Earlier this morning, the Commerce Department announced that orders for durable goods slipped for a second month in a row. Total orders slipped 1.7% during September, following up August's decline of 5.3%. The results were a bit of a surprise, considering a MarketWatch survey showed economists were expecting an increase of 1.1%. Orders for defense goods slipped 39%, which is the largest decline of the year. Excluding defense goods, durable-goods orders increased 0.7%. Orders for core capital equipment goods did rise, adding 0.4% thanks to strong demand for machinery.
Shipment of durable goods followed up August's 1.9% drop with a fall of 2% during September. Inventories gained 0.4% while unfilled orders increased 1.1%. Unfilled orders are considered an early gauge of production, and nearly all of the gains came in civilian exports. For the first 9 months of the year, orders have increased 0.4% compared to the same period a year ago. Shipments are up just 0.1%.