Stressed Out: Why Sprint, AMD and 3D Systems are Gaining Today

Shares of Sprint Corp. (S) are climbing, as markets digest what CEO Marcelo Claure described as "a big step forward in our turnaround," during a third-quarter earnings call on Tuesday. Sprint is one of three tech/telecom stocks in the Real Money index of 20 troubled companies. The others are 3D Systems Inc. (DDD) and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) , which are also moving higher in Wednesday trading. 

Sprint, the Overland Park, Kan., wireless carrier gained 4 cents, or 1.3%, to $3.03 on Wednesday afternoon, after hitting $3.21 earlier in the day. Even with the backing of Masayoshi Son's Softbank Corp., Sprint has struggled to gain share in the U.S. wireless market. In the third quarter, Sprint reported its highest gains in post-paid subscribers in three years. Customer defections were down and Ebita was up. "We are not sure what more Sprint could do to push away the bears," Wells Fargo Securities LLC analyst Jennifer Fritzsche wrote in a Wednesday note. Despite the progress, Barclays Capital Inc. analyst Amir Rozwadowski wrote that Sprint needs to demonstrate that it can maintain its success with subscribers while cutting costs.

Shares of 3D Systems extended a week-long recovery as investors begin to believe the 3D printing equipment and services company may be able to become the company it wants to be -- not the company it is. The stock gained 4.7%, or 35 cents, to $7.78 after earlier reaching as high as $7.88. 3D executives want to rely more on organic growth and move away from the former strategy of expanding via acquisitions. But they must first find a face for the new approach: CEO Avi Reichental stepped down abruptly last October after leading the company for 12 years and a replacement has yet to be found. All the hype around 3D printers also hasn't yet led to the kind of growth 3D had hoped for and major players like Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ) are now in the game too. "We think it's possible that demand could stabilize in the back half of 2016 though we are not expecting a rapid recovery," wrote UBS analyst Steven Milunovich in a recent note.

Investors are trusting AMD after it said the second-half would be better than the first. The shares added 3.9%, or  8 cents to $2.15 and reached a high of $2.18. AMD is suffering from consumer disinterest in PCs but says its semi-custom chips for game console makers such as Microsoft Inc. (MSFT) and Sony inc. (SNE) will hit it bit. The company is also hoping to strengthen its troubling balance sheet with $320 million through the sale of its assembly and test manufacturing facilities in the first half. It had debt at the end of 2015 of $2.26 billion and cash of $785 million. Still, it's losing money - $660 million last year. "We continue to think the best place for investors to be is on the sidelines until we can get confidence in the second half revenue ramp and see a clear a path to profitability," wrote Webush Securities Inc. analyst Betsy Van Hees last week after the company released fourth-quarter earnings.

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