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Stocks Finish With Slight Gains


NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- U.S. stocks closed with minuscule gains Wednesday after the Federal Reserve's Beige Book report found the U.S. economy grew "gradually" last month.

Sentiment also got a slight boost from an upward revision to second-quarter gross domestic product and positive housing data earlier in the day.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose more than 4 points, or 0.03%, to finish at 13,107.48, snapping a two-day losing streak.

Breadth was positive within the Dow with winners edging losers, 18 to 12. The biggest percentage gainers were McDonald's (MCD), Walt Disney (DIS), and Verizon (VZ).

The leading Dow decliners were Coca-Cola (KO), Intel (INTC), and United Technologies (UTX).

The S&P 500 added a little more than a point, or 0.08%, to settle at 1410.49. The benchmark index is up 12.2% so far in 2012.

The Nasdaq tacked on 4 points, or 0.13%, at 3081.

The strongest sectors in the broad market were financials, services and consumer cyclicals, while basic materials, energy and transportation stocks were under pressure.

It's been a slow week on Wall Street with the major U.s. equity indices barely budging ahead of the Jackson Hole, Wyo. global economic symposium this weekend. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is slated to speak at the summit on Friday. European Central Bank President Mario Draghi was originally expected to appear as well but he canceled on Tuesday.

Volume totaled 2.54 billion on the New York Stock Exchange and 1.28 billion on the Nasdaq, underscoring the lack of investor interest of late. The Dow has ranged less than 65 points on the day.

Even a busy economic calendar on Wednesday wasn't enough to kickstart the markets. The second estimate by the Bureau of Economic Analysis of gross domestic product for the second quarter found the U.S. economy grew 1.7%, up from the preliminary estimate of 1.5%.

Capital Economics was unimpressed, calling the number "old news."

"We are already two months through the third quarter and more up-to-date figures show that the economy is still struggling," the firm said. "The revision was due to the combination of stronger consumption growth (1.7% vs. 1.5%) and a smaller contraction in government spending (-0.9% vs. -1.4%) more than offsetting weaker investment growth (3.0% vs. 8.5%)."
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