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US durable goods orders fell for first time in 5 months

U.S. orders for long-lasting manufactured goods dropped in April for the first time in five months, and a key category that tracks business investment went nowhere for the second straight month.

The Commerce Department says durable goods orders fell 0.7 percent in April after rising 2.3 percent in March. The downturn was the first since durable goods orders fell 4.6 percent in November. Orders for transportation equipment fell 1.2 percent, pulled down by a 9.2 percent drop in orders for civilian aircraft.

Orders for capital goods, excluding aircraft and military equipment, were flat for the second straight month -- worrisome because that category offers clues about where business investment is headed.

Durable goods, which range from refrigerators to battleships, are items meant to last at least three years.