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Factory Orders In U.S. Slow As Year Begins

Although new orders for U.S. manufactured goods rose two-tenths of a percentage point to $380.5 billion in January 2005, twice the increase that economists generally expected, the gain was less than half the five-tenths percentage-point gain recorded for new orders in December 2004.

Significantly, orders for manufactured durables, generally big-ticket items such as appliances, auto and aircraft, actually fell in January -- and by more than first reported. Durables decreased 1.3% to $199.9 billion in January, greater than the nine-tenths of a percentage point initially reported by the U.S. Commerce Department.

In contrast, new orders for nondurable manufactured goods increased 1.8% to $180.6 billion in January.

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