By John S. McClenahen Gross new orders of machine tools for U.S. consumption totaled $389.2 million in September, the most recent month for which data are available. September's total, the highest monthly mark in four years, was 89.8% higher than August's figure of $205.01 million and 74.6% higher than September 2003's total of $222.86 million, according statistics jointly released Nov. 8 by the American Machine Tool Distributors' Association and AMT-The Association for Manufacturing Technology. New orders for metal cutting machine tools totaled $374.74 million in September, up 90.4% from August's $196.85 million. New orders for metal forming machine tools were $14.45 million in September, up 77.2% from August's $8.16 million. For the first nine months of 2004, new orders for U.S. consumption totaled $2.147 billion, up 42.2% from the $1.509 billion total for the first three quarters of 2003.