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Factory orders rise but still point to weak investment

A Boeing 787 sits on the assembly line at the company's operations in Everett, Washington, October 18, 2012. REUTERS/Andy Clark
A Boeing 787 sits on the assembly line at the company's operations in Everett, Washington, October 18, 2012. REUTERS/Andy Clark

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Demand for U.S. factory goods rose in September by the most in over a year, although a gauge of business investment plans pointed to lackluster momentum in the economic recovery despite a slight upward revision.

New orders for manufactured goods climbed 4.8 percent, the Commerce Department said on Friday. That was just higher than analysts' expectations and the biggest gain since March 2011.

The increase was driven by a sharp gain in volatile aircraft orders that was telegraphed in last week's report on orders for long-lasting manufactured goods.

Excluding transportation, orders rose 1.4 percent in September.

Manufacturing has been a major support for the recovery since the 2007-09 recession but activity has cooled significantly in recent months.

The government revised previous estimates for orders for non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft -- seen as a measure of business confidence and spending plans -- to show a 0.2 percent increase in September.

That's higher than the flat reading previously reported but still suggests businesses have lost some confidence in the strength of the economic recovery.

Orders for transportation equipment surged 31.3 percent in September.

Orders for non-durable goods rose 1.0 percent in September after a 2.2 percent rise the prior month.

(Reporting by Jason Lange; Editing by Andrea Ricci)

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