WASHINGTON (AP) -- Stockpiles held by U.S. businesses rose by a moderate amount in July while sales increased at the fastest pace in three months.
The Commerce Department says stockpiles increased 0.4 percent in July, the same increase as in June, while sales increased 0.8 percent, the best showing since a similar rise in April. Sales had advanced 0.6 percent in June.
The July increase in stockpiles was in line with economists' expectations. They say the solid gains in business sales will give businesses confidence to boost their restocking efforts to meet the rising demand. Inventory increases spur more orders to factories and stronger economic activity.
The July increase in inventories pushed total business stockpiles to $1.75 trillion, up 5.9 percent from a year ago.