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Wednesday, January 9, 2008

my wife, the gun expert

I used to joke about the department of Alchohol Tobacco and Firearms.  Why on earth do you combine the regulation of those three completely different products-- in case you want to know what handgun goes best with a Merlot?  Well now, my wife will be able to tell you.

NEW YORK (Associated Press) - Shares of gun maker Smith & Wesson Holding Corp. rose Wednesday after an analyst started coverage with a "Positive" rating, saying the company's revenue will increase as it launches new products and books more orders from the military.

While Smith & Wesson is famous for its revolvers, Susquehanna Financial Group analyst Cheryl Cortez said the company's military and police weapons have helped it take a stronger position in the semi-automatic market. That market offers a lot of potential for the company, she said.

Product lines the company gained from its buyout of Thompson/Center Arms in January 2007, including hunting rifles, will also help improve sales.

"Smith & Wesson has recently launched its bolt-action rifles and has many other products in the pipeline," Cortez said. "New products are expected to gain popularity and wide market acceptance on the back of Smith & Wesson's strong brand name."

She added that profit margins should grow due to the expansion of Smith and Wesson's gun barrel manufacturing facility and the integration of Thomson/Center Arms.

The stock rose 38 cents, or 7.9 percent, to $5.21 in afternoon trading. Smith & Wesson shares have traded around annual lows over the last two months, and took a steep drop in October after the company cut its fiscal-year profit outlook. It cut its forecast again in December.

Cortez said she estimates the Springfield, Mass., company will earn 31 cents per share in the year ending April 30, compared to the company's estimate of 40 cents per share.

She expects a profit of 46 cents per share in fiscal 2009, while analysts polled by Thomson Financial forecast a profit of 61 cents per share that year.

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