Yahoo! News – Durables Orders Post Surprise Drop in May: “The Commerce Department said orders for durable goods — those meant to last at least three years — fell 1.6 percent in May after a revised 2.6 percent decline in April. Excluding transportation-related orders, however, orders were off a smaller 0.7 percent, Commerce said.

The slide took Wall Street by surprise. Analysts had been looking for a 1.4 percent gain in May.

Separately, the Labor Department said first-time claims for unemployment insurance rose 13,000 to 349,000 in the June 19 week. The pickup was partially attributed to the delayed filing of applications due to the closure of government offices to honor the death of former President Ronald Reagan.

The declines in May and April durables orders were the first back-to-back monthly drops in durables orders since November and December 2002, according to Commerce, and may raise doubts about the U.S. factory sector’s recent revival. Many analysts, however, see the durables report as very volatile and subject to large revisions. “

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