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U.S. jobs report, Brexit progress send stocks higher

Trader James Riley works on the floor of

Trader James Riley works on the floor of the NYSE, Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017. Credit: AP / Richard Drew

Stocks rose Friday following a better-than-expected U.S. jobs report, and the strong finish pushed the Standard & Poor’s 500 index to its third straight weekly gain despite some weakness earlier in the week.

The gains were widespread, and telecom and health care stocks helped lead the way. Overseas markets were also higher after negotiators hit a breakthrough in the United Kingdom’s efforts to leave the European Union.

The S&P 500 rose 0.6 percent, to finish at 2,651.50, another record. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 117.68, or 0.5 percent, to 24,329.16, and the Nasdaq composite rose 0.4 percent, to 6,840.08.

The U.S. jobs report showed that employers added 228,000 jobs last month and the unemployment rate remained at a low 4.1 percent. It’s the latest evidence that the U.S. economy continues to improve, in sync with the rest of the world.

Paychecks, though, have not been getting much bigger, and hourly wages rose less last month than economists expected. Higher pay would help workers spend more, but it could also lead to higher inflation.

“The way risk markets are looking at it is it’s very much a Goldilocks environment: still muted or low inflation and very positive growth,” said Erin Browne, head of asset allocation at UBS Asset Management. — AP

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