Two Reports Deliver Some Negative News


Durable-goods orders plunged 5.9% in September, pulled down by weak demand for cars and aircraft equipment, the Commerce Department said.

A second report, by the University of Michigan, found that the consumer sentiment index fell to 80.6 from 86.1 in September, more than expected. The two closely watched reports bolster chances that the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates next week.

Home buyers continued to provide the one ray of sunshine in an otherwise uncertain economic outlook. The Commerce Department said sales of new U.S. homes climbed 0.4% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.02 million units last month. Meanwhile, Realtor groups said existing-home sales in September rose 1.9% nationally and 3.6% in California.