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US wholesalers slow restocking as sales weaken

WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. wholesale stockpiles rose in May at the weakest pace in five months as companies kept their supplies in line with slower sales.

The Commerce Department says wholesale stockpiles grew 0.5 percent in May, down from a 1 percent surge in April. Big gains in inventories of autos, lumber and metals drove the increase.

Sales at the wholesale level, meanwhile, rose 0.7 percent, down from 1.3 percent in April. Auto sales jumped 1.1 percent while sales of computers and electrical equipment fell.

The slower pace of sales and restocking suggests that consumer and business demand weakened a bit in May. But the figures also show that companies aren't building up large stockpiles, which can leave them with unsold goods if sales slow further.

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