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What's happening: Shares of 3D Systems (NYSE:DDD) were down sharply today after the 3D printing giant announced preliminary first-quarter earnings that came in below expectations.

Why it's happening: For the quarter, 3D Systems anticipates revenue between $158 million and $160 million, which it expects will translate to a generally accepted accounting principles earnings loss of between $0.13 and $0.15 per share, and a non-GAAP profit of between $0.02 and $0.04 per share. These results compare unfavorably to the Wall Street consensus forecast for 3D Systems to generate $182.8 million in revenue and earn $0.17 per share in non-GAAP profit.

3D Systems attributed its shortfall to economic weakness brought on by the strong U.S. dollar and low oil prices, which together caused the majority of its aerospace, automotive, and healthcare customers to slow new printer purchases and spending for 3D printing-related services and materials. Additionally, performance issues related to certain metal and nylon 3D printing applications prevented the company from selling some industrial printers during the quarter.

All told, 3D Systems expects that first-quarter revenue will grow by 9% year over year, including a $12 million impact from currency headwinds.

CEO Avi Reichental weighed in with the following in a press release:

We were surprised and disappointed by the abrupt interruption in customer demand late in the quarter from several economic factors that we believe caused our industrial customers to defer their planned investments.

We believe the combination of our expanding international business and growing concentration of manufacturing customers made us more vulnerable to the steep currencies decline relative to the U.S. Dollar and the aftermath of lower oil prices that curbed aerospace and automotive expenditures.

On a positive note, 3D Systems said it expects to report that its gross profit margin expanded by 110 basis points year over year, to 49%, and that second-quarter orders are outpacing 2014 levels.

In light of what appear to be ongoing currency challenges, 3D Systems announced it will reevaluate its 2015 guidance and plans to update investors when it reports the quarter's final earnings on May 6.