Factory Orders Fall in February, Surprising Economists

Factory orders declined by 0.1% in February, surprising economists, who were looking for a 0.5% increase. Shipments of manufactured goods rose by 0.3%, the Commerce Department reported. Most of the decline was fueled by government spending cuts for military equipment, but businesses also cutback purchases of tech hardware, according to the report. Business capital spending fell for the second month in a row, but overall orders are up 26.4% from their low in March 2009, according to the AP. The major indexes reflected little reaction to the news. The Dow Jones Industrial Average leads, up 0.15%. The Nasdaq composite index and the S&P 500 are both fractionally negative.