Autos and airplanes boosted orders for U.S. durable goods in December, but demand was weak in other key manufacturing segments and business investment tailed off at the end of the year.
Orders for long-lasting goods rose 1.2% in December, according to a government report delayed for more than a month because of the recently ended partial shutdown
Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had forecast a 1.4% increase in orders for durable goods, or products made to last at least three years.
If cars and planes are stripped out of the equation, orders rose a scant 0.1%. Transportation often exaggerates the ups and downs in orders because of lumpy demand from one month to the next.
The originally reported 0.7% increase in durable-goods orders in November was revised up to 1%.
Orders for commercial planes surged 28% in December and bookings for new cars and trucks climbed 2.1%.
Beyond that the industrial sector was weak. Orders fell for machines, primary metals, networking and electrical equipment.
A key measure of business investment, known as core orders, also slipped 0.7% in December.
Investment for the full year rose a healthy 6.1%, however.