First Tumble for U.S. Durable Goods in April

A sour note was struck Friday morning for the U.S. economy, and orders for long-lasting manufactured goods dropped in April for the first time in five months, and a key category that tracks business investment was static for the second straight month.

Figures released Friday morning by the U.S. Commerce Department show durable goods orders fell 0.7% in April after rising 2.3% in March. The downturn was the first since durable goods orders fell 4.6% in November. Orders for transportation equipment fell 1.2%, pulled down by a 9.2% drop in orders for civilian aircraft.

Orders for capital goods, excluding aircraft and military equipment, were flat for the second straight month -- worrisome because that category offers clues about where business investment is headed.

Durable goods, which range from refrigerators to battleships, are items meant to last at least three years.