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An increase in U.S. orders for business equipment last month and the biggest gain since February in such sales indicate improving demand at the start of the third quarter, Commerce Department data showed Friday.

Highlights of Durable Goods Report (July) Non-military capital goods orders excluding aircraft rose 0.4% (matching est.) after little change in the prior month. Shipments of those goods, which are used to calculate gross domestic product, jumped 1% (est. 0.2% gain) after an upwardly revised 0.6% advance (prev. 0.1% increase). Bookings for all durable goods slumped 6.8% (est. 6% decline), the most since August 2014, following 6.4% increase. Excluding transportation-equipment demand, which is volatile, orders rose 0.5% after climbing 0.1%. Key Takeaways

The pickup in core capital

 

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