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March 20, 2014, 4:23 p.m. EDT

3-D printing stocks down as H-P eyes market

H-P, Cisco, Microsoft shares rise as tech sector edges higher

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By Benjamin Pimentel, MarketWatch

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — Shares of 3-D printer makers slipped Thursday after Hewlett-Packard sent a strong signal that it would be entering that market.

H-P /zigman2/quotes/203461582/composite HPQ -0.08%  Chief Executive Meg Whitman said at the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company’s annual shareholder meeting on Wednesday that the tech giant is planning to enter the 3-D printer market in June. Shares of H-P rallied earlier in the session, but the stock shed 0.4% to close at $31.48.


Bloomberg Enlarge Image
A visitor watches a 3-D printer building an object during the 3-D Print show at the Business Design Center in London, U.K.

H-P’s plan was based on technological advances the company had achieved.

“H-P Labs has been working hard to introduce 3-D Printing technology that overcomes the two biggest problems with the current technology in the marketplace: speed and quality,” a company spokesman told MarketWatch.

RBC Capital analyst Amit Daryanni said in a note to clients that he expects H-P to “leverage its existing printing-head technology and distribution channel to become a formidable player in this market over time.”

He also argued that “H-P’s enthusiasm and increased involvement in the 3-D printing space should provide fundamental support” for other 3-D printer companies, led by 3-D Systems Corp. and Stratasys, saying the move ”validates the viability of 3-D printing technology.”

“We do not envision increased competition among industry players once H-P introduces 3-D printing products and potentially other ancillary 3-D products and services, as we see a growing 3-D [market] and increased opportunities for all 3-D market participants,” he added.

However, shares of 3-D printer stocks were in the red Thursday.

ExOne  shares fell 10% to close at $39.40 after the company posted a disappointing outlook. Other 3-D printer stocks also slipped, including 3-D Systems Corp., /zigman2/quotes/204115574/composite DDD +4.48%  which was down more than 3% to close at $60.48, and Stratasys /zigman2/quotes/207628786/composite SSYS +4.88% , which was off 1.6% to close at $114.33.

Other major tech shares were also down. Amazon.com /zigman2/quotes/210331248/composite AMZN +0.89%  was off 1.1% to close at $368.97, while Apple Inc. /zigman2/quotes/202934861/composite AAPL +1.47%  gave up half a percentage point to close at $528.70.

On the upside, shares of Microsoft Corp. /zigman2/quotes/207732364/composite MSFT +2.47%  were ahead by 2.7% to close at $40.33, while Cisco Systems /zigman2/quotes/209509471/composite CSCO +0.31%  rose 1% to close at $21.83 and LinkedIn  was up 1.2% to close at $204.42.

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Benjamin Pimentel is a MarketWatch reporter based in San Francisco. Follow him on Twitter @BenPimentel.

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