Stocks higher despite 'sequester' deadline

Trader Donato Cuttone, right, pauses Thursday as the

Trader Donato Cuttone, right, pauses Thursday as the markets, which had been up all day, tanked in the final moments of trading on Wall Street. (Feb. 28, 2013) (Credit: AP)

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An encouraging manufacturing report nudged the stock market higher Friday, even as a deadline for avoiding sweeping government spending cuts loomed.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 35.17 points to close at 14,089.66.

It was down as much as 117 points in early trading but recovered following news that U.S. manufacturing expanded in February at the fastest pace since June 2011. The Institute for Supply Management said its manufacturing index reached 54.2, up from January's reading of 53.1. Any reading above 50 signals growth.

President Barack Obama summoned congressional leaders to the White House for a meeting aimed at avoiding the $85 billion in across-the-board spending cuts set to kick in Friday. The cuts are part of a 10-year, $1.5 trillion deficit reduction plan that was designed to be so distasteful to both Democrats and Republicans that they would be forced to drum up a longer-term budget deal.

In other trading, the Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 0.23 percent to 1,518.20. The Nasdaq composite index was up 0.30 percent to 3,169.74. For the week: The Dow rose 0.6 percent, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq each rose about 0.2 percent. -- AP

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