3 Industries That Need to Bounce Back in 2015
Let's take a look at three markets that have been battered in 2014. There's a lot riding on them bouncing back in the year ahead.
One of the hottest new industries of 2012 and 2013 was 3-D printing. 3D Systems (DDD) and Stratasys (SSYS) were two of Wall Street's biggest winners as investors got pumped about the prospects of printers that produce physical 3-D objects in a wide range of forms, colors, and textures.
Reality hasn't been as kind as the romanticized vision of 3-D printing. There have been pricing and performance stumbling blocks. The machines are still too expensive and too slow.
3D Systems may have seen its stock more than triple in 2012 and more than double in 2013, but it's one of this year's most prolific laggards. Shares of 3D Systems have shed nearly two-thirds of their value. Adjusted earnings tumbled in its latest quarter, and 3D Systems warned of delays in new consumer products and a slowdown in metal printer sales.
Stratasys initially held up well, but it has gone on to buckle along with 3D Systems and the other publicly traded 3-D printing specialists. It, too, had to hose down its guidance in its most recent financial report, and Stratasys stock has plunged 40 percent in 2014.
We're in a mobile computing revolution, but the makers of mobile games aren't exactly feeling the love. We saw Zynga (ZNGA) implode in 2012 as gross bookings slipped at the company behind "Words With Friends" and "FarmVille"; after moving higher in 2013, it resumed its slide in 2014.
Shares of Zynga have fallen 28 percent this year, and it's not alone. King Digital Entertainment (KING) went public earlier this year, hoping that it could parlay the success of its "Candy Crush Saga" casual game into a hot IPO. It didn't last. Shares of King have also gone on to shed more than a quarter of their value since the company went public at $22.50 in February.
The problem with mobile gaming companies is that smartphone and tablet owners are too fickle. Games peak in popularity too quickly, and the barrier to entry is low. There's no shortage of hot apps that come and go.
A perfect illustration of the quick spike and hard fall in this niche is Glu Mobile (GLUU). It soared this summer when a Kim Kardashian game raced up the Android and iOS app charts. However, it didn't stay there for long, and Glu has gone on to give back nearly all of its summertime gains.
The year is coming to a close with energy stocks attempting to stage a comeback after getting battered in recent weeks. With gasoline prices plunging, it's not a surprise to see everyone from offshore drillers to oil producers to pipeline operators taking a hit.
Many consumers don't seem to mind. They're relishing the benefits of cheap gasoline, and that goes beyond simply making it cheaper to get around. Cheaper fuel makes it less expensive to produce goods and transport them to end users. There may be deflationary concerns if energy prices stay low for too long, but for now the market's not in a hurry to see this particular market bounce back.
Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of 3D Systems and Stratasys. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. Is your portfolio ready for the new year? Check out our free report on one great stock to buy for 2015 and beyond.