U.S. Jan business inventories unchanged

WASHINGTON, March 12 (BestGrowthStock) – U.S. business inventories
were unexpectedly flat in January, while sales rose to their
highest level since October 2008, government data showed on
Friday.

The Commerce Department said inventories were unchanged
after falling by a revised 0.3 percent in December, previously
reported as a 0.2 percent drop.

Economists polled by Reuters had expected a 0.2 percent
rise in January inventories.

Inventories are a key component of gross domestic product
changes over the business cycle and a sharp slowdown in the
pace of inventory liquidation handed the economy its fastest
growth rate in six years in the fourth quarter.

Business sales rose 0.6 percent to $1.05 trillion in
January following a 1.0 percent increase in December. The rise
in sales left the inventory-to-sales-ratio, which measures how
long it would take to clear shelves at the current sales pace,
at 1.25 months’ worth, the lowest since November 2007.

Manufacturers’ inventories rose 0.2 percent in January
after falling 0.2 percent the prior month. Inventories at
retailers fell 0.1 percent after a 0.2 percent rise in
December.

Retail motor vehicle and parts inventories rose 0.5 percent
after falling 0.3 percent in December. Excluding autos, retail
inventories fell 0.2 percent in January. Inventories at
furniture, electronic and appliance stores fell 0.3 percent
after a 0.2 percent gain the prior month.

Stock Market Report
(Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Andrea Ricci)

U.S. Jan business inventories unchanged