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Friday July 29th, 2016 5:47PM

Stocks advance; Dow gains 181

By The Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) -- The stock market closed sharply higher as investors got some encouraging news about interest rates and as U.S. corporate earnings got off to a good start.

Alcoa led a rally in companies that make basic materials. The aluminum maker rose 4 percent after its earnings came in better than investors expected.

Minutes from the Federal Reserve's latest policy meeting reassured investors that the central bank won't move quickly to increase interest rates.

Technology stocks bounced back after taking a beating over the past week. Facebook surged 7 percent.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 20 points, or 1.1 percent, to close at 1,872.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 181 points, or 1.1 percent, to 16,437. The Nasdaq composite rose 70 points, or 1.7 percent, to 4,183.
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