Orders for durable goods unexpectedly dropped in February, a sign the slowdown in global growth may be weighing on American manufacturers.
Bookings for goods meant to last at least three years declined 1.4 percent after a 2 percent gain in January that was smaller than previously estimated, data from the Commerce Department showed Wednesday in Washington. The median forecast of 81 economists surveyed by Bloomberg estimated durable goods orders would rise 0.2 percent.
Demand for American-made products may be softening as economies abroad struggle to accelerate and a stronger dollar makes it more attractive for foreign customers to buy from elsewhere. Increased business spending will be needed to provide a boost to the economy following what some economists are projecting as lackluster growth in the first quarter.
“Businesses have been extremely cautious,”said Stephen Stanley, chief economist at Amherst Pierpont Securities LLC in Stamford, Connecticut, whose forecast for a 1.5 percent decrease in durable goods orders was among the closest. “The economy hasn’t been especially strong. In particular, people have had their doubts about the sustainability of growth.”
Stock-index futures were little changed after the report amid news on corporate mergers and the economic data. The contract on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index maturing in June rose 0.1 percent at 8:47 a.m. in New York.