On Thursday, investors generally stayed in an upbeat mood, adding to yesterday's impressive gains as most market participants remain convinced that the U.S. economy is on a generally upward trajectory. Although the gains today were more modest than Wednesday's advance, many individual stocks posted sharper advances on favorable news either for those companies specifically or for their broader industry groups. Among the best performers Thursday were 3D Systems (NYSE:DDD), Brady (NYSE:BRC), and Gogo (NASDAQ:GOGO).

Source: 3D Systems.

3D Systems climbed 8% on a strong day for the entire 3-D printing space. The company announced that it will present at a design and manufacturing show in New York, but what probably moved the stock were positive comments from an industry analyst concerning one of 3D Systems' chief rivals. Although some could argue that what's good for 3D Systems' competitors is bad for 3D Systems itself, investors apparently disagreed, believing that reaffirmation of the growth potential of the consumer-printing industry could help the entire 3-D printing community build up positive momentum. After such a long and painful decline in recent months as investors have reassessed their views on former high-flying momentum stocks, 3D Systems seemed poised for a bounce. As more people get familiar with 3-D printers -- no matter who makes them -- demand should increase industrywide.

Brady jumped 15% after the maker of workplace-safety products and identification-tag technology reported solid results in its fiscal third quarter. Organic sales climbed 2.5%, and although net earnings from continuing operations were down about 7% from year-ago levels, Brady was pleased to see its struggling safety business show signs of finally hitting bottom. With expectations for low single-digit organic sales growth in the current quarter, Brady shareholders have to be pleased at the prospects that it could execute a successful turnaround.

Source: Gogo.

Gogo rose almost 8% after the provider of in-flight Wi-Fi access got the appropriate regulatory approval from the FAA and from Japan's Civil Aviation Bureau to install its equipment on 767-300 aircraft. The approval represents just one of more than 60 different types of aircraft on which Gogo has permission to install in-flight networking equipment, and once Gogo adds the 737-800 to its list of approved aircraft, it will have the ability to install its equipment on the entire fleet of major airline partner Japan Airlines. Even though Gogo faces the threat of competition from a much larger U.S. wireless carrier as early as late 2015, incremental victories like this show the barriers to entry that any new player in the industry will face in order to catch up with Gogo.

Dan Caplinger has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends 3D Systems and BMW and owns shares of 3D Systems. 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.