Orders for durable U.S. goods jumped a seasonally adjusted 4% in March, but the increase was driven almost entirely by higher demand for autos, commercial jets and military hardware. A key measure of business investment, however, fell for the seventh straight month to underscore a slowdown in how much companies are spending. So-called core orders excluding aircraft and military goods fell 0.5%. Shipments of core capital goods, a category used to help determine quarterly economic growth, dropped 0.4% in March. That's another sign first-quarter gross domestic product is likely to be quite weak. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected a 0.9% gain in orders for durable goods in March. The 1.4% decline in orders for February was unchanged.
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