The economy is giving mixed messages. Orders for durable goods like cars and appliances fell .1 percent last month after a 4.1 increase in July. The decline is mostly due to an 8.5 percent drop in the orders of cars. But another indicator shows that businesses are continuing to invest, unfazed by the recent market upheaval. Nondefense capital goods increased 1.1 percent last month after falling 0.2 percent in July. “It shows that we're not falling off a cliff, which helps,” says a chief market analyst at John Thomas Financial.