New orders at U.S. factories rose by a sharper-than-expected 0.6 percent in May on a boost in orders for new aircraft, a Commerce Department report on Wednesday showed.
Excluding transportation items, new orders rose a more modest 0.4 percent. Economists polled by Reuters ahead of the report were expecting a 0.4 rise in overall May factory orders.
Transportation orders, reflecting a big boost in both civilian and defense aircraft orders, rose 2.5 percent.
However, orders for autos and parts fell 1.6 percent.
Orders for nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft, which some economists view as a proxy for business investment, fell 0.4 percent during the month.