Wholesale Inventories Rise More than Expected

U.S. wholesale inventories rose a much bigger-than-expected 1.3 percent in April, led by the largest rise in petroleum stocks in more than two years, while wholesale sales increased 1.4 percent, a Commerce Department report showed on Friday.

Wall Street analysts polled by Reuters were expecting inventories to rise just 0.3 percent in April, compared with a 0.1 percent gain in March that was previously reported as a 0.1 percent drop.

The inventory-to-sales ratio, a measure of how long it would take to sell stocks at the current sales pace, decreased to 1.09 months' worth in April from 1.10 months in March.

U.S. petroleum inventories rose 8.8 percent in April, the largest month-to-month gain since 17.1 percent in January 2006. The jump came after a 4.5 percent drop in petroleum stocks in March, previously reported as a 5.6 percent decline.

Auto inventories rose 2.5 percent in April, while sales slumped 2.4 percent. Most other durable goods showed higher sales, with lumber up 5.9 percent and furniture up 5.2 percent.

Among non-durable goods, farm product sales fell 5.5 percent while inventories rose 4.2 percent. Paper sales increased 6.2 percent, their best showing since a 6.8 percent rise in December 1994.