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U.S. business inventories fall in October as sales rise

WASHINGTON, Dec 14 (Reuters) - U.S. business inventories fell in October amid strong sales growth, suggesting that inventory investment will probably not provide a large boost to economic growth in the fourth quarter.

The Commerce Department said on Thursday that business inventories slipped 0.1 percent after being unchanged in September.

Inventories are a key component of gross domestic product.

Retail inventories excluding autos, which go into the calculation of GDP, increased 0.4 percent as reported last month. They dipped 0.1 percent in September.

Business sales rose 0.6 percent in October after jumping 1.6 percent in September. At October's sales pace, it would take 1.35 months for businesses to clear shelves, down from 1.36 months in September. (Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)