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Stocks pause on Wall Street a day after a surge

NEW YORK - U.S. stock indexes ended up pretty much where they started Thursday, a day after a powerful surge.

NEW YORK - U.S. stock indexes ended up pretty much where they started Thursday, a day after a powerful surge.

Stocks gained the most in more than two months Wednesday after the Federal Reserve said it would reduce its bond-buying program to $75 billion a month from $85 billion. Investors saw the decision as a vote of confidence in the economy.

Financial markets were still digesting the Fed's move Thursday. Treasury yields climbed, the dollar rose, and gold slumped to its lowest in more than three years.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 1.05 points, or 0.06 percent, to 1,809.60. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 11.11 points, or 0.07 percent, to 16,179.08. It rose 293 points the day before. The Nasdaq composite fell 11.93 points, or 0.29 percent, to 4,058.13.

Target fell $1.40, or 2.2 percent, to $62.15 after the company said that about 40 million credit and debit card accounts may have been compromised by a data breach that happened just as shoppers flooded into stores for Black Friday.

Facebook declined 52 cents, or 0.9 percent, to $55.05 after the company said it would sell 70 million shares, more than half of them from CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Investors were happy to get reassurance Wednesday from the Fed that interest rates would stay low after the bond-buying stimulus was removed, said Eric Weigand, a senior portfolio manager at U.S. Bank.

The moderate pace of the reduction in the Fed's bond purchases was also encouraging. "It was not too hot and not too cold," Weigand said.

In government bond trading, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.93 percent from 2.89 percent late Wednesday. The yield climbs when bond prices fall. Demand for bonds was lower Thursday as traders anticipated less buying from the Fed.

The rise in yields also hit the stocks of power companies.

Utilities fell the most of the 10 industry sectors that make up the S&P 500. Investors buy utility stocks because they pay big dividends. As bond yields rise, those stocks become less attractive.

The price of gold dropped $41.40, or 3.4 percent, to close at $1,193.60 an ounce. Gold had not settled below $1,200 an ounce in more than three years.

Investors are dumping their holdings of gold because interest rates are rising and the dollar is gaining after the Fed said it would pare back its bond purchases. Traders are selling gold because they see less risk of inflation from the Fed's stimulus program.