September 22, 2015 / 7:29 PM / 3 years ago

GoPro shares attract more short sellers on competition fears

GoPro Inc's founder and CEO Nick Woodman (C) celebrates GoPro Inc's IPO with family and staff at the Nasdaq Market Site in New York City, June 26, 2014. REUTERS/Mike Segar

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Short sellers have dramatically increased bets against GoPro in September as the wearable videocamera maker’s stock fell sharply due to growing concerns about competition.

The shares rose 3 percent on Tuesday after Chief Executive Nick Woodman on CNBC defended against recent criticism that GoPro, which is popular among surfers and sky divers, is a “one-trick pony.”

But the stock remains 31 percent weaker than a month ago.

GoPro, a favorite among retail investors, appeals to the growing market for “cool” Web-connected devices and wearable computers. But some believe its stock valuation has outpaced its growth potential.

Borrowing of GoPro shares jumped 150 percent from the end of August through Sept. 18, the highest level since the San Mateo, California company went public in June 2014, according to lending data from SunGard’s Astec Analytics, which provides a strong glimpse into short-selling activity.

That followed an increase in short selling from 7.1 percent of outstanding shares in July to 9.9 percent in August, the most recent stock exchange data available show.

Short sellers borrow shares and sell them, hoping to buy them back later for less to return to the lender.

On Sunday, Barron’s reported that GoPro investors are “skittish” about its ability to ward off competition from Apple, which has upgraded the camera on its iPhone to produce more high resolution video.

GoPro’s stock has fallen 47 percent in 2015 but remains 40 percent higher than its initial public offering price. It was up more than 4 percent at $33.54 late Tuesday afternoon.

Reporting by Noel Randewich; Editing by Richard Chang

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