US STOCKS-Wall Street gains on robust Nov. hiring data

* Nov. job numbers rise by 228,000 vs est. 200,000

* Average hourly earnings rise 0.2 percent

* Technology, healthcare stock lead S&P gainers

* Indexes up: Dow 0.38 pct, S&P 0.49 pct, Nasdaq 0.64 pct (Updates to early afternoon)

Dec 8 (Reuters) - Wall Street indexes gained on Friday as U.S. employers added more jobs than expected in November, cementing the case for an interest rate hike next week and adding to optimism about the economy heading into 2018.

Technology stocks such as Microsoft, Apple and Alphabet led the gains, extending their recovery from losses 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.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast payrolls to rise by 200,000 jobs.

Average hourly earnings rose 0.2 percent in November after dipping 0.1 percent the prior month, but was still below the estimated 0.3 percent rise.

"The headline number of 228,000 new jobs was above consensus estimates, but wage growth still remains sluggish," said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial in Newark, New Jersey.

"The report is constructive for the equity market job growth coupled with still low inflation is a positive underpinning for markets."

At 12:25 p.m. ET (1725 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 92.82 points, or 0.38 percent, at 24,304.3 and the S&P 500 was up 12.91 points, or 0.49 percent, at 2,649.89.

The Nasdaq Composite was up 43.70 points, or 0.64 percent, at 6,856.54.

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

"Investors are also taking comfort from the lack of surprise from Washington, with the House and the Senate passing continuing resolution," said Eric Wiegand, senior portfolio manager at U.S. Bank's Private Client Reserve unit.

Gains in equities were also helped by an overnight divorce deal between Britain and the European Union, which paved the way for arduous talks on future trade ties.

Microsoft rose 1.5 percent, AbbVie 2.3 percent and UnitedHealth 1.6 percent, the biggest boosts to the S&P 500.

Alexion Pharmaceuticals rose about 7 percent and was the biggest S&P gainer, 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 slumped 11.25 percent after the Smith & Wesson fire arms maker provided disappointing earnings forecast. Shares of Sturm Ruger also slipped 7 percent.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,833 to 1,004. On the Nasdaq, 1,793 issues rose and 1,048 fell.

(Reporting by Sruthi Shankar and Rama Venkat Raman in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak in New York; Editing by Arun Koyyur)