TOKYO (AP) -- Japan's machinery orders, a closely watched gauge for future business investment, rose 1.6 percent in June, far below what economists had predicted and a sign the country's nascent economic recovery may be stalling.
Core machinery orders totaled 704.0 billion yen ($8.28 billion) for June, the Cabinet Office said Wednesday. Core orders don't include figures considered volatile, such as those for ships and electric utilities.
The monthly increase marked a turnaround from May, when orders tumbled 9.1 percent -- the biggest drop since August 2008. But the 1.6 percent rise was still far below the 6.1 percent increase predicted by economists in a Kyodo News survey.
In the three-month period to September, the Cabinet Office predicted orders will rise 0.8 percent.
In June, figures showed orders from manufacturers rose 9.9 percent, with large increases in the oil and food sectors. Non-manufacturers sank 4 percent, as farming and fishing orders declined.