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Fitness company says it will outsource its manufacturing as it steers toward more sustainable growth.

Wed, Jul 13, 2022 4:06pmGrey Clock 3 min

Peloton Interactive built its business to delight its customers. Now it must do the same for its shareholders.

Peloton said Tuesday that it will stop producing its own hardware, exiting all owned manufacturing operations and expanding its relationship with its Taiwanese manufacturer, Rexon Industrial Corp. The move comes as Peloton’s new Chief Executive Barry McCarthy works to right the company’s financials, unwinding big, and in hindsight naive, bets co-founder John Foley made during his tenure.

Peloton’s shares, which have lost 92% of their value over the past year, jumped by almost 5% after the market’s open. A shift to outsourced manufacturing came as a relief. The about-face highlights what Mr. Foley got spectacularly wrong: Peloton acquired Taiwan-based manufacturer Tonic Fitness Technology back in 2019—a move Mr. Foley said was meant to help Peloton own the supply chain in an effort to increase scale and capacity, as well as to “delight” its members.

But, as online retailer Stitch Fix, another business currently undergoing major restructuring and suffering a similar stock price implosion also is learning, it is very hard to own every piece of your customers’ experience and grow exponentially without losing your investors. The numbers simply don’t add up.

Customers probably won’t care where their exercise bike is made, and in fact Rexon and other contract manufacturers had already been building some of Peloton’s components and equipment. Apple, a company with a reputation for design and a loyal customer base, outsources its manufacturing, largely to China. That wasn’t always the case, but outsourcing went a long way toward making the company highly profitable, courtesy of current Chief Executive Tim Cook. In Peloton’s case, it is worth noting that Rexon builds the company’s Tread treadmill and built its recalled Tread+, the sales of which are still on hold. As long as there are no more recalls, Peloton users are there for the company’s content, with the pretty hardware just a means to the end.

Mr. Foley wanted Wall Street to see Peloton as a growth company, and that is how it was valued at its peak. Ultimately, though, there are only going to be so many people interested in sweating profusely on an expensive stationary bike alongside kindred endorphin seekers the world over. As BMO analyst Simeon Siegel put it, Peloton is a company with a phenomenal stable of existing users and right now, it should be focused on “bear hugging” those loyalists.

Data from UBS show that adoption levels of Peloton’s cheaper app, which the company views as a key customer acquisition tool toward its more expensive subscription, continued to decline in May and early June. It also showed active users declining since January. YipitData shows subscriber retention for fiscal 2022 has slightly underperformed historical averages and that churn increased in June year over year. More broadly, Similarweb data shows “home fitness” web traffic declining 24% year over year for the most recently tracked two-week period in late June—the largest annual declines logged by the firm this year.

Wall Street will have to wait for Peloton’s fiscal fourth-quarter report for more granular details on how exactly Tuesday’s announcement will impact the company’s cost structure. A Peloton spokesperson confirmed the company would cut about 570 employees in Taiwan, but that 100 employees would remain in that business unit focused on quality control, engineering and research and development. And Peloton will get a new chief financial officer in Liz Coddington—previously of and Netflix—after the company said Jill Woodworth, who had served in that role since 2018, will step down.

The company we once knew as aspirational is quickly becoming a commodity. It will try to prove to its investors that it can at least be a hot one.

Reprinted by permission of The Wall Street Journal, Copyright 2021 Dow Jones & Company. Inc. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Original date of publication: July 12, 2022.


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These stocks are getting hit for a reason. Instead, focus on stocks that show ‘relative strength.’ Here’s how.

Wed, Jun 12, 2024 4 min

A lot of investors get stock-picking wrong before they even get started: Instead of targeting the top-performing stocks in the market, they focus on the laggards—widely known companies that look as if they are on sale after a period of stock-price weakness.

But these weak performers usually are going down for good reasons, such as for deteriorating sales and earnings, market-share losses or mutual-fund managers who are unwinding positions.

Decades of Investor’s Business Daily research shows these aren’t the stocks that tend to become stock-market leaders. The stocks that reward investors with handsome gains for months or years are more often  already  the strongest price performers, usually because of outstanding earnings and sales growth and increasing fund ownership.

Of course, many investors already chase performance and pour money into winning stocks. So how can a discerning investor find the winning stocks that have more room to run?

Enter “relative strength”—the notion that strength begets more strength. Relative strength measures stocks’ recent performance relative to the overall market. Investing in stocks with high relative strength means going with the winners, rather than picking stocks in hopes of a rebound. Why bet on a last-place team when you can wager on the leader?

One of the easiest ways to identify the strongest price performers is with IBD’s Relative Strength Rating. Ranked on a scale of 1-99, a stock with an RS rating of 99 has outperformed 99% of all stocks based on 12-month price performance.

How to use the metric

To capitalise on relative strength, an investor’s search should be focused on stocks with RS ratings of at least 80.

But beware: While the goal is to buy stocks that are performing better than the overall market, stocks with the highest RS ratings aren’t  always  the best to buy. No doubt, some stocks extend rallies for years. But others will be too far into their price run-up and ready to start a longer-term price decline.

Thus, there is a limit to chasing performance. To avoid this pitfall, investors should focus on stocks that have strong relative strength but have seen a moderate price decline and are just coming out of weeks or months of trading within a limited range. This range will vary by stock, but IBD research shows that most good trading patterns can show declines of up to one-third.

Here, a relative strength line on a chart may be helpful for confirming an RS rating’s buy signal. Offered on some stock-charting tools, including IBD’s, the line is a way to visualise relative strength by comparing a stock’s price performance relative to the movement of the S&P 500 or other benchmark.

When the line is sloping upward, it means the stock is outperforming the benchmark. When it is sloping downward, the stock is lagging behind the benchmark. One reason the RS line is helpful is that the line can rise even when a stock price is falling, meaning its value is falling at a slower pace than the benchmark.

A case study

The value of relative strength could be seen in Google parent Alphabet in January 2020, when its RS rating was 89 before it started a 10-month run when the stock rose 64%. Meta Platforms ’ RS rating was 96 before the Facebook parent hit new highs in March 2023 and ran up 65% in four months. Abercrombie & Fitch , one of 2023’s best-performing stocks, had a 94 rating before it soared 342% in nine months starting in June 2023.

Those stocks weren’t flukes. In a study of the biggest stock-market winners from the early 1950s through 2008, the average RS rating of the best performers before they began their major price runs was 87.

To see relative strength in action, consider Nvidia . The chip stock was an established leader, having shot up 365% from its October 2022 low to its high of $504.48 in late August 2023.

But then it spent the next four months rangebound—giving up some ground, then gaining some back. Through this period, shares held between $392.30 and the August peak, declining no more than 22% from top to bottom.

On Jan. 8, Nvidia broke out of its trading range to new highs. The previous session, Nvidia’s RS rating was 97. And that week, the stock’s relative strength line hit new highs. The catalyst: Investors cheered the company’s update on its latest advancements in artificial intelligence.

Nvidia then rose 16% on Feb. 22 after the company said earnings for the January-ended quarter soared 486% year over year to $5.16 a share. Revenue more than tripled to $22.1 billion. It also significantly raised its earnings and revenue guidance for the quarter that was to end in April. In all, Nvidia climbed 89% from Jan. 5 to its March 7 close.

And the stock has continued to run up, surging past $1,000 a share in late May after the company exceeded that guidance for the April-ended quarter and delivered record revenue of $26 billion and record net profit of $14.88 billion.

Ken Shreve  is a senior markets writer at Investor’s Business Daily. Follow him on X  @IBD_KShreve  for more stock-market analysis and insights, or contact him at .