Falling Durable-Goods Orders Reflect Stalled Investment

New orders for key U.S.-made capital goods were unexpectedly unchanged in April and shipments slipped, suggesting cooling manufacturing activity that could further temper expectations of a sharp rebound in economic growth in the second quarter.

The Commerce Department said on Friday that non-defense capital goods orders excluding aircraft, a closely watched proxy for business spending plans, were unchanged for the second straight month. These so-called core capital goods orders were previously reported to have increased 0.5 percent in March.

Shipments of core capital goods dipped 0.1 percent after rising 0.2 percent in March. Core capital goods shipments are used to calculate equipment spending in the government’s gross domestic product measurement.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast core capital goods orders rising 0.5 percent last month.

A recovering energy sector has been boosting demand for equipment such as machinery, helping to lift manufacturing. Data this month showed manufacturing output recording its

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