WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Commerce Department reports on orders placed with U.S. factories in October for long-lasting goods. The report will be released at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Wednesday.
HEADLINE DOWN, CORE HIGHER: Falling demand for commercial aircraft likely pushed down overall orders last month. Economists expect that durable goods orders dropped 2 percent, according to FactSet. That would be a reversal from last month's 3.8 percent rise.
Durable goods are items meant to last at least three years. Orders can fluctuate sharply from month to month.
Economists tend to pay more attention to core capital goods, which exclude the more volatile orders for transportation and defense goods. Growth in those orders, which include machinery and computers, often indicate businesses confidence in the economy. Many economists expect those orders rose in October after falling in two of the previous three months.
SHUTDOWN IMPACT: Many companies may have held off placing orders for core goods in September, awaiting the outcome of a budget impasse that ultimately shut down most of the federal government for 16 days in October.
Core goods orders dropped 1.3 percent in September. And demand for machinery plummeted 23.6 percent, led by big declines in construction machinery, electric turbines and generators.
The steep drop has led many economists to predict that orders of core goods may have bounced back in October. But aircraft orders likely fell, dragging down the overall figure. Boeing says it received orders for 79 planes last month, down from 127 in September.
An increase in core orders would add to other signs that manufacturing has picked up after a rough patch this spring. Strong auto sales and a healthier housing market have pushed up demand for steel and other metals, auto parts, furniture and appliances.
The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group, said factory activity accelerated for the fifth straight month in October to the fastest pace in 2 ½ years. A measure of new orders ticked up and production remained strong, though it slowed from the previous month.
And factory output rose for the third straight month in October, according to the Federal Reserve, driven higher by greater production of primary metals and furniture.
Overseas demand for many goods has also risen as Europe has climbed out of recession, Japan is growing faster and China's economy has slowed but is still growing at a healthy pace.