The weak durables report prompted Wall Street economists to lower their growth forecasts for the current quarter. The CNBC Rapid Update, an average of Wall Street tracking estimates, fell 0.2 percentage points to 1.8 percent, the lowest estimate for the quarter so far.
The quarter began optimistically with a healthy 2.8 percent forecast that has been whittled down by weak retail sales, trade and construction spending data.
Economists say the stronger dollar—which hurts exports—the harsh February weather and cuts in capital spending in the oil sector look to have hurt durable goods orders in February. The fourth quarter continues to track at 2.4 percent.
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