Intel and Google Lead Markets Higher as 3-D Printing Stocks Slump

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) bounced back from an ugly Monday early today, gaining more than 60 points as of 11:30 a.m. EST. Dow component Intel (NASDAQ: INTC  ) led the index higher, while Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL  )  also rallied. Across the board, 3-D printing stocks were tumbling, with Stratasys (NASDAQ: SSYS  ) posting a double-digit decline.

Retail sales exceed expectations
Data released early on Tuesday showed retail sales beating economists' expectations. Core retail sales, a measure that excludes automobile purchases, rose 0.7% on a month-to-month basis -- economists had been looking for a gain of just 0.4%. Including autos, retail sales rose 0.2%, exceeding the anticipated 0.1% gain. Those numbers suggest a stronger U.S. consumer, which may be leading some investors to buy stocks on Tuesday.

Intel boosted by upgrade
Chip maker Intel was one of the Dow Jones' biggest gainers, rallying more than 3% early on Tuesday following two positive notes. Analysts at both Jefferies and JPMorgan Chase were positive on Intel, with JPMorgan upgrading the stock from neutral to overweight.

Jefferies is hopeful that Intel's push into providing chips for smartphones and tablets will prove fruitful in coming quarters, while JPMorgan believes the market for traditional PCs (and thus Intel's processors) will stabilize this year following a disastrous 2013.

Google rallies following Nest acquisition
Search giant Google wasn't seeing as big a gain as Intel, but its 1.7% rally was still quite significant for a company with a market cap near $400 billion. Yesterday afternoon, Google announced that it had acquired Nest Labs for $3.2 billion.

Nest is a maker of smart, Internet-connected thermostats and smoke detectors. With Nest in tow, Google could be well-positioned in the move toward more intelligent, Internet-connected homes. Google also picks up some qualified hardware designers, including the man who helped design the iPod.

Stratasys stumbles on guidance
Stratasys shares were dropping on Tuesday, at one point notching a loss of more than 12%. Although investors in 3-D printing companies should be used to such volatility, Stratasys' drop follows some notable news -- the company gave guidance for the coming year that fell short of analysts' expectations. On a positive note, Stratasys said that the performance of recently acquired MakerBot was exceeding its expectations, and it should add to the company's bottom line by the end of the year.

Stratasys' announcement was weighing on shares of other companies in the 3-D printing industry, with 3D Systems and voxeljet shares also falling.

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