June 24, 2009

Durable goods orders beat expectations

U.S. durable goods orders rose for the third month out of the last four, the U.S. Commerce Department reported Wednesday.

New orders for manufactured durable goods -- products expected to last more than three years -- rose 1.8 percent in the month to $163.9 billion.

Shipments of durable goods fell for the 10th consecutive month, the longest continued downturn since 1992.

Shipments fell 2.1 percent to $169.9 billion.

Unfilled orders, down for eight consecutive months, dropped 0.3 percent to $747.5 billion, while inventories fell 1.1 percent to $323.3 billion, Commerce said.

Economists had expected new orders to drop 0.9 percent, which may allow the figure to give a quick boost to U.S. stock markets, but the boost may be short lived, given continued weakness in foreign demand.

Excluding transportation, new orders rose 1.1 percent in May. Non-defense new orders rose 10 percent to $53.8 billion, while defense orders rose 7.4 percent to $12 billion.