Orders for long-lasting U.S. manufactured goods recorded their biggest drop in seven months in March and a gauge of planned business spending rose modestly, adding to signs of a slowdown in factory activity.
Durable goods orders slumped 5.7 percent as demand fell almost across the board, the Commerce Department said on Wednesday. The drop last month in orders for these goods, which range from toasters to aircraft, followed a revised 4.3 percent increase in February.
Economists polled by Reuters had expected orders to fall 2.8 percent from a previously reported 5.6 percent increase. Excluding transportation, orders declined 1.4 percent after falling 1.7 percent the prior month.