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Will 3D Scanners Lead the Next Charge in 3D Printing Stocks?

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Shareholders will have to wait and see if 3D scanners become the must-have Christmas gift this season, and give 3D printers yet another boost.

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Enthusiasm for 3D printing continues to grow, but bearishness in some 3D printing stocks is noticeable. Take 3D Systems Corp. (NYSE:DDD) as an example. Short float is nearly 29%, but shares are still going up, as are analyst target prices.

3D Systems is up 125% this year and is now an $8 billion company by market capitalization. For comparison, traditional printer giant Lexmark International (NYSE:LXK) is a $2.32 billion company. So is there still room for shares in 3D printing stocks to rise further?

3D Scanners

3D Systems recently launched Sense, a $399 3D scanner. The device can convert an object into a 3D model, but this does not mean replicators from Star Trek will be a reality any time soon.

Available to consumers at retailers like Staples (NASDAQ:SPLS), the device is meant to be handheld, and tethers to a PC. The Sense has the capacity to record object details by as much as 10 x 10 feet, and is far more friendly to a consumer's wallet than other 3D scanner offerings on the market.

MakerBot, which is owned by Stratasys (NASDAQ:SSYS), offers a Digitizer scanner for $1,400.

So the timing of their 3D scanner could be potentially positive for 3D Systems. With the holiday shopping season beginning, the device could appeal to enthusiasts and early adopters, and gift givers alike.

Practicality

3D Systems is looking to benefit from raising its revenue stream in the retail market. The scanner is out first to consumers, which gives the company an advantage over rivals offering similar, if not similarly priced, 3D scanners.

3D Printing Performance Comparison


Click on the interactive chart to see DDD and SSYS stock price data over time.

3D Systems looks overvalued using traditional metrics like price to sales (18), price to book (9), or price to free cash flow (185). While other 3D printing stocks may be undervalued based on these metrics, earnings per share growth for 3D Systems is higher than its industry's average.
Shareholders will have to wait and see if 3D scanners become the must-have Christmas gift this season, and give 3D printers yet another boost.

Editor's note: This story by Chris Lau originally appeared on Kapitall.

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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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