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S&P 500 reaches further into record territory

By KEN SWEET
AP Markets Writer

NEW YORK (AP) - Stocks moved solidly higher Friday, pushing the Standard & Poor's 500 index further into record territory, as investors focused on a report of surprisingly strong growth in manufacturing in the Midwest.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 rose 12 points, or 0.7 percent, to 1,867 as of 12:15 p.m. Eastern. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 114 points, or 0.7 percent, to 16,387 and the Nasdaq composite rose 18 points, or 0.4 percent, to 4,337.

EARNINGS JOLT: Monster Beverage jumped 4 percent, the most in the S&P 500 index, after the company reported higher sales of its energy drinks in the fourth quarter despite legal attacks alleging that the company's products cause health risks.

WARM SPOT: Manufacturing in the Chicago area rose in February more than economists had forecast. The Institute for Supply Management's regional index for the Midwest rose to 59.8 from 59.6 in January. Economists had expected a decline because of the winter storms that have hit much of the Eastern part of the U.S. in the past several weeks.

SLOWER GROWTH: The U.S. economy grew at a 2.4 percent annual rate in the October-December quarter, significantly slower than first thought, the government reported Friday. The reduced figure reflected slower consumer spending than what was initially estimated. The Commerce Department had estimated earlier that the economy grew at a 3.2 percent annual rate in the period.

PLAYING HARD TO GET: The drama between men's clothiers Jos. A. Bank and Men's Wearhouse continued. Jos. A. Bank rejected the $1.78 billion offer by Men's Wearhouse, but said it's willing to meet with Men's Wearhouse to discuss a higher offer. Jos. A. Bank rose $1.40, or 2 percent, to $61.70 and Men's Wearhouse rose $3.34, or 7 percent, to $53.76.

REBOUND FEBRUARY: After a 3.6 percent loss in January, the S&P 500 is up 4 percent this month, its best month since October 2013. The index closed at an all-time high of 1,854.29 on Thursday. It's up almost 1 percent for the year.

BONDS AND COMMODITIES: Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note increased to 2.68 percent from 2.64 percent late Thursday. Crude oil rose 16 cents to $102.57 a barrel and gold decreased $6.90 to $1,324.90 an ounce.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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