Business inventories rose in May as sales fell, the Commerce Department reported on Monday.
Inventories at wholesalers, manufacturers, and retailers were up 0.2% in May, marking the first monthly gain since January 2001. Economists had been expecting inventories to drop 0.1%.
Sales were off 0.4% in May from April, with retail sales down more than any other group at 1.2%. Though businesses want to build inventories, they hope to do it on a gain rather than a loss in sales.
Most components of the inventory report are already known -- with the exception of retail inventories. Retail sales have already been released, and so have inventories and sales at the wholesale and manufacturing levels. Therefore, Monday's report is not expected to be a major market mover.