WASHINGTON (

TheStreet

) -- A leading indicator for the manufacturing segment softened a bit in October, as the number of new orders for durable goods unexpectedly fell.

The Commerce Department said orders fell by 0.6% in the month, after rising by an upwardly revised 2% in September. This marks the first drop since August. Excluding transportation, orders slid 1.3% in the month.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had expected orders to rise 0.5% in the month, while orders excluding transportation were forecast to rise by 0.6%.

Orders fell across a swath of segments, in part led by a steep 8% dip in machinery orders. A slump in defense demand also dragged on the total, though total orders would have rose by 0.4% after excluding that slice.

Several manufacturing conglomerates on the

Dow

were mixed just after the opening bell, as shares of

Boeing

(BA) - Get Report

and

Caterpillar

(CAT) - Get Report

were down 0.2% and 0.5%, respectively.

General Electric

(GE) - Get Report

was adding 0.3%.

-- Written by Sung Moss in New York