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The Commerce Department reported within the past hour that orders for durable goods had risen by a token 0.1% in August, which was marginally better than the 0.5% decline for the month that had been the consensus forecast. However, the latest report was notably improved from the downwardly revised 8.1% plunge recorded in July. Initially, the July estimate had been a 7.4% decline.

Durable goods are long-lasting manufactured goods, such as cars, computers, appliances, and aircraft. Of note, such goods are contained in this category if they last three years, or more. Durable goods orders have now risen in four of the past five months.

The report showed that shipments of non-military capital goods other than aircraft increased by 1.3% last month, breaking a string of two consecutive months in which shipments had fallen.

Meanwhile, the nominal aggregate increase in durable goods orders was driven by transportation equipment, which also has been up for four of the past five months, as this metric gained a modest 0.7% in August.

Of note, one of the more closely watched components of the report, nondefense orders for capital goods, a key gauge of investment spending, decreased by 0.2% last month, a nominal setback, but a dramatically better showing than had been inked in July, when such orders had fallen at a double-digit annual rate reflecting a drop in aircraft orders. 

All told, this was a decent report, especially given the steep decline in July, but one that is typical of the overall business upturn, which remains somewhat muted, albeit durable.  

At the time of this article's writing, the author did not have positions in any of the companies mentioned.