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BUSINESS TODAY

JUNE FACTORY ORDERS RISE: Orders to factories, bolstered by higher demand for autos and electronic equipment, rose 0.7 percent in June in a fresh sign of recovery for the manufacturing sector. The increase followed a 1 percent gain in May, the Commerce Department said. June's gain came despite a steep 5.1 percent decrease in orders for industrial machinery and equipment, the sector that includes computers. It was the second straight monthly decline.

NON-MANUFACTURING BUSINESS SLOWS IN JULY: Business at banks, farms, retailers and other enterprises besides manufacturing expanded in July at a slower pace than in June. The National Association of Purchasing Management's index of non-manufacturing business fell to 59.5 in July from 61 a month earlier. Readings above 50 indicate more businesses reported improved conditions than reported declines. The drop was led by concerns over the availability of workers, notably in construction, services and temporary help. Still, non-manufacturers remain healthy, led largely by service industries.

HUNTINGTON TO ADD BRANCHES: Huntington Bank plans to open seven more branches throughout the Tampa Bay area in the next 18 months, giving the Columbus, Ohio, bank a total of 37 in the region and 141 statewide. James Dunlap, president of Huntington's Florida operation, committed to the expansion during grand opening ceremonies for the bank's new downtown Tampa location. Huntington invested about $2-million in renovating the building at 601 N Ashley Drive. Dunlap said branches are planned for locations including Largo, St. Petersburg, Punta Gorda, Naples, Brandon and Sarasota.

AOL EXPANDS ITS REACH: America Online plans to team with Radiant Systems Inc. to develop a service that will let consumers receive e-mail, news and other information at stores and restaurants around the world by the end of next year. Financial terms were not disclosed. As part of the agreement, AOL will make an initial investment in Radiant, an Atlanta maker of computerized-payment systems whose customers include Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and Amoco gas stations. Radiant and AOL also will develop AOL Moviefone, a listing guide and ticketing service for the movie industry.

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