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US wholesale stockpiles up 0.5 percent in February

WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. wholesale businesses increased their stockpiles for an eighth consecutive month in February as their sales rose at the fastest clip since November, good signs for future economic growth.

The Commerce Department says that wholesale businesses boosted stockpiles by 0.5 percent in February following an increase of 0.8 percent in January.

Sales rose 0.7 percent in February, rebounding from a sharp 1.8 percent drop in January which had been blamed in part on severe weather during the month which cut into demand.

The solid gain in sales should encourage businesses to keep restocking their shelves to meet rising demand. That will mean increased orders to factories and rising production which would boost economic growth.

Many economists expect that the economy slowed in the January-March quarter but will rebound this quarter.

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