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US STOCKS-November payrolls report lifts Wall St

* Nov. non-farm jobs rise by 228,000 vs est. 200,000

* Average hourly earnings rise 0.2 percent

* Technology, healthcare stock lead S&P gainers

* Dow up 0.34 pct, S&P 500 up 0.43 pct, Nasdaq up 0.46 pct (Updates to mid-afternoon, changes byline)

NEW YORK, Dec 8 (Reuters) - Wall Street indexes advanced on Friday on the heels of a solid payrolls report for November, locking in expectations for an interest rate hike from the U.S. Federal Reserve next week and boosting optimism about economic prospects for 2018.

Technology stocks such as Microsoft, Apple and Oracle helped pace the advance, building on the rebound from the selloff in the sector earlier in the week.

Nonfarm payrolls rose by 228,000 jobs last month amid broad gains in hiring as the distortions from the recent hurricanes faded, Labor Department data showed, topping expectations calling for a rise by 200,000 jobs.

Average hourly earnings rose 0.2 percent in November after dipping 0.1 percent the prior month, but fell shy of the estimated 0.3 percent rise.

"This was a fairway number: were right down the middle of the fairway. When you look at the negative revision last month, that balances out the significant beat this morning," said Phil Orlando, chief equity strategist at Federated Investors in New York.

"Wage growth is moving solidly higher, but not excessively so."

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 83.45 points, or 0.34 percent, to 24,294.93, the S&P 500 gained 11.39 points, or 0.43 percent, to 2,648.37 and the Nasdaq Composite added 31.30 points, or 0.46 percent, to 6,844.14.

The jobs data cemented expectations the Fed will raise rates at its meeting next week as traders now see a 96.2-percent chance of a quarter-point hike, according to Thomson Reuters data.

U.S. President Donald Trump signed legislation to fund the federal government for two more weeks, averting a government shutdown while Congress negotiated a longer-term budget deal, temporarily removing a potential headwind for stocks.

Equities also got an early lift from an overnight divorce deal between Britain and the European Union, which paved the way for arduous talks on future trade ties.

Microsoft rose 1.98 percent as the biggest boost to the S&P 500. The S&P technology sector was up 0.5 percent and was on track for its fourth straight day of gains, erasing all of the nearly 2-percent decline suffered by the sector to start the week.

Alexion Pharmaceuticals jumped 8.4 percent and was the best performer on the S&P, after a report said hedge fund Elliott Management wanted the company to take steps to boost its stock price, including by exploring a sale.

Shares of American Outdoor Brands tumbled 13.1 percent after the Smith & Wesson firearms maker provided a disappointing earnings forecast. Shares of peer Sturm Ruger also dropped 9.1 percent.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.65-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.44-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

(Additional reporting by Herb Lash; Editing by Nick Zieminski)