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Better news on the US economy drives stocks higher

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Photo - FILE - In this  Friday, March 14, 2014, file photo, trader Steven Kaplan works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Global stocks fell Thursday March 20, 2014 after comments from the new head of the Federal Reserve suggested U.S. interest rates could rise sooner than financial markets were anticipating. (AP Photo/Richard Drew. File)
FILE - In this Friday, March 14, 2014, file photo, trader Steven Kaplan works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Global stocks fell Thursday March 20, 2014 after comments from the new head of the Federal Reserve suggested U.S. interest rates could rise sooner than financial markets were anticipating. (AP Photo/Richard Drew. File)
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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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