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story.lead_photo.caption People wearing face masks walk past an electronic stock board showing Japan's Nikkei 225 index at a securities firm in Tokyo Wednesday, July 22, 2020. Shares were mixed in Asia on Wednesday, with Australia’s benchmark down more than 1% on reports of a sharp rise in coronavirus cases in the Melbourne area. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

Wall Street capped a choppy day of trading Wednesday with more gains for stocks as investors sized up a mix of company earnings reports and another flare-up in tensions between Washington and Beijing.

The S&P 500 rose 0.6 percent, its fourth gain in a row, after wavering between gains and losses for much of the afternoon. Strength in technology and health care stocks outweighed losses in energy companies, banks and elsewhere in the market. Treasury yields fell slightly, a sign of caution in the market.

The S&P 500 gained 18.72 points to 3,276.02. The benchmark index is now within 3.3 percent of the all-time high it set in February. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 165.44 points, or 0.6 percent, to 27,005.84.

The Nasdaq recovered from an early dip to add 25.76 points, or 0.2 percent, to 10,706.13. The Russell 2000 index of small company stocks picked up 2.63 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,490.14. Indexes in Europe fell. Asia ended mixed.

Homebuilders marched broadly higher after the National Association of Realtors said sales of previously occupied U.S. homes climbed last month by a robust 20.7 percent. The gain is an encouraging sign for the housing market after the pandemic caused sales to plummet in the prior three months.

Despite the sharp monthly increase, purchases are still down 11.3 percent from a year ago, when homes had sold at an annual pace of 5.32 million. Builder NVR led the sector, surging 10.7 percent.

United Airlines slid 4.2 percent after reporting its revenue plunged 87 percent in the second quarter as the coronavirus throttled air travel. Pfizer rose 5.1 percent after the U.S. government signed a contract with the company to deliver the first 100 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine it’s developing by December.

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