FACTORY OUTPUT FALLS: U.S. factory production fell last month, held back by temporary disruptions caused by Superstorm Sandy and companies' fears that a federal budget crisis could trigger a recession next year.

THE NUMBERS: Total factory output declined 0.9 percent in October, the Federal Reserve said. Machinery production fell 1.9 percent; production of electrical equipment, appliances and components declined 1.4 percent.

OUTLOOK: Manufacturing has weakened since spring, in part because companies have scaled back orders for equipment. Many are worried about tax increases and federal spending cuts that will take effect in January unless Congress reaches a budget deal before then.