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Peloton’s stock tanks after ‘urgent’ safety warning



Peloton's stock tanks after 'urgent' safety warning

Shares of Peloton tumbled on Monday after the US government issued an “urgent warning” to owners of the company’s Tread+ treadmill that advised them to stop using the machine.

On Saturday, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission said it has learned of 39 accidents involving the $4,295 treadmill, including “multiple reports of children becoming entrapped, pinned, and pulled under” the machine.

The CPSC said it is urging customers with small children and pets to stop using the Tread+ immediately.

One child died in a March accident related to the Tread+, the company said last month, and on Saturday the CPSC released a video showing a toddler getting sucked under a Peloton Tread+ as he chases after a ball and told consumers to stop using high-end treadmill. The toddler in the video wasn’t injured.

“CPSC staff believes the Peloton Tread+ poses serious risks to children for abrasions, fractures, and death,” the agency said.

Peloton shares were down 7.6 percent at $107.41 in early trading on Monday.

In a Sunday blog post to customers, Peloton Chief Executive John Foley said the company will not “stop selling or recall” the Tread+ as the CPSC had suggested, insisting they are safe if properly used.

“Tread+ is not for children under 16, and children, pets, and objects need to be kept away from the Tread+ at all times,” according to Foley.

The company is also working on a new “software-enabled, backup access code that will provide an additional layer of protection against unwanted use of the Tread+. We are working hard to roll this out soon,” Foley said.

Foley added that Peloton has responded to all of the regulatory agency’s requests, with one exception.

“We resisted their demands for personally identifiable information of certain Members because those members had specifically requested that we not provide that information to CPSC,” according to Foley.

“At no time was Peloton trying to impede CPSC’s investigation,” Foley added. “We were simply standing behind our members’ right to maintain their privacy, and we remain committed to providing this type of information only with a Member’s consent or pursuant to a subpoena,” Foley said. 

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US casinos raked in $11B in first quarter to match best-ever ‘win’



US casinos raked in $11B in first quarter to match best-ever ‘win’

Figures released Tuesday by the American Gaming Association, the casino industry’s national trade group, show the nation’s commercial casinos took in over $11.1 billion in the first quarter of this year.

America’s commercial casinos matched their best quarter ever in the first three months of this year, as customers continued returning amid the COVID-19 pandemic and internet and sports betting money helped boost revenue numbers.

That matched the industry’s best quarter in history, the third quarter of 2019. The figures do not include tribal casinos.

And March was a particularly good month: 12 states reported their highest-ever levels of monthly gambling revenue.

The 2021 first-quarter revenue numbers represented a nearly 18 percent increase over the first quarter of 2020, when the pandemic began to take hold nationwide, and an increase of more than 4 percent from the first quarter of 2019, before the pandemic began.

The numbers were even more heartening to industry executives because they came while most casinos were still operating under capacity restrictions designed to slow the spread of the virus.

“Today’s report shows gaming’s comeback is ahead of schedule,” said Bill Miller, the association’s president and CEO. “Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, our industry has faced numerous challenges head-on while still reopening responsibly and providing a safe, exciting environment for customers. The gaming industry is generating these impressive results with one hand tied behind our back as capacity and amenity restrictions remain across the country.”

Some state-mandated closures remained in effect in the first quarter of this year. Casinos in Pennsylvania and Illinois were allowed to reopen from a second mandated shutdown on Jan. 4 and Jan. 16, respectively. In early March, New Mexico became the last commercial gaming market to resume operations after having been shuttered for just under a year.

Fourteen out of the 25 commercial casino states — home to more than 75 percent of the nation’s commercial casinos — limited casino occupancy to below 50 percent during the quarter.

One of the few places where commercial casinos were operating at full capacity in the first quarter was South Dakota. It was the first commercial casino state to reopen last year, on May 7, 2020.

Terry Glebocki, CEO of the Ocean Casino Resort in Atlantic City, said customer volumes at her property have been increasing this year, due in part to a multimillion-dollar reinvestment the casino is making.

But there is another factor at play, she said.

“I do think we’re seeing more and more people feeling more comfortable coming out” to casinos, she said. “There’s a ton of pent-up demand out there. People want to go out and have fun, and that’s what you do at a casino.”

Traditional brick-and-mortar casino games generated 90 percent of their first-quarter 2019 revenue. March was particularly strong, with revenue from slots and table games coming within 1 percent of March 2019 totals.

Sports betting revenue set a new quarterly record this year at $961 million, up 270 percent from a year earlier, and surpassing 2019’s full-year total of $909 million.

Helped by the successful opening of online casinos in Michigan, internet gambling generated $784 million nationwide in the first quarter of this year, more than three times the amount from a year ago.

In March, a dozen states set monthly gambling revenue records: Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota and Virginia.

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Stocks hammered as sell off moves from tech to other sectors



Stocks hammered as sell off moves from tech to other sectors

Investors pulled back on stocks Tuesday as a sell-off that began in tech companies broadened to other sectors, sending the major US indices down.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbled about 450 points, or 1.3 percent, in mid-day trading. The S&P 500 was 0.8 percent lower and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite edged just 0.1 percent lower, but was down as much as 2.2 percent earlier in the day.

Investor concerns over rising inflation costs have hit high-growth tech stocks in recent weeks. The Nasdaq is down nearly 5 percent since the start of the month. But the sell off spread Tuesday to other sectors, hitting everything from retailers to industrials and banks.

“What started in technology earlier this month has finally moved over to the broader markets,” Ryan Detrick, chief market strategist at LPL Financial, said. “Although we are coming off a record earnings season, continued supply chain and labor shortages are adding to potential inflationary pressures.”

Companies from Occidental Petroleum and Home Depot to Caesars Entertainment and home-builder D.R. Horton were among the stocks leading the markets lower. All traded at least 3 percent lower in afternoon trading.

There were, however, some companies that bucked the trend. Palantir, for example, rose more than 7 percent after reporting 49 percent growth in sales for the first quarter.

Investor fears about the market were helped by recent data from the Labor Department that showed job openings soared to a record high while companies struggled to fill the positions. The data helped spook investors over concerns of a labor shortage just as the economy is heating up.

Along with the labor shortage, fears of rising costs due to pent-up demand and supply-chain issues are also likely hurting investor appetite for the months ahead.

Tuesday’s declines sent the Cboe Volatility Index, or VIX, a measure of fear in the markets, climbing higher as volatility returned to the market. It traded as high as 23.73, levels not seen since March, before shedding some of those gains. It’s still up almost 10 percent on the day. The VIX has remained below 20 in recent weeks as the stock hit fresh highs.

Brian Price, head of investment management for Commonwealth Financial Network, said the markets might continue to be bumpy in the weeks to come until there’s more clarity on the spending and tax plans coming out of Washington.

The Nasdaq Composite edged just 0.1 percent lower as investors sell off tech stocks. 

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New York restaurants are about to get a COVID surcharge



New York restaurants are about to get a COVID surcharge

New Yorkers love eating out, but they’re starting to gripe about a coronavirus surcharge that can add up to 10 percent to the final bill. 

The surcharge — OK’d by Mayor Bill de Blasio last October — was introduced to help Big Apple restaurants survive the pandemic. But many New Yorkers say they’re only just starting to notice it tacked onto their bills as restaurants with expanded outdoor seating capacity start filling up like it was 2019. 

“My colleagues and I were just talking about COVID charges. It’s a hot topic,” said Yovanka Bylander, who works at an investment advisory firm. “I noticed it when I was out recently, and a colleague said he noticed it at his birthday dinner at Don Angie” in the West Village. 

“That was just a 4 percent COVID surcharge and he was OK with that. But sometimes you get a 10 percent surprise at the end. I mean, come on. We all want to help, but restaurants have to be transparent about it,” she said. 

A Don Angie source said the surcharge helps offset extra COVID costs, and that the eatery charged 4 percent instead of 10 percent because they didn’t want to gouge their customers. “So far,” the source said, “our customers have been very positive and supportive.” 

Restaurants that add the surcharge are required to warn the customer ahead of time. Many of them do this with a notice attached to the menu, but diners say it often goes unnoticed until the bill arrives. 

“It’s annoying, and the bigger the surcharge, the more annoying it gets,” said a diner who asked not to be named. “I’d rather they tell you up front, because even if it is written on the menu, you can miss it.” 

A Tribeca resident and tech firm COO said he was surprised when he was recently slapped with a 5 percent surcharge at Serafina. 

“It was very clear on the bill, but there was no message about it beforehand,” he said. “We always tip 25 percent after tax, so that COVID line item surcharge was significant.” 

A Serafina source said the restaurant tells customers about the surcharge verbally when they order. 

The local law is designed to expire 90 days after New York’s state of emergency is lifted. It’s unclear when that will happen even as dining capacity is set to return to 100 percent on May 19. 

City officials say there are currently no plans to take the pesky surcharge off the table. 

Aristotle “Telly” Hatzigeorgiou of Clinton Hall said the city’s resurgence has convinced him to do away with the 10 percent surcharge starting Friday. 

“Our hope is that this relaxation of the stringent rules will bring out diners,” he said. “And we want to reward those diners by eliminating the 10 percent charge that helped us get through the additional expenses to keep our staff and customers safe.” 

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