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Why 3D Systems Could Be Set to Explode

Citi analyst says 3D printing market could triple by 2018


3D Systems (DDD) got a nice jolt yesterday on the back of some love from Wall Street.

DDD improved 7% Monday after Citi analyst Kenneth Wong initiated coverage on the stock — and on sectormate Stratasys (SSYS) — with “buy” ratings. Stratasys, for those who don’t know, recently bought Makerbot — a company which has been making headlines for its handheld 3D scanner and distribution deal with Microsoft (MSFT).

The new $60 price target for DDD represents 20% more upside after today’s pullback, which brought the stock’s 52-week gains to 80%. Meanwhile, the $125 price target on SSYS translates to 14% upside for a stock that has soared 70% in the same time frame.

Of course, the trouble with price targets is that they don’t give a specific time horizon. But based on Wong’s bullish comments on the 3D printing market as a whole, a particular time frame might not be necessary — the broader direction is up, up, up.

The most notable prediction Wong made was that the 3D printing market could triple during the next half-decade thanks to “much broader adoption across more upstream production applications and the consumer end market.”

Christopher Mims at Quartz did note that such rapid growth projections must be taken with a grain of salt, considering the small size of the market. As of 2011, the industry was worth just $1.7 billion, while 3D-printed parts made up around half that.

Meanwhile, despite being a personal fan of the technology, InvestorPlace tech expert Brad Moon has been quick to point out the many obstacles consumer-level 3D printers face.

But there are plenty of tailwinds to offset those concerns. Mims explained a few, including the fact that key patents will expire next year, while the materials with which you can 3D print continue to multiply.

The bottom line: If Wong’s right about just how much growth is on tap in the next few years, 3D Systems — and even companies he didn’t mention, such as ExOne (XONE) — might rocket even higher than he has predicted.

As of this writing, Alyssa Oursler did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.

Article printed from InvestorPlace Media,

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