Wall Street Higher as Technology Stocks Gain Ground

Strong earnings and solid economic growth have pushed stocks to record levels this year and hopes of corporate tax cuts boosting earnings for companies have added to the momentum.

The Senate Republicans on Wednesday agreed to talks with the House of Representatives on the tax bill amid early signs that lawmakers could agree on a final bill ahead of a self-imposed Dec. 22 deadline.

However, a gridlock between President Donald Trump and Democrats in Congress over the passage of spending legislation before Friday has raised fears of partial shutdown of the federal government.

At 12:27 p.m. ET (1727 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 97.84 points, or 0.41 percent, at 24,238.75 and the S&P 500 was up 8.98 points, or 0.34 percent, at 2,638.25.

The Nasdaq Composite was up 41.89 points, or 0.62 percent, at 6,818.27.

Nine of the 11 major S&P sectors were higher, with industrial and technology sectors leading the gainers.

Consumer staples index fell the most, about 0.77 percent on more than 1 percent declines in index heavyweights Procter & Gamble and Coca-Cola.

LendingClub shares plunged to a record low at $3.29, falling as much as 22.6 percent, after the online lender lowered its quarterly revenue forecast.

The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell last week, suggesting a rapid tightening of the labor market.

The report comes ahead of a more comprehensive government payrolls data on Friday that would be used by investors to gauge the strength in the labor market at a time when the Federal Reserve is almost certain to raise interest rates next week.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,748 to 1,027. On the Nasdaq, 1,977 issues rose and 857 fell.

(Reporting by Sruthi Shankar and Rama Venkat Raman in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)

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