New orders for long-lasting U.S. manufactured goods fell in June and a gauge of business spending plans slipped, supporting views that the economy will not emerge quickly from its current soft patch.
The Commerce Department said on Wednesday durable goods orders dropped 2.1 percent, weighed down by weak receipts for transportation equipment, after a 1.9 percent increase in May.
Excluding transportation, orders edged up 0.1 percent after gaining 0.7 percent in May.
Durable goods are items ranging from toasters to aircraft that are meant to last three years or more.
Economists had expected overall orders to rise 0.3 percent.
"It is indicative of the lingering effects of this soft patch that we've had here recently where businesses remain very cautious with regard to building any kind of stocks in anticipation of increasing final sales," said Mark Luschini, chief investment strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott in Philadelphia.
Treasuries prices pared earlier losses on the data, while the dollar extended losses against the yen.
Durable goods orders are a leading indicator of manufacturing. Though orders tend to be volatile, last month's unexpected decline could add to fears of a slowdown in factory activity.
Manufacturing has been the bright spot in the economy, whose recovery has faltered since the start of the year.
Data on Friday is expected to show the economy grow at a 1.8 percent annual rate in the second quarter, according to a Reuters survey, after expanding 1.9 percent in the January-March period.
Orders last month were pulled down by an 8.5 percent drop in orders for transportation equipment. That reflected a 28.9 percent plunge in aircraft orders.
Boeing received 48 aircraft orders, up from 27 in May, according to information posted on the plane maker's website. However, the bulk of the orders were for its less expensive models.
Motor vehicle orders dropped 1.4 percent as manufacturers continue to deal with disruptions to production following the earthquake in Japan. Motor vehicle orders rose 0.3 percent in May.
Outside of transportation, orders for machinery fell 2.3 percent, while primary metals rose 1.0 percent. Capital goods orders fell 4.1 percent, while computers and electronic products edged up.
Non-defense capital goods orders excluding aircraft, a closely watched proxy for business spending, slipped 0.4 percent last month after a revised 1.7 percent rise in May.
Economists had expected a 0.8 percent gain from a previously reported 1.6 percent increase.
Shipments of non-defense capital goods orders excluding aircraft, which go into the calculation of gross domestic product, rose 1.0 percent after increasing 1.7 percent in May.
A separate report showed demand for loans to purchase houses fell for a third straight week to the lowest since late February, suggesting home sales will remain weak.
The Mortgage Bankers Association said its mortgage purchase index fell 3.8 percent last week.
(Reporting by Lucia Mutikani, Editing by Andrea Ricci)