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Orders to US factories for durable goods rose 0.9 percent in August, led by increased demand for airplanes, autos, and other transportation equipment, the Commerce Department reported. The positive performance came despite predictions from many analysts of a 0.9 percent decline. Orders for durable goods - items expected to last at least three years - climbed to a seasonally adjusted $206.9 billion, following a revised 4 percent gain in July.

Confidence among US consumers slipped in September by much more than analysts expected, the Conference Board said. Its index, a measure of consumers' willingness to spend, dipped to 134.2, down 1.8 percentage points from a revised 136 in August. It was the third straight monthly decline, suggesting the Federal Reserve's higher-interest-rate strategy is cooling the economy.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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