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CALIFORNIA | BRIEFLY / U.S. ECONOMY

Inventories, Business Sales Rise in February

April 15, 1999|Associated Press

Inventories at U.S. businesses rose a moderate 0.4% in February even as sales increased a rapid 0.9%. Businesses had enough goods on shelves and back lots in January and February to meet demand for 1.37 months, the Commerce Department said. That means, according to analysts, that businesses may increase inventories along with sales. If they do, that would be good news for manufacturers, who have been hurt by recessions in Asia, Latin America and Russia. The February inventory increase, to a seasonally adjusted $1.09 trillion, came after no change in January. The advance in business sales, to $799.3 billion, came after a decline of 0.2% in January. Manufacturers' inventories were unchanged, wholesalers' stocks were up 0.6%, and retailers' rose 0.7%. Sales jumped 1.7% at retailers, which was the strongest in five years. Sales rose 1% at wholesalers and 0.3% at factories.

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