GoPro falls in premarket despite strong 4Q as COO resigns and outlook rattles investors

MarketsAssociated Press

GoPro's stock tumbled 13 percent before the opening bell Friday on weak first-quarter guidance and the surprise departure of its chief operating officer.

The company has surged to national prominence marketing its tiny cameras to skydivers, bikers, surfers and other extreme sports fans. Just last month, GoPro landed a deal with the NHL that will put its technology before a national audience.

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After a blockbuster holiday season, hopes had been riding for GoPro. The company announced revenue had soared 75 percent during the holiday quarter and that it had sold 2.4 million cameras. Founder Nicholas Woodman broke down the math late Thursday, saying that that equates to the sale of 1,000 units every hour.

Shares were jumping in after-hours trading, but then came a forecast and a high-level departure that took the air out of the room.

GoPro forecast earnings of between 15 cents and 17 cents per share, which caught analysts who had been projecting earning of 17 cents, off guard.

The sudden departure of COO Nina Richardson, for which GoPro gave no reason, added to the unease after what can only be described as a fantastic fourth quarter. Removing one-time items, earnings-per-share tripled from a year ago to 99 cents. Revenue hit $634.

Both were way better than Wall Street had been looking for.

Shares are still up from the company's initial public offering last June, when its stock soared more than 30 percent.

Yet it's proving to be a rough year despite the NHL contract. Shares are down 14 percent since January.

Shares of GoPro Inc. declined $6.88 to $47.49 before the market opened Friday.