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Better news on the U.S. economy drives stocks higher

Associated Press

NEW YORK: Signs that the U.S. economy is emerging from a winter chill drove major stock indexes higher Thursday. Investors were encouraged by an increase in manufacturing and a rise in a key index of economic indicators.

The market had slumped the day before, when Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen suggested that the central bank could start raising interest rates sooner than many investors had expected.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 11.24 points to 1,872.01. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 108.88 points to 16,331.05. The Nasdaq composite climbed 11.68 points to 4,319.29.

The Conference Board’s index of leading indicators increased 0.5 percent following a slight 0.1 percent rise in January and a 0.1 percent decline in December. The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia said separately that manufacturing rebounded in that region in March as new orders increased.

Microsoft climbed $1.06, or 2.7 percent, to $40.33. Morgan Stanley said a rumored plan to make a version of its Office software available for iPad devices could generate $1.2 billion in annual revenue.


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