Orders for US durable goods fall 5.7 pct. in March

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Associated Press

Posted on April 24, 2013 at 8:02 AM

Updated Wednesday, Apr 24 at 9:02 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Orders for long-lasting U.S. factory goods fell sharply last month, dragged lower by a steep drop in volatile commercial aircraft demand. But orders that reflect business investment plans rose slightly.

The Commerce Department says orders for durable goods declined 5.7 percent in March, after a 4.3 percent gain the previous month. February's figure was revised lower. Durable goods are items expected to last at least three years. Orders fluctuate sharply from month to month.

The steep March decline was exacerbated by a 48.2 percent fall in commercial aircraft orders. Still, even excluding aircraft, cars and transportation equipment, orders dropped 1.4 percent, the second straight decline.

One positive sign: So-called core capital goods, which signal companies plans to expand and modernize their operations, ticked up 0.2 percent.

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