WASHINGTON - U.S. factory orders for durable goods in November posted the largest increase in four months as demand rose for electrical and communications equipment and metals, the Commerce Department said Thursday.

Orders for durable goods rose 1.2% last month, to $204.9 billion, after falling a revised 0.9% in October. Excluding aircraft and other transportation equipment, durable goods orders rose 2.2% last month after a 1.4% drop in October. Both increases were the largest since July.

"The manufacturing sector is benefiting from robust income and spending, corporate need to remain competitive in the globalized Internet economy, and improving conditions overseas," said Joel Naroff, president of Naroff Economic Advisors in Holland, Pa.

Personal spending rose 0.5% in November, following a 0.7% gain in October, the Commerce Department reported.

Incomes rose 0.4%, after a faster 1.3% jump in October stemming from farm subsidy payments and union bonuses.

- Bloomberg News

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