US business inventories rebounded 0.3 percent in May

By MARTIN CRUTSINGERMarketsAssociated Press

U.S. businesses increased their stockpiles in May, while sales fell by the largest amount in 10 months.

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The Commerce Department says business inventories rose 0.3 percent, rebounding from a 0.2 percent decline in April. Total business sales fell 0.2 percent, the largest decline since a 0.3 percent drop last July. Sales have been weak for the past three months.

When businesses increase stockpiles, it is generally seen as a sign of their confidence that sales will increase in the coming months. A decrease in inventories can be a sign of pessimism about future sales.

Economic growth slowed in the January-March quarter, in part because inventories subtracted from overall economic activity, but economists are looking for a rebound in the second quarter.