WRAPUP 2-US durable goods orders ex-transport,home sales jump

* Orders ex-transportation rise biggest since Dec 2007

* Durable orders drop on civilian aircraft orders slump

* New home sales hit eight-month high, supply falls

(Adds new home sales, updates markets)

WASHINGTON, April 23 (BestGrowthStock) – New orders for
long-lasting U.S. manufactured goods excluding transportation
last month posted their largest gain in more than two years and
new home sales hit an eight-month high, suggesting the economic
recovery was gathering momentum.

Overall orders, however, were unexpectedly pulled down by a
plunge in the volatile category of civilian aircraft and parts,
Commerce Department data showed on Friday.

New durable goods orders excluding transportation jumped
2.8 percent last month, the largest rise since December 2007,
after increasing 1.7 percent in February.

Analysts polled by Reuters had expected new orders
excluding transportation to rise 0.7 percent.

Separately, the department said new home sales for March
surged 26.9 percent, the largest advance since April 1963, to a
411,000 unit annual rate to break a four-month slide.

Analysts polled by Reuters had expected sales to increase
to a 330,000-unit rate.

“These are some large numbers. I think the market can go
into the weekend comfortable that the U.S. recovery is still
going full swing,” said Michael Woolfolk, senior currency
strategist at BNY Mellon in New York.

U.S. stocks (Read more about the stock market today. ) extended gains after the home sales data, while
Treasury debt prices fell to session lows. The U.S. dollar rose
against the euro and the yen.

The surge in sales of newly built single-family homes last
month likely reflected a rush by consumers to take advantage of
a homebuyer tax credit. It offered hope the housing recovery,
which had stalled in recent months, was back on track.

“We are at a point in housing where we are in a recovery
mode, but there are still concerns about the speed and
sustainability of it. We will probably not see real strength
until 2012,” said Kim Whelan, economic analyst at Wells Fargo
Securities in Charlotte, North Carolina.
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
For graphics on U.S. durable goods orders, see
http://link.reuters.com/buk29j and
http://link.reuters.com/wek29j. For a graphic on home sales,
see http://link.reuters.com/cym29j
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

OVERALL DURABLE ORDERS DROP

Overall durable goods orders fell 1.3 percent last month,
the biggest drop since August, following an upwardly revised
1.1 percent gain in February. Analysts polled by Reuters had
forecast orders rising 0.3 percent last month after February’s
previously reported 0.9 percent increase.

The drop in overall orders reflected a 67.1 percent tumble
in non-defense aircraft and parts orders after they rose 32.7
percent the previous month. U.S. plane maker Boeing Co (BA.N: )
received 43 orders for aircraft last month, slightly below 47
in February, according to information posted on its website.

Details of the March report were upbeat. Motor vehicle and
parts orders rose 2.5 percent after a 1.0 percent fall the
prior month. Defense aircraft orders rose 2 percent last month
following a 20.6 percent drop in February.

Durable goods orders are a leading indicator of
manufacturing activity, which in turn provides a good measure
for overall business health. Orders for long-lasting goods have
been rising as businesses replenish inventories, keeping the
country’s manufacturers busy.

Manufacturing is leading the economy out of the depths of
the worst downturn since the Great Depression and the recovery
is starting to spill over to other segments.

Non-defense capital goods orders excluding aircraft, a
closely watched proxy for business spending, surged 4 percent
in March, building on the prior month’s 2.1 percent increase,
the Commerce Department said.

The increase was well above market expectations for a 1.4
percent rise.

“The capex recovery is running at full speed. Firms are
becoming increasingly confident in investing in capital goods.
The fact is companies seem confident that growth in final
demand will be sustained,” said Zach Pandl, U.S. economist at
Nomura Securities International in New York.

Goods ranging from machinery, computers and communications
equipment also saw hefty increases in orders last month.

Durable goods inventories rose for third straight month,
while shipments — which go into the calculation of gross
domestic product — increased after two months of declines.
Unfilled orders fell after two straight months of gains.

Stock Market Report

(Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

WRAPUP 2-US durable goods orders ex-transport,home sales jump