Today's December factory orders data came as a surprise to those expecting a whopping beat of expectations in the aftermath of the superficial beat in the Durable data released last week. Instead, the headline Factory Orders missed expectations of a 2.2% rise, growing just 1.8% in December, with the November data revised lower from 0% to -0.3%. Worse news was that Factory Orders ex the meaningless and volatile transportation number (see Dreamliner), rose just 0.2% in the last month of 2012, after declining 0.2% in November. Yet the ugliest number of the day was the year over year change in factory orders ex transports, which is perhaps the best coincident indicator of general business spending, and in line with the non-defense capital goods ex aircraft series from the Durables report. This posted a -0.2% nominal drop in December, the first decline since July. All those hoping that the freeze on capital spending increases will thaw any time soon, can put all such hopes back in carbonite where they belong.
And from last week, the whopping Y/Y drop in non-defense capital goods ex-aircraft merely validates the above data point.