Stocks advanced today for the second straight session as another decline in oil prices and several upbeat profit reports eased some of Wall...

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NEW YORK — Stocks advanced today for the second straight session as another decline in oil prices and several upbeat profit reports eased some of Wall Street’s concerns about the economy.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 29.88 to 11,632.38 after rising nearly 100 points early in the session. On Tuesday, the blue chips gained 135 points.

Microsoft, one of the 30 Dow stocks, gained 63 cents to close at $26.43 a share. Boeing, also a Dow stock, fell $2.54 to $66.72 after reporting early today that its second-quarter profit fell 19 percent.

Broader stock indicators also advanced. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 5.19 to 1,282.19 and the technology-laden Nasdaq composite index rose 21.92 to 2,325.88.

Investors expect that a sustained pullback in oil prices would give a crucial boost to the economy. Crude has retreated as oil investors have worried that high prices and a sluggish economy are reducing demand. The government reported today that domestic inventories increased last week as consumers curbed their energy use.

Oil is down more than $20 since hitting a record above $147 just weeks ago. A barrel of light, sweet crude fell $3.98 to settle at $124.44 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

While oil again tugged at stocks as it has for months, investors also examined a raft of earnings reports that indicated not all corporate profits were suffering because of the slower economy. That left some investors more upbeat about the prospects for the overall economy. AT&T, McDonald’s and Pfizer, all among the 30 stocks that make up the Dow average, weighed in with reports that generally pleased investors.

“Oil is a positive, but I think bigger than that is the earnings news is not as catastrophic as people were thinking,” said Noman Ali, portfolio manager of U.S. equities for MFC Global Investment Management in Toronto. “Some of the bellwethers are reporting earnings that are better-than-expected. And outside of the financials, things aren’t so bad.”