May 9, 2020, 4:13 p.m. EDT

Gun maker Sturm Ruger details increased demand for firearms as COVID-19 spread in U.S.

FBI data says that background checks required for gun sales jumped by over 1.5 million from the year before in March and April

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By Max A. Cherney

Associated Press
Demonstrators stand outside a security zone before a pro gun rally, Monday, Jan. 20, 2020, in Richmond, Va.

Gun manufacturer Sturm Ruger & Co. Inc. shares rose to the highest level in a year this week after the company reported a spike in distributor sales to retailers amid increased demand for guns as the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the world.

Sturm Ruger /zigman2/quotes/200036418/composite RGR +3.35%   Chief Executive Officer Christopher Killoy said the company saw a 37% spike in sales from distributors to retailers in the first quarter compared with a year ago. The gun maker reported first-quarter net income of $15.3 million, which amounts to 87 cents a share, compared with net income of $13 million, or 74 cents a share, a year ago. Revenue rose to $123.6 million from $114 million in the year-ago quarter.

The company does not have enough analyst coverage to form reliable consensus estimates, according to FactSet.

Background checks required to buy firearms administered by the Federal Bureau of Investigation increased by just over 1 million in March compared with a year ago, to more than 3.74 million. April saw an increase of roughly 575,000, to more than 2.9 million checks, according to data collected by the FBI . As lockdown orders began to take force in March, there were multiple reports of long lines outside of gun shops in California and elsewhere amid coronavirus fears.

Sturm Ruger stock has fallen 4.6% in the past year, as the S&P 500 index /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX +0.82%   dropped 2.2%. Shares rose nearly 5% in after-hours trading immediately following the release of the report.

$ 69.47
+2.25 +3.35%
Volume: 267,495
May 6, 2021 4:00p
P/E Ratio
Dividend Yield
Market Cap
$1.22 billion
Rev. per Employee
+34.03 +0.82%
Volume: 2.24B
May 6, 2021 5:28p

Max A. Cherney is a MarketWatch reporter based in San Francisco. Follow him on Twitter @chernandburn.

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