US factory orders increased in December, even though companies trimmed their orders for goods that signal investment plans. The Commerce Department says factory orders rose 1.8% compared to November, when orders had fallen 0.3%. But demand for core capital goods, a category considered a proxy for business investment plans, dipped 0.3%, following strong gains of 3.3% in November and 3% in October.
Orders for durable goods, items expected to last at least three years, rose 4.3%, slightly below the 4.6% estimated in a preliminary report. The increase reflected strong gains for military and civilian aircraft. Orders for non-durable goods such as petroleum products, chemicals, and paper, declined 0.3% in December after a 1% drop in November. (Read more Department of Commerce stories.)