New orders for long-lasting, big-ticket manufactured items such as cars and household white goods fell sharply in July the US Census Bureau announced on Friday.
The drop had been largely expected after the previous month's figures were distorted by some extraordinary activity from aircraft manufacturer Boeing, which won close to 200 orders at the Paris Air Show in June.
New orders for manufactured durable goods in July fell by 6.8%, or $16.7bn, to $229.2bn, the third decrease in four months.
This followed a 6.4% increase in June, bloated by that stellar performance from the transportation sector. Excluding transportation, new orders increased 0.5%.
Analysts had expected a 6% drop, given the Boeing orders were unlikely to be repeated. The transportation equipment sector fell 19%, or $17.4bn to $74.3bn.
Ignoring much of the volatile components of the data set, orders were supported by a 0.4% increase in the core capital expenditure segment, the third increase in the past four months.
Recent data suggests the trend in capex has been stronger than implied by the lower trend in oil prices, said Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics.
"This might be because orders for non-oil capital equipment are rising," he said.
Indeed, the three-month annualised rate of core capex orders rose at 4.6% in the May-July period and points to "a decent increase in the third quarter of investment in equipment", said Shepherdson.
Equity trading on Wall Street opened with gains on the main NYSE indexes. The Dow gained 0.3% in opening exchanges, while the S&P 500 climbed 0.2%.
The dollar was broadly lower, although the dollar index was little changed at 93.25. The greenback was down 0.1% at $1.1813 versus the euro and down 0.3% at $1.2835 against the pound.