After the Hype, are 3D Stocks Worth Investing In?

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By Jacob Maslow

Young Girl Enjoying 3d printer
A young girl watches as a 3D printer prints an object.

There’s a lot to be excited about the 3D printing industry. After all, isn’t it awesome to simply print out a product with the device you have on top of your desk? 3D printing was poised to revolutionize prototype manufacturing. Instead of having to use expensive models and labor-intensive processes, you only need to feed a design into your computer, plug in your 3D printer, and you’re good to go. You can design all sorts of widgets, and your 3D printer will create a replica of the design you scanned.

Well, at least this is what was promised on the package of 3D printing hype that was fed to the investing public last year. It appears that the stock market has been relentless in punishing 3D stocks. Whether we’re looking at 3D Systems (NYSE:DDD) or Stratasys (NASDAQ:SSYS), it appears that downgrades are all over the place. It’s as if a giant veil has been lifted from the eyes of the market, and everybody seems to be waking up from their initial euphoria over 3D printing technology.

To add to these companies’ misery, the number of speculators shorting their stocks are piling up. These are speculators who are betting that these 3D printing stock prices will keep sinking. Not exactly a vote of confidence.

What went wrong? I believe that the whole euphoria regarding 3D printing is a perfect case of technology industry buzz crashing down to earth. You have to remember that reality will eventually catch up to you. This is a proven fact. If you need an example, just look at Zynga or the Dotcom bust. Hype can only sustain an industry sector for so long.

Does it mean that it’s game over for 3D printing? Far from it. All this is just a major hiccup. Maybe there would be consolidation down the road but the industry definitely needs more innovation and development for reality to catch up to the hype.

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