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DURABLE GOODS ORDERS SOAR 2.9%

Orders to factories for "big ticket" durable goods shot up 2.9 percent in April, the best showing in four months, the government reported today.

The Commerce Department said orders for durable goods, items expected to last at least three years, rose to a seasonally adjusted $129.1 billion last month after climbing 1 percent in March and declining during the first two months of the year.

The report reflected renewed demand in all major industry categories after broad weakness earlier this year. The biggest increase came in orders for electrical machinery, up 9.4 percent to $20 billion.

Last month's 2.9 percent increase was the biggest since a 7.4 percent jump in December.

Orders reached a high of $132.1 billion in December, but have yet to return to that level after the downturns in January and February.

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