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Ahead of the Bell: US durable goods

Orders for long-lasting manufactured goods expected to show small rebound in January

Associated Press
Orders for US durable goods up 2.8 percent in January
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In this Oct. 22, 2014 photo, workers perform final inspections on 2015 Ford Explorers on the assembly line at the Chicago Ford Assembly Plant in Chicago. The Commerce Department releases its January report on durable goods on Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Commerce Department releases its January durable goods report Thursday at 8:30 a.m. Eastern.

ORDERS REBOUND: The expectation is that orders will post a modest rebound in January, rising by 1.6 percent.

WEAK STRETCH: In December, orders for long-lasing manufactured goods dropped a sharp 3.3 percent as U.S. businesses trimmed spending amid escalating worries about the global economy.

The December setback followed a 2.2 percent drop in November. From August through December, orders fell every month except October, when there were tiny gains.

Demand in a key category that serves as a proxy for business investment plans has fallen for four straight months.

The stronger U.S. dollar and global weakness have hurt exports but economists are still optimistic that surging domestic demand will result in a sustained rebound in orders this year.

The government is scheduled to revise its estimate for economic growth for the October-December quarter on Friday. Analysts are expecting that the initial 2.6 percent estimated growth rate for the fourth quarter will be revised down to 2.1 percent.

However, they are looking for a rebound in the first quarter to around 2.5 percent.

Delivering the Fed's twice-a-year report on the economy to Congress this week, Fed Chair Janet Yellen struck an upbeat note, saying that the Fed is looking for strong employment gains to help lift economic activity in 2015.

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