WASHINGTON -- May orders for costly manufactured goods rose 0.6 percent (items expected to last at least three years).

This followed a 0.4 percent increase in April, the Commerce Department reported today.

The May increase was slightly larger than the 0.5 percent gain many analysts were forecasting.

The 0.6 percent increase in new orders to factories in May was the largest since a 1.7 percent advance in February, marking the fifth increase in the last six months.