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US factory orders up 0.8 percent in October

WASHINGTON — Orders to US factories rose modestly in October, helped by a big gain in demand for equipment that reflects business investment plans.

Factory orders edged up 0.8 percent in October, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. The increase slowed from a 4.5 percent jump in September.

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Orders for core capital goods, a category viewed as a good proxy for business investment plans, increased 2.9 percent in October, the biggest increase in eight months. The increase came after big declines in the investment category this summer.

Orders for durable goods rose 0.5 percent in October, up from a preliminary estimate of no gain, while orders for nondurable goods, items such as chemicals and paper, were up 1.1 percent.

Businesses have been holding back on investment plans because they are worried about the fiscal cliff and the Eurpean debt crisis.

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