May 4, 2018 / 7:20 PM / 16 days ago

US STOCKS-Apple leads Wall Street rally as inflation fears ease

* U.S. stocks reverse early losses

* Apple hits record high after Berkshire raises stake

* Indexes up: Dow 1.6 pct, S&P 500 1.4 pct, Nasdaq 1.8 pct (Updates to late afternoon; changes byline, adds NEW YORK to dateline)

By April Joyner

NEW YORK, May 4 (Reuters) - Apple and other technology stocks led a rally on Wall Street on Friday after weaker-than-expected U.S. wage growth data eased concerns about faster interest-rate hikes.

Shares of Apple Inc jumped to a record high of $184.00 during the session after Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc disclosed that it had raised its stake in the iPhone maker.

Apple shares were last up 3.9 percent. The company’s stock is on track for its greatest weekly percentage gain since October 2011.

The S&P 500 technology sector was up 1.9 percent, the biggest gainer on the index.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 355.42 points, or 1.49 percent, to 24,285.57, the S&P 500 gained 36.16 points, or 1.38 percent, to 2,665.89 and the Nasdaq Composite added 125.21 points, or 1.77 percent, to 7,213.36.

At the market open, U.S. stocks had moved lower upon the release of employment data. The S&P 500 bounced off its 200-day moving average, a technical level that indicates the long-term trend.

The Labor Department reported the U.S. unemployment rate dropped to near a 17-1/2-year low of 3.9 percent.

But U.S. stocks climbed as the session progressed. Investors said that the low unemployment figure, which on its own might point to inflationary pressure on wages, offset the mere 0.1-percent rise in wages for April, below expectations.

“The report might have taken some time to digest,” said Shawn Cruz, manager of trader strategy at TD Ameritrade in Chicago. “The focus moved to the lack of wage inflation versus the drop in the unemployment rate.”

“That’s what’s behind the rally today,” he said.

All the 11 major S&P sectors were higher, and 29 of the 30 Dow members were in the black.

Pandora Media Inc shares jumped 22.4 percent after the music-streaming service provider reported a smaller-than-expected quarterly loss.

Shares of CBS Corp rose 7.6 percent after the media company topped revenue and profit estimates for the first quarter.

Fluor Corp shares sank 22.4 percent, the most on the S&P, after the engineering and construction company posted a surprise quarterly loss due to issues with a gas-fired power project.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 3.22-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 3.10-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 16 new 52-week highs and 6 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 91 new highs and 43 new lows. (Additional reporting by Sruthi Shankar and Savio D’Souza in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Nick Zieminski)

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