) -- Durable goods orders ticked up in December, though at a far weaker pace than many had anticipated.

The Commerce Department said orders increased by 0.3%, as manufacturers closed out a downbeat year that saw orders tumble a record 20.2% in 2009. Still, analysts were expecting a much more robust 2% rise during the month.

The department also revised November orders to show a 0.4% decline after originally reporting a 0.7% slide.

But after excluding the wild swings associated with the transportation sector, which fell 2%, orders for durable goods showed a 0.9% upswing in December after gaining 2.1% in November. The December sum surpassed forecasts calling for a 0.5% jump.


Dow Jones Industrial Average

opened higher Thursday, adding 0.1% to 10,250. On Wednesday,


(BA) - Get Report

hinted the

worst of the recession may be behind them after the company reported earnings well beyond expectations.

--Written by Sung Moss in New York