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Aircraft lift US factory orders in September

 A plane takes off from San Francisco International Airport on August 24, 2012
A plane takes off from San Francisco International Airport on August 24, 2012

US factory orders rose 1.7 percent in September led by aircraft orders, ending two months of declines, the Commerce Department said Monday.

The increase was totally due to transportation equipment, which rose 12.9 percent. Commercial aircraft orders soared 57.7 percent and orders for ships and boats rose 29 percent.

Orders for motor vehicles and equipment fell 0.7 percent.

Excluding transportation, factory orders last month fell 0.2 percent from August.

It was the first gain for factory orders in three months.

Reporting data that had been delayed by the October 1-16 government shutdown, the department said factory orders dipped 0.1 percent in August, and July's decline was revised up to 2.8 percent, from the prior estimate of 2.4 percent.

"September's factory orders report indicates that business investment is still slowing, but manufacturing still has pockets of strength," said Tyler Case of Moody's Analytics.

Case pointed to backlogs of orders in construction machinery; heating, ventilating and air-conditioning (HVAC) equipment; and household appliances, suggesting that manufacturers of homebuilding-related items may need to ramp up to accommodate demand.

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