Gold in Demand, Markets Play It Safe Amid Iraq Woes

(Photo Credit: Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

ABC News' John Kapetaneas reports:

As the Dow slowly creeps its way toward 17,000, European investors are rushing back to the safety of gold, pushing its value up to $1,313 this morning. Markets in Europe and Asia were mixed today, while U.S. markets are looking toward a slightly higher opening. With tensions in Iraq escalating, and oil prices moving higher, all eyes will be on the Middle East this final trading day of the week.

Smartphone makers keep customers wanting more. After holding back its highly anticipated announcement of a possible "smartwatch" earlier this month, Apple is planning multiple versions of the wearable technology to be released this fall in order to keep up with possible launches by Google and Samsung, the Wall Street Journal reported this morning. The mobile-device makers are also trickling into "kill switch" territory to deter possible thefts, a feature introduced to iPhones that has reduced the number of thefts in the past year. Also looking to stay relevant, Blackberry announced plans to introduce new phones and technology this year, shortly after the company posted an unexpected profit. Blackberry shares rose nearly 10 percent to $9.09 Thursday; the stock traded at over $230 in 2007.

Harley Davidson rumbles into the green movement. The historically loud and proud motorcycle maker unveiled this week its whisper-quiet electric prototype, dubbed Project Livewire. A stark diversion from its historically thunderous engines, Livewire operates without making much more than a peep. "Think fighter jet on an aircraft carrier," senior vice president Mark-Hans Richer said in a news release. The concept super-bike is not yet available to the public; the company instead will take Livewire on a multicity tour this year and next to gain feedback on the project. But will Harley's hardcore customers go for this drastic difference? For the moment, the company seems convinced they can make the concept work. "Project Livewire is a bold statement for us as a company and a brand," Richer said.

U.S. government deals a big blow to big college. The Department of Education announced increased oversight of Corinthian Colleges Inc., one of the largest for-profit education corporations in the country, for failing to address concerns about its marketing practices. The concerns raised by the government range from falsifying job placement data to altering academic records. "The Department's foremost interest is to protect students and make sure they are educated by institutions that operate in accordance with our standards," U.S. Education Under Secretary Ted Mitchell said.

In response to the oversights, the Wall Street Journal is reporting this morning that Corinthian may be forced to close its doors. Company shares fell a staggering 67 percent Thursday, after falling over 60 percent in the past year. The imposed oversight will also delay requested federal funds for up to three weeks. Corinthian enrolls 72,000 students nationwide and receives $1.4 billion in federal financial aid annually. School officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

This weekend's box office pits the legendary Clint Eastwood and his "Jersey Boys," the big screen adaptation of the hit Broadway play, against the star-studded sequel "Think Like a Man Too." Despite its Tony Award-winning origins, Eastwood's classic is not expected to top the Kevin Hart comedy, which is looking to pull in $30 million this weekend.

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