What: Shares of beaten-down 3D printing equipment and supply maker 3D Systems Corporation (NYSE:DDD) are up 13% at 4 p.m. ET following a morning press release, detailing the launch of the company's new high-volume metals printing system.
So what: 3D Systems' stock isn't the only one up today. Shares of competitor Stratasys, Ltd. (NASDAQ:SSYS) are up more than 4%, and shares of smaller competitors such as ExOne and Voxeljet jumped more than 6% on the day. This is a good day, but there's more than just the 3D Systems release driving the industry's stocks today. Short interest is one metric to start with:
As you can see in the chart above, there are a lot of people betting that these stocks will continue to fall, selling shares short. The big jump in 3D Systems' stock, and that of Stratasys and ExOne, are probably all up today due to short sellers buying back shares to exit their short positions.
In other words, today's run-up is probably less a bullish movement, and more about bears -- in the form of shorts -- exiting those short positions and moving on to the next opportunity.
Now what: If you're a shareholder of 3D Systems or any of these companies, it's always nice to see the share price go up. However, nothing fundamental realy happened today, and the industry is still in a bit of a mess. It's not clear how much investment in buying 3D printers will bounce back in 2016 after a pretty disappointing 2015.
3D Systems has a lot of work to do to get its house in order. The company must find its next CEO after Avi Reichental's abrupt resignation -- likely a forced exit -- in late 2015, as well as continue to rationalize its assets after years of aggressive acquisitions that haven't produced the kinds of results that were expected.
Don't get me wrong -- the new metals printers have huge potential, but one could have said the same thing about dozens of other product announcements in recent years. Until the company shows it has fixed its structural and management issues and we can see the market responding to these new products on the top- and bottom-line sales results, it's not worth getting too caught up in either the daily gyrations of the stock price or the potential of a new product.
In summary, it's really all about the results at this point. The 3D printing industry still has massive potential, but it's time for 3D Systems, as well as competitors Stratasys, ExOne, and others, to step up and deliver meaningful business results.
Jason Hall owns shares of 3D Systems, ExOne, and Stratasys. The Motley Fool recommends 3D Systems and Stratasys. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.