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A smaller-than-expected june gain in new orders for costly manufactured goods was reported by the US Commerce Department. The total value of new durable-goods orders edged up 0.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted $196.95 billion, following a revised 0.8 percent increase in May. Weaker demand for new commercial aircraft helped limit new orders. The June rise was well below the 1 percent increase predicted by economists surveyed by Reuters.

Charter Communications Inc., the No. 4 cable-TV operator in the US, said it plans to raise about $3.45 billion in an initial public offering of stock. The net proceeds will be used to pay for new acquisitions. The St. Louis-based company's principal owner, Paul Allen, a co-founder of Microsoft, has agreed to invest more than $2 billion in Charter Communications Holding Co., which directly or indirectly owns the company's various cable systems, the announcement said.

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