After Market: Calm Optimism as Stocks Hold Steady, Gold Sinks Below $1,200


Stocks took a breather Thursday after racing higher on Wednesday, and the price of gold sank to a three-year low. The major averages ended mixed -- and that's good news, as the market mostly held onto the huge gains that followed the Federal Reserve's taper announcement.

The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) edged up 11 points, the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) slipped a point, and the Nasdaq composite index (^IXIC) fell 12 points.

But the price of gold slumped by $39 an ounce, closing below $1,200 for the first time in more than three years. Gold related stocks followed suit. Newmont Mining (NEM), Barrick Gold (ABX) and Goldcorp (GG) all fell about 1.5 percent.

Another story getting lots of play today is Target's (TGT) announcement that as many as 40 million credit and debit card customers may have had their account information stolen over the past few weeks. Target shares fell 2 percent.

Even though earnings season is still a few weeks away, earnings news was a big factor today.

On the upside:

  • Oracle (ORCL), up 6 percent. The software maker beat Wall Street profit and revenue estimates.

  • Food giant ConAgra (CAG), up 5 percent, after topping expectations.

  • And Pier 1 (PIR), also up 5 percent. Net slightly missed, but the retailer raised its dividend by 20 percent.

On the downside:

  • KB Home (KBH) lost 6 percent. Despite this years housing boom, the stock is now flat compared to a year ago.

  • Rite Aid (RAD) fell 10 percent as the drug store chain lowered its outlook for next year.

  • Winnebago (WGO) slid 14 percent, even though net jumped.

  • And Darden Restaurants (DRI) lost 4 percent. Net fell from a year ago, but the big news was the company's plan to sell or spin off its Red Lobster unit. That dragged on other restaurant chains. Cheesecake Factory (CAKE), Buffalo Wild Wings (BWLD) and Cracker Barrel (CBRL) all lost about 2 percent. Dine Equity (DIN) fell 1.5 percent.

What to Watch Friday:

  • The Commerce Department reports final revisions for third quarter gross domestic product at 8:30 a.m. Eastern time.

These major companies are due to release quarterly financial statements:

  • BlackBerry (BBRY)

  • CarMax (KMX)

  • Finish Line (FINL)

  • Navistar International (NAV)

  • Walgreen Co. (WAG)

-Produced by Drew Trachtenberg.