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    U.S. manufacturers grew at the slowest pace in March in almost two years and employment levels also weakened, a survey of executives found. The Institute for Supply Management said its manufacturing index declined to 51.5% last month from 52.9% in February, marking the fifth straight drop and falling well short of Wall Street's forecast. Still, readings over 50% indicate more companies are expanding instead of shrinking.

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    * ADP data weaker than forecast. * Long bond ahead more than 1 full point. * Ten-year yield under 1.9 percent. By Michael Connor. U.S. Treasury debt prices climbed on Wednesday, with yields on the benchmark 10-year note slipping below 1.9 percent after a weaker-than-forecast jobs report bolstered arguments the Federal Reserve may be slow to raise interest rates.

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    It's almost Opening Day for America's pastime! Traders and economists clearly do. You'll often hear people talking about swinging for the fences to find home run stocks and discussing the economic recovery in terms of innings. Former Federal Reserve chair Ben Bernanke even promised in his first tweet earlier this week that his new blog will focus on "economics, finance, and sometimes baseball."

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    * U.S. private job growth slows in March. * Factory activity moderates further. * Construction spending falls for second straight month. By Lucia Mutikani. U.S. private employers added the smallest number of workers in more than a year in March and factory activity hit a near two-year low, fresh signs that economic growth slowed significantly in the first quarter.

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    U.S. crude inventories rose last, while gasoline stocks dropped and distillate inventories increased, data from the Energy Information Administration showed on Wednesday. Crude inventories rose by 4.8 million barrels in the last week, compared with analysts' expectations for an increase of 4.2 million barrels.

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    Bernanke blog's second entry sparks high-profile one-on-one debate. WASHINGTON-- Larry Summers said Wednesday that he would like nothing better than to be wrong in his theory that the U.S. and the industrialized world are caught in a period of "secular stagnation," unable to reach full employment without the help of asset bubbles, but he said it would behoove economists like Ben Bernanke to take it seriously. Summers was responding to the former Fed chief's second blog post on...

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    Outlays for U.S. construction projects decreased 0.1% in February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $967.2 billion, led by the public sector, the U.S. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected a 0.1% increase in January compared with originally reported decrease in spending of 1.1% in January. On Wednesday, the government revised January's decrease to 1.7%.

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    General Motors Co. (GM) and Ford Motor Co. (F) posted lower vehicle sales in the U.S. in March, while Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV (FCAU) posted a 1.7% uptick as strength in its Jeep brand helped to offset a calendar impact. March included one less selling day than the prior-year month, which is likely dragging down auto makers' sales for the period. The U.S. auto industry is in the midst of a strong run of sales improvements, fueled by Americans' growing appetite for pricier trucks and sport-utility...

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    U.S. construction spending unexpectedly fell in February and the prior month's outlays were revised to show a steeper decline than previously estimated, which could see economists further mark down their first-quarter growth forecasts. Construction spending dipped 0.1 percent to an annual rate of $967.2 billion, the Commerce Department said on Wednesday.

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    The uncertainty about the economic outlook due to weakness evident in first quarter economic statistics will pass, and a mid-year interest rate hike remains "quite feasible," said Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart on Wednesday, according to The Wall Street Journal. In an interview with reporters on sidelines of the Atlanta Fed's conference on financial markets, Lockhart said the poor data in the first three months of the year "contributes to a situation of some ambiguity at...

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    Goldman Sachs Economist Jan Hatzius said on Wednesday that he expected the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates very late this year, or early next year. Hatzius, speaking on a panel here at an Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank event, said his view on the timing reflected a significant amount of slack still in the labor market and weak wage growth.

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    Americans are saving hundreds on low gas prices this year. The Obama administration estimates the typical American household will save $750 this year from a discount at the pump. The short answer: No. Most people are pocketing the gas savings.

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    The U.S. federal funds rate, which banks charge each other to borrow their excess reserves, averaged 0.06 percent on Tuesday, down from 0.12 percent on Monday, Fed data released early Tuesday showed. This was the lowest average or effective fed funds rate since Feb. 27.

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    Atlanta Federal Reserve bank president Dennis Lockhart said on Wednesday that the United States remains on track for a likely interest rate hike in the June to September period, with a weak first quarter likely to give way to stronger growth. "The weakness of the first quarter got my attention.

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    U.S. Treasuries yields fell to session lows early Wednesday as a below-forecast reading on U.S. private jobs growth in March from ADP raised bets the Federal Reserve might not raise policy rates until the end of 2015 at the earliest. Benchmark 10-year Treasuries yield hit a session low of 1.8780 percent before retracing to 1.8815 percent, down 5 basis points from late on Tuesday.

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    U.S. private employers added the smallest number of workers in more than a year in March and factory activity hit a near two-year low, fresh signs that economic growth slowed significantly in the first quarter. The economy has been slammed by a harsh winter, a strong dollar and weaker global demand.

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    Private-sector employment gains continued in March but at a slower pace than in the prior month. Employers added 189,000 jobs last month, Automatic Data Processing Inc. reported Wednesday. ADP revised February's gain slightly to 214,000 from a prior estimate of 212,000. This is the lowest increase in the monthly ADP since January 2014. Economists use ADP's data to get a feeling for the Labor Department's employment report, which will be released Friday and covers government...

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    Updated from 7:12 a.m. EDT. Here are 10 things you should know for Wednesday, April 1: 1. -- U.S. stock futures were trending downward Wednesday as investors ready for GoDaddy's (GDDY) first trading day and await a variety of economic data, including petroleum inventories and the ADP jobs report.