U.S. business stockpiles up modest 0.1 percent

WASHINGTON – U.S. businesses increased their stockpiles only slightly in May, despite a solid sales increase. The figures suggest economic growth has slowed but could pick up in the second half of the year.

The Commerce Department says business stockpiles rose just 0.1 percent in May from April, half the previous month's increase.

But sales increased 1.1 percent in May after being flat in April. That's the best gain since February.

Slower restocking could weigh on economic growth in the April-June quarter because it means companies ordered fewer factory goods. But the strong sales gain suggests companies may have to order more goods in the coming months to keep up with demand. That could drive more economic growth in the second half of the year.