Orders rose by $600 million to $193 billion, but the 0.3 percent rise was far short of the 3 percent gain economists had expected, given two months of declines tends to create a build up in demand.
Excluding the volatile category of transportation orders, the durable goods figure for July dropped 3.8 percent.
Orders for planes, trains and automobiles rose 13.1 percent in the month to $6.1 billion as airplane manufacturers saw a $4 billion increase in orders.
Investors disappointed in the figures continued to flee positions in equity markets. The three major boards on Wall Street headed lower for the fourth consecutive trading session.
Shipments of durable goods increased for the fourth month out of the past five, rising 2.2 percent to $200.6 billion. Unfilled orders fell 0.1 percent to $802.8 billion.
The Commerce Department said June's decline was not as sharp as previously reported, revising the 1 percent drop to a drop of 0.1 percent.
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