Shares of American Outdoor Brands Corp. rose 4.5% in afternoon trading Wednesday, after Wedbush analyst James Hardiman raised his earnings estimates to well above consensus a day before the firearms and outdoor products company reports fiscal second-quarter results. Hardiman now expects quarterly earnings per share of 11 cents, up from 7 cents. That compares with the FactSet consensus of 6 cents as of Nov. 29 and the company’s guidance range of 3 cents to 7 cents. Hardiman said his improved outlook is based on the “significant outperformance” in National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) data, which showed 13% growth on a weighted average basis versus his estimate of 3% growth coming into the quarter. The company’s earnings report is due out after Thursday’s closing bell. The stock has now soared 60% since it closed at a 7 1/2-year low of $5.62 on Oct. 3, while the S&P 500 has gained 7.0% over the same time. Last month, the company said it planned to spin off its Smith & Wesson gun-maker business into an independent publicly traded company, with the spinoff expected to be completed in the second half of 2020. Year to date, American Outdoor shares have shed 30%, while the S&P 500 has advanced 24%.Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.