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--Factory Inventories Up 0.7%; Business Inventories Tracking Flat
By Sara Haire and Holly Stokes
     WASHINGTON (MNI) - The value of new factory orders rose by 
1.4% in September, rising slightly higher than the expected 1.2% rise by 
analysts from an MNI survey. Nondurable goods orders rose 0.8%, but 
durable goods orders were revised down to a 2.0% increase from a 2.2% 
increase, data released by the Commerce Department Friday morning 
     Petroleum and coal products shipments rose by 5.0% in September, 
leading the increase in nondurables orders. Nondurables shipments are 
equivalent to orders in this report. 
     Total factory orders excluding transportation rose 0.7% in 
September, while durable goods orders excluding transportation were up 
0.7%, unrevised from the 0.7% increase in the advance estimate. 
     Transportation orders for September rose 4.7% based on Friday's 
data, down slightly from the 5.1% gain in the advance estimate from the 
durables report released October 25. Nondefense aircraft orders rose by 
30.8% in September and defense aircraft orders were up 2.5%. Motor 
vehicles orders rose 0.1% in September, while orders for ships and boats 
rose by 33.2%. 
     Nondefense capital goods new orders saw a 6.4% increase, but 
were up only 1.7% when a 62.3% increase in the civilian aircraft 
capital goods category is excluded. 
     Overall factory shipments were up 0.8% in the month due to a 0.9% 
rise in durable goods shipments and a 0.8% increase in nondurables 
shipments. Shipments for nondefense capital goods rose 2.5% and 
were up 0.9% excluding aircraft component. 
     Factory inventories were up 0.7% in the month, compared with 
the 0.8% increase in shipments, making the inventory-to-shipments 
ratio stay at 1.38. 
     The Commerce Department's advance report on inventories showed a 
0.3% increase for wholesale inventories and a 1.0% decline for retail 
inventories. While these data are eligible for revision, the levels as 
they stand now, combined with Friday's factory inventory data, would 
result in a flat reading in September for business inventories when that 
report is released on November 15, an MNI calculation showed. The 
revised wholesale data for September will be released on November 9 and 
could alter this projection. 
     ** MNI Washington Bureau: 202-371-2121 **