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U.S. Durable Goods Orders Unexpectedly Increase In January

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New orders for U.S. durable goods unexpectedly increased in the month of January, according to a report released by the Commerce Department on Wednesday.

The report said durable goods orders climbed by 0.4 percent in January after spiking by an upwardly revised 1.3 percent in December.

Economists had expected durable goods orders to drop by 0.5 percent compared to the 1.2 percent jump originally reported for the previous month.

The unexpected increase in durable goods orders was largely due to a continued surge in orders for transportation equipment, which jumped by 1.2 percent in January after surging up by 3.1 percent in December.

Orders for non-defense aircraft and parts led the way higher once again, soaring by 15.9 percent in January after spiking by 35.7 percent in December.

However, aircraft orders could nosedive in the comings months as aerospace giant Boeing (BA) deals with the second crash of one of its 737 Max 8 jets in less than six months.

Excluding orders for transportation equipment, durable goods orders edged down by 0.1 percent in January after rising by an upwardly revised 0.3 percent in December.

Ex-transportation orders had been expected to inch up by 0.1 percent, matching the uptick originally reported for the previous month.

Notable decreases in orders for primary metals and computers and electronic products more than offset a jump in orders for machinery.

Meanwhile, the Commerce Department said orders for non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft, a closely watched indicator of business spending, climbed by 0.8 percent in January after slumping by 0.9 percent in December.

"The rebound in underlying capital goods orders in January is still consistent with a slowdown in business equipment investment growth in the first quarter, although it suggests that slowdown will not be as sharp as signaled by some of the incoming survey evidence," said Michael Pearce, Senior U.S. Economist at Capital Economics.

The report also showed shipments of durable goods fell by 0.5 percent in January after rising by 0.7 percent in December.

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