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BRIEFLY / THE ECONOMY

Inventories Slightly Outpaced Sales in August

October 17, 2000|Associated Press

Inventories at U.S. companies rose solidly in August and slightly outpaced a brisk increase in sales, additional evidence that economic growth cooled a bit from its red-hot pace earlier in the year, economists said. Stockpiles of goods on shelves and back lots nationwide rose 0.7%--the biggest increase since June--to a seasonally adjusted $1.21 trillion, the Commerce Department said. At the same time, businesses' sales posted a solid 0.5% gain to $902.3 billion--also the largest increase since June--after falling sharply in July. The inventory-to-sales ratio, which measures how long it would take for a company to exhaust its inventories, rose from 1.33 months in July to 1.34 months in August, the highest reading in 11 months. The ratio had fallen to a record low of 1.31 months in March.

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