US factory orders likely showed modest gain in July

Economic IndicatorsAssociated Press

The Commerce Department will release its report on July orders to U.S. factories at 10 a.m. Eastern Wednesday.

ORDERS UP: Economists believe that orders rose 0.9 percent, according to a survey by the data firm FactSet.

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MISHMASH MANUFACTURING: The report on factory orders includes demand for durable goods, items expected to last at least three years, and nondurable goods such as paper, chemicals and food.

In a preliminary report last week, the government estimated that orders for durable goods increased 2 percent in July after a 4.1 percent advance in June.

In that report, a key category that tracks business investment increased 2.2 percent in July, the biggest one-month gain in 13 months. Orders in the business investment category had fallen in four of the previous five months, reflecting the soft patch that manufacturing has faced this year.

U.S. manufacturers must contend with a number of headwinds including a sharp slowdown in growth in China, a strong dollar and falling oil prices. On Tuesday, the Institute for Supply Management reported that its manufacturing index slid to 51.1 last month from 52.7 in July. It was the second straight drop; economists had been expecting the index to rebound modestly in August. Anything above 50 signals growth.