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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) was little changed in early trading Wednesday, up 14 points as of 11:30 a.m. EST, despite a wave a economic data on U.S. retail sales and inflation. High-flying tech names 3D Systems (NYSE: DDD ) and Gogo (NASDAQ: GOGO ) headed in opposite directions, while Dow component Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT ) outperformed the broader market.
U.S. economic data comes in mixed
Data on U.S. retail sales came in better than expected this morning, showing a 0.4% increase; economists had anticipated a rise of just 0.1%. Retail sales excluding automobiles also beat expectations, rising 0.2% against a 0.1% estimate. Meanwhile, inflation remains low -- the consumer price index dropped 0.1% last month, suggesting the Federal Reserve is free to continue its extraordinary monetary policy initiatives.
However, data on home sales was not nearly as positive. Sales of existing homes missed expectations, coming in at 5.12 million against a 5.13 million estimate; on a month-to-month basis, sales of existing homes fell 3.2%.
3D Systems continues to tumble despite lack of news
Meanwhile, 3-D printing giant 3D Systems fell more than 5% early on Wednesday, continuing a trend that saw the stock shed as much as 10% on Tuesday. There wasn't much specific news to account for the drop, but longtime shareholders should be used to such volatility.
Year to date, 3D Systems has still rallied nearly 100%; the slight drop experienced in the last two days is a blip on an incredible run. Other 3-D printing names, including Stratasys, also fell, though not as significantly as 3D Systems.
Gogo continues to soar
In-flight Internet provider Gogo, however, was up more than 4% early on Wednesday. Like 3D Systems, there really wasn't much to account for the move specifically, though the stock has benefited from tremendous upside momentum in recent weeks.
Gogo announced that it had implemented Oracle's cloud business solutions, and while that might make Gogo's workforce a bit more efficient, it doesn't alter the long-term trajectory for the business. Rather, Gogo's rally on Wednesday appears to be continuation of the great rally it has enjoyed -- in just the last five days, shares have rallied almost 40%.
Microsoft rises ahead of Xbox launch
Microsoft shares also gained on Wednesday, though not nearly as much as Gogo. The tech giant added 1.5% a day following its shareholder meeting.
At that meeting, outgoing CEO Steve Ballmer defended Microsoft's ownership of Xbox and Bing, pre-emptively downplaying the chance that the company's new CEO could spin those divisions off. Reports in the past indicated that former Nokia chief Stephen Elop, a potential Ballmer replacement, would look to sell the Xbox and shut down Bing. The third-generation Xbox, Microsoft's most advanced console to date, is set to go on sale this Friday.
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