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Orders for U.S. durable goods sink 4.0% in January

Orders for U.S. durable goods sink 4.0% in January (by Jeffry Bartash)

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) - Orders for long-lasting U.S. goods fell a bigger-than-expected 4.0% in January, as demand for a broad array of products declined, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had expected orders to fall 1.3%, largely because of lower aircraft orders and the year-end expiration of a temporary tax credit. Bookings fell 19% for commercial aircraft, 10.4% for heavy machinery, 10.1% for computers and 6.7% for primary metals. Auto orders rose 0.9%, however. Excluding the volatile transportation sector, orders dropped 3.2%. Orders minus defense sank 4.5%. Orders for core capital goods, which exclude defense and transportation, slid 4.5% last month. Shipments of core capital goods, a number used to help calculate quarterly gross domestic product, declined 3.1% in January. The increase in durable-goods orders in December, meanwhile, was revised up to 3.2% from 3.0%.