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Factory Orders Plunge 0.8 Percent

Factory orders for durable goods fell in February for the first time in four months - fresh evidence, analysts said, that the once robust manufacturing expansion was slowing.

The Labor Department reported Friday that orders for durable goods - items such as carpets and computers expected to last more than three years - dropped 0.8 percent in February, to a seasonally adjusted $163.2 billion.

It was the first decline since October, although growth had slowed in December and January from November’s 3.4 percent surge. Still, the 1.4 percent increase in January was larger than the initial 0.6 percent estimate.

Orders for non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft fell 2 percent in February, while orders for electronic and other electrical equipment fell 5 percent - the steepest drop.

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