Durable goods orders surged 4% in March, which was a pleasant surprise; but it turns out that virtually all of the durable goods’ surge was due to higher orders for commercial airplanes (up 30.6%); military hardware (up 17%); and vehicles (up 5.4%). “Core” durable goods orders, excluding commercial planes and military hardware, declined 0.5% in March. Core capital goods declined 0.4%, while the shipments of core capital goods also declined 0.4% in March.
Furthermore, business investment declined 0.5% in March for the seventh straight month. Due to these details in the durable goods report, economists continue to revise their first-quarter GDP forecast lower.