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Stocks close with gains after midday flutters

Traders work on the floor of the New

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange at the start of the trading day on Wall Street on June 22, 2015. Credit: EPA / Justin Lane

Stocks fluctuated in small gains and losses Tuesday before closing with gains as investors weighed economic data for clues on the timing of higher interest rates and watched for progress in Greece's debt talks.

THE NUMBERS. At the close on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 24.3 points, about 0.06 percent, at 18,144.1. The Standard ... Poor's 500 index was up 1.4 points, about 0.1 percent, at 2,124.2. The Nasdaq composite index added 6.1 points, about 0.1 percent, to close at 5,160.1.

OIL PRICE. As the markets closed, the price of U.S. benchmark crude oil on an Aug. 15 contract was up 78 cents at $61.16.

GAINS AND LOSSES. Prepaid debit card company Green Dot was among the biggest gainers. Its stock soared 40 percent after the company announced it had renewed its partnership with Wal-Mart for another five years.

GREEK TALKS. Greece's proposals for budget savings appear to have won initial backing from its creditors. At a meeting Monday, leaders of the 19 nations that use the euro currency said the offer by the government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras might form a basis of a deal to break a four-month deadlock.

THE QUOTE. "There are quite a few crosscurrents going on today," said analyst Jim Paulsen, the Minneapolis-based chief investment strategist at Wells Capital Management Inc. His firm oversees $351 billion. "There are a lot of people wondering if the S...P 500 can establish a record high and build more strength to the upside. That's lurking more immediately, and that's the thing most at work today."

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