US businesses boosted stockpiles 0.4 pct. in March

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Associated Press

Posted on May 13, 2014 at 8:02 AM

Updated Tuesday, May 13 at 8:02 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. businesses increased their stockpiles in March, and sales increased by the largest amount in 10 months.

The Commerce Department says stockpiles rose 0.4 percent after a 0.5 percent rise in February. Sales in March jumped 1 percent, the largest advance since May, after a 0.9 percent February increase.

Both months represented a solid rebound after a 0.9 percent sales decline in January that was blamed in part on the harsh winter weather.

The two months of sizable gains in sales should encourage businesses to keep restocking their shelves to meet rising demand. That would mean increased orders to factories and rising production, which would lead to stronger economic growth.

Many economists expect growth to rebound significantly in the second quarter after slowing sharply in the first quarter.

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