By now you obviously are aware that the 3D printing space within the stock market has been somewhat of a blood bath. With the main players, such as Stratasys and 3D Systems, seeing their shares plummet as much as 80-85% over the last 18-24 months, and the smaller companies such as voxeljet and ExOne also suffering significant losses, one has to ask, “Have we hit a bottom yet”? Back in early July I did a story asking this very question, and here we are almost two months later and shares have continued their descent.
Besides the financials of any company, like their balance sheet and quarterly reports, investors sometimes look towards insider transactions as a variable in telling if perhaps a stock has hit its bottom or is close to it. Insiders obviously know a lot more than the general public about the internals of the company, and although it’s illegal to trade on material information that has not been made public, there is a lot more non-material information that insiders have access to, that we don’t.
While there has’t been a whole lot of significant insider trades for many of the companies we follow here at 3DPrint.com, insider transactions for 3D Systems’ stock has certainly piqued our interest over the last few weeks, and certainly could signify that we are near a bottom.
In fact, over the last three weeks there have been a total of six transactions by two directors of the Rock Hill, South Carolina-based company, and they’ve all been purchases. Starting on August 10, 3D Systems’ director, G. Walter Loewenbaum II, began purchasing shares and has continued to do so with four additional transactions, with the last being August 25th. In total Loewenbaum has purchased 50,000 shares for an average of $12.85 per share, or $642,400. Loewenbaum now directly and indirectly owns a total of 2,406,912 shares. On a separate note, Kevin S. Moore, another director on 3D Systems’ board, purchased 6,000 shares at a price of $12.94 per share on August 19th.Although 56,000 shares may not be a whole lot for these individuals who are buying, it’s the underlying trend that matters most. Besides Avi Reichental purchasing 10,000 shares back in May, these are the first actual share purchases from insiders since November of last year. Additionally, Loewenbaum was one of the big sellers (he sold over 150,000 shares) back in March 2014 and November 2013 when shares were hovering in the $70-$80 range.
Whether or not these directors know much more about the internal structure and operations of the company than the market does, it has to be somewhat refreshing to see renewed interest by company insiders over the last few weeks, especially when shares have consistently been hitting multi-year lows.
Both 3D Systems and Stratasys have remained rather quiet within the space over the last several months, with few new product announcements and not a whole lot of news to get the markets excited. As we head into the end of this year and beginning of 2016, it’s very likely that new product roll outs will serve to reignite excitement around many of these companies, while also giving investors a better picture of just how they plan to compete with industry newcomer HP over the next year or two.
Let us know your thoughts on this recent insider activity. Discuss in the 3D Systems forum thread on 3DPB.com.