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Wholesale Inventories Unchanged in October

Inventories at U.S. wholesalers were unchanged in October, but sales rose 0.7 percent, pushing the inventories-to-sales ratio to a record low, the government said Tuesday.

Analysts polled by Reuters had predicted a 0.5 percent gain in October inventories, after a revised 0.6 percent in September. Before October, inventories have increased every month since December 2006.

The October gain in wholesale sales -- the ninth straight increase -- followed a revised 1.4 percent rise in September, the Commerce Department said.

The inventory-to-sales ratio, the number of months to deplete existing stocks at the current sales pace, was a record low 1.09 months in October, down from 1.10 months in September.

The data gave a mixed picture of the wholesale trade in businesses related to the troubled housing sector.

Sales of furniture in October jumped 3.2 percent from the previous month, while inventories edged up 0.1 percent after a 0.4 percent decline in September.

However, lumber sales fell 0.5 percent in October after a 2.2 percent drop the previous month, while inventories rose 0.6 percent after a 0.3 percent fall.

Petroleum inventories rose 3.7 percent in October after a 0.8 percent drop the previous month, while sales rose 1.2 percent after an 8 percent rise in September.

Inventories at U.S. wholesalers were unchanged in October but sales rose 0.7 percent, pushing the inventories to sales ratio to a record low, the government said on Tuesday.

Analysts polled by Reuters had predicted a 0.5 percent gain in October inventories, after a revised 0.6 percent in September, previously reported as a 0.8 percent increase.

The October gain in wholesale sales followed a revised 1.4 percent rise in September, which was previously reported as a 1.3 percent gain, the Commerce Department said.

The inventory-to-sales ratio, the number of months to deplete existing stocks at the current sales pace, was a record low 1.09 months in October, down from 1.10 months in September.