WASHINGTON — U.S. durable goods orders jumped 5.2% in December, well above expectations, on sharp gains in aircraft orders and other components, the Commerce Department reported yesterday.

Defense aircraft orders jumped 138.1% in the month, while defense capital goods as a whole rose 80.6%. Nondefense aircraft and parts orders rose 11.7%.

While aircraft orders accounted for most of the gain, there were mixed results from the other components, with some strong gains but declines in motor vehicles and parts, primary metals, and electrical equipment.

Shipments fell 0.1%, while nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft shipments rose 2.0%, the strongest gain since March 2006. Inventories rose 1.1% and unfilled orders increased 2.5%.

For 2007 as a whole, new orders rose 1.0%, a much slower pace than the 6.3% 2006 rise. Shipments rose 0.4% in 2007, down from 4.9% in 2006.

— Market News International

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