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Orders for American-made machine tools fell slightly in February for the second straight month, a trade group reported Sunday.

Machine tool orders are considered a gauge of future economic activity. A rise is viewed as an indication that businesses feel confident enough that their sales will grow to justify investing in new equipment.

The Association for Manufacturing Technology said machine tool orders totaled $372.85 million last month, down 1.14 percent from January's $377.15 million. However, orders are up 35.26 percent compared with February 1994.

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