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Durable Goods Dip

NEW orders for durable goods plunged a surprising 1.6 percent in June to a seasonally adjusted $116.5 billion, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday.The poor showing in June by durable goods - expensive items from boxcars to battleships designed to last three years or more - seemed sure to take the edge off the rosy economic forecasts of private analysts, who have united in saying recently that the economy bottomed out in April or early May and has been steadily climbing out of recession ever since. Economists had predicted before the release of the Commerce Department report that orders would rise by at least 1.0 percent, largely in the non-auto transportation sector. Transportation orders did in fact post a 3.7 percent rise in June to $29.85 billion, as an increase in aircraft orders more than offset a decline in orders for ships and military tanks. It was the second consecutive monthly increase for that volatile sector after four months of declines, a Commerce Department spokesman said.

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