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GoPro posts surprise quarterly loss; trading of its stock is temporarily halted

Appetite for action-sports cameras appears to have waned, with camera maker GoPro reporting a surprise fourth-quarter loss Wednesday.

The San Mateo, Calif., company’s revenue plunged 31% to $436.6 million in the three months ended Dec. 31, compared with a year earlier.

The company reported a loss of $34.4 million, or 8 cents a share.

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GoPro stock closed at $10.71, up 4.6%, but slipped as much as 19% in after-hours trading. The steep drop resulted in the company halting trading of its stock for roughly 25 minutes. By 4 p.m. PST, the stock had rebounded a bit and was down 8.7%.

GoPro Chief Executive Nick Woodman said in a statement that GoPro’s numbers were hurt by disappointing sales of its latest wearable camera, the Hero 4 Session, which launched in July. The cube-shaped camera didn’t sell well and underwent two price cuts, reducing its retail price from $400 to $199.

"Growth slowed in the second half of the year and we recognize the need to develop software solutions that make it easier for our customers to offload, access and edit their GoPro content,” Woodman said.

Michael Pachter, a Wedbush Securities analyst, said in an interview with CNBC last month that GoPro has a “broken stock [but] not necessarily a broken company.”

“The fact is they screwed up on their product strategy,” he said. “They launched a new motion capture device every fall for three years running; this fall they tried to get cute and it didn’t work with consumers.”

The company may have a chance for a turnaround, though. GoPro, best known for its compact wearable cameras used to record action sports from a first-person perspective, is expected to freshen its product offerings in 2016 with the release of a quadcopter drone, which may be unique enough to entice consumers back to the company.

“I think they’re going to deliver,” Pachter said.

But the company still has a rough road ahead. GoPro forecasted its revenue for the current quarter to reach $160 million to $180 million, missing analysts' estimates of $298 million, according to Thomson Reuters.

GoPro also reported its annual earnings for 2015, which were up 16% year-over-year to $1.6 billion. In addition, its chief financial officer, Jack Lazar, will retire. Brian McGee of Qualcomm will succeed Lazar on March 11.

Twitter: @traceylien

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