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FACTORY ORDERS DOWN 2.3 PERCENT IN FEBRUARY

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Orders to US factories dropped 2.3 percent in February, the biggest decline in seven months, the government reported last week. The Commerce Department said orders for durable and nondurable manufactured goods dropped to a seasonally adjusted $230.7 billion in February after declining 1.2 percent in January.

It was the first back-to-back decline since orders dropped for four straight months from February through May 1986.

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