U.S. wholesale inventories rose more than expected in October, which could prompt economists to raise their growth forecasts for the fourth quarter.
The Commerce Department said on Tuesday wholesale inventories increased 0.4 percent after an upwardly revised 0.4 percent gain in September.
Economists polled by Reuters had expected stocks at wholesalers to rise only 0.2 percent in October following a previously reported 0.3 percent increase in September.
Inventories are a key component of gross domestic product changes. The component that goes into the calculation of GDP — wholesale stocks excluding autos — increased 0.6 percent.
Inventories were a mild drag on GDP growth in the third quarter. October's increase in stocks excluding automobiles suggested restocking could contribute to output in the final three months of the year instead of weighing on growth as economists currently believe.
Stocks at wholesalers in October were lifted by increases in inventories of electrical goods, machinery, apparel, metals and other products. Auto inventories fell 1.4 percent, the largest decline in a year.
That reflected strong auto sales at dealerships in October and followed September's 0.7 percent rise.
Sales at wholesalers gained 0.2 percent in October after being flat the prior month. At October's sales pace it would take 1.19 months to clear shelves, unchanged from September.
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