While the U.S. reels from a series of mass shootings, each one reigniting the debate over gun control, the hottest investments in the stock market seem to be shares of gun manufacturers, reports the New York Times. Since President Obama took office in 2009, shares of Smith & Wesson and Sturm, Ruger have each increased 900 percent, far surpassing the return of the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index (up 147 percent) and outperforming the stock of Apple (up 800 percent). Some investors missed out on the rally in gun stocks by choice. A number of public pension funds and other money managers have moved to sell their stakes in gun and ammunition companies, arguing that their profits come at too steep a price.
The business climate for gun makers has rarely been better. Firearms enthusiasts, whether they are hunters, target shooters or those concerned with their personal safety, buy more guns after mass shootings and the resulting appeals for stricter gun laws. On Monday, Smith & Wesson alerted Wall Street analysts and investors that it believed its full-year sales would be higher than expected, above $650 million for its fiscal year, which ends in April. That is up more than 57 percent from its 2012 sales of $412 million. Surging sales are not enough to attract investors that consider the shares of gun manufacturers to be taboo. After the 2012 shootings in Newtown, Ct., several public pension funds began moving to sell off their financial stakes in gun and ammunition manufacturers.