Shares of autonomous vacuum-cleaner company iRobot (IRBT 2.61%) suddenly soared this morning, and as of noon ET on Thursday, the stock was up 10%. A prominent analyst gave some positive commentary on the company this morning, which is certainly helping. However, something much bigger might be providing iRobot with a very welcome boost today.
iRobot was hit hard in 2021 by tariffs. During the administration of President Donald Trump, the U.S. and China exchanged escalating tariffs on certain products. In 2021, iRobot paid over $48 million in tariffs, a huge number for small-cap company with a market capitalization under $1.8 billion.
In 2020, the U.S. government had made exclusions to Section 301 Tariffs, to iRobot's benefit. These exclusions subsequently expired. But yesterday, the Office of the United States Trade Representative said it was reinstating expired exclusions on certain products through the end of this year. Among the tariff exclusions are robotic vacuum cleaners, iRobot's bread and butter.
In its most recent quarterly conference call to discuss financial results, management had guided for $42 million to $44 million in full-year tariff costs. It would appear that this may no longer be the case, which would be a direct boost to the company's bottom line.
With this catalyst, perhaps it's easier to understand why analyst Michael Latimore of Northland Securities is bullish on the stock. According to The Fly, Latimore believes iRobot can reach $85 per share, which represents almost 30% more upside even after today's pop.