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Wholesale inventories ticked up 0.4% in February, in line with expectations

A forklift operator moves a pallet of solar panels at the SolarCity warehouse facility in Cranbury, New Jersey.
Michael Nagle | Bloomberg | Getty Images
A forklift operator moves a pallet of solar panels at the SolarCity warehouse facility in Cranbury, New Jersey.

U.S. wholesale inventories climbed 0.4 percent in February, falling in line with economists' expectations, the Commerce Department announced on Friday.

Economists were expecting a gain of 0.4 percent in February, according to a poll by Thomson Reuters. In January wholesale inventories decreased 0.2 percent, the biggest drop since February 2016, after jumping 1 percent in December.

The Friday report said February 2017 sales of merchant wholesalers, except manufacturers' sales branches and offices, and after adjustments, reached $464.9 billion. Total inventories of merchant wholesalers, except manufacturers' sales branches and offices, and after adjustments, were $594.2 billion at the end of the month, the Commerce Department added.

The ratio of inventories to sales — a measure of how heavily stocked companies are — fell to 1.28 in February, down from 1.36 the same period a year earlier. The ratio has dropped abruptly since 2016.

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