WASHINGTON (AP) - Orders for long-lasting manufactured goods posted a solid gain in October after two months of weakness, while a key category that tracks business investment plans advanced by the largest amount in three months.

WASHINGTON (AP) Orders for long-lasting manufactured goods posted a solid gain in October after two months of weakness, while a key category that tracks business investment plans advanced by the largest amount in three months.

The Commerce Department says that orders for durable goods rose 3 percent in October following declines in both September and August. The strength was led by a surge in demand for commercial aircraft but reflected widespread gains in a number of categories, from machinery to computers. A key category that serves as a proxy for business investment spending rose 1.3 percent in October, the best showing since July.

American manufacturers have struggled this year with weakness in many key export markets and a strong dollar, which makes U.S. goods less competitive.