As one of the technologies that has the potential to revolutionize not just one or two industries, but whole economic sectors, 3D printing is an area investors should be keeping an eye on. Recent revenue news from quick-turn 3D printing firm Protolabs (PRLB) has seen the firm’s stock rise 6.9% over the last five days and trade up almost 25% on Friday last week. That boosts the case for the quick-turn 3D printing firm for investors, available in the 3D Printing ETF (PRNT).
PRLB’s revenues came in with higher-than-expected fourth-quarter revenue and earnings and first-quarter guidance. Although total revenue was down, the company’s digital arm Hubs delivered robust local currency revenue growth year-over-year, more than 50%. A quick-turn 3D printing firm, PRLB focuses on rapid manufacturing of low-volume 3D-printed, CNC-machined, and injection-molded custom parts.
3D printing has an addressable market opportunity of $500 billion, according to ARK Invest’s Big Ideas for 2023, and with the potential of AI to increase the accuracy of fast 3D printing thanks to machine learning and repeatability, it could be a significant growth area this year, despite a recession. That’s due to the increased demand for automation in recessionary periods, according to ARK.
PRLB is the second highest-weighted holding in PRNT, where it is weighted higher than in any other ETF, according to VettaFi, at 4.2%. PRNT is one of just two ARK ETFs that is not actively managed, tracking a specialized index of 3D printing firms, the Total 3D-Printing Index.
PRNT charges 66 basis points for its exposures to about 50 firms in the tiered and equal-weighted index, returning 15.1% YTD. Other names held in the ETF include Velo3D Inc. (VLD) and Xometry Inc. (XMTR), weighted at 4.8% and 4.2%, respectively.
3D printing as a thematic area has the benefit of impacting as wide a variety of sectors as health and defense, agriculture and consumer spending, and transportation and manufacturing, to name a few. For those investors intrigued by the good news out of the quick-turn 3D printing shop, PRNT is an ETF to watch.
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