Stocks up despite budget drama


An encouraging manufacturing report nudged the market higher Friday, giving it a slight gain for the week, even as a deadline for avoiding federal spending cuts loomed. The Dow was down in early trading but recovered following news that US manufacturing expanded in February at the fastest pace since June 2011. President Obama summoned congressional leaders for a meeting aimed at avoiding automatic spending cuts. Any deal on budget cuts could drive the market up this week, said Stephen Carl, head equity trader at The Williams Capital Group. The Dow came within 15 points of its record close on Thursday before sliding back.

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