly-traded companies.

I don't offer investment advice on this blog, and I'm not an economist or financial analyst. And I didn't have the foresight to buy stock in either of the gun companies above. But I think these trends are fascinating indicators of what's going on in the marketplace --- and in the sentiment of this nation's investors. And the ways in which Americans are now "voting with their wallets."

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