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Why Stratasys Stock Popped Before Earnings

What happened

3-D printer-maker Stratasys (NASDAQ: SSYS) won't report third-quarter earnings until Nov. 4 -- but that fact didn't deter analysts at Craig-Hallum from upgrading its stock Monday morning.

And the fact that Stratasys hasn't yet told us how it fared in Q3 didn't prevent the stock from surging 12.5% through 11:50 a.m. EDT on Craig-Hallum's endorsement.

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

So what did Craig-Hallum have to say that got investors so excited? As reports, "conversations with resellers, industry consultants, competitors and customers ... over recent weeks [have the firm feeling] more confident in the potential reaccelerating growth at Stratasys."

Demand trends for 3-D printers "continue to improve," says the analyst, and Stratasys is pioneering at least "three new technologies" that Craig-Hallum believes create "potential for meaningful outperformance and upside" in the stock "both near term and in FY22." As such, it upgraded the stock from hold to buy, with a price target of $42 -- well above where it was trading even after Monday morning's jump.

Now what

Frustratingly, Craig-Hallum either declined to tell StreetInsider what those three new technologies are or didn't permit the reporter to disclose these specifics to those who are not among the firm's paying clients -- meaning that most investors reacting to Monday's upgrade are probably acting in the dark, and just chasing momentum.

In the absence of details on what, precisely, has the analyst feeling so optimistic, I fear, investors in Stratasys today are only gambling that this company -- which hasn't earned a GAAP profit since 2012 and trades for roughly 69 times free cash flow -- is going to suddenly turn profitable again.

Call me a skeptic if you like, but that seems an unwise bet to make.

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Rich Smith has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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