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--Ex-Transportation Orders +1.2%; Transportation Orders +7.1%
--Nondefense Cap Goods Ex Aircraft New Orders +1.8%, Shipments +1.4%
By Kevin Kastner, Sara Haire and Holly Stokes
     WASHINGTON (MNI) - The value of U.S. durable goods new orders 
surged 3.1% in February, much stronger than the 1.7% increase expected 
by analysts in an MNI survey. Transportation orders rose 7.1%, and new 
orders excluding transportation orders posted a 1.2% gain, data released 
Friday by the Commerce Department showed. 
     The surge in new orders excluding transportation was much larger 
than the 0.6% gain expected and reflected solid gains in every component 
except for computers and electronics products. This was the seventh 
increase in the last eight months, an indication that orders are 
expanding consistently outside of the transportation noise. 
--AIRCRAFT ORDERS SURGE
     Nondefense aircraft and parts new orders posted 25.5% surge in 
February, partially rebounding from a 27.9% plunge in January. 
Meanwhile, defense aircraft and parts jumped 37.7% after a 48.9% decline 
in January. 
     Motor vehicles orders posted a 1.6% gain. In addition, 
transportation orders excluding motor vehicles and aircraft rebounded by 
11.7% following a 19.5% decline in the previous month, according to an 
MNI calculation. 
     Nondefense capital goods new orders saw a gain of 4.5%, and were 
still up 1.8% excluding civilian aircraft. 
--SHIPMENTS, INVENTORIES UP
     Durable goods shipments rose 0.9% in February, with nondefense 
capital goods shipments up 1.2% and up 1.4% excluding civilian aircraft 
shipments, according to an MNI calculation. 
     Durable goods inventories were up 0.4% in the month, while unfilled 
orders posted a 0.2% increase.  
     ** MNI Washington Bureau: 202-371-2121 ** 
[TOPICS: MAUDS$,MT$$$$,M$U$$$]