New orders for key U.S.-made capital goods unexpectedly fell in October after three straight months of hefty gains, but a sustained increase in shipments pointed to strong momentum in the economy as the year winds down.
The Commerce Department said on Wednesday that orders for non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft, a closely watched proxy for business spending plans, declined 0.5 percent last month. That was the biggest drop since September 2016 and followed an upwardly revised 2.1 percent increase in September.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast orders of these so-called core capital goods increasing 0.5 percent last month after a previously reported 1.7 percent jump in September. Core capital goods orders rose 4.4 percent on a year-on-year basis.
Shipments of core capital goods advanced 0.4 percent last month after accelerating by 1.2 percent in September. Core capital goods shipments are used to calculate equipment spending in the government's gross domestic product measurement.