Orders to U.S. factories for long-lasting manufactured goods rose in October, but a key category that tracks business investment plans declined sharply for a second straight month. The Commerce Department says orders for durable goods increased 0.4% last month following a 0.9% drop in September and an even bigger 18.3% plunge in August. The two months of declines reflected big swings in the volatile category of commercial aircraft. The small October gain was unimpressive, with declines in a number of categories including machinery, computers and primary metals such as steel. A key category viewed as a proxy for business investment spending fell 1.3% in October after a similar 1.3% September drop. It was the biggest setback since a 1.4% May decline.
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