What happened

Shares of GoPro (NASDAQ:GPRO) leapt out of the gate Friday morning, rising as high as 13% and still hanging on to about a 9.3% gain as of 11:45 a.m. EST after the action-cam maker posted better-than-expected (read: "not as bad as feared") third-quarter results last night.  

Heading into earnings, analysts had forecast that GoPro would lose $0.48 per share on sales of $126.4 million. Instead, it lost "only" $0.42 per share and reported sales of $131 million.

Action camera in a waterproof box.

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

At least, $0.42 was the pro forma number. When calculated according to generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), GoPro lost a bit more -- $0.51 per share, or nearly three times its losses in the year-ago quarter. Even the non-GAAP number wasn't much to write home about, either. Relative to last year's Q3 loss of $0.04 per share, pro forma losses swelled 10 times in size.

And yet, that was still not as bad as analysts had forecast, and so GoPro stock is going up today.

Now what

And "tomorrow" could be good as well.

Giving guidance for what to expect through year-end, GoPro predicted that full-year sales growth will range from 6% to 9%, consistent with previous projections, or about $1.2 billion. Management declined to give a GAAP guess at what earnings will be, but said pro forma profits will be better than previously forecast -- anywhere from $0.30 to $0.40 in positive pro forma profit.  

Considering that the midpoint of that range is $0.35, and that Wall Street was only expecting $0.32, investors are taking this very sizable loss at GoPro as good news today.