By Noel Randewich
(Reuters) - Wall Street rose on Thursday, buoyed by popular technology companies including Facebook and Alphabet, while shares of yoga pants seller Lululemon Athletica also worked up a sweat.
Facebook <FB.O> climbed 2.31 percent, while Google parent-company Alphabet <GOOGL.O> added 1.23 percent, helping the S&P 500 end higher after the index lost ground for four straight sessions.
"Technology once again is leading the way here," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial in New York.
The top-performing sector this year, the S&P 500 information technology index <.SPLRCT> had fallen nearly 3 percent since Nov. 28, with some investors cautious about high earnings multiples.
Lululemon <LULU.O> jumped 6.43 percent after the Canadian apparel maker reported a higher-than-expected profit and gave an upbeat holiday season forecast.
General Electric <GE.N> increased about 0.3 percent after the industrial conglomerate said it was cutting 12,000 jobs at its global power business.
Strong earnings and expectations of corporate tax cuts promised by President Donald Trump have pushed stocks up to record levels this year.
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.
Thursday's stock gains suggested investors were not overly worried about a deadline on Friday night faced by Trump and Congress to pass fresh spending legislation. If they cannot agree on the terms, parts of the federal government could shut down.
"Market participants are looking past the government shutdown," said Chad Morganlander, portfolio manager at Washington Crossing Advisors in Florham Park, New Jersey. "It's a risk-on mood through the last trading session. That will continue into the weekend."
The Dow Jones Industrial Average <.DJI> rose 0.29 percent to end at 24,211.48 points, while the S&P 500 <.SPX> gained 0.29 percent to 2,636.98.
The Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> added 0.54 percent to 6,812.84.
Nine of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors were higher, with industrial <.SPLRCI> and materials indexes <.SPLRCM> leading the gainers.
The S&P 500 consumer staples index <.SPLRCS> fell 0.93 percent, hurt by drops of at least 1.2 percent in Procter & Gamble <PG.N>, Pepsico <PEP.N> and Coca-Cola <KO.N>.
LendingClub <LC.N> plunged 15.53 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 more comprehensive government payrolls data on Friday that would be used by investors to gauge the strength of the labor market at a time when the Federal Reserve is almost certain to raise U.S. interest rates next week.
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.70-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.75-to-1 ratio favored advancers.
About 6.4 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges, below the 6.6 billion daily average for the past 20 trading days, according to Thomson Reuters data.
(This version of the story corrects day at start of ninth paragraph to Thursday from Friday)
(Additional reporting by April Joyner in New York and by Sruthi Shankar and Rama Venkat Raman in Bengaluru; Editing by Nick Zieminski and James Dalgleish)