2012 Economic Calendar
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Durable Goods Orders  
Released On 4/25/2012 8:30:00 AM For Mar, 2012
PriorPrior RevisedConsensusConsensus RangeActual
New Orders - M/M change2.2 %1.9 %-1.5 %-3.5 % to 0.6 %-4.2 %
New Orders - Yr/Yr Change12.2 %
Ex-transportation - M/M1.6 %1.9 %0.4 %0.0 % to 2.4 %-1.1 %
Ex-transportation - Yr/Yr8.5 %

Durables orders came in unexpectedly soft in March. Transportation was expected to pull down overall orders but core orders also were negative. The positive was in shipments. Durables orders declined 4.2 percent in March after a 1.9 percent rebound the previous month (prior revised estimate, up 2.4 percent). Analysts expected a 1.5 percent decline for March.

Excluding transportation, durables posted a 1.1 percent decrease after a revised 1.9 percent increase in February (prior revised estimate, up 1.8 percent). The March decline came in much lower than analysts' estimate for a 0.4 percent rise.

The transportation component plunged a monthly 12.5 percent in March after rising 1.8 percent the month before. Subcomponent weakness was led by a 47.6 percent plunge in new orders for nondefense aircraft (Boeing orders). Defense aircraft increased 15.5 percent while motor vehicles edged up 0.1 percent.

Outside of transportation, declines were broad based. Decreases were seen in primary metals, fabricated metals, machinery, and computers & electronics. On the upside were electrical equipment and "other."

Businesses are starting to think in terms of caution about future investment in equipment. But current investment is strong. New orders for nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft slipped 0.8 percent in March after a 2.8 percent boost the month before. Shipments for this series jumped 2.6 percent, following a 1.4 percent gain in February. This should add to the business equipment component in first quarter GDP.

Forward momentum in manufacturing appears to have eased but current activity is moderately strong-suggesting a decent GDP number for the first quarter. Durables shipments rose 1.0 percent in March after slipping 0.3 percent the prior month.

Manufacturing appears to be in a soft patch but durables orders are notoriously volatile. Today's earnings numbers from Boeing points to caution about interpreting the latest weakness in durables. Boeing's earnings rose 58 percent to $923 million, or $1.22 a share, according to Boeing's earnings statement. Earnings were up on improved deliveries and backlogs.

On the durables release, equity futures edged down while Treasury yields moved down only marginally. Markets are focusing on the huge upside surprise by Apple and are waiting on today's Fed policy decision.

Recent History Of This Indicator
Durable goods orders in February rebounded a revised 2.4 percent (originally 2.2 percent), following a revised 3.5 percent drop in January and 3.3 percent jump in December. Excluding transportation, durables made a 1.8 percent comeback (originally 1.6 percent) after a revised 2.8 percent decline in January, and a 2.3 percent advance in December. The very volatile transportation component rebounded 3.9 percent in February after dropping 5.2 percent the month before. Subcomponent strength was led by defense aircraft with increases also seen in nondefense aircraft and motor vehicles. Outside of transportation, gains were widespread.

Durable goods orders reflect the new orders placed with domestic manufacturers for immediate and future delivery of factory hard goods. The first release, the advance, provides an early estimate of durable goods orders. About two weeks later, more complete and revised data are available in the factory orders report. The data for the previous month are usually revised a second time upon the release of the new month's data.

Durable goods orders are available nationally by both industry and market categories. A new order is accompanied by a legally binding agreement to purchase for immediate or future delivery. Advance durable goods orders no longer include data on semiconductors since semiconductor manufacturers stopped releasing this information to the Census Bureau.

The advance durable goods report also contains information on shipments, unfilled orders and inventories. Shipments represent deliveries made, valued at net selling price after discounts and allowances, excluding freight charges and excise taxes. Unfilled orders are those received but not yet delivered.

In 2001, the Census Bureau shifted from the standard industrial classification (SIC) system to the North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS). This caused some realignment of major industry classifications. Given the significant revisions incurred, the historical data now begin in 1992.
 Why Investors Care
Monthly fluctuations in durable goods orders are frequent and large and skew the underlying trend in the data. In fact, even the yearly change must be viewed carefully because of the volatility in this series.
Data Source: Haver Analytics

2012 Release Schedule
Released On: 1/262/283/284/255/246/277/268/249/2710/2511/2712/21
Release For: DecJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNov

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