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GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks advance for fourth straight session, dollar gains as earnings, ECB eyed

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(Updates with close of European markets)

* U.S. stocks rise, European close lower

* Dollar bounces from two-week low

* Oil lower after U.S. inventory data

By Chuck Mikolajczak

NEW YORK, July 20 (Reuters) - A gauge of global stocks was higher for a fourth straight day in choppy trading on Wednesday as investors assessed the early stages of the U.S. corporate earnings season, while the dollar edged up ahead of a rate decision by the European Central Bank on Thursday.

On Wall Street, U.S. stocks were higher, led by gains on the Nasdaq as growth stocks were buoyed by a positive outlook from Netflix, which jumped 6.26%.

With 60 companies in the S&P 500 having reported earnings, 78.3% have topped analyst expectations, according to Refinitiv data, tracking slightly below the 81% beat rate for the past four quarters but well above the 66% rate since 1994.

"Right now, investors seem more willing to reward than to punish because there's already a lot of pessimism baked into trader sentiment," said Steve Sosnick, chief strategist at Interactive Brokers.

"If companies can put out some decent results, that could get people to be more willing to buy than to sell."

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 27.87 points, or 0.09%, to 31,799.18; the S&P 500 gained 16.4 points, or 0.42%, to 3,953.09; and the Nasdaq Composite added 152.77 points, or 1.3%, to 11,865.92.

Meanwhile, the U.S. dollar was higher following three straight days of declines that left the greenback at two-week lows as expectations for upcoming rate hikes from the ECB and U.S Federal Reserve have shifted, with the market anticipating a larger 50 basis points hike from the ECB and the Fed hiking by 75 basis points as they attempt to combat inflation.

As recently as last week, it was widely expected the ECB would hike by 25 basis points while the Fed would likely raise rates by 100 basis points.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index lost 0.21% and MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.39%. The four straight days of gains lifted MSCI's index to a three-week high of 617.30 while European shares snapped a three-session win streak.

European shares ended lower as uncertainty swirled around gas supplies to the region and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi's future. Draghi won a confidence motion after the close of trading in the upper house Senate but three main coalition parties refused to take part in the vote, effectively derailing his administration.

The European Union told member states on Wednesday to cut gas usage by 15% until March as an emergency step after President Vladimir Putin warned that Russian supplies sent via the biggest pipeline to Europe could be reduced further and might even stop.

The dollar index rose 0.459%, with the euro was down 0.58% at $1.0165.

The Japanese yen weakened 0.04% versus the greenback at 138.27 per dollar, while Sterling was last trading at $1.1961, down 0.28% on the day.

In addition to the ECB, the Bank of Japan will also announce a policy decision on Thursday, but is not expected to make any changes to its ultra-loose monetary stance.

Benchmark 10-year notes last fell 5/32 in price to yield 3.0359%, from 3.019% late on Tuesday.

Following a volatile session on Tuesday, oil prices were lower after U.S. government data showed lower gasoline demand during the peak summer driving season and as interest rate hikes by central banks to fight inflation increased concerns the economy could slow and reduce energy demand.

U.S. crude recently fell 2.07% to $102.06 per barrel and Brent was at $106.43, down 0.86% on the day.

(Additional reporting by Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal and Aniruddha Ghosh in Bengaluru; editing by Jonathan Oatis)