Businesses increased inventories, or products waiting to be sold, by 0.4% in September in a sign the economy was still expanding at a steady pace. Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal had forecast a 0.5% increase. Rising inventories adds to gross domestic product and usually reflect a growing economy. The government said sales rose a scant 0.2% in the month, however. The ratio of inventories to sales was unchanged at 1.33. That’s how many months it would take to sell all the inventory on hand. While the ratio is still fairly low, it’s been on a recent uptrend. That can happen when demand slows, potentially leaving companies stuck with unwanted goods that they have to discount to sell.
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