Figures: Orders for long-term or durable goods rose slightly in August, but the increase was largely military-related and probably not continuing. Demand was weak in most important industrial segments.
A key business investment target also fell for the second month in a row, reflecting business concerns over the trade war with China and a declining US economy.
U.S. commodity orders increased by 0.2% last month, the government said Friday. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had forecast a decline of 0.7%.
Still, if the Pentagon order is set aside, bookings dropped 0.6%.
Durable goods are products such as cars, computers or aircraft intended to last for at least three years.
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However, orders fell sharply for commercial aircraft, but demand also declined for new cars and trucks, computers, network equipment, appliances and electrical equipment.
A key target for business investment known as core orders fell 0.2% in August. These orders have fallen somewhat over the past year, a decline that traces back to the beginning of the spit with China. Just two years ago, core orders increased by a 10% annual cut.
The original reported increase in durable goods orders of 2.1% in July, meanwhile, was revised to 2%.
Big picture:  The US trade battle with China has not affected consumers as much, but it is another story for the business. Manufacturers have been hit hardest, especially export-heavy companies whose sales abroad have stagnated.
Many companies have put off investments or slowed their hiring until they have a better sense of whether or when the settlement will be resolved. The dispute has disrupted global supply chains, increased supply costs and limited the US economy's modest growth of a modest 2%.
Market Response: Dow Jones Industrial Average
and S&P 500
was set to open mildly higher in the Friday subjects.
The 10-year return on the Treasury
TMUBMUSD10Y, + 0.57%
rose slightly to 1.72%. However, dividends have fallen from a seven-year high of 3.23% in October last year.