Tech Stock Rise for Fourth Day

NEW YORK (AP) -- Technology companies are climbing as U.S. stocks rise for the fourth day in a row to start 2018. The Labor Department said employers added 148,000 jobs in December, a solid gain but a bit less than experts expected. Hiring in manufacturing and construction was strong and factories received more orders.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index gained 10 points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,734 as of 12:15 p.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average added 92 points, or 0.4 percent, to 25,167. The Nasdaq composite rose 45 points, or 0.6 percent, to 7,123. It's up more than 3 percent this week. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks held steady at 1,556.

Stocks are continuing to push through record highs. The Dow industrials closed above 25,000 points for the first time Thursday and the Nasdaq breached 7,000 points earlier in the week.

JOB GAINS: The monthly jobs report underscored the continued health of the economy. While job growth has slowed somewhat with the economy close to full employment, solid economic growth in both the U.S. and major countries overseas is supporting more hiring. Factory managers received the most new orders in December than in any month since 2004.

TECH GAINING: Technology companies continued to soar. Apple gained $1.83, or 1.1 percent, to $174.87 and Alphabet, Google's parent company, gained $14.55, or 1.3 percent, to $1,110.31. Chipmaker Xilinx jumped $3.06, or 4.3 percent, to $73.55 and eBay added 98 cents, or 2.6 percent, to $39.56.

THE QUOTE: Ed Keon, managing director and portfolio manager of QMA, a fund manager owned by Prudential Financial, said wages are slowly rising but worker productivity is also going up. He said if that trend continues, company profits should stay solid and inflation won't be much of a risk. Productivity growth has been weak in recent years, and Keon said new technologies may now be helping businesses in a bigger way.

"It's possible that we're on the verge of a new productivity revolution," he said. "If we are, that's good news for wages, it's good news for profits, its good news for economic growth and it's good news for the stock market."

BONDS: Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.48 percent from 2.45 percent. The yield on the 2-year note rose to 1.96 percent from 1.95 percent.

EARNINGS: With the holiday season in the rearview mirror, companies began to report their most recent results. Wine, liquor and beer maker Constellation Brands fell $5.07, or 2.2 percent, to $220.72 after its third-quarter report disappointed investors. Retailer Francesca's plunged $1.47, or 19.6 percent, to $6.03 after it said it struggled over the holidays as fewer people came to stores and its shoppers spent less. The chain cut its profit and sales forecasts.

Barnes & Noble lost 97 cents, or 15 percent, to $5.53 after the bookseller said sales slumped in December. That included a drop in its online sales.

OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude lost 65 cents, or 1 percent, to $61.36 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 50 cents to $67.57 per barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 113.19 yen from 112.74 yen. The euro slipped to $1.2035 from $1.2072.

OVERSEAS: Germany's DAX gained 1.1 percent and the CAC 40 of France added 19 percent. The FTSE 100 in Britain rose 0.2 percent. South Korea's Kospi jumped 1.3 percent after North and South Korea agreed to hold their first official dialogue in more than two years next week to discuss ways to cooperate on the upcoming Winter Olympics in the South. Earlier, the United States and South Korea agreed to delay annual joint military exercises until after the Games, which will be held in February. Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 0.9 percent and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong climbed 0.3 percent.

(BE)