Gauge of investment plans flat, orders for durables up

WASHINGTON, Thu Oct 25, 2012 – A gauge of planned business spending was flat in September, a sign that heightened uncertainty is weighing on factories although new orders for long-lasting manufactured goods increased during the month.

The Commerce Department said on Thursday that non-defense capital goods orders excluding aircraft, a closely watched proxy for business spending plans, was unchanged last month at $60.3 billion. That was short of economists’ expectations for a 0.7 percent gain.

Many economists believe companies are holding back investments due to fears the U.S. Congress could fail to avert sharp tax hikes and spending cuts in 2013, which threaten to send the U.S. economy back into recession.

The reading on investment plans was part of a larger report on long-lasting factory goods, which showed new durable goods orders posting their biggest gain last month since January 2010.

New orders for durables rose 9.9 percent, partially reversing a sharp loss in August. Wild fluctuations in aircraft orders have generated much of the volatility.

Economists polled by Reuters had expected orders for durable goods – items from toasters to aircraft that are meant to last at least three years – to rise 7.1 percent.

Boeing received 143 orders in September, up from just one in August, according to information posted on the plane maker’s website.

Durable goods drop worst since recession

WASHINGTON, Thu Sep 27, 2012 – New orders for long-lasting U.S. manufactured goods in August fell by the most in 3-1/2 years, pointing to a sharp slowdown in factory activity even as a gauge of planned business spending rebounded.

The Commerce Department said on Thursday durable goods orders dived 13.2 percent, the largest drop since January 2009, when the economy was in the throes of a recession. Orders for July were revised down to show a 3.3 percent increase instead of the previously reported 4.1 percent gain.

Economists polled by Reuters had expected orders for durable good  – items from toasters to aircraft that are meant to last at least three years – to fall 5 percent.

Last month, the drop in orders reflected weak aircraft and automobiles demand. Boeing received only one aircraft order in August, down from 260 in July, according to information posted on the plane maker’s website.

Transportation equipment tumbled 34.9 percent after racing ahead 13.1 percent in July. Excluding transportation, orders fell 1.6 percent after dropping 1.3 percent the prior month. Economists had expected this category to rise 0.3 percent after a previously reported 0.6 percent fall.

Non-defense capital goods orders excluding aircraft, a closely watched proxy for business spending plans, rose 1.1 percent, halting two straight months of hefty declines. That was above economists’ expectations for 0.5 percent gain.

Durable goods orders rebound in May

WASHINGTON, Wed Jun 27, 2012 – Demand for long-lasting U.S. manufactured goods rebounded more than expected in May and a gauge of business spending plans increased, but slowing global growth suggest the momentum might not be sustained.

Durable goods orders increased 1.1 percent, the Commerce Department said on Wednesday, after a revised 0.2 percent decrease the prior month.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast orders for durable goods, which range from toasters to aircraft and are meant to last more than three years, rising 0.4 percent after previously being reported as being flat in April.

Orders were lifted by a 2.7 percent jump in transportation equipment as aircraft bookings picked up and motor vehicles demand increased, though at a slower pace than in the prior month.

Excluding transportation, orders rose 0.4 percent after dropping 0.6 percent in April. Economists had forecast this category rising 0.7 percent.

Slower growth in China and a looming recession in the debt-crisis ridden euro zone have taken some of the shine off the domestic manufacturing sector, leaving the economy mired in a soft patch.

Regional surveys of factory activity have mostly shown a weakening in orders this month, a trend that is likely to be highlighted in a report on national manufacturing next week.

Non-defense capital goods orders excluding aircraft, a closely watched proxy for business spending plans, increased 1.6 percent after dropping 1.4 percent in April and snapping two straight months of declines.

Economists had expected this category to rise 1.7 percent after a previously reported 2.1 percent drop.

Shipments of non-defense capital goods orders excluding aircraft, used to calculate equipment and software spending in the gross domestic product report, rose 0.4 percent after declining 1.5 percent in April.

Last month, orders for civilian aircraft rose 4.9 percent and motor vehicles climbed 0.5 percent.

Boeing received eight orders for aircraft, according to the plane maker’s website, up from four in April.

Outside transportation, details of the report were fairly mixed, with increases in machinery, electrical equipment and appliances and capital goods orders increasing. Demand for primary metals and computers fell.

Plunge in durable goods orders clouds U.S. outlook

WASHINGTON, Wed Apr 25, 2012 – Demand for long-lasting manufactured goods tumbled by the most in three years in March and businesses cut back on spending plans, suggesting the economy slowed as the first quarter drew to a close.

Durable goods orders dropped 4.2 percent, the largest decline since January 2009 when the economy was nose-diving, Commerce Department data showed on Wednesday. Economists had expected a drop of just 1.7 percent.

February orders were revised to show only a 1.9 percent increase instead of the previously reported 2.4 percent rise.

“This adds to the evidence that momentum in the economy sort of fell flat in March,” said Ellen Zentner, a senior U.S. economist at Nomura Securities in New York.

Data on durable goods, items ranging from toasters to aircraft that are meant to last three years or more, is notoriously volatile and investors on Wall Street ignored the report. Stock prices rose, cheered by forecast-beating results from Apple. Prices for U.S. Treasury debt fell, while the dollar was marginally weaker against a basket of currencies.

The data, which was the latest to show the factory sector losing a step in March, came as officials at the Federal Reserve met for a second day to deliberate on monetary policy, and it reinforced the central bank’s views of moderate growth.

Durable goods orders rise 2.2 percent in February

WASHINGTON,| Wed Mar 28, 2012 – New orders for manufactured goods rose less than expected in February and a gauge of future business investment also fell short of forecasts, Commerce Department data showed on Wednesday.

Durable goods orders rose 2.2 percent last month, only partially reversing January’s revised 3.6 percent decline.

Economists had forecast orders rising 3.0 percent last month.

Durable goods range from toasters to big-ticket items like aircraft which are meant to last three years and more.

Excluding transportation, orders climbed 1.6 percent. Economists had expected that reading to increase 1.7 percent. Machinery orders increased 5.7 percent.

Non-defense capital goods orders excluding aircraft, a closely watched proxy for future business investment, edged 1.2 percent higher, missing analysts’ expectations of a 2.0 percent gain.

A 3.9 percent increase in bookings for transportation equipment – including a 6.0 percent increase in civilian aircraft orders – drove the overall increase in durable goods orders.

Boeing received 237 orders for aircraft during the month, according to the plane maker’s website, up from 150 in January.

Orders for motor vehicles edged up 1.6 percent.

Shipments of non-defense capital goods orders excluding aircraft, which go into the calculation of gross domestic product, rose 1.4 percent in February.

New orders for durable goods unexpectedly rise in October

WASHINGTON ― New orders for a range of long-lasting U.S. manufactured goods unexpectedly rose in October, but sharp downward revisions to the prior month’s data and weak spending plans by businesses suggested manufacturing was taking a breather.

The Commerce Department said on Wednesday durable goods orders excluding transportation rose 0.7 percent after a downwardly revised 0.6 percent increase in September. Economists had forecast this category unchanged from the previously reported 1.8 percent rise.

But weak demand for transportation equipment saw overall orders falling 0.7 percent after declining 1.5 percent in September. Economists had forecast overall orders dropping 1.0 percent last month.

Durable goods range from toasters to big-ticket items such as aircraft which are meant to last three years and more.

Overall orders were dragged down by a 4.8 percent drop in bookings for transportation equipment as orders for civilian aircraft dropped 16.4 percent last month. Boeing received only 7 orders for aircraft, according to the plane maker’s website, down from 59 in September.

That overshadowed a 6.2 percent increase in orders for motor vehicles.

Despite the rise in orders excluding transportation, the tenor of the report was weakened by a drop in non-defense capital goods orders excluding aircraft, a closely watched proxy for business spending. The category fell 1.8 percent last month after a downwardly revised 0.9 percent rise in September.

It was the largest decline since January, when it fell 4.8 percent.

Economists had expected a drop of 0.6 percent from the previously reported 2.9 percent jump.

This category normally weakens in the first month of each quarter in part because of an incomplete seasonal adjustment of the power equipment subcomponent.

Shipments of non-defense capital goods orders excluding aircraft, which go into the calculation of gross domestic product, fell 1.1 percent after declining 1.0 percent in September.

Durable goods demand shows economy strengthening

WASHINGTON ― The economy appears to be heading into the fourth quarter with solid momentum with demand for a range of long-lasting U.S.-made goods rising at the fastest pace in six months in September and businesses stepping up spending plans.

Other data on Wednesday also underscored the economy’s improved tone, with new homes sales in September the strongest in five months and mortgage applications rising last week.

“The worries about a double-dip recession were a bit overdone, but slow growth is likely to be with us for some time to come,” said Mark Vitner, a senior economist at Wells Fargo Securities in Charlotte, N.C.

Orders for durable goods, excluding transportation items, rose a stronger-than-expected 1.7 percent last month after falling 0.4 percent in August, a Commerce Department report showed. The gain was the largest since March.

At the same time, non-defense capital goods orders excluding aircraft — a closely watched proxy for business spending — jumped 2.4 percent, which was also the biggest rise in six months.

“Most businesses feel a little bit better about the economy than consumers do right now,” said Vitner. “That means investment spending and economic growth are likely to hold up reasonably well.”

While shipments of non-aircraft, non-defense capital goods fell, economists said that did not materially change their expectations for a pick-up in growth in the third quarter.

The government is expected to report on Thursday that GDP grew at an annual pace of 2.5 percent in the July through September period, according to the median of a Reuters poll. That would mark a sharp acceleration from the 1.3 percent logged in the second quarter.

Transportation boosts July durable goods orders

WASHINGTON ― New orders for long-lasting manufactured goods rose more than expected in July on strong demand for aircraft and motor vehicles, government data showed on Wednesday, but a gauge of business spending fell.

The Commerce Department said durable goods orders surged 4 percent after a revised 1.3 percent drop in June, which was previously reported as a 1.9 percent fall.

Economists polled by Reuters had expected orders to rise 2 percent last month. Orders were buoyed by a 14.6 percent jump in bookings for transportation equipment, which was the largest increase since January.Excluding transportation, orders unexpectedly rose 0.7 percent after gaining 0.6 percent in June. Economists had expected this category to fall 0.5 percent.

But non-defense capital goods orders excluding aircraft, a closely watched proxy for business spending, fell 1.5 percent last month after a revised 0.6 percent rise in June.

Economists had expected a 1 percent fall from a previously reported 0.4 percent gain.

The decline in business spending plans, coming on the heels of weak readings on regional factory activity so far this month, could add to fears that the manufacturing sector is running out of steam.

However, this business spending plans category normally weakens in the first month of each quarter in part because of an incomplete seasonal adjustment of the power equipment subcomponent.

Manufacturing has supported the economy’s recovery. However, a plunge in share prices has hit both business and consumer confidence. Regional Federal Reserve factory surveys so far for August have been sharply weaker.

Last month, durable goods orders were buoyed by a 43.4 percent surge in aircraft orders, which erased June’s 24 percent slump. Boeing received 115 aircraft orders, up from 48 in June, according to information posted on the plane maker’s website.Motor vehicle orders jumped 11.5 percent, the largest increase since January 2003, after edging up 0.1 percent the previous month, indicating a fading of the supply chain disruptions from Japan.

Outside of transportation, details of the report were mixed, with orders for machinery and computers and electronic products falling. However, orders for primary metals, and capital goods rose.

Shipments of non-defense capital goods orders excluding aircraft, which go into the calculation of gross domestic product, edged up 0.2 percent after rising 1.9 percent in June.