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Spending on machine tools in the US fell 1.5 percent in August from the previous month and was down 11 percent from a year ago, two industry groups reported. Companies spent an estimated $435 million for machine tools in August, the Association for Manufacturing Technology and the American Machine Tool Distributors' Association said. Through August, machine-tool consumption is down 35 percent - or $3.6 billion - from the same period a year ago. Many analysts consider demand for machine tools a reliable indicator of the strength of the manufacturing sector and of the overall economy.

The rapidly expanding fiber-optic cable company Global Crossing Ltd. added another acquisition to the fold with the $1.65 billion purchase of the telecommunications division of Britain's Racal Electronics. The deal moves Global Crossing a step closer to its goal of building a worldwide undersea and land-line network. Since March, the Hamilton, Bermuda-based company has merged or formed joint ventures with Frontier Corp., U S West, the Global Marine unit of Britain's Cable & Wireless, and China Telecom.

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(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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