What Happened in the Stock Market Today

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Stocks fell for the third day in a row amid continued tensions with North Korea, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI) and the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC) accelerating yesterday's downward momentum.

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Today's stock market

Index Percentage Change Point Change
Dow (0.93%) (204.69)
S&P 500 (1.45%) (35.81)

Gold stocks jumped again as prices for the precious metal soared to a two-month high, helping the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (NYSEMKT: GDX) climb 2.1%. Meanwhile, bank stocks suffered through another difficult session, with the SPDR S&P Bank ETF (NYSEMKT: KBE) declining 2.6%. 

As for individual stocks, earnings reports from Dillard's (NYSE: DDS) and DineEquity (NYSE: DIN) had shares of the two companies moving in opposite directions today.

Dillard's disappoints with a surprise loss

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Shares of Dillard's plunged 15.9% after the department store chain announced weak second-quarter results.

Revenue fell 1.7% year over year to $1.427 billion, including a 1% decline in comparable-store sales. On the bottom line, that translated to a net loss of $17.1 million, or $0.58 per share, compared to net income of $12.1 million, or $0.35 per share in the same year-ago period.   Analysts, on average, were expecting Dillard's to generate net income of $0.19 per share on higher revenue of $1.44 billion.

CEO William Dillard explained, "Significant markdowns led to a disappointing loss as we dealt with inventory, which was up 2% at quarter end."

To be fair, that should put Dillard's in a better position heading into the fall and back-to-school season. But given its relative underperformance through the bulk of the summer, it's no surprise to see investors aggressively bidding down the stock today.

DineEquity satisfies with healthy progress

DineEquity stock spiked more than 15% in Thursday's early trading, then settled to close up around 4.1% after the parent company of Applebee's and IHOP revealed significantly better-than-expected second-quarter results.

That's not to say DineEquity's performance looked strong at first glance. Quarterly revenue slumped 3.2% year over year to $155.2 million, including systemwide comparable same-restaurant sales declines of 2.6% at IHOP and 6.2% at Applebee's. Adjusted net income also fell 20.1% to $23 million, while adjusted earnings per diluted share dropped 18.2% to $1.30. But analysts, on average, were only expecting DineEquity to achieve adjusted earnings of $1.17 per share on roughly the same revenue.

"We are investing in the empowerment of our brands by improving overall franchisee financial health, closing underperforming restaurants and enhancing the supply chain," explained DineEquity's chairman and interim CEO, Richard Dahl. "We are focusing on operations and elevating the guest experience, whether in our restaurants or off-premise."

Going forward, Dahl also noted that this year will be a transitional one for Applebee's as DineEquity makes investments in its "overall long-term brand health." As for IHOP, Dahl believes the breakfast-oriented concept "remains on solid ground, despite soft sales during the quarter."

In a separate press release -- and keeping in mind DineEquity's former longtime CEO, Julia Stewart, stepped down in early March -- DineEquity announced the appointment of Steve Joyce as its new CEO, effective Sept. 12, 2017.  Joyce previously served as CEO of Choice Hotels, where he helped the company hone its growth strategy, gain significant market share, and expand into new markets.

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