US Orders For Durable Goods Up 0.4 Percent

WASHINGTON (AP) — Orders to U.S. factories for long-lasting manufactured goods rose in October, but a key category that tracks business investment plans declined sharply for a second straight month.

         The Commerce Department says orders for durable goods increased 0.4 percent last month following a 0.9 percent drop in September and an even bigger 18.3 percent plunge in August. The two months of declines reflected big swings in the volatile category of commercial aircraft.

         The small October gain was unimpressive, with declines in a number of categories including machinery, computers and primary metals such as steel.

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         A key category viewed as a proxy for business investment spending fell 1.3 percent in October after a similar 1.3 percent September drop. It was the biggest setback since a 1.4 percent May decline.

         – by AP Reporter Martin Crutsinger

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