Durable goods orders advanced 2.7% for August, according to the Commerce Department. That is in contrast to a 0.1% rise for July.

The report was stronger than the consensus expectations of most business economists, propelled by a 28.4% gain in electronic orders during the month. These orders rebounded from a two-month decline. The report "exaggerates the strength in durable orders," said Cheryl R. Katz, senior economist at Merrill Lynch & Co., New York.

Excluding electronic orders, overall durable goods orders fell by 1.7% for August. "Not exactly a sign of strength," Ms. Katz noted.

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