Gradual improvement in durable goods seen in 2004 Capital Spending Survey.

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U.S. durable goods manufacturers are expected to invest more than $12 billion in capital equipment in 2004, according to the 2004 Gardner Research Capital Spending Survey. Resultsfrom the survey indicate an improvement in machine tool consumption in the order of 27 percent.

"Next year (2004) will be a rebuilding year for capital equipment manufacturers," says Steve Kline, EVR Gardner Publications. Machine tool consumption in the U.S. is expected to reach $3.9 billion, up from a projected $3.1 billion in 2003. Industries expected to lead the way are automotive, aerospace, medical equipment, defense, power generation, and energy production.

"We have been through a five-year depression in the machine tool industry that has seen consumption slump by more than 60 percent from the peak in 1988," says Kline. "Now we think that the...

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