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Stocks get boost from positive reports

Trader Dudley Devine uses his mobile phone Wednesday,

Trader Dudley Devine uses his mobile phone Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, during his day on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Credit: AP / Richard Drew

The pendulum swung again for stocks Thursday.

The stock market got a boost from a couple of encouraging signs that the economy could pick up after a winter slump. That wiped out a drop from the day before triggered by news from the Federal Reserve.

Manufacturing in the United States expanded at the fastest pace in almost four years in February, according to a private survey by Markit. In a separate report, The Conference Board said its index of leading economic indicators posted a moderate gain in January, suggesting the economy will continue to expand in the first half of the year.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 92.67 points to 16,133.23. The Dow had fallen 89 points Wednesday.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 0.60 percent to 1,839.78. The Nasdaq composite climbed 0.70 percent to 4,267.55.

The stock market is now close to erasing all of its losses after a volatile start to the year. Concerns about slowing growth in China and other emerging markets, as well as worries about the health of the U.S. economy, had pushed the S&P 500 down almost 6 percent for the year by the start of February. -- AP

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