By John S. McClenahen New orders for manufactured goods -- excluding semiconductors -- increased 1.2% in April to $323.9 billion, reports the U.S. Department of Commerce. That's more than twice the gain in percentage terms than the 0.5% economists generally were expecting. April's gain in factory follows a 1% rise in March. New orders for durable goods not including semiconductors rose 1.5% to $177.4 billion in April, better than the 1.1% gain that the Commerce Department initially reported. Orders for machinery, led by turbines and generators, posted the largest biggest dollar gain, a $1 billion March-to-April increase to $22.8 billion. New orders for nondurable goods in April rose $1.1 billion to $146.5 billion, paced by plastic and rubber products. Several U.S. semiconductor makers contend their new order data do not reflect actual demand, and, consequently, they no longer report the figures to the Commerce Department.