Are Investors Pricing in a Total Wipeout for 3D Systems?

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The world of 3D printing may hold huge promise for the years ahead. Whether the top companies investors used as speculative vehicles in 3D printing can ever find their footing remains to be seen. The case of 3D Systems Corp. (NYSE: DDD) has been representative of one of the greatest bubbles bursting in investors’ pockets.

3D Systems released an earnings report that was more than disappointing. On top of a revenue miss, its earnings miss was huge, and a restructuring is only going to add more misery to pain already felt here.

Shares of 3D Systems were up 4.7% at $12.38 ahead of earnings at Tuesday’s close. Maybe this was short covering, or maybe there was at least some hope that the former high-flyer would get back on track and enjoy some participation in this raging bull market. But things went way south, dropping about 22% to $9.63 during Wednesday’s early trading.

What should matter here is that 3D Systems had a prior 52-week trading range of $11.38 to $23.70. That makes for a new 52-week low at the same time that the major stock market indexes have all effectively hit all-time highs. And the pre-earnings consensus analyst price target from Thomson Reuters was $15.40.

3D Systems posted an unexpected loss of $0.20 per share rather than the $0.12 per share earnings expected. Weak printer and related sales led to lower revenues of $152.9 million, a full $10 million shy of consensus estimates. 3D Systems’ R&D expenses were also up 21%. If you have weak printer sales, it is hard to get ongoing revenues, and 3D Systems withdrew its prior 2017 guidance citing that it’s hard to predict in the current environment.

Some of the analysts following 3D Systems might have been too bullish for a recovery, but many of the analysts that were only seeing mild upside to the shares cut their price targets handily as well.

3D Systems was given a rare two-notch downgrade to Underperform from Buy at Merrill Lynch, and the firm slashed its price objective to $10 from $20. Merrill Lynch now believes that 3D Systems will have difficulty in achieving revenue growth. It also worries that its investment needs will create continued negative leverage, at the same time that deeper competition from larger companies is coming ahead.

Piper Jaffray lowered its target to $10 from $14 and noted that weak 3D printer sales are being correlated with rival HP’s launch of the Jet Fusion 3D printer and other upcoming rival launches.

Three firms were not exactly signaling raging bullish targets ahead of earnings, but we did notice three more big target price cuts. JPMorgan lowered its price target to $11 from $13, and Stifel cut its target to $11 from $15. Canaccord Genuity cut its target to $11 from 15 as well.

William Blair had previously cited that 3D Systems and rival Stratasys were both overvalued at a time when HP Inc. (NYSE: HPQ) is ramping its own 3D printers.

Shares of 3D Systems were last seen trading down 24.9% at $9.30 on Wednesday in noon-hour trading. More than 11 million shares had traded, already nearing 5-times normal volume.

Keep in mind that companies hitting 52-week lows often keep putting in lower lows after the initial trading reactions see the dust settle. And what does a 52-week low tell you when the broader market indexes are effectively at all-time highs?

Investors now have even less faith that 3D Systems has a serious future, and the notion that its stock used to be worth 10 times as much is ancient history. In fact, its market cap is now down to about $1.06 billion.

Shares of Stratasys Ltd. (NASDAQ: SSYS) had traded higher on a positive earnings reaction, but investors were punishing the company along with 3D Systems on Wednesday. Stratasys shares were last seen down about 6.3% at $21.10, in a 52-week range of $16.37 to $30.88.