Durable goods orders rise above expectation

Durable goods orders rose past analysts' expectations in April, driven by the biggest rise in auto demand in more than three years, the government said today. The report also showed a pickup in crucial business spending, another sign the economy is recovering. Orders for durable goods rose 1.1% to $176.6 billion, well above the expectations for a 0.4% increase. That compared to an upwardly revised climb of 0.2% for the previous month. Orders for computer equipment and machinery made solid gains, indicating that businesses are starting to make new investments, a development regarded by economists as critical to a sustained economic recovery. Sales of motor vehicles and parts jumped 12.0%, the largest increase since a 17.2% rise in August 1998. Computers and electronic products rose 2.5%, the largest gain since October. Machinery orders climbed 4.0%.

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