New orders for factory-made goods in the U.S. sank 3.4% in December to mark the fifth straight decline, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. The latest drop suggests that manufacturers may have scaled back production owing to a stronger dollar and weak economic growth overseas that's made it harder to sell American-made goods. Inventories also declined for the first time in 19 months, down 0.3%. Excluding transportation, new factory orders fell a smaller 2.3%. Shipments of factory goods retreated 1.1% in December.
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