Merrill Revising Q1 GDP Higher

March U.S. factory orders (up a tenth percent) came in stronger than Merrill Lynch & Co. figured (down five-tenths). That coupled with stronger-than-expected level for U.S. construction spending in March is causing the New York-based securities firm to revise upward the U.S. Commerce Department's initial 3.1% annual rate for first-quarter inflation-adjusted GDP.

"We are currently tracking 3.2% to 3.3%," says Merrill.

Commerce's next take will come May 26, when it releases its second of three looks at Q1 GDP.

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