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Business Inventories Rise More Than Expected

U.S. business inventories rose a bigger-than-expected 0.6 percent in December as sales fell, a government report on Wednesday showed.

Total business inventories rose to a seasonally adjusted $1.44 trillion after a 0.4 percent increase in November, the Commerce Department said.

December's gain in stocks exceeded Wall Street forecasts for a 0.4 percent rise in December.

Business sales during the month fell 0.5 percent to $1.15 trillion after a downwardly revised 1.4 percent November gain. It was the biggest monthly decrease in nearly a year.

The stock-to-sales ratio, which measures how long it would take to clear out inventories at the current sales pace, inched up to 1.26 months in December from an upwardly revised 1.25 months in November.

But it was still a leaner reading than a year ago when the ratio stood at 1.28 months.

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