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Morning Market Roundup: Britain's Econ Contracts, Greece Asks for Breathing Room, Durable Goods Down


Here’s what’s important in the business world this morning:

U.K.: Revised figures published by the British government show that the country's economy shrank by 0.5 percent between April and June.

The Office for National Statistics says Friday that the decline was in part due to a fall in manufacturing output and a further contraction of the country's construction industry, which was savaged by the collapse of the British housing market.

Greece: Greece made little immediate progress in its quest for more time to carry out painful cuts during talks between its Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel Friday.

But the German leader did offer some support to the stricken country, stressing that Berlin wanted to keep Greece in the euro and that it won't rush to make any premature judgments about its reform efforts.

Merkel didn't address Samaras' hopes of winning more time to carry out reforms, which he reiterated at Friday's joint news conference, emphasizing that stimulating economic growth is a priority.

"We don't want more aid, we did not ask for more money; but we need time to breathe - it is a big leap that Greece is making," Samaras said. He didn't specify how long that "time to breathe" might be.

Durable Goods: Signs that U.S. manufacturing is faltering emerged from a report Friday that orders for long-lasting factory goods, excluding the volatile transportation category, fell in July for the fourth time in five months.

Overall orders for durable goods rose a seasonally adjusted 4.2 percent in July, the Commerce Department said. But excluding aircraft and other transportation goods, orders dropped 0.4 percent.

Durable goods are items meant to last at least three years. Orders for so-called core capital goods, a key measure of business investment plans, fell 3.4 percent. That's the biggest drop since November and the fourth decline in five months. And June's figure was revised down to show a drop of 2.7 percent - much worse than the initial estimate of a 1.7 percent fall.

Stocks: U.S. stocks are opening lower, pushed down by a disappointing report about the manufacturing industry.

The Commerce Department says orders for long-lasting factory goods, such as computers and industrial machinery, fell in July. That excluded gains from the transportation category, which is volatile and rose largely because of orders at Boeing.

Durable goods are a key measure of economic health because they show whether businesses are willing to bet on future growth and spend money.

The major stock indexes are all down slightly. The Dow Jones industrial average is down 10 to 13,044. The Standard & Poor's 500 is down two to 1,400. The Nasdaq composite index is down nine to 3,045.

Drugmaker Eli Lilly jumped after reporting promising signs about a possible treatment for Alzheimer's disease.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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