Thursday morning was good for the broader market, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI) rose nearly points as of 11:30 a.m. EST -- putting it back at 16,000 again. A flurry of economic reports, particularly jobs data, may have helped pushed the market to new highs. Meanwhile, 3-D printing stocks continued to be volatile, with Stratasys (NASDAQ: SSYS) rallying sharply as Voxeljet (NYSE: VJET) continued its steep decline. Dow component Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) was up nearly 1% early Thursday.
Jobs data beats as Yellen moves closer to confirmation
Data on the U.S. labor market came in a bit better than economists expected, with 323,000 initial jobless claims last week against an anticipated 335,000. Continuing jobless claims, however, missed expectations, as did the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank's manufacturing index.
But those data points might mean little in the face of Janet Yellen's now seemingly inevitable confirmation as the Federal Reserve's next chair. Yellen received approval today from the Senate Banking Committee, sending the nomination to the full Senate. Yellen is likely to get the nod, which could be seen as positive for U.S. equities. To date, Yellen has been a noted supporter of the Fed's quantitative easing program, and is expected to continue providing support to the U.S. economy.
Voxeljet continues steep drop after bearish report
While the market rallied, Voxeljet disappointed, falling about 12% early on Thursday -- the third consecutive session that has seen its shares fall. Since Monday, Voxeljet is down more than 42%.
Noted short-seller Citron Research targeted the company in a note published Wednesday, alleging that Voxeljet is "not even a company, just a hobby." In particular, Citron questioned Voxeljet's recent earnings, noting that it only sold three printers last quarter and that those sales were transacted with loans. Citron also cited some recent insider selling, and argued that the company is fundamentally overvalued.
Voxeljet stock had earlier been on a roll, more than doubling since its IPO in October. Admittedly, 3-D printing stocks in general, and Voxeljet in particular, do trade at high valuations. Nevertheless, investors are banking on a long-term success story, one based on the nearly unlimited promise of the 3-D printing technology.
Stratasys gets a sterling defense from Piper Jaffray
Stratasys is much larger than Voxeljet, and that gap continued to widen on Thursday, as shares of Stratasys added more than 4% early in the session. The source of that strength was likely a note from Piper Jaffray.
In the note released Thursday, analysts praised the company, reporting that Stratasys management remains upbeat about its business prospects. Piper Jaffray believes that Stratasys' MakerBot 3-D printer is selling better than expected, and that 3-D printing names in general, and Stratasys in particular, can growth 25% or more over the next decade.
Stratasys had tumbled on Wednesday, likely because of the move lower in Voxeljet. With Piper Jaffray coming to its defense, however, the two names have uncoupled.
Intel's TV gambit is coming to a close
Tech giant and Dow component Intel also rallied on Thursday, though not nearly as much as Stratasys. The chip maker, whose shares have largely underperformed the broader market over the last year, looks to be ending its radical new TV venture.
Intel had been working on an alternative cable service with a high-tech interface delivered over the Internet. The company had apparently gone so far as to test the service, but new CEO Brian Krzanich is not a big fan. Krzanich is reportedly much more interested in focusing in on Intel's core business, which has lost market share in recent years as mobile devices have exploded in popularity.
Now, Intel will reportedly look to sell the division to a company with greater strategic interests. According to AllThingsD, Verizon Wireless is a likely buyer.
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