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U.S. Factory Orders Drop 0.5% In February

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New orders for U.S. manufactured goods fell by slightly less than expected in the month of February, according to a report released by the Commerce Department on Monday.

The report said factory orders dropped by 0.5 percent in February after coming in virtually unchanged in January. Economists had expected orders to slide by 0.6 percent.

The decrease in factory orders came as orders for durable goods tumbled by 1.6 percent, more than offsetting a 0.6 percent increase in orders for non-durable goods.

Excluding a 4.5 percent nosedive in orders for transportation equipment, factory orders rose by 0.3 percent in February after edging down by 0.1 percent in January.

The Commerce Department also said shipments of manufactured goods rose by 0.4 percent in February after slipping by 0.3 percent in the previous month.

Inventories of manufactured goods also increased by 0.3 percent in February after climbing by 0.5 percent in January.

With inventories and shipments both rising, the inventories-to-shipments ratio was unchanged from the previous month at 1.36.

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