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Durable goods post strong gain in July

WASHINGTON – Orders for U.S. durable goods jumped in July by the most on record as bookings surged for commercial aircraft and revisions showed a bigger advance the previous month.

Bookings for goods meant to last at least three years surged 22.6 percent after climbing a revised 2.7 percent in June – up from a previously reported 1.7 percent – the Commerce Department said Tuesday. A British air show helped spark a 318 percent jump in plane orders, the most since January 2011.

Prospects that demand will be sustained are giving companies reason to make larger investments in their operations. Persistent job growth that keeps households spending, along with a pickup in overseas markets, would help provide an added boost for manufacturers.

“When you get past the volatility of the aircraft, what you're seeing is continued firming in core business spending,” said Tim Quinlan, an economist at Wells Fargo Securities in Charlotte, North Carolina. “The underlying trend here is ongoing moderate pace” of capital investment.

Another report showed that home-price gains are decelerating. The S&P/Case-Shiller index of property values in 20 cities increased 8.1 percent in June from a year earlier, the smallest 12-month advance since January 2013, the group reported.

The July gain in durables orders also reflected increased demand for automobiles. Bookings for motor vehi­cles climbed by the most since August 2009.