Largely reflecting a jump in retail inventories, the Commerce Department released a report on Wednesday showing U.S. business inventories increased by slightly more than expected in the month of December.
The Commerce Department said business inventories climbed by 0.6 percent in December after rising by 0.5 percent in November. Economists had expected another 0.5 percent increase.
Retail inventories jumped by 1.2 percent during the month, while manufacturing and wholesale inventories both edged up by 0.3 percent.
The report also showed business sales increased by 0.8 percent in December after coming in unchanged in the previous month.
Manufacturing sales spiked by 1.7 percent and wholesale sales surged up by 1.2 percent, more than offsetting a 0.6 percent drop in retail sales.
With inventories and sales both climbing, the total business inventories/sales ratio in December was unchanged from the previous month at 1.32.