Factory orders up 1.1 percent in December

WASHINGTON (AP) ? Orders to U.S. factories rose in December, supported by a rebound in business investment in capital goods such as heavy machinery.

The results cap off another strong year for U.S. manufacturing.

The Commerce Department says factory orders rose 1.1 percent following a 2.2 percent gain in November. For the year, total orders were up 12.1 percent following a gain of 12.9 percent in 2010. Orders had plunged 22.1 percent in the 2009, the year a deep recession ended.

For December, orders for so-called core capital goods, which are viewed as a good measure of business investment plans, rose 3.1 percent to an all-time high. That gain was driven in part by a rush by businesses to take advantage of expiring tax breaks.