WASHINGTON (AP) — Orders for long-lasting U.S. factory goods, excluding the volatile transportation category, fell in July for the fourth time in five months, a sign that manufacturing may be faltering.

The Commerce Department said Friday that orders for durable goods rose a seasonally adjusted 4.2 percent in July. But excluding aircraft and other transportation goods, orders dropped 0.4 percent.

Aircraft orders soared 54 percent. Boeing, one of the biggest global aircraft manufacturers, received 260 orders last month, according to economists at IHS Global Insight, up from 21 in June.

Durable goods are items meant to last at least three years. Orders for so-called core capital goods, a key measure of business investment plans, fell 3.4 percent. That’s the biggest drop since November and the fourth decline in five months.

Core capital goods include computers, industrial machinery and steel. The steady decline in such orders suggests that companies are worried that the economy will slow and are reducing investment. Europe’s financial crisis has pushed that region to the brink of recession, threatening exports of U.S. goods. Economies in China, India and Brazil are also growing more slowly.

Read More at OfficialWire. By Christopher S. Rugaber.

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