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Raytheon gets large contract

Raytheon Co.’s local operation has been awarded a $97.9 million defense contract, federal officials announced late Monday.

The five-year contract issued by Army Contracting Command in Aberdeen, Md., is for the design, manufacture, testing and delivery of the Electronic Warfare Planning and Management Tool. The tool, as defined on a government procurement website, is a software application that gives electronic warfare officers the ability to plan, coordinate and manage electronic warfare activities.

The indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract allows the Defense Department to place orders as needed up to the approved total of almost $98 million. Estimated completion date is Dec. 1, 2018.

Construction spending increases in October

U.S. developers boosted construction spending in October at the fastest pace in more than four years, propelled by a surge in government projects.

But spending on home construction and commercial projects both fell.

Overall construction spending increased 0.8 percent in October to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $908.4 billion, the Labor Department said Monday. That’s up from September, when spending fell 0.3 percent.

The October pace was the best since May 2009 and was driven by a 3.9 percent surge in public spending. Federal spending increased 10.9 percent, suggesting the 16-day partial government shutdown had little impact on public projects.

Spending on state and local government construction also rose.

One troubling sign: Home construction fell 0.6 percent in October from September, dragged lower by a drop in single-family homes.

Manufacturing pace fastest in 2 1/2 years

U.S. manufacturing grew in November at the fastest pace in 2 1/2 years as factories ramped up production, stepped up hiring and received orders at a healthy clip.

The Institute for Supply Management said Monday that its index of manufacturing activity rose to 57.3. That was up from 56.4 in October and was the highest since April 2011. A reading above 50 signals growth.

One component of the index, a measure of hiring, rose to its highest level in nearly 18 months. And a gauge of export orders reached its highest level in nearly two years.

Overseas demand is benefiting from modest recoveries in Europe, Japan and China.

The ISM is a trade group of purchasing managers.

Bank of America to pay Freddie Mac claims

Bank of America will pay $404 million to mortgage buyer Freddie Mac to settle all remaining claims over home loans sold in the previous decade.

The Charlotte, N.C., bank says the deal resolves claims on loans sold from 2000 through 2009, which includes mortgage-backed investments that soured during the housing crash. The bank’s reserves will cover the payment.

Earlier this year, Bank of America Corp. agreed to pay $3.6 billion in cash to Freddie’s sibling company, Fannie Mae, and buy back $6.75 billion in loans sold by the bank and Countrywide Financial, which Bank of America bought in 2008.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac buy mortgages from banks and package them as bonds to sell.

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