GoPro Earnings Preview: The Running Of The Bulls

GoPro Earnings Preview: The Running Of The Bulls

GoPro is scheduled to release its third quarter earnings report a week from today, and sentiment remains decidedly negative. The action camera maker’s shares continued to tumble today, falling as much as 4.21% to $29.03 per share during afternoon trading hours today.

Analysts are decidedly bearish on GoPro heading into its third quarter earnings report, with at least two firms slashing their price targets for the company just within the last week and others trimming their targets in the weeks before.

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Negative sentiment could work in GoPro’s favor

However, JPMorgan is at the opposite end of the spectrum on GoPro Inc (NASDAQ:GPRO). In a report dated Oct. 21, analyst Paul Coster and his team noted that GoPro shares have plunged 50% since the company’s second quarter earnings report, compared to the S&P 500’s decline of 4% over the same time frame. They think the exceedingly bearish sentiment on the company  could work in its favor come earnings time.

GoPro’s Session camera has thus far failed to impress consumers, so sales have been so week that management slashed the price of the camera in an attempt to spur sales and unload inventory. Wall Street is also likely concerned because the company probably won’t be releasing a refresh for its Black and Silver camera models in time for the holiday season.

GoPro fears overblown?

The stock remains a favorite short position with about 29% of the float being sold short. Currently GoPro shares are trading at a price to earnings multiple that’s lower than that of the company’s peers even though management’s guidance for the third quarter was solid at about 55% year over year growth and high margins.

Coster notes that there are some upcoming catalysts to look forward to, like the drone that could be released as early as the first quarter of 2016. The company has also been working on virtual reality applications for its cameras and has seen continued growth from its initiatives in the media industry.

The JPMorgan team thinks worries about GoPro’s sales declining rapidly are overblown and that Wall Street might be underestimating the company’s long term growth prospects from its upcoming products. They’re maintaining their Overweight rating and $75 per share price target on GoPro going into next week’s earnings report.

What to expect in GoPro’s earnings report

The analysts are projecting pro forma earnings of 32 cents per share and $443 million in revenue for the third quarter. Consensus estimates suggest earnings per share of 30 cents and revenue of $438 million, and management guided for earnings of between 29 cents and 32 cents per share and revenue of between $430 million and $445 million.

Coster and his team are expecting units to increase 51% to 1.65 million with revenues climbing 59% compared to last year. They added that there could be upside to their estimates because the Hero LCD camera came out in June and the Session came out in July at a price of $399.

Interestingly, they think the poorly received Session will boost average selling prices, noting that the $100 price cut came late in the third quarter. They believe the bill of materials for the Session is so much less than the Silver, which is priced in line with the introductory price of the Session at $399, that the impact on margins will be “minimal.” The analysts are expecting GoPro’s pro forma gross margin to climb 158 basis points year over year to 46% and the operating margin to climb 427 basis points to 14.1%.

Looking ahead to Q4

For the fourth quarter, the JPMorgan team expects earnings of 94 cents per share and $748 million in revenue. Once again, they’re ahead of the consensus estimates of 85 cents per share and $688 million in revenue. They expect unit shipments to rise 16% from last year to 2.76 million, as the fourth quarter presents a difficult comparison from last year’s Hero 4 lineup release.

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