U.S. Durable Orders Declined in October

By Sarah Chaney and Eric Morath Features Dow Jones Newswires

Orders for long-lasting factory goods declined in October, a setback for manufacturers experiencing solid growth in demand this year.

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Orders for durable goods--products designed to last at least three years, such as office furniture and computers--decreased 1.2% from the prior month to a seasonally adjusted $236.0 billion in October, the U.S. Commerce Department said Wednesday. The fall follows a 2.2% increase in September.

Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected a 0.2% increase for orders last month.

A closely watched proxy for business investment, new orders for nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft, dropped 0.5% in October. It was the largest drop in slightly over a year. The decline marks a divergence from previous months. The business investment measure increased 4.4% in the first 10 months of this year compared to the same period a year earlier.

Orders for civilian aircraft declined 18.6% in October, and orders for defense capital goods dropped 9.6% from a month earlier. But orders for motor vehicles increased, potentially reflecting demand for cars after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma earlier destroyed vehicles.

Excluding transportation, orders inched up 0.4% in October and have increased for four consecutive months.

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Durable-goods data can be volatile from month to month, but the broader trend shows gradual growth this year. Total durable-goods orders were up 4.9% in the first 10 months of 2017 compared with the same period a year earlier.

Manufacturing data has recently signaled a positive growth trajectory for the overall economy, driven by steady global growth, a rise in energy prices and heightened business confidence.

The Commerce Department's durable goods orders report can be found at http://www.census.gov/manufacturing/m3.

Write to Sarah Chaney at sarah.chaney@wsj.com and Eric Morath at eric.morath@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 22, 2017 08:45 ET (13:45 GMT)