Inventories at U.S. businesses rose 0.4% in April, the Commerce Department said Thursday. The gain was higher than the 0.2% gain expected by economists polled by MarketWatch. Business sales were up 0.6% in April, matching the gain in March. The inventory-to-sales ratio, an indication of demand, was unchanged at 1.36. One new piece of information was retail inventories, which rose 0.8% in April compared with a 0.1% increase in sales. Excluding autos, retail inventories rose 0.6%. The inventory-to-sales ratio in retail rose to 1.47 in April from 1.44 in March.
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