Factory orders rose 0.3 percent in September

WASHINGTON (AP) ? Companies increased overall orders to U.S. factories slightly in September but boosted demand in a key category that tracks business investment plans by the largest amount in six months.

The Commerce Department says that total factory orders increased for a third straight month, edging up 0.3 percent. Demand for core capital goods, the category that serves as a proxy for business investment spending, jumped 2.5 percent, the largest increase since a 5.4 percent rise in March.

The surge in demand for capital goods reflected significant increases in demand for heavy machinery and computers. These gains were seen as a positive sign for the weak economy that businesses are sticking with their plans to expand and modernize their operations.