Businesses increase stockpiles 0.8 pct. in October

WASHINGTON (AP) ? U.S. businesses increased their stockpiles in October after slowing inventory growth in the previous month. The buildup in inventories should help the economy grow modestly in the final months of the year.

The Commerce Department says business inventories rose a seasonally adjusted 0.8 percent. Sales increased 0.7 percent, the fifth straight gain.

In September, businesses didn’t increase their stockpiles for the first after 20 months of gains. Many had worried that consumer demand would fall after the little growth in the first half of the year.

Yet the economy grew at an annual rate of 2 percent over the summer, even after companies cut their inventories. The key reason for the growth was consumers ? their spending grew at triple the rate from the spring.