Orders for durable goods climbed more than forecast in November, showing broad-based gains that signal U.S. business investment is recovering after a third-quarter lull. Bookings for goods meant to last at least three years rose 3.5 percent after a 0.7 percent drop the prior month, the Commerce Department reported today. The median estimate of 75 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a 2 percent advance. Excluding demand for transportation equipment, which is often volatile, orders also beat projections. Growing demand for automobiles and homes is benefiting manufacturers such as 3M Co. (MMM), resulting in gains in production that will help the expansion accelerate. Investment in new equipment may also increase as consumer spending climbs and the prospect of smaller federal budget cuts next year make the management teams of such companies more confident. The report could be bullish for manufacturing stocks.
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