A Very Pleasant Surprise from Durable Goods

Durable goods figures are one of the most volatile economic releases issued each month. The Commerce Department report for May shows a very positive surprise of 3.6% to a seasonally adjusted $231 billion. Bloomberg was calling for 3.3% and Dow Jones was calling for 3.2%. Even April was revised higher to 3.6% from 3.3%. On an ex-transportation basis, the May reading came in up by 0.7% and that was better than the -0.1% expected by Bloomberg.

While this is one of the most volatile readings, it is a pleasant surprise considering that May was the month that many of the regional reports started turning against the bulls. Aircraft contributed to the gains. Excluding defense, orders were up 3.5% in May, versus a gain of 2.5% in April.

Shipments of manufactured durable goods in May makes for gains in three of the past four months. This rose by $2.8 billion, or 1.2%, to $229.7 billion. Unfilled orders for manufactured durable goods are also up three of the past four months in May, and rose by $8.1 billion, or 0.8%, to $1.0047 trillion.

But note that this is a May number and we are now effectively at the end of June. That being said, investors are looking for a reason to buy the weakness as J.P. Morgan’s chief equity strategist said to buy the stocks on weakness. We have the S&P 500 futures up more than 10 points and the DJIA futures up about 80 points.

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