BUSINESSES CAUTIOUS: U.S. companies remained cautious in September and held back on orders for long-lasting manufactured goods that signal investment plans.
THE NUMBERS: Total orders for durable goods rose 9.9 percent in September because of a sharp gain in volatile aircraft orders. But orders that signal business investment were unchanged after only a slight gain in August and steep declines in July and June.
OUTLOOK: Demand for manufactured goods is sharply lower this year, which has weakened the broader economy. The decline in business investment has led some economists to lower their growth forecasts for the July-September quarter.