John Hempton, who is himself merely a humble (Australian) investment manager, says that one investment opportunity in particular might tell us something about how Barack Obama is doing after seven months in office. It turns out that the big runup in firearm sales to people who were convinced that Obama planned to confiscate their guns seems to be over. In fact, according to Smith & Wesson, their order book is collapsing:
The warning about the backlog not being binding is new — and it is clear from the new disclosure that they are having massive problems during this quarter with order cancellation.
The backlog dropped from $268 million to $178 million — a drop of 90 million. Ten percent of that (say $27 million) was order cancellation — but a net $63 million of sales came from the backlog. Total sales were 102 million — and less than 100 million in firearms. The rate at which Americans are placing orders for new Smith and Wesson handguns is collapsing.
The company did not tell us the current forward order book. At that rate of collapse what they are facing is a disaster. Whether that says anything about the size and intensity of belief of the Rush Limbaugh right — well I will leave that for my readers to discern. We just want to make money for our clients — so we are short Smith & Wesson.
Easy come, easy go. But perhaps this means the “Obama is a fascist tyrant” bubble is about to burst — since, you know, it turns out that he’s actually a fairly conventional mainstream liberal politician with exactly zero interest in re-igniting any facet of the culture wars whatsoever. And just how many extra guns do you really need to protect yourself against imaginary enemies anyway? Just saying.