Stocks Waver After Durable Good Report

Stocks erased losses to turn higher in early trading on Wednesday after government data showed new orders for long-lasting U.S. manufactured goods rose more than expected. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately was up 69.18 points at 11,245.94. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose 8.32 points to 1,170.67. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 15.03 points to 2,461.09.

Orders for U.S. durable goods jumped 4.0% in July, mainly because of higher demand for autos and commercial aircraft, the government reported Wednesday. Orders for transportation shot up 14.5%, mainly because of a springback in airline and auto sales. And orders for autos surged 11.5%, the biggest gain in more than eight years. Excluding transportation, however, U.S. orders for long-lasting goods rose a much smaller 0.7%.

The U.S. budget deficit will be $1.28 trillion in 2011, the Congressional Budget Office estimated on Wednesday. In an update on the budget and the economy, the CBO also projected that the economy would grow at “a modest pace” through 2013, and that the U.S. jobless rate would stay above 8% through 2013.

Home mortgage applications for purchases fell to a nearly 15-year low last week. The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted index of mortgage application activity fell 2.4 percent in the week ended August 19.

Hurricane Irene strengthened to a major Category 3 hurricane over the Bahamas on Wednesday as it roared up from the Caribbean on a path expected to swipe the East Coast from the Carolinas upward at the weekend.

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