There was a modest uptick in capital goods orders in June, but the way I see it, orders are roughly flat so far this year. On the one hand this is disappointing, since capital goods are the seed corn of future productivity gains; flat spending at relatively low levels thus foreshadows unimpressive economic growth on the horizon. On the other hand, it's clear that there has been no further deterioration in business confidence or investment spending after last year's free-fall; things have been in a sort of holding pattern so far this year.
None of this is very surprising given the general disdain with which business investment is viewed in Washington. The biggest incentive that business has to ramp up investment spending today is that corporate income taxes and taxes on capital in general (e.g., dividend income and capital gains taxes) could be significantly higher in the future (i.e., invest and produce quickly before things get worse). But that is hardly the thing of which big recoveries are made.
Still, as the chart shows, a big increase in capital spending is not a necessary condition for a recovery. The economy rebounded strongly in the second half of 2003, yet capital spending had not increased meaningfully by that time. So I'll stick with the "glass half-full" interpretation here, and say it's a good thing that conditions are stabilizing instead of declining.