U.S. factory orders increased in December even though companies trimmed their orders for goods that signal investment plans.
The Commerce Department said factory orders rose 1.8 percent in December compared to November, when orders had fallen 0.3 percent.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast a rise of 2.2 percent in factory orders for December.
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Demand for core capital goods, a category considered a proxy for business investment plans, dipped 0.3 percent in December following strong gains of 3.3 percent in November and 3 percent in October.
Orders for durable goods, items expected to last at least three years, rose 4.3 percent, slightly below the 4.6 percent estimated in a preliminary report. The increase reflected strong gains for military and civilian aircraft. Orders for non-durable goods such as petroleum products, chemicals and paper, declined 0.3 in December after a 1 percent drop in November.