March 25, 2009

Durable goods turnaround in February

Durable goods orders rose in the United States in February for the first time in six months, climbing after a sharp decline in January, the government said.

New orders for manufactured durable goods -- products expected to last more than three years -- rose 3.4 percent to $165.6 billion in February after falling 7.3 percent in the previous month.

New orders for non-defense and defense orders both rose, increasing 7.4 percent and 35.3 percent, respectively.

The figures, well ahead of market predictions, which forecast a decline, helped push equities up Wednesday morning.

In February, shipments, in a seven-month decline, fell 0.5 percent to $179.1 billion. Unfilled orders, down for five months, fell 1.3 percent to $773.7 billion.

Inventories also fell, dropping 0.9 percent following a 1.1 percent decrease in January, the Commerce Department said.