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U.S. Stocks Stay High on Fed Taper Boost

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- U.S. stocks closed little changed Thursday as a mixed outlook in economic reports did little to shake investor confidence following the Federal Reserve's decision Wednesday to trim the size of its economic stimulus program, an announcement that sent equity markets surging to record-highs.

Stocks enjoyed one of the biggest one-day performances of 2013 on Wednesday as outgoing Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said recent improvements in the U.S. economic recovery warranted a tapering of the central bank's stimulus program.

  • As for Thursday, the S&P 500 slipped a mild 0.06% to 1,809.6 while the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.07% to 16,179.02. The Nasdaq dipped 0.3% to 4,058.14.
  • The Fed said Wednesday it will start to scale back its monthly asset purchases in January to $75 billion, a $10 billion reduction. The central bank has been buying $85-billion in asset-backed securities each month since December 2012.
  • On the labor front, jobless claims increased by 10,000 to a higher than expected 379,000 for the week ended Dec. 14.
  • The November Philadelphia Fed survey rose less than expected to a rate of growth of 7.
  • November existing home sales fell to a lower than expected seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.9 million.
  • Target (TGT) shares fell 2.2% to $62.14 after saying that customers may have had their credit and debit card account information stolen.
  • Darden Restaurants (DRI) stumbled 3.6% to $51 after announcing it may spin off or sell its Red Lobster business as the restaurant's sales continue to disappoint, and the company reported disappointing quarterly earnings.
  • S&P 500 Winner: Oracle  (ORCL) was the largest percentage gainer in the index as shares jumped 5.8% to $36.59.
  • Gold tumbled more than $40 an ounce, its biggest drop since June 26, as the Fed taper worried investors who had been buying the yellow metal for its appeal as an inflation hedge.

-- Written by Andrea Tse and Joe Deaux in New York.

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