TORONTO -- The Toronto stock market closed modestly higher as positive U.S. economic data helped balance interest rate concerns.

The S&P/TSX composite index gained 27.79 points to 14,361.83, a day after U.S. Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen indicated that American interest rates could be headed higher earlier than thought.

The Canadian dollar closed up 0.02 of a cent to 88.95 cents US.

New York markets registered solid gains after the Philadelphia Fed's manufacturing index rebounded to 9.0 in March from a negative 6.3 reading in February. That was well above expectations for a reading of 3.5.

Also, the Conference Board's leading indicator index, an indicator of future economic performance, increased 0.5 per cent in February, the largest amount in three months. Both reports indicated that any weather-related problems the U.S. economy is experiencing now will be short-lived. And the data helped persuade investors that the United States can cope with higher rates starting next year.

The Dow Jones industrials jumped 108.88 points to 16,331.05, the Nasdaq gained 11.69 points to 4,319.29 and the S&P 500 index rose 11.24 points to 1,872.01.