What happened

One day after Stratasys Ltd. stock plunged 10% in response to an earnings beat (but a guidance miss), 3D Systems (NYSE:DDD) investors are having the opposite reaction to their 3D printing company's earnings news.

After reporting preliminary earnings last night, paired with a warning that it will be delaying its actual 10-K filing with the SEC, 3D shares jumped as much as 22% in early Thursday trading, and remain up 14.3% as of 11:25 a.m. EST.

A 3D printer against a white background.

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

In its preliminary earnings report last night, 3D told investors that once all the numbers are in, it expects to report Q4 sales of between $176 million and $178 million -- up 6% to 7% from last year's Q4. Management expects to report a GAAP loss for the quarter of between $0.08 and $0.10 per share, worse than last year's $0.05 per share profit -- but pro forma profit of between $0.03 and $0.05 per share.

This would appear to exceed the $0.01 per share pro forma profit that Wall Street had been expecting. Sales, if they do come in at $176 million or better, will certainly exceed Wall Street's anticipated $162.1 million in Q4 sales.

This, in a nutshell, is what investors are reacting to today -- a big sales beat, and probably an earnings beat as well.

Now what

There's still the potential for investors to be disappointed when 3D files its official earnings results with the SEC. Management says that filing should happen by March 14, though, so we won't have to wait too long to find out.

In the meantime, management reassured investors that its delay in filing only relates to "accounting for revenue and costs related to product warranties" and "has no impact on 3D Systems' customers or the operations of the business." In fact, management tried to build those warranty costs into its preliminary report already, and so the report is probably accurate as-is.

In other words, if anything surprising emerges when the official filing is made two weeks from now, that's exactly what it will be: surprising.

Rich Smith has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends 3D Systems and Stratasys. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.