Durable Goods: Weak, But With Signs of Improvement

Includes: DIA, IVV, SPY
by: William Trent, CFA
May durable goods orders fall, stir growth fears:

New orders for long-lasting U.S.-made manufactured goods tumbled a larger-than-expected 2.8 percent in May, raising doubts about the strength of the factory sector and business expansion plans.

It was the first drop in durable goods orders since January and followed a 1.1 percent rise in April, the Commerce Department said on Wednesday. Analysts were expecting orders to slip by only 1 percent.

Scary headlines aside, the report was indeed weak. Shipments and new orders for all durable goods barely showed positive growth over the last 12 months.

durable goods

Still, in three of the last six months the shipments and order growth was negative. So, while this is a somewhat subjective classification, I included the durables report in the “bad but improving” column for my updated economic data table.

Economic Data
Bad and Deteriorating
Existing Homes (May)
Store sales (June 23)
New Home Sales (May)
ATA Truck Tonnage (May)

Bad but Improving
Chicago Fed NAI (May)
Durable Goods (May)

Good but Deteriorating
Consumer Confidence (June)

Good and Improving

One area that seems to be gathering steam is computers. Shipments and orders both appear to be recovering.


Other than that, many of the other industries were exhibiting patterns similar to that of overall durable goods - weak, with growth down significantly over the last 6-12 months, but with signs of a possible improvement in the last couple of months.