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U.S. stocks flutter up and down, ending with small gains

Traders Andrew Silverman, left, and Glenn Kessler work

Traders Andrew Silverman, left, and Glenn Kessler work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Wednesday, July 27, 2016. Credit: AP / Richard Drew

U.S. stock indexes fluttered between small gains and losses in afternoon trading Tuesday, ending the day with small gains. Energy stocks weighed on the market as the price of crude oil veered lower ending its small rally. Health care, technology and consumer-focused companies were among the gainers.

ON WALL STREET: At the close, the Standard & Poor’s 500 index was up 0.9 point, about 0.04 percent, at 2,181.7. The Dow Jones industrial average added 3.8 points, about 0.02 percent, to 18,533.1, and the Nasdaq composite gained 12.3 points, about 0.2 percent, to 5,225.5.

OIL PRICES: As the markets closed, the price of U.S. benchmark crude oil was off 24 cents at $42.78 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. In London, the international benchmark Brent crude was down 37 cents at $45.02 a barrel.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries announced that oil ministers of the 14-nation cartel will meet next month, well ahead of their previously scheduled November meeting. It is unusual for OPEC to gather outside of its regularly set meetings.

THE QUOTE: With nearly 90 percent of S&P 500 companies already reporting, earnings this quarter have been OK, while revenue growth has not been as bad as expected, said Bob Doll, chief equity strategist at Nuveen Asset Management. “We’re slowly turning the corner and exiting [the] earnings recession,” Doll said. “The worst quarter, year-over-year, was the first quarter. While the second quarter wasn’t great, it was less bad. The third and fourth quarters will continue that.”

WAITING FOR CHINA: China’s top leaders are gathering for their annual conclave at a beach resort having defied the doomsayers once more. Economic data in coming days are projected to confirm the stabilization in growth achieved in the first half of this year continued into July, Bloomberg News reported. The backdrop of calm has won China a sustained respite from the financial-market turmoil and capital outflows that accompanied the Communist leadership’s traditional beach-resort meeting last year.

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