WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. wholesale businesses increased their stockpiles in October but their sales fell sharply, a mix sign for economic growth.
The Commerce Department says stockpiles grew 0.6 percent in October. That's slower than September's 1.1 percent, which was the biggest gain in nine months.
Sales in October fell 1.2 percent, after rising 1.9 percent in September
An increase in restocking leads to more factory production, which boosts economic growth. Faster restocking helped lift growth in the July-September quarter to an annual rate of 2.7 percent.
But slower sales could force companies to cut back on restocking in coming months, which would slow growth in the October-December quarter. And companies may be worried about looming tax increases that will take effect without a budget agreement to avert them.