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Stocks surge...Factories grow at fastest pace since 2014...McDonald's to offer mobile order-and-pay

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NEW YORK (AP) — Banks and other financial companies are leading stocks sharply higher in afternoon trading on Wall Street. Energy and materials companies are also among the big gainers. The Dow Jones industrial average has been trading above 21,000 today for the first time. It's been up more than 300 points.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve says the U.S. economy has been growing at a moderate pace, helped by sustained gains in consumer spending. In its latest survey of economic conditions around the country, the Fed's 12 regional banks all depicted growth as either "modest or moderate" from January through mid-February. The survey, known as the Beige Book, will be used when Fed officials next later this month and consider whether to raise interest rates.

WASHINGTON (AP) — American factories expanded last month at the fastest pace in more than two years. The Institute for Supply Management says its manufacturing index came in at 57.7 in February, up from 56 in January and the highest since October 2014. Any reading above 50 signals growth. Factories have now expanded for six straight months.

DETROIT (AP) — Several automakers' February sales have exceeded expectations, thanks to surprisingly strong sales of trucks and SUVs. General Motors and Nissan both saw 4 percent sales gains over last February. Volkswagen's sales were up 13 percent and Honda's rose 2 percent. But Fiat Chrysler's sales fell 10 percent, Toyota's dropped 7 percent and Ford's fell 4 percent.

NEW YORK (AP) — McDonald's Corp. says it will launch mobile order-and-pay and curbside pickup across its U.S. restaurants toward the end of the year. The world's biggest burger chain made the announcement during its investor day in Chicago, where it outlined how it's working to reverse years of declining guest counts in the United States. It had previously said the option would launch sometime this year but hadn't been more specific.

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