Factory orders rebound in April

Orders rise 0.7%, but miss expectations, as March's figure is revised sharply down.

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- New orders received by U.S. factories rebounded in April, government data showed on Wednesday, but the previous month's figure was sharply revised downwards to show a steeper drop.

The Commerce Department said factory orders rose 0.7% in April after a revised 1.9% drop in March, previously reported as a 0.9% fall. It was the second increase in the last three months.

Economists polled by Reuters had expected factory orders to rise 0.9% in April from the prior month.

"It kind of fits with all the other news we're getting. Things are less bad but they're not yet growing. It's encouraging to see this stabilization process start to take hold, but at the same time the weakness does persist," said Jonathan Basile, an economist at Credit Suisse in New York.

Excluding transportation items, factory orders inched up 0.1% in April from March's 2.1% plunge. This was the second increase in the last nine months, the department said.

Orders for costly durable goods - items like cars and refrigerators intended to last three years or more - were slightly revised downwards to show an increase of 1.7% in April instead of the 1.9% rise previously reported. That followed a 2.2% decline in March.

Despite the revisions, the percentage increase in orders for durable goods in April remained the largest since December 2007, and supported perceptions the deep recession was losing some force.

Orders for non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft, considered a measure of business confidence, fell 2.4% in April.

Inventories at factories fell 1.0% in April, dropping for the eighth consecutive month, after slipping 1.2% in March. The Commerce Department said this was the longest streak of straight monthly declines since March 2003 to January 2004. To top of page

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