The Commerce Department said U.S. durable goods orders rose 4.2 percent in July, a much higher gain than economists' expectations.
After a seemingly healthy gain of 1.6 percent in June, economists forecast another 1.6 percent rise for July.
New orders in June rose to $230.7 billion, pushed by a $9.9 billion or 14.1 percent increase in transportation equipment orders, which rose from $68.8 billion in June to $80.4 billion in July.
Excluding transportation, new factory orders for durable goods dropped 0.4 percent. Excluding defense, new orders increased 5.7 percent.
Shipments of manufactured durable goods rose for the seventh month in the past eight, climbing 2.6 percent or by $5.9 billion to $231.1 billion, reaching the highest level since accounting methods were switched to the North American Industry Classification System or NAICS.
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