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U.S. Dec. business inventories up 0.8%

U.S. Dec. business inventories up 0.8% (by Greg Robb)

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- Inventories at U.S. businesses rose 0.8% in December, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. Economists had been expecting inventories to rise 0.6%. Business sales rose 1.1% in December. The inventory-to-sales ratio, an indication of demand, remained at 1.25 in December from the prior month. One new piece of information was retail inventories, which rose 0.4% in December compared with a 0.6% increase in sales. The inventory-to-sales ratio in retail fell to 1.33 in December from 1.34 in November.