Chew on These Numbers, Ben

The Fed gets key data ahead of its June 29 interest-rate decision: a May durable goods report pointing to a strong economy

With the Federal Reserve's "data-dependent" decision on interest rates six days away, more key economic numbers arrived on June 23 for Ben Bernanke & Co. to digest. The newsworthy durable-goods orders figure for May fell 0.3%, slightly short of Wall Street expectations. But another key component of the report, shipments, rose 2.6% amid broad-based strength, after a revised decline of 1.2% in April (previously -1%). Capital-goods figures and inventories data for May were also somewhat stronger than expected. In total, orders fell short of expectations in May, while shipments overshot. The surprises were small, however, and left little change in the second-quarter outlook.

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