Weight Watchers pops on bullish analyst call, but traders prefer another fitness stock – CNBC

Posted: May 15, 2020 at 9:43 am


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Call it a win for the wellness trade.

Shares of WW International, formerly Weight Watchers, rallied nearly 5% on Wednesday after Jefferies initiated coverage of the stock with a buy rating and a $32 price target. The firm said the coronavirus pandemic had ushered in a "durable trend" that could sustain "superior growth" for Weight Watchers: consumers prioritizing wellness.

The stock popped as much as 10% in intraday trading before cooling off slightly to close at $24.60, a 4.75% gain for the day. It is down more than 36% year to date.

The recent enthusiasm around Weight Watchers' prospects has been encouraging, JC O'Hara, chief market technician at MKM Partners, told CNBC's "Trading Nation" on Wednesday.

"The stock made a recent low around $10. It's trading now about $25. So, that's pretty impressive over the short term, but ... in 2018, this was a $100 stock," O'Hara said.

"So, rather than bottom-fishing in names that are close to 52-week lows, I want momentum," he said. "If this health and wellness and fitness craze is here to stay, I want to buy stocks that have already started to participate."

For that, O'Hara turned to Peloton, which he called a "much better option" now.

"You could see over the last few months it's traced out an inverse head-and-shoulders pattern," he said, referencing a chart of the stock since its 2019 IPO. "What that really means is it's a positive pattern that's getting the buyers ready, and typically, this pattern is a buy as soon as it breaks above resistance."

The $36 appeared to be the stock's ceiling of resistance until last week, when it broke through that level and "ran another 22%," O'Hara said.

"The worst thing you could say about Peloton is maybe it's overextended or maybe overbought," he said. "Yes, it is up 150% from the March lows. So, to us, I think the best play here is look at Peloton. Look to add or buy on a pullback to 40, and I think that's the way to play this new theme taking place in the economy."

Peloton closed down more than 2% on Wednesday at $45.17.

Mark Tepper, president and CEO of Strategic Wealth Partners, is also a fan of Peloton's prospects, though he expressed concern that "a lot of the easy money's already been made" in the health and wellness space.

"There's no doubt there is a structural shift happening here. Work out from home, not just work from home, [is] here to stay," Tepper said in the same "Trading Nation" interview. "If you've spent a lot of money outfitting your home gym, it seems less like that you'd do a quick 180 as the economy reopens and go back to the gym."

Tepper cited theshortage of exercise weights such as dumbbells, kettlebells and barbells as evidence for consumers investing in their home fitness setups.

"This is where Peloton has an advantage. I understand it's not strength training, it's cardio, but they actually still have bikes," he said. "For about 100 bucks a month, you can get the bike, you can get the subscription, it's a great value prop for the consumer, but it is a little bit expensive."

Tepper was referring to Peloton's payment plan for its$2,245 exercise bike. Consumers can pay in full or enroll in a 39-month payment plan at $58 a month, which with the $39-a-month all-access class membership totals $97 a month.

"This reminds me a lot of what Apple did a few years ago," Tepper said. "Less and less people were willing to shell out 1,000 bucks for an iPhone, so they started offering ways to lease the phone or finance the phone. I think that's what Peloton's doing here."

Disclosure: CNBC parent Comcast-NBCUniversal is an investor in Peloton.

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Weight Watchers pops on bullish analyst call, but traders prefer another fitness stock - CNBC

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May 15th, 2020 at 9:43 am

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