A large increase in orders for big-ticket items has helped push stocks higher today. The U.S. Department of Commerce said durable-goods orders rose 5.7% in February to $232.1 billion, higher than the 4.6% economists expected. A 95.3% increase in aircraft orders and a 3.8% rise in auto orders helped drive the reading higher. Without those items, orders actually fell 0.5%.

Durable-goods orders can swing wildly from month to month, but the general trend has been higher, which is a positive for the economy. Investors liked what they saw, pushing both the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) and the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) about 0.7% higher near the end of trading.

It should be no surprise that Boeing (NYSE:BA) is one of the big winners today, rising 1.8%. The company is one of the largest aircraft-manufacturers in the world, and it was one of the biggest beneficiaries of the increase in orders last month.

One of the interesting data points in the durable-goods report was a 4.9% rise in computer orders. This follows a sharp decline in PC sales late last year and has shares of Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) moving 2.5% higher today. At this point, any good news about the PC market is good for Intel, because investors have priced in a slow decline for the company.

Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) is up 2.3% on the computer orders news. HP is still one of the biggest PC-makers in the world, and a pickup in sales may be even more important for the flagging company than it is for Intel.


Fool contributor Travis Hoium manages an account that owns shares of Intel. The Motley Fool recommends Intel. The Motley Fool owns shares of Intel. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.