U.S. factory orders fall for fourth month in past five U.S. factory orders fall for fourth month in past five
This post was originally published on this siteGetty Images Factories orders fell in February for the fourth time in five months. The numbers: Factory... U.S. factory orders fall for fourth month in past five
This post was originally published on this site
Getty Images

Factories orders fell in February for the fourth time in five months.

The numbers: Factory orders in the U.S. fell in February for the fourth time in five months, reflecting a slowdown in the economy that began late in 2018 and carried on through the early part of the new year

Orders dropped 0.5% in the month, the government said Monday. Economists polled by MarketWatch had forecast a 0.4% decline.

There are some signs that business might be re-accelerating as spring gets underway, but more evidence is needed.

Read: Hiring speeds up as U.S. economy adds 196,000 jobs in March

What happened: Orders for durable goods — products meant to last at least three years — fell by an unrevised 1.6% in February. These products include autos, airplanes, appliances, computers and the like.

Orders for nondurable goods such as clothes, paper and processed foods rose 0.6%. They account for about half of all factory orders.

A closely followed gauge of business investment — known as core orders for durable goods — fell slightly. They’ve fallen three of the past four months.

Big picture: Manufacturers are still expanding, but they’ve turned more cautious since last summer. U.S. trade tensions with China, a weaker global economy and stronger dollar have combined to dampen demand and force businesses to reevaluate their plans.

The manufacturing segment is still influential enough to act as a drag on growth, but the service side of the economy is much larger and it’s expanding a bit faster. The U.S. is still on track to set a record for largest expansion ever by early summer.

Read: Goldilocks economy? No. But steady job gains, low inflation to keep recession at bay

Market reaction: The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.39% and S&P 500 SPX, -0.15% fell in Monday trades, jeopardizing a five-day winning streak.

The 10-year Treasury yield TMUBMUSD10Y, -0.18% rose a tick to 2.5%. Yet yields are still much lower compared to late last year, when they hit a seven-year high of 3.23%.

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