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3D Systems Corporation (DDD): Can ExOne Co (XONE) Stand Up to Its 3D Peers?

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Tomorrow, ExOne Co (NASDAQ:XONE) will release its latest quarterly results. The key to making smart investment decisions on stocks reporting earnings is to anticipate how they’ll do before they announce results, leaving you fully prepared to respond quickly to whatever inevitable surprises arise. That way, you’ll be less likely to make an uninformed knee-jerk reaction to news that turns out to be exactly the wrong move.

ExOne Co (NASDAQ:XONE) went public barely three months ago, but already, it has made a big splash in the popular 3-D printing space. But does the company have what it takes to stand up to already harsh competition in the highly promising industry? Let’s take an early look at what’s been happening with ExOne over the past quarter and what we’re likely to see in its quarterly report.

Stats on ExOne

Analyst EPS Estimate ($0.11)
Last Quarter’s EPS $0.04
Revenue Estimate $9.15 million
Change From Last Quarter’s Revenue (28%)
Earnings Miss Last Quarter (50%)

Source: Yahoo! Finance.

Will ExOne’s earnings really go in the wrong direction this quarter?
In recent months, analysts have reduced their expectations about ExOne Co (NASDAQ:XONE)’s earnings prospects, widening their loss estimates by $0.02 per share for the first quarter and cutting more than 40% off their full-year 2013 calls. Yet the stock simply continues to soar, jumping nearly 60% since its early February IPO.

ExOne has already jumped out to great success in its recent debut, as it announced its fourth-quarter earnings just six weeks ago. The company managed to beat expectations by boosting revenue substantially, reversing a year-ago loss by posting a modest profit. By specializing in large-scale industrial objects, ExOne has done its best to differentiate itself from 3D Systems Corporation (NYSE:DDD) and its more consumer-focused printer line. Moreover, with its ability to print metal objects, it hopes to stand out versus Stratasys, Ltd. (NASDAQ:SSYS), which has found success serving the same kinds of industrial businesses that ExOne Co (NASDAQ:XONE) is targeting.

ExOne definitely isn’t an investment for the meek. Even during that successful fourth quarter, ExOne only sold eight of its printing machines, and it has only managed to sell 21 printers over the past three years. Even though it has major companies as customers, including Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) and Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE:CAT), ExOne Co (NASDAQ:XONE)’s vulnerability to a poor sales quarter is undeniable.

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