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U.S. durable-goods orders rise 2.2% in February

U.S. durable-goods orders rise 2.2% in February (by Jeffry Bartash)

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) - Orders for long-lasting U.S. goods climbed 2.2% in February amid strong demand for a broad variety of commercial and military-related products, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday. It was the fourth increase in five months. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had expected orders to rise by 2.9%. Bookings jumped 5.7% for heavy machinery, 6% for commercial aircraft, 2.7% for computers, 1.6% for autos and 1.3% for primary metals. Defense orders were also strong. The only category to report a decline was electrical equipment and appliances. Excluding the volatile transportation sector, orders rose 1.6%. Orders minus defense increased 1.7%. Orders for core capital goods, which exclude defense and transportation, increased 1.2% last month. Shipments of core capital goods, a number used to help calculate quarterly gross domestic product, climbed 1.4% in February. The decline in durable-goods orders in January, meanwhile, was revised down to 3.6% from 3.7%.