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Registered Investment Adviser Caleb Lawrence 

Early gains by the major averages gave way to modest losses in late trade on generally disappointing but not overly significant data.

Durable Goods Orders fell 3.7% in January on weakness in Non-Defense Capital Goods, a subset that includes business spending. Non-Defense Capital Goods Ex-Aircraft fell for a second month down .2% as the proxy for business spending threatens to establish a negative trend.

Wholesale inventories advanced for a 3rd month in January with a .7% gain led by non-durable goods. Retail trade also advanced for a 3rd month with a .8% gain. This series will add to 1st Quarter economic growth.

The Trade Deficit hit a 9-year high in January with a 4th consecutive monthly advance to 74.4 billion. Exports fell 2.3% to 133.9 billion, Imports slipped .5% to 208.3 billion. This data will subtract from 1st Quarter GDP or Gross Domestic Product.

The Richmond Fed regional index jumped 14 points in February to 28, its 2nd highest reading ever, on large gains in new orders and employment.

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