US durable goods orders up 12 per cent in December

WASHINGTON — Orders to U.S. factories for big-ticket manufactured goods posted a 1.2 per cent advance in December, the best showing in four months, but much of the strength came from a surge in orders for commercial aircraft. In a worrisome development, a key category that tracks business investment fell for a second straight month.The Commerce Department says the December advance in orders for durable goods followed a 1 per cent rise in November which was revised up from an initial reading of 0.7 per cent.But orders for non-defence capital goods excluding aircraft, a closely watched category used as a proxy for business investment plans, fell 0.7 per cent in December after a 1 per cent drop in November. The strength in the overall number came from a 28.4 per cent jump in commercial aircraft orders.Martin Crutsinger, The Associated Press

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