Stocks quoted in this article:
According to the Commerce Department, business inventories at the factory, wholesale, and retail levels rose by 0.7 percent in August, up from an upwardly revised 0.4-percent advance in July. August's climb was the biggest since June.
Overall, business sales were higher in August by 0.5 percent. The rise in overall inventories was boosted by a hefty 1.4-percent rise in retail inventories, the largest increase since May.
A rise in inventories could spur a slowing in the economy down the road, as businesses would need to buy less goods to deliver on sales orders, especially if inventory buildup outpaces sales. The inventory-to-sales ratio, the measure of the length of time it would take for a business to draw down its inventory, rose to 1.34 in August, its highest since September 1999.