U.S. wholesale inventories rose less than expected in April, held back by the biggest drop in auto inventories since December 2009, a Commerce Department report showed on Thursday.
Inventories rose 0.8 percent to $447.2 billion in the first month of the second quarter, below economists' forecasts for a 1.0 percent rise. Automotive inventories, one of the biggest categories, fell 1.3 percent.
Sales rose to $393.5 billion, the highest since June 2008. But the 0.3 percent month-to-month rise was much less than the 1.2 percent gain analysts had forecast.
A 0.9 percent rise in both auto and computer sales was offset by bigger declines in categories such furniture, lumber, professional equipment and metals.
The inventory to sales ratio rose slightly to 1.14.
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