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Tech stocks climb for 4th day with more jobs, productivity growing for 3 percent

NEW YORK (AP)  After another solid monthly jobs report, technology companies again led the way as U.S. stocks rose for the fourth day in a row to start 2018. They are on their longest new-year winning streak in eight years.

The Labor Department said employers added 148,000 jobs in December. That was a bit less than experts expected, but still underscored the continued health of the economy. Wages grew and factory managers received more new orders than in any month since 2004. Health care and consumer-focused companies also rose, and the weaker dollar gave industrial firms like Boeing and basic materials makers a lift.

Wages and worker productivity are rising at about the same rate, according to Ed Keon, managing director and portfolio manager of QMA, a fund manager owned by Prudential Financial. He said if that trend continues, company profits should stay solid and inflation won't be much of a risk to the economy.

Productivity growth has been weak in recent years, but it jumped 3 percent in the third quarter. 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. 

The Standard & Poor's 500 index gained 19.16 points, or 0.7 percent, to 2,743.15, and rose 2.6 percent for the week. The Dow Jones industrial average added 220.74 points, or 0.9 percent, to 25,295.87. The Nasdaq composite rose 58.64 points, or 0.8 percent, to 7,136.56. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks rose 4.29 point, or 0.3 percent, to 1,560.01.

The Dow industrials closed above 25,000 points for the first time Thursday and the Nasdaq breached 7,000 points earlier in the week.

The last time stocks rose for at least four consecutive days to start a new year was in 2010, when the S&P 500 finished higher for six days in a row. It rose 1.9 percent over that run.

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