New orders for U.S.-made durable goods fell unexpectedly in August and orders excluding transportation or defense goods also declined surprisingly, a government report showed on Wednesday.
It was the second monthly decline in a row and the first time since April-May 2004 that orders for these items meant to last three years or longer slipped in consecutive months. July's drop was revised to a steeper 2 .7 percent.
Analysts polled by Reuters were expecting a 0.5 percent gain in durable goods orders for the month.
Excluding transportation, durable goods orders fell 2 percent. Analysts were expecting a 0.5 percent rise in this category.
However, overall transportation orders rose 3.7 percent on a jump in car and parts orders.
When defense orders were stripped out, orders fell 0.8 percent. Analysts were expecting a 0.9 percent rise.
A proxy for business spending also posted a surprising drop, as nondefense capital goods orders excluding aircraft slipped 0.3 percent. Analysts were expecting a 0.5 percent gain in that category.