Orders for core capital goods, considered a proxy for business investment, rose by 0.2 percent in February, data from the Department of Commerce showed Friday.
Durable goods orders overall fell by one percent, led down by weakness in the transportation segment. Orders have fallen in three out of the last four months and fell by five percent in January, revised from the preliminary estimate of a 4.5 percent decline.
Excluding transportation, new orders were virtually unchanged. Excluding defense, new orders decreased 0.5 percent.
Orders for transportation equipment, also down three of the last four months, fell 2.8 percent. Civilian aircraft orders, a very volatile category, fell by 6.6 percent in February after plunging 53.6 percent in January. In December, civilian aircraft orders rose 105.6 percent from the prior month.
Orders were down for motor vehicles, communication equipment, computers, and machinery. Orders rose for appliances and electronic equipment, metals and metal products.
Core capital goods, a category that excludes aircraft and defense goods, saw the second consecutive monthly rise. The January figure, however, was revised down from the very strong gain of 0.8 percent to the still healthy 0.3 percent.
The results were largely in line with expectations. The figures are adjusted for seasonality but not for price changes. According to the Department of Labor’s Producer Price Index, prices of private capital equipment were up 0.2 percent in February.
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