Investors didn't waste any time worrying about a sluggish first quarter for the markets, instead choosing to look forward to the potential for faster growth by sending the S&P 500 to a new all-time record high. Yet even with broad-based market gains, the rises in Intuitive Surgical (NASDAQ:ISRG), JinkoSolar Holdings (NYSE:JKS), and Rubicon Technology (NASDAQ:RBCN) easily outpaced most of their peers, with impressive share-price rises due to positive news.
Intuitive Surgical jumped 13% after the robotic surgical device-maker earned FDA approval for its new da Vinci Xi surgical system. According to Intuitive Surgical, the Xi will have more extensive capabilities to help doctors with a wide variety of surgical procedures, specifically allowing surgeons to do more complicated surgeries that involve different areas of the body in one procedure. By allowing more procedures to be done using minimally invasive techniques rather than through large incisions, Intuitive Surgical's new device could help restore confidence in the company's robotics even after investigations into the safety and efficacy of its surgical systems had held back the stock recently.
JinkoSolar rose 12% on a solid day for solar stocks generally, leading the charge of Chinese solar companies trying to rebound from far inferior performance during the first quarter compared to their U.S. counterparts. The picture for global solar continues to look bright, with an uptick in residential use helping to stabilize solar-module prices. Even though some trade issues remain as potential bumps in the road, JinkoSolar has recovered nicely from its worst levels, and the potential for further gains could drive even more investor interest into the solar industry generally and into underperforming Chinese solar stocks in particular.
Rubicon Technology soared 15% as analysts at JPMorgan upgraded the stock of the electronics-device materials maker, boosting its target price on the stock by $2 per share to $14. Rubicon isn't as well known for its sapphire products as rival GT Advanced Technology (NASDAQOTH:GTATQ), but with growth in the niche anticipated to accelerate in the near future, Rubicon has every possibility of taking at least its fair share of the rising market. The big question is whether sapphire use will start to grow more quickly, as Corning (NYSE:GLW) is still working hard to secure its position in the handheld-device area with various versions of its Gorilla Glass product. Nevertheless, even limited applications for sapphire as well as other products like specialized optical components and LEDs could produce big expansion opportunities for Rubicon.
Dan Caplinger has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Corning and Intuitive Surgical. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.