What: Shares of GoPro Inc. (NASDAQ:GPRO) jumped more than 13% Monday despite a lack of company-specific news. Rather, it seems a combination of GoPro's depressed stock price, a promising recent addition to the company's board, and excitement surrounding the augmented and virtual reality space are pushing shares of the action camera maker higher.
So what: More specifically, keep in mind that shares of GoPro are still down more than 75% over the last 12 months as of this writing, so volatility (both positive and negative) at these levels isn't entirely surprising. That's why, given GoPro's expected launch of both a new line of HERO5 cameras and its Karma drone in time for the holidays, I singled out the company last month as an "underdog stock" worth watching.
However, on Thursday, GoPro also raised eyebrows when it added "award-winning TV and entertainment luminary" Lauren Zalaznick to its board of directors, stirring optimism that her experience will help lead GoPro in its ongoing transition into a more diversified media company.
That transition also involves GoPro making heavy investments to become a purveyor of virtual reality solutions, including VR rigs for its cameras, software for stitching together the content, and a recently launched virtual realty website for sharing and viewing spherical and VR video. The breakout success of free-to-play game Pokemon Go has investors salivating over the future of the augmented and virtual reality industries. More specifically, Pokemon Go uses GPS and map information to allow players to search for and "capture" Pokemon characters that "appear" at real-life locations on their phones. This particularly entertaining form of augmented reality has enabled Pokemon Go to dominate app stores; TechCrunch reports the app has already been downloaded 7.5 million times in the U.S. and could boast around $1.6 million in daily revenue. Shares of Nintendo -- which owns the Pokemon franchise -- rose an impressive 24.5% today as a result.
Now what: Of course, it seems a stretch to assume Pokemon Go will directly contribute to GoPro's fortunes, apart from the possibility its players will use GoPro cameras and software to capture their Pokemon Go adventures, which in turn would support GoPro's virtuous cycle of brand-building through the spread of engaging content.
It's also no surprise to see bargain hunters look for any excuse to pick shares of GoPro up off the floor ahead of the holidays, especially given its precipitous decline. For now, I wouldn't put much weight in Pokemon Go influencing GoPro's fortunes in the near future, and I think investors would be wise to focus first on any progress GoPro demonstrates when it reports second-quarter results later this month.
Editor's note: This article originally stated that shares in GoPro were down 75% year-to-date. This figure is incorrect, GPRO has fallen 33% YTD as of the time of this writing. The article has been edited to reflect this fact.