Orders for machinery and other so-called durable goods were basically flat in August, the Census Bureau reports.
The report, according to The Associated Press, is "a positive sign for the slumping U.S. economy."
Overall, orders ticked down just 0.1 percent from July. But the dip was due mostly to an 8.5 percent decline in orders for autos and auto parts. There were gains in orders for machinery (0.1 percent), computers and electronic products (1.3 percent) and electrical equipment (1.3 percent).
The increases in those sectors suggest "businesses are sticking with their investment plans, despite slow growth and weak consumer spending," the AP says.
Reuters adds that "non-defense capital goods orders excluding aircraft, a closely watched proxy for business spending, increased 1.1 percent last month after a 0.2 percent fall in July. This suggested that businesses, sitting on about $2 trillion in cash, had not responded to the recent financial market volatility by curtailing spending on capital goods."