Better news on the US economy drives stocks higher

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Associated Press

Posted on March 20, 2014 at 4:01 PM

NEW YORK (AP) — The stock market is closing higher as encouraging news about the U.S. economy outweighs concerns that interest rates could start climbing sooner than many people had expected.

Major U.S. indexes erased nearly all of their losses from the day before, when Fed Chair Janet Yellen suggested that rates could rise next year.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 11 points, or 0.6 percent, to close at 1,872 Thursday.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 108 points, or 0.7 percent, to 16,331. The Nasdaq composite climbed 11 points, or 0.3 percent, to 4,319.

An index of economic indicators rose in February by the largest amount in three months, suggesting growth will accelerate following a severe winter. The Philadelphia branch of the Fed said manufacturing rebounded in that region in March.

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