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Stocks turn in small gains, push Dow, S&P 500 to new highs

A trader works on the floor of the

A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street on Tuesday, July 12, 2016. Credit: Getty Images / Drew Angerer

Stocks inched up to another record on Wednesday after spending much of the day flitting between gains and losses.

After big moves up in recent days, investors appeared to take a bit of breather. They nudged stocks higher at the open, then sent them down, then back up in indecisive trading that set the tone for the rest of the day. In the last half hour, the Standard and Poor’s 500 crept to a tiny gain, closing up less than a third of a point, an increase of just 0.01 percent.

Still, it was another high, and a winning streak that began with a strong U.S. jobs report on Friday stretched into a fourth day.

Investors are hoping the strengthening economy combined with low interest rates will help lift corporate profits and the appetite for stocks.

“Good economic numbers could translate into decent second quarter earnings, and rates are low,” said Ernie Cecilia, chief investment officer of Bryn Mawr Trust. That makes for a “decent environment” for stocks.

The S&P 500 edged up 0.29 points to 2,152.43. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 24.45 points, or 0.1 percent, to 18,372.12. The Nasdaq composite lost 17.09 points, or 0.3 percent, at 5,005.73.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note dropped to 1.47 percent from 1.51 percent.

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