New orders for U.S.-made durable goods rose a smaller-than-expected 2.5% in February and excluding volatile transportation orders were down for the fourth time in the last five months, a government report on Wednesday showed.
The Commerce Department reported that excluding transportation orders, which are heavily skewed by aircraft; durable goods orders -- items meant to last three or more years -- fell by 0.1%.
Economists polled ahead of the report were expecting overall durable goods orders to advance by 3.5% and by 1.6%, excluding transportation.
In a further sign of weak demand, orders for nondefense capital goods, excluding aircraft, viewed as a proxy for business spending, fell by 1.2% last month after declining by 7.4% in January. Economists were expecting a 2.3% gain.
The rise in overall durable goods orders could be largely attributed to an 88.4% surge in nondefense aircraft and parts orders and a 29.2% gain in defense aircraft orders. Automotive orders advanced by 1.3% in February.
Overall shipments fell by 0.8% during the month.