Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Are Apple and Microsoft 3D Printing Companies?

What is it about 3D printing companies these days? It seems like another 3D printing company crops up daily. As you may be aware, I keep track of all the companies that have some connection to 3D printing. But lately, I have had to update the list every business day, literally. Last year, I started with just five stocks, 3D Systems Corp. (DDD), Stratasys Ltd. (SSYS), Organovo (ONVO), and a couple penny stocks. Now the list has grown to over two dozen 3D companies.

3D Printing Presses are Printing 3D Printer Articles

Even the number of articles about 3D printing has exploded. Articles such as How 3D Printers Are Cranking Out Eyes, Bones, and Blood Vessels, and I 3D-Printed An AR-15 Assault Rifle — And It Shoots Great!, and An Aid Group is 3D-Printing Medical Supplies in Haiti, along with dozens of other 3D articles, have appeared in the last 24 hours.

Are 3D Printing Companies Printing a 3D Bubble?

Last year, I thought this industry was active. I bought DDD around 19 and sold it for 53. But this year, the action in 3D has been wild, both on the upside and the downside. Just look at Voxeljet (VJET). The stock dropped over ten points on November 19, then dropped almost another 19 points on November 20. Look at Makism 3D Corp., Inc. (MDDD). It dropped over 41% a couple days ago. Yet if you look at Stratasys Ltd. (SSYS) over the last couple weeks, it has risen ten points.

The Blue Chip 3D Printing Stocks

If you are wondering if there are any large blue chip companies involved in 3D printing, there is always Apple (AAPL) and Microsoft (MSFT).  Apple bought PrimeSense, a maker of chips that enable 3D machine vision. The stock trades at 14.2 times trailing earnings, and 11.8 times forward earnings, with a 2.3% yield. However, 3D makes up an extremely small part of the company's business (at least for now).

It is the same situation for Microsoft. The company created a 3D printing app for Windows 8.1. It's not Microsoft Office, but it's a start. Microsoft trades at 14.6 times earnings with a forward PE of 13.4. The stock pays a yield of 3.0%.

3D Pure Plays

So looking at the 3D printing pure plays, the price to earnings ratios are in the nosebleed areas with 3D Systems at 168 and Stratasys generating negative earnings for the latest quarter. Same with Organovo; it lost 63 cents a share for the quarter and revenues were down 95%.

Long term, the 3D printing arena is the place to invest, however, short term, based on numbers, it appears that these companies may be due for a sell-off. Keep some funds available in the event these stocks do crash, creating a great buying opportunity.

More 3D Printing Stocks

If you would like a free list of all the 3D printing companies, at least as of today, go to And if you are aware of any others that are not on the list, please post a comment with the name of the stock.

Disclosure: Author owns AAPL, and owns puts on DDD.


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