Preliminary data for February durable goods orders showed a surprise improvement (up 1.2% MoM vs expectations of a 0.9% drop) as it appears COVID-19;s impact hadn't begun to hit quite yet. This resurgence has pushed the YoY growth in headline durable goods orders back into the positive (up 3.0% YoY - the best since January 2019)
However, ex-Transportation, durable orders fell 0.6% MoM - the biggest drop since Feb 2016... this is the 8th straight month of YoY declines in core durable goods orders...
And core capital goods orders, which exclude aircraft and military hardware, fell 0.8% after a revised 1% advance in January, because what drove the headline was a 25.7% MoM spike in defense capital goods...
Finally, we note that Capital Goods New Orders (non-defense, ex-aircraft) - a proxy for capital spending and investment - disappointed, falling 0.8% MoM (worse than the 0.4% drop expected.
All of which suggest things were not exactly roaring even before the global virus impact hit.