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US: Stocks gain ahead of November jobs data

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[NEW YORK] Wall Street stocks pushed higher Thursday, shrugging off this week's lackluster trading on the eve of the closely-watched US jobs report for November.

Analysts expect the monthly Labor Department report due out early Friday will show US added 190,000 jobs while unemployment held steady at 4.1 per cent.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the session up 0.3 per cent at 24,211.48.

The broad-based S&P 500 advanced 0.3 per cent to close at 2,636.98, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.5 per cent to 6,812.84.

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After hitting numerous records last week, US stocks have struggled for momentum this week as the euphoria over the Senate's passage of a tax cut plan shifts to a waiting game as the House and Senate work to reconcile their two versions, which have some key differences.

Still, the day's gains showed an underlying bullishness among investors, said Adam Sarhan, chief executive of 50 Park Investments.

"Until the market pulls back, I don't want to fight this very strong tape," he said. "Every single negative data point, the market is responding to it in a bullish fashion.

"We are in a 'buy first and ask question later' environment." Large technology companies, a volatile group of late, were upward bound. Apple rose 0.5 per cent, Facebook 1.7 per cent and Google-parent Alphabet 1.4 per cent.

Dow member General Electric rose 0.9 per cent after announcing it will cut more than 12,000 blue and white collar jobs in its GE Power unit, part of a turnaround plan launched by the new company leadership.

Yoga attire manufacturer Lululemon Athletica shot up 6.5 per cent after reporting that comparable store sales rose eight percent in the third quarter and projecting higher profits and sales than expected in the fourth quarter.

AFP

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