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BLBG: Orders for U.S. Durable Goods Increase More Than Forecast
Orders for U.S. durable goods increased more than forecast in February, a sign companies are confident about the outlook for the economy.

Bookings for goods meant to last at least three years rose

1.7 percent after a 2.3 percent advance the prior month that was larger than previously estimated, Commerce Department data showed Friday. The median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a 1.4 percent increase.

A sixth straight gain in orders for durable goods minus transportation equipment underscores rising demand that will help to broaden economic growth. Business has the potential of increasing even more should Washington lawmakers succeed in reducing corporate taxes and regulations.

Economists’ estimates for durable orders ranged from a drop of 0.7 percent to a gain of 3.5 percent. The prior month’s advance was revised from a previously reported 2 percent.

Excluding transportation equipment demand, which is often volatile, orders increased 0.4 percent after a 0.2 percent gain.

The weaker part of the report was in the figure measuring future business investment in items like computers, engines and communications gear. Bookings of non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft unexpectedly fell 0.1 percent, compared with a median projection for a 0.5 percent advance. January was revised to a 0.1 percent increase.

At the same time, those orders were up at a 9.1 percent annualized rate in the three months ended in February.

Shipments of capital goods excluding aircraft and military hardware, used in calculating gross domestic product, rose 1 percent in February.

The report also showed bookings for civilian aircraft climbed 47.6 percent following an 83.3 percent surge at the start of the year.

Boeing Orders

Boeing Co., the Chicago-based aerospace company, said it received 43 orders for aircraft in February, up from 26 in the prior month, and deliveries also increased.

The Commerce Department’s report showed a 0.8 percent drop in bookings for motor vehicles and parts, as auto dealers deal with high inventory. Industry data showed car sales in February were little changed from the previous month. Cars and light trucks sold at a 17.5 million annualized rate, according to Ward’s Automotive Group.

Orders for military capital equipment decreased 8.3 percent, and demand for non-defense durable goods rose 2.1 percent for a second month.