US factory orders drop 2.4 percent but investment up

WASHINGTON (AP) Orders to U.S. factories fell for the first time in five months in November, but much of the weakness reflected a swing in the volatile category of commercial aircraft. A key category that tracks business investment spending posted an increase.

The Commerce Department says factory orders dropped 2.4 percent after a 2.8 percent rise in October. It was the first decline since June but the weakness was led by a 73.8 percent plunge in demand for commercial aircraft following a 94.5 percent surge in October.

A key category that serves as a proxy for business investment spending increased 0.9 percent after a 0.5 percent rise in October. This category has lagged for much of this year as a result of big cutbacks in the oil and gas industry.