This 3-D Printing Pro Deserves Premium Pricing


Stratasys (NAS: SSYS) roared into this week's second-quarter report on a full tank of investor enthusiasm. Share prices had doubled year to date, including a 25% jump in the last month alone.

The numbers are in, and all of that enthusiasm has been vindicated. The 3-D printing expert met Wall Street's non-GAAP earnings target at $0.32 per share on surprisingly strong sales of $49.4 million. Sales increased 31% year over year on 23% higher unit sales, which points to strong pricing leverage. Pouring sugary sprinkles all over the pudding, management also raised its earnings and revenue guidance for the full year.

The market neither cheered these results nor panicked over them. Stratasys shares traded all over the place on Wednesday, but never strayed too far from the previous night's closing prices. Considering the high short interest in the stock -- 15% at the latest reckoning -- that stability is tantamount to Mr. Market's stamp of approval.

Of course, the pump was primed by rival 3D Systems (NYS: DDD) blowing the roof off its own targets last week, so this strong report is hardly a surprise. There's obviously room for at least two strong competitors in this young and exploding industry.

Management expects the pending merger with privately held Objet to close in the third quarter, and to make a positive difference to Stratasys' non-GAAP earnings "immediately after closing." The company is pushing low-cost systems for rapid prototyping as well as sturdier models meant for consumer-ready manufacturing operations. The affordable Mojo system just became available for purchase at the very end of the second quarter, and it should boost the company's sales growth in coming periods.

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