NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- New orders for machines and other long lasting manufactured goods fell in September as orders for transportation equipment took a hit.

New orders for durable goods slipped 0.8%, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The latest reading was about in line with expectations, after orders fell 0.1% in August.

Transportation equipment took a 7.5% plunge but overall order numbers excluding transportation still increased 1.7%. Excluding defense goods, orders dropped 1.1%.

Economists agreed that while the headline number fell, orders excluding transportation held up well in September. Transports can be particularly volatile month to month.

The previous two months saw significant increases in orders on transports in large part to big orders for Boeing ( BA) from AMR ( AMR), the parent of American Airlines.

"Boeing reported a steep drop in September orders, and we have to expect at least some of this to be reflected in the hard data today," according to a report by research firm High Frequency Economics before the release of the durable goods report.

It's "definitely better to have the strong core number and declining headline number than vice versa," wrote David Semmens, economist at Standard Chartered Bank. "This report shows a firmer end to the third quarter. We expect the momentum to be maintained as business investment will continue to be boosted by the imminent expiration of the investment tax at the end of 2011."

Despite the fall in durable goods, stock futures moved higher after the report, suggesting that investors digested the details of the report, not only the headline number. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average are up 68 points, futures for the S&P 500 are up 7 points and futures for the Nasdaq are up 12 points.

-- Written by Chao Deng in New York.

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