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.

Consensus Outlook
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 are new orders placed with domestic manufacturers for factory hard goods. The report also contains information on shipments, unfilled orders and inventories. The advance release provides early estimates and is revised about a week later by the factory orders report.  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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