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Orders to U.S. factories for big-ticket durable goods fell 0.8 percent in February, the first decline in four months in the interest-sensitive manufacturing sector.

The Commerce Department said today that orders for durable goods -- items, such as airplanes and appliances, expected to last more than three years -- totaled a seasonally adjusted $163.2 billion last month.

Although orders had grown in the previous three months, the increase had slowed from 3.4 percent in November to 1.4 percent in January. The last decline had been a 0.8 percent drop in October.

The slowing trend appeared similar to those in other sectors of the economy as seven rate increases by the Federal Reserve over the last 13 months began to take hold.

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