GoPro (GPRO) — the maker of cameras and accessories geared towards action sports like surfing — sure hasn’t seen a shortage of action over the last month or so.
The GoPro stock IPO, which took place in late June, was the largest for a consumer-electronics company in over two decades, according to Dealogic and as reported by The Wall Street Journal.
Why the excitement over a camera company? Well, Kevin Kelleher summed up the company’s compelling story in a recent Time.com piece not-so-subtly titled, “This Is GoPro’s Plan to Continue Conquering the World.” He says:
“GoPro became the high-definition action camera of choice for sports enthusiasts who shared their filmed exploits through social media. That word of mouth pushed GoPro’s share of the US camcorder market to 45% last year from 11% two years earlier. Revenue grew 87% in 2013 to just shy of $1 billion.”
For the data point cherry on top, consider this: GoPro’s cameras were the No. 1 selling camcorders in the U.S. by sales and units last year.
So what did that mean for GoPro stock? Well, lots of excitement over the initial offering … to say the least. Shares of GoPro stock were initially price at $24 per share for the offering … before rising 31% on their first day of trading alone.
Within a mere week, shares were trading for more than twice the GoPro stock IPO price. Cue headlines like this one from USA Today: “GoPro surges 103% above IPO price. Now what?”
Unfortunately, the answer to that question was pretty straightforward: one hell of a drop. After reaching a peak of $49.90 on July 1, shares of GoPro stock wiped out, sliding to losses of 22% over the course of a couple weeks. Helping that downward slide was skepticism from an analyst at Vertical Group. Robert Lopez cited a media strategy that was “fraught with risk” and a “still-questionable competitive moat” before issuing a “sell” rating on GoPro stock and slapping it with a price target of $28.50 last week.
But then, just like that, GoPro stock was back in the air yesterday. Shares opened at less than $37 … yet the GoPro stock value had climbed to $41.63 as of yesterday’s close. That’s a gain of 13%, for the folks keeping track at home.
Why the sudden gains? Well, you can thank a JMP Securities analyst named Alex Gauna.
He didn’t just give the company an “outperform” rating and a price target of $60 – yes, 63% above where it closed Monday and a still-sweet 44% greater than Tuesday’s close. He also compared GoPro stock to Facebook (FB).
According to MarketWatch, Gauna said:
“I understand where some of the caution can come in terms of a story that is discounting something that’s not fully in view. There’s no argument there. However, I think there’s been plenty of precedent for names — let’s look at Facebook for example — where the stock can work very well ahead of, and you want to own them ahead of, when their Internet advertising strategy kicks in.”
Of course, that doesn’t wash away concerns about the valuation of GoPro stock. Even before the one-day comeback, shares were looking a tad overpriced. After yesterday’s double-digit gains, GPRO sports a price-to-sales ratio of nearly 4.7, accented by a price-to-book of 47, according to the most recent Yahoo Finance numbers.
Lucky investors probably caught an action-shot of GoPro stock while it was still high up in the air — before the first wipe-out. If GoPro stock is indeed the next Facebook, lots of investors will sit on the sidelines, scared of the valuation, while it continues to climb.
But even if that’s the case, expect a few more GoPro wipe-outs along the way.
As of this writing, Robert Martin did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.