Technology

Is It Over for the 3D Printing Stocks?

As we recently noted, the number of shares short in three of four of the 3D printing stocks we follow rose in the most recent period. All four of them saw short interest increase in the period before that. That is quite a lot of bets that things have turned sour in the industry. In fact, 3D Systems Corp. (NYSE: DDD) was one of the worst performing large stocks in 2014.

Stratasys Ltd. (NASDAQ: SSYS) shook investors earlier this month when it released 2015 fiscal year revenue guidance that was below consensus estimates. The company said its plan was to invest more in order to offer a broader range of products ahead of what it sees as manufacturers that are poised to increase adoption of additive manufacturing in various industries. In other words, they are boosting spending to maintain growth.

Shares of both Stratasys and 3D Systems fell to new 52-week lows after news, and the downgrades for Stratasys followed:

  • To Neutral from Overweight at Piper Jaffray, with a price target cut to $65 from $120
  • To Hold from Buy at Brean Capital
  • To Hold from Buy at Stifel
  • To Equal Weight from Overweight at Morgan Stanley

RBC Capital Markets lowered its price targets on both Stratasys and 3D Systems.

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Back in January, Oppenheimer included 3D Systems among its top ideas for 2015, citing the strength of the company’s product line and potential for accelerating growth, but with the caveat that uneven earnings results could contribute to extreme volatility.

This weekend, Barron’s piled on to the misery with a follow-up to a previous cover story that points out how much 3D printing stocks may have been crushed and suggesting that the worst is yet to come. Even after the implosion in the stocks, analysts remain too optimistic, says Barron’s. And Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) remains a threat to the industry’s leaders.

More than a third of 3D Systems shares were short at the most recent settlement date. The stock closed most recently at $32.81, down less than 2% year to date, but about 55.5% lower than a year ago. The 52-week trading range is $27.00 to $82.65.

Some 22% of Stratasys were short. Shares closed at $67.16, in a 52-week range of $51.55 to $131.09. The stock is down almost 19% since the beginning of the year, as well as more than 45% lower than a year ago.

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About 40% of ExOne Co.’s (NASDAQ: XONE) total float was short. The stock closed at $16.93, which is up less than 2% year to date, but down about 62.7% from a year ago. Shares have traded between $ 13.40 and $48.80 in that time.

Voxeljet A.G. (NYSE: VJET) saw a rise in short interest in the most recent period. The stock is up about 22.5% year to date and closed at $10.40, in a 52-week range of $7.13 to $37.49.