Technology companies lead stocks higher after an early slide

Stocks recovered from an early wobble Monday, lifting the benchmark S&P 500 to its fourth straight gain.

Technology companies led the broad move higher, outweighing losses in health care, materials and utilities stocks.

The market had gotten off to a weak start after the government reported that factory orders fell in November, but by midday major indexes had turned higher.

Investors remained focused on the latest batch of corporate earnings, including solid results from Clorox and Sysco. Google parent Alphabet posted results that topped Wall Street’s estimates after the close of regular trading.

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Concerns over slower economic growth overshadowed a mostly positive January for stocks, with solid company earnings helping to offset some of those fears.

“Earnings have surprised to the upside,” said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial. “That said, there is still a tug-of-war within the market as to whether or not the economy is in fact going to slow this quarter or beginning of next quarter.”

The S&P 500 index rose 18.34 points, or 0.7 percent, to 2,724.87. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 175.48 points, or 0.7 percent, to 25,239.37. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite gained 83.67 points, or 1.2 percent, to 7,347.54.

The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies picked up 15.48 points, or 1 percent, to 1,517.54.

Stocks got off to a sluggish start as traders weighed a government report showing U.S. factory orders declined 0.6 percent in November. The drop, attributed mainly to lower demand for machinery and electrical equipment, surprised economists, who had forecast a slight increase.

The report is one of many that were delayed by a monthlong government shutdown. The

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