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New orders for long-lasting U.S. manufactured goods in August fell by the most in 3-1/2 years, pointing to a sharp slowdown in factory activity even as a gauge of planned business spending rebounded.
The Commerce Department said on Thursday durable goods orders dived 13.2 percent, the largest drop since January 2009, when the economy was in the throes of a recession. Orders for July were revised down to show a 3.3 percent increase instead of the previously reported 4.1 percent gain.
Economists polled by Reuters had expected orders for durable goods -- items from toasters to aircraft that are meant to last at least three years -- to fall 5 percent....