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US factory orders up for third month in April

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Orders to U.S. factories rose for a third consecutive month in April, pushed higher by a surge in demand for military hardware. But a key category that signals business investment plans fell.

The Commerce Department says orders increased 0.7 percent in April following a 1.5 percent increase in March and a 1.7 percent gain in February. Those gains followed two big declines in January and December, which partly reflected a harsh winter. A category viewed as a proxy for business investment plans fell by 1.2 percent in April, though that drop came after a 4.7 percent surge in March.

The three solid gains in factory orders are seen as evidence that manufacturing is regaining momentum after a harsh winter and will provide support to the overall economy.

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