US factory orders increased in December despite the fact that companies trimmed their orders for goods that signal investment plans.

The US Commerce Department said today that factory orders rose 1.8% in December compared to November, when orders had fallen 0.3%.

Demand for core capital goods, a category considered a proxy for business investment plans, dipped 0.3% in December after strong gains of 3.3% in November and 3% in October.

Orders for durable goods, items expected to last at least three years, rose 4.3%, slightly below the 4.6% estimated in a preliminary report.

The increase reflected strong gains for military and civilian aircraft. Orders for non-durable goods such as petroleum products, chemicals and paper, declined 0.3% in December after a 1% drop in November.