Stratasys Shares Dropped: 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 Stratasys (NAS: SSYS) , a maker of additive-manufacturing machines for prototyping and producing plastic parts, dropped 10% earlier in the trading session after reporting fourth-quarter results.

So what: Shares have since recovered a bit, but the primary culprit appears to be the company's fiscal 2012 forecast. For the fourth quarter, the company reported a 28% jump in sales, the shipment of 700 systems, and produced a $0.31 profit ($0.04 better than the Wall Street consensus). It's the fiscal 2012 EPS guidance range of $1.02 to $1.13 that doesn't have anyone excited -- especially since the S&P Capital IQ estimate is currently for Stratasys to earn $1.13. The company also forecast sales of $175 million to $190 million versus the current estimate of $179.5 million.

Now what: If Stratasys isn't crushing Wall Street's estimates, then it's just not as interesting anymore. At 34 times forward earnings, there are far better and cheaper alternatives out there for your money. I would be more than happy to wait on the sidelines until Stratasys' earnings catch up with its lofty valuation.

Craving more input? Start by adding Stratasys to your free and personalized watchlist so you can keep track of the latest news with the company.

At the time this article was published Fool contributor Sean Williams has no material interest in any companies mentioned in this article. You can follow him on CAPS under the screen name TMFUltraLong, track every pick he makes under the screen name TrackUltraLong, and check him out on Twitter, where he goes by the handle @TMFUltraLong. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Stratasys. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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