Stratasys Shares Jumped: What You Need to Know

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Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of 3-D printing technologist Stratasys (NAS: SSYS) are printing up a stairway to heaven today, rising as much as 18.7% on heavy trading.

So what: This morning's first-quarter report showed surprisingly strong sales and earnings, and the next-quarter revenue outlook also runs ahead of analyst expectations. This is seen as a good sign for the 3-D printing industry in general; archrival 3D Systems (NYS: DDD) also gained 8% on no market-moving news of its own.

Now what: Stratasys delivered record sales in a seasonally weak quarter, just like it did in the fourth quarter three months ago. Dividing $40 million in sales by 600 units sold, you'd get an estimated unit cost of a whopping $66,000. If and when that cost moves down to more consumer-friendly levels, 3-D printing plus the real-world ray-tracing capabilities of the Microsoft (NAS: MSFT) Kinect system could open up enormous new markets for hobbyist 3-D design-and-print systems. Keep a close eye on this space, folks -- there's a reason why both 3D Systems and Stratasys have become official Foolish newsletter picks.

Interested in more info about Stratasys? Click here to add it to My Watchlist.

At the time this article was published Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any of the companies mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of 3D Systems and Microsoft. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Stratasys and Microsoft. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a bull call spread position in Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinion, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Check out Anders' holdings and bio, or follow him on Twitter and Google+. We have a disclosure policy.

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