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Economy

Orders for big-ticket factory goods rose a modest 0.4% in January

Key Points
  • Orders to U.S. factories for big-ticket manufactured goods edged up slightly in January.
  • The strength came from a big increase in the volatile aircraft category.
  • In encouraging news for future growth, a key category that tracks business investment plans posted its biggest gain in six months.
Appliances on sale in Sarasota, Florida.
Ty Wright | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Orders to U.S. factories for big-ticket manufactured goods edged up slightly in January, but the strength came from a big increase in the volatile aircraft category.

In encouraging news for future growth, a key category that tracks business investment plans posted its biggest gain in six months.

The Commerce Department said Wednesday that orders for durable goods rose 0.4 percent in January, led by a 15.9 percent rise in orders for commercial aircraft. The category that serves as a proxy for business investment rose 0.8 percent after two months of declines. It was the biggest gain since a 1.5 percent July bump.

The weakness in business investment has puzzled economists who expected to see strength in this area as companies boosted investment spending to take advantage of new tax breaks.

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Economy

US wholesale inflation remained tame in February

Key Points
  • U.S. wholesale prices barely rose last month after falling for three straight months, a sign there is little inflation pressure in the economy.
  • The Labor Department says the producer price index — which measures price changes before they reach the consumer — rose 0.1 percent in February.
  • Despite an unemployment rate near a five-decade low and faster wage growth, inflation is tame.