New orders for US durable goods rose for a third consecutive month in April, official data released today showed, pointing to momentum in the manufacturing sector.

Durable goods orders rose 0.8% in April, the Commerce Department said. The gain was unexpected as analysts on average had forecast they would fall by 1.3%.

The Commerce Department also sharply revised upward the March increase, to 3.6%, in orders for durable goods, products expected to last at least several years, like cars, computers and ships. The previous estimate was 2.6%. 

Excluding transportation, which can be volatile month-over-month, new orders for durable goods in April rose 0.1%.

Transportation equipment led the increase, rising 2.3% in the third monthly gain in a row. In April the gain was entirely due to a 13.1% increase in orders for defence aircraft and parts.

Orders for non-defence aircraft orders fell 4.1% and motor vehicle orders fell 1%.

Compared with a year ago, new durable goods orders increased 4.9% in April. Excluding transportation, they were up 3.3%.