Orders for US durable goods fell 0.5 percent in April, reversing March's strong surge mainly on the back of falling aircraft orders, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday.
But with volatile transport orders stripped out, durable goods orders picked up 0.5 percent in April, the second straight gain after the winter's chill on the US economy.
Overall orders for durable goods were estimated at $235.5 billion for the month, down slightly less than $1.2 billion from March.
The underlying details showed promise: orders for machinery and other non-defense-related capital good were strong, rising 1.0 percent in the month, suggesting US and other manufacturers were growing optimistic about growth.
"Two straight months of a pickup in core orders suggests that production will pick up in coming months," said Jennifer Lee of BMO Capital markets.
For the year to date, new orders were down 1.3 percent from 2014, with a key part of the reason slower economic growth abroad that has dampened export orders.
Non-defense aircraft orders during the first four months of the year are down 16.7 percent from a year ago.
By comparison, the largest category in durable goods, autos, mostly sold domestically, were up 8.7 percent in the first four months from a year ago.