Durable-goods orders rebound

The Commerce Department reported business orders rose 3.3 percent in April after dropping 5.9 percent in March.
The Commerce Department reported business orders rose 3.3 percent in April after dropping 5.9 percent in March. (DAMIAN DOVARGANES / Associated Press)

On the upswing

Posted: May 25, 2013

WASHINGTON - U.S. orders for long-lasting manufactured goods rebounded in April, buoyed by more demand for aircraft and an increase in products that signal business investment.

Orders for durable goods, items expected to last at least three years, rose 3.3 percent last month from March, the Commerce Department said Friday. That followed a 5.9 decline in March.

Excluding the volatile transportation category, orders rose 1.3 percent in April. That followed a 1.7 percent decline in March.

The stock market slipped Friday despite the encouraging manufacturing report, which suggests economic growth may hold steady through the spring.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index dropped 0.91 of a point to close at 1,649.60. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 8.60 points to 15,303.10, a gain of nearly 0.1 percent. The Nasdaq composite slipped 0.28 of a point to 3,459.14.

Sears plunged 14 percent after the department-store chain reported a steep quarterly loss and slumping sales after the market closed Thursday. Sears lost $7.92, to $50.25.

The S&P 500, widely used by mutual funds as a proxy for the U.S. stock market, lost 1.1 percent for the week. It's still up 15.7 percent for the year.

Marty Leclerc, managing partner of Barrack Yard Advisors, a Bryn Mawr investment firm, said the weekly drop wasn't cause for concern. Even market rallies have to take a break, he said.

"It's up like a rocket blast this year," Leclerc said of the stock market. "For there to be a little bit of a pullback is perfectly understandable."

Trading was light ahead of the long weekend. U.S. financial markets will be closed Monday for Memorial Day.

The durable-goods report indicated companies ordered more machinery and electronics last month, typically signs of confidence in the economy.

More spending by businesses could ease fears that manufacturing will weaken further this year and weigh on economic growth.

Factories had been receiving fewer orders earlier this year, in part because slower global growth had reduced demand for U.S. exports. Economists also had worried that federal spending cuts and higher taxes might prompt businesses to cut back on orders.

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