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Fresh orders for factories rise

WASHINGTON, May 24 (UPI) — U.S. durable goods orders jumped 3.3 percent in April, about twice the gain economists had expected, the U.S. Commerce Department said Friday.

Factory orders climbed by $7.2 billion to $222.6 billion, after dropping 5.7 percent in March.

What a difference a month makes. In March, durable goods orders were down for two of the past three months. However, with April’s increase, new orders have now increased for two of the past three months.

Economists had expected a rebound, but had predicted a bounce of about 1.5 percent.

In April, new orders rose 1.3 percent excluding orders for big-ticket transportation equipment, a category economists had predicted would rise 0.5 percent.

Investors generally react to predictions made by economists. When the predictions are off, investors tend to make quick adjustments. If they are accurate, investors tend to take it in stride.

Transportation orders, which have been seesawing for eight months, rose 8.1 percent after dropping 15 percent in March.

Among transportation orders, orders for commercial aircraft provided a boost, adding $1.9 billion to the category’s $5.1 billion increase.

Durable goods inventories, up for three of the past four months, rose 0.4 percent to $377.9 billion, the highest level since 1992. Transportation inventories, up for 32 out of 33 months, rose by $1.7 billion, providing for the bulk of the increase.

New orders for capital goods in April rose 3.3 percent after falling 10.6 percent in March. The category is defined as equipment required to run a business — printing presses, commercial ovens, conveyor belts. As such, capital goods is a leading index, hinting at the level of confidence among business owners.

Copyright 2013 United Press International, Inc. (UPI).

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