Peloton Stock Fell After Treadmill Warning. Wall Street Sees a Chance to Buy.


By Liz Moyer

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Peloton is best known for its popular stationary bicycles.


Courtesy Peloton


Peloton

Interactive is fighting a U.S. regulatory warning about the safety of its treadmills after a deadly accident involving a child. Analysts say a drop in the stock price that followed the news represents a buying opportunity.

Last week, the Consumer Product Safety Commission said people should stop using Peloton’s Tread machine if they had small children or pets at home, asking the exercise equipment maker to recall the product. Peloton on Saturday called the warning “inaccurate and misleading.”

Shares of Peloton (ticker: PTON) tumbled 9.6% on Monday. They are down more than 30% this year compared with a 10.7% gain in the S&P 500.

The regulator cited 39 incidents, including the death, saying it believes the treadmill poses serious risks to children for abrasions, fractures, and death. It urged people who have children at home to stop using the machine.

On Saturday, Peloton said there was no reason to stop using it, adding that children under 16 years old should not use it and that owners should keep children and pets away from it.

Stifel analyst
Scott Devitt
confirmed his Buy rating on the stock and his target of $170 for the share price, saying the decline is a chance to buy.

“While we don’t believe the event will have lasting consequences for the company, the timing of it isn’t great given the short-term vulnerability the stock has to increased human mobility,” he said in a note.

Peloton, best known for its nearly $2,000 stationary bicycles and subscription spinning classes, won over customers in the past year because the closing of gyms and exercise studios as a result of the pandemic have forced people to work out from home. Perhaps because of the surge in popularity, the company also has struggled to keep up with demand, pledging to spend millions to speed up shipping and delivery.

Now, the concern is whether Peloton can hold on to its popularity as gyms reopen. Wall Street remains positive.

JP Morgan analyst
Doug Anmuth
also said the stock-price drop is a buying opportunity, reiterating his Overweight rating on the shares.

Peloton warned about the accident involving its treadmill last month. It has since taken steps to ensure the safety of the product, Anmuth said in a note. It won’t stop selling or recall the treadmills, he said, and it isn’t expected to delay the introduction of a lower-priced model next month.

Truist analyst
Youssef Squali
also kept a Buy rating on Peloton shares, with a $160 price target. The CPSC warning is a “black eye” for the company, but won’t affect revenue and profit, he said.

His target implies a 52% gain from the current price.

Squali cited several reasons the CPSC’s warning will have little effect on Peloton’s near-term results. First, he said, it isn’t clear whether Tread is more dangerous than other treadmills. He cited CPSC data that 22,500 emergency-room visits were linked to treadmills in 2019. Peloton introduced Tread in 2018.

Second, the analyst said, treadmills are popular, with more than 5 million sold annually. The demand has only increased because of the pandemic.

Third, Peloton is projecting that treadmills will account for a bigger portion of its equipment sales in the coming year, he said. 

Write to liz.moyer@barrons.com