Orders for durable or long-lasting U.S. goods rose 2% in July, led by demand for automobiles and military hardware. That was much stronger than the seasonally adjusted 0.6% decline forecast by economists polled by MarketWatch. Orders minus transportation, however, rose a smaller 0.6%, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. Meanwhile, orders for core capital goods -- a proxy for business investment -- climbed 2.2% to mark the biggest gain in 13 months. Still, business investment over the past year is down 3.8%, reflecting more cautious spending by manufacturers. Shipments of core capital goods, a category used to help determine quarterly economic growth, rose 0.6% in July.
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