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Orders for big-ticket items rose sharply during May

June 24, 2009

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Orders to U.S. factories for big-ticket manufactured goods rose sharply for a second straight month in May, and a key indicator of business investment surged by the largest amount in nearly five years.

The Commerce Department says demand for durable goods rose 1.8 percent last month, far better than the 0.6 percent decline that economists expected. It followed a similar 1.8 percent rise in April, with both months posting the best performance since December 2007, the month the recession began.

Orders for non-defense capital goods, a key proxy for business investment plans, jumped 4.8 percent, the biggest increase since September 2004. Demand for commercial aircraft, machinery and computers all rose sharply.

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