US STOCKS-Factory data lifts Wall St; JPMorgan near 14-year high
* Philly Fed far stronger than expected in March
* Financial stocks among the day's biggest gainers
* Yellen raises uncertainty about timing of rate hike
* Dow up 0.7 pct; S&P 500 up 0.6 pct; Nasdaq up 0.4 pct (Updates to afternoon trading)
By Ryan Vlastelica
NEW YORK, March 20 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks rose on Thursday, boosted by a read on factory activity that was much stronger than expected, which offset the prospect of an earlier-than-expected rate hike.
Wall Street opened lower, but reversed course after the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank said its business activity index rose far more than expected in March, rebounding after a contraction in February. In another positive report, jobless claims rose less than expected in the latest week.
The data "shows that fundamentals are getting stronger every day, and that strength is getting firmer," said Frank Davis, director of sales and trading at LEK Securities in New York.
Financial shares, which are tied to the pace of economic growth, were among Thursday's biggest gainers, with the S&P financial sector index up 1.7 percent. JPMorgan Chase & Co gained 3.5 percent to $60.32, rising above $60 for the first time since April 2000. Citigroup Inc shot up 2.6 percent to $50.22. Continuación...