US STOCKS-Tech stocks, jobs data drive Wall St higher

* June nonfarm payrolls up by 222,000 vs. est. 179,000

* Unemployment rate edges up to 4.4 pct from 4.3 pct in May

* Average hourly earnings rise 0.2 pct vs est 0.3 pct

* Indexes up: Dow 0.28 pct, S&P 0.33 pct, Nasdaq 0.67 pct
(Adds details, changes comment, updates prices)

By Tanya Agrawal

July 7 (Reuters) – Wall Street extended gains in late
morning trading on Friday, powered by robust jobs data and a
rebound in technology stocks.

Nonfarm payrolls increased by 222,000 jobs last month, data
from the Labor Department showed, beating economists’
expectations for a 179,000 gain.

Average hourly earnings rose 0.2 percent in June after
gaining 0.1 percent in May, but fell below the estimated 0.3

While the unemployment rate rose to 4.4 percent from a
16-year low of 4.3 percent, that was because more people were
looking for work, a sign of confidence in the labor market.

“Given the focus of the Fed on inflation and the fact that
the inflation indicators in this report were slightly
disappointing, I think the market has a toned down reaction to
it,” said Shyam Rajan, head of U.S. rates strategy at Bank Of
America Merrill Lynch in New York.

“But in the bigger picture, it’s still a pretty decent

Investors are focused on wage growth and whether spending by
consumers will be strong enough to back the Federal Reserve’s
plan to raise rates once more this year.

Odds of a rate hike at the Fed’s December meeting stood at
50.9 percent, according to the CME Group’s FedWatch tool.

Policymakers have taken opposing views on inflation after it
retreated further below the central bank’s 2 percent target in
May, creating uncertainty over the future path of rate hikes.

Adding to the jitters are bets that the world’s major
central banks are moving closer to unwinding their ultra-loose
monetary policies.

At 10:46 a.m. ET (1446 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial
Average was up 59.51 points, or 0.28 percent, at
21,379.55 and the S&P 500 was up 8.17 points, or 0.33
percent, at 2,417.92.

The Nasdaq Composite was up 40.97 points, or 0.67
percent, at 6,130.44.

Eight of the 11 major S&P sectors were higher, with the tech
index’s 1.04 percent rise leading the gainers.

Apple, Microsoft and Facebook gave
the biggest boost to the S&P and the Nasdaq.

The financial index, which is sensitive to interest
rates, pared early gains to trade little changed.

Shares of Bank of America, JPMorgan and
Citigroup were flat after having risen about 0.8 percent
in early trading. Goldman Sachs fell 0.5 percent.

Oil fell more than 3 percent after data showed U.S.
production rose last week just as OPEC exports hit a 2017 high.
Oil prices are down more than 16 percent this year, adding to
low inflation concerns.

Chevron fell 0.8 percent, while Exxon was
off 0.25 percent. The two stocks were a drag on the Dow and the

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,495
to 1,209. On the Nasdaq, 1,608 issues rose and 984 fell.
(Reporting by Tanya Agrawal in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil