US stocks move higher following news that factory output surged in February; Sears up

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NEW YORK, N.Y. – Stocks are sharply higher in midday trading following news that output at U.S. factories surged last month.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 160 points, or 1 per cent, to 16,226 as of midday Monday.

The increase in factory production was the biggest in six months. That reassured investors that an economic slowdown in January may have been temporary as much of the U.S. was affected by severe winter weather.

The early surge came as concerns about the ongoing political crisis in Ukraine faded.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 16 points, or 0.9 per cent, to 1,856. The Nasdaq composite index rose 38 points, or 0.9 per cent, to 4,284.

Hertz rose 5 per cent following a report that the company may spin off its construction equipment business.

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