Stocks close mixed ahead of earnings season

Stocks took a breather after two straight days of strong gains ahead of earnings seasons to finish Wednesday's session with mixed and mild moves.

The blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average ($INDU) dipped six points, or less than a tenth of a percent, to close at 9,762, while the broader S&P 500 ($INX) added three points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,058. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite ($COMPX) gained seven points, or 0.3 percent, to finish at 2,110.
Aluminum giant and Dow component Alcoa (AA) kicked off the unofficial start of third-quarter earnings season after the bell Wednesday. The company's earnings and revenue exceeded Wall Street's average estimate. Shares gained 2.2 percent during regular trading but slid fractionally in after-hours action.

For more on stocks making moves today, be sure to check out BloggingStocks' market wrap up.
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