US business spending rises for 3rd month, boosting factories

National
Durable Goods Photo by Rogelio V. Solis, AP Photo_270969

In this April 6, 2016, photograph, a technician applies the logo stencil to the side of a Titan truck on the assembly line at the Nissan Canton Vehicle Assembly Plant in Canton, Miss. On Wednesday, July 27, 2016, the Commerce Department releases its June report on durable goods. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. businesses ramped up their investment in industrial machinery, semiconductors and other big-ticket items last month, boosting demand for factory goods.

The Commerce Department says a measure that tracks business spending plans climbed 0.8 percent in December, after jumping 1.5 percent the previous month.

Orders for all durable goods slipped 0.4 percent, mostly because of a sharp fall in demand for defense aircraft, a volatile category. Excluding transportation-related goods, orders rose 0.5 percent, the sixth straight increase.

The report adds to recent evidence that manufacturers are climbing out of a roughly two-year rut. A strong U.S. dollar and falling oil and gas prices had sliced demand for factory products, as drillers ordered less steel pipe and other equipment. Yet demand has risen since oil prices have stabilized.



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