The Commerce Department said on Thursday that although new durable goods orders posted their biggest gain last month since January 2010, business spending was still flat in September. Separate data released by the Labor Department showed that the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell last week, which could be a sign that the labor market is slowly healing. According to Reuters, many economists believe companies are holding back investments due to fears Congress could fail to avert sharp tax hikes and spending cuts in 2013, which threaten to send the U.S. economy back into recession.Data on Wednesday showed that sales of new single-family homes in the U.S. soared to a two-and-a-half year high to 5.7 percent. Other data released Thursday indicated that the National Association of Realtors U.S. Pending Home Sales Index for September rose only modestly in September.The Federal Open Market Committee released a statement Wednesday saying that the Fed would continue buying $40 billion in mortgage-backed securities per month until the labor market improves and repeated that it expects to keep rates near zero until at least mid-2015.