Orders for nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft, known as “core capital goods” fell 0.6% in November, the second drop in the past three months. Shipments of core goods fell 0.1%. Orders excluding defense fell 0.1% in November.
What happened: Transportation orders, mainly aircraft, led the gain in November orders. Stripping out planes and cars, orders fell 0.3%. Transportation often exaggerates the ups and downs in orders because of lumpy demand from one month to the next.
Bookings for commercial jets rose 6.7% in November and they jumped 31.5% for fighter jets and other military aircraft. Orders for cars slipped 0.2%.
Aside from aircraft, orders also increased for primary metals. Orders fell for machinery and electrical equipment. Orders for computers were flat in the month.
Big picture: The underlying trend in core orders has cooled recently and suggests that business equipment investment will not be a boost for fourth-quarter gross domestic product.
Market reaction: Stocks were set to open lower as shutdown concerns were added to worries about Federal Reserve monetary policy. The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -1.99% tumbled 464 points on Thursday.