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10/28/2003
03:47 PM
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Durable-Goods Report Offers Mixed View Of IT

The Commerce Department says new orders for computers fell slightly in September, but shipments rose.

A Commerce Department report Tuesday on durable-goods orders failed to provide a clear picture of the direction the IT sector is moving. New orders for computers and related products fell by 0.4% in September after a small gain of 1.0% in August. However, shipments--a good gauge of current demand--increased 1% last month following a 7.6% decline in August. For the past 12 months, new orders are up 12.2% and shipments are up 10.7%.

As a comparison, overall durable-goods orders gained 0.8% in September and are up 0.5% for the past year. Shipments of all durable goods rose 2.5% last month but fell 0.7% from a year earlier.

Unfilled orders for computers rose 2.4% in September following a 3.8% drop in August; inventories inched ahead by 0.4% last month after gaining 2.3% in August. For the year, unfilled orders gained 26.6% and inventories fell 4.2%, both encouraging signs.

For all durable goods, unfilled orders eked out a 0.1% gain as inventories dropped by 0.7%. Year to year, unfilled orders for all durable goods fell 0.8% as inventories declined by 3.8%.

The government will release revised and more detailed estimates on durable goods Nov. 5.

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