WASHINGTON Nov 14 U.S. business inventories
rose more than expected in September but stocks excluding
automobiles were flat for a second month, which could prompt
economists to lower their estimates for third-quarter growth.
The Commerce Department said on Wednesday inventories
increased 0.7 percent to a record $1.61 trillion, after rising
0.6 percent in August. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast
inventories rising 0.5 percent in September.
Inventories in September were lifted by a 0.9 percent rise
in stocks at auto dealers. Auto inventories had increased 1.2
percent in August.
Inventories are a key component of gross domestic product
changes. Inventories, excluding autos -- which go into the
calculation of gross domestic product -- were flat for a second
The flat reading in nonauto retail inventories could see
economists shave their estimates for the revised third-quarter
GDP data, which they pushed up after last week's strong
wholesale inventory data.
The government's first estimate published last month put
third-quarter GDP growth at a 2.0 percent annual pace. In the
wake of the wholesale inventory report, economists anticipated
the government would revise this estimate to as high as 3.0
The Commerce Department will publish its first revision to
third-quarter GDP data later this month.
Business sales increased 1.4 percent, the most since March
last year, to a record $1.26 trillion in September after rising
0.6 percent the prior month.
At September's sales pace, it would take 1.28 months for
businesses to clear shelves, down from 1.29 months in August.