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Summary Box: US factory orders up 1.3 percent

The Associated Press

DEMAND UP: Orders to U.S. factories rose 1.3 percent in February as businesses ordered more machinery and equipment.

CAPITAL GOODS: Demand for core capital goods, seen as a good signal of business investment plans, rose 1.7 percent. That's an indicator that companies will keep investing despite the expiration of an investment tax break.

FACTORY JOBS: A vibrant manufacturing sector helped drive the best job growth in two years. Those gains have helped lower the unemployment rate to 8.3 percent.