US durable goods edge higher, boosted by car demand

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - Orders for long-lasting US manufactured goods edged higher last month and gave a signal that the factory sector gained a step midway through the third quarter.

Durable goods orders rose 0.1 per cent during the month, the Commerce Department said on Wednesday. The report showed that shipments of non-military capital goods other than aircraft grew 1.3 per cent during the month, snapping two straight months of declines.

The reading for these so-called core shipments feeds directly into the government's estimates for total economic growth, and the increase supports the view that government austerity is taking only a modest bite from national output.

New orders for core durable goods, which are viewed as a gauge of business spending plans, rose 1.5 per cent in August. That was below economists' expectations and not enough to make up for the 3.3 per cent decline registered in July.

Demand for new cars drove the overall gain in new orders of durable goods, which include everything from toasters to tanks.