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Stocks mostly up on earnings; record close for S&P

U.S. stocks mostly rose on Wednesday, with the S&P 500 finishing at a record for the 26th time this year, as investors weighed earnings from companies including Boeing and Apple.

"We're seeing improving sales and improving earnings and the market is reacting to that. In the short term, I expect that to continue. This is a trend, and you don't want to get in front of that," said Brad McMillan, chief investment officer at Commonwealth Financial, who views valuations are a longer-term concern.

"There has been a tailwind behind the market for some time -- not irrational exuberance -- but as things continue to be less worse, regarding the economy and corporate earnings, so we have this relentless climb," said Erik Davidson, deputy chief investment officer for Wells Fargo Private Bank.

Shares of Facebook wavered in after-hours trading as the social media site reported revenue increased 61 percent in the second quarter on demand for its mobile ads.

Read MoreFacebook earnings beat

Apple shares rose, a day after the iPhone maker posted profits that beat expectations. Microsoft shares rose after the software giant reported better-than-expected revenue.

"Technology is having a great day. With the horde of cash on balance sheets that can be returned to shareholders through dividends, on M&A and capital expenditures; the tech sector should benefit from that over time," Davidson added.

Read MoreS&P tech sector, Nasdaq 100 hit 14-year highs

"Overall, the market is still on a positive trajectory, but there is still some concern about growth going forward, the Federal Reserve and geopolitical events," said Robert Pavlik, chief market strategist at Banyan Partners.

Boeing turned lower after the aerospace giant reported quarterly profit and hiked its full-year forecast. PepsiCo rose after the beverage maker reported revenue that topped expectations.

"For Boeing, there are a couple of overshadowing concerns on the go-forward basis. They had a very good quarter in terms of orders, et cetera. But if we have a geopolitical situation, that could go one way or another for them," said JJ Kinahan, chief strategist at TD Ameritrade.

Trader on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
Getty Images
Trader on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 26.91 points, or 0.2 percent, to 17,086.63, with Boeing leading blue-chip losses that included 20 of 30 components.

The S&P 500 rose to another record, gaining 3.48 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,987.01, with health care the best performing and industrials faring the worst among its 10 major industry groups.

Art Hogan, market strategist at Wunderlich Securities, says the S&P 500 has faced technical resistance after hitting an intraday record on Tuesday and then failing to finish above that level.

"If we close above 1,986, then that becomes support and we're off in uncharted territory. There are enough people that look at support resistance levels that they become self-fulling," Hogan said.

Read MoreAs S&P nears 2,000, traders say keep an eye on this

The Nasdaq advanced 17.68 points, or 0.4 percent, to 4,473.70.

For every three stocks declining, more than four climbed on the New York Stock Exchange, where nearly 581 million shares traded. Composite volume cleared 2.8 billion.

Symbol
Name
Price
 
Change
%Change
DJIA
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S&P 500
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NASDAQ
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The dollar rose against the currencies of major U.S. trading partners and the dollar-denominated commodities including gold and oil were mixed, with gold futures for August delivery falling $1.60, or 0.1 percent, to $1,304.70 an ounce and crude futures for September delivery gaining 73 cents to $103.12.

The 10-year Treasury yield used to determine mortgage rates and other consumer loans held steady at 2.466 percent.

The only economic data expected for the day came before the bell, with applications for mortgage refinancing jumping 4 percent, the Mortgage Bankers Association said. However, the report showed that home purchase loan applications were down 15 percent from a year ago.

On Tuesday, stocks finished higher as Wall Street considered quarterly earnings and data that cast a benign light on inflation and progress in the housing market.

Read MoreStocks gain on earnings, Fed-friendly data

—By CNBC's Kate Gibson and Evelyn Cheng

Coming Up This Week:

Thursday

Earnings: Caterpillar, MMM, General Motors, Ford, Amazon.com,Visa, Starbucks, Bristol Myers Squibb, Eli Lilly, Roche Holdings,Hershey,Dr.Pepper Snapple, Pulte Group, Union Pacific, T. Rowe Price, KKR,Nasdaq Group, Altera, Chubb, Federated, Imax, JetBlue,Pandora,Decker's Outdoor, Kla-Tencor, Baidu, Brunswick, Dunkin Brands,Scholastic, Supervalu, Grubhub, Cabela's,Under Armour,Wyndham Worldwide, Imax, Flextronics, Freescale Semi, Maxim,SolarWinds,Mettler-Toledo

8:30 a.m.: Initial claims

8:58 a.m.: Manufacturing PMI

10:00 a.m.: New home sales

Friday

Earnings: Aon, Xerox, Statoil, Black and Decker, Tyco,AveryDennison,Moody's, Covidien

8:30 a.m.: Durable goods

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