What happened 

Shares of 3D Systems (NYSE:DDD) fell 17.9% in December, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence, ending a turbulent year for the stock. As volatile as the stock was, it still outperformed the market by a wide margin last year, although the last few months haven't gone as planned. 

DDD Chart

DDD data by YCharts.

So what 

The overall stock market fell nearly 10% in December, which pulled stocks like 3D Systems lower. The market dropped because of a variety of factors that could affect the company in the next year. Interest rates continue to climb as the Federal Reserve works to deal with nearly full employment and climb off historically low rates. There are indications that China's economy is slowing, and the U.S. has been mixed, raising fears that a recession could be around the corner. 

3D printed shoe.

Image source: Getty Images.

3D Systems has been losing money, and revenue has been stagnant even with a good economy, so any kind of slowdown would be terrible for operations. This is just another factor investors have to consider when looking for reasons to buy into a recovery in the 3D printing stock. 

Now what 

While there wasn't any specific news out about 3D Systems last month, the economic situation is troubling. China and the U.S. drive the global economy, and any recession in either country would have a big impact on business. And in a producer of industrial equipment that's easily deferred in weak economic conditions, we may see financial conditions deteriorate even further if 2019 has a recession in store.

Check out the latest 3D Systems earnings call transcript.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.