Business inventories rose less than expected in the month of December. We would caution that this is an older number and is not generally a market-moving release. Also note that this does coincide with a preliminary GDP number that showed that the United States had a contraction in gross domestic product in the fourth quarter.
Business inventories rose by only 0.1% in December. Bloomberg had a consensus of 0.3% and a range of 0.0% to 0.4% for this report from the Census Bureau. This represents more than a year with each month showing gains.
Bloomberg notes on this economic reading:
Business inventories are the dollar amount of inventories held by manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers. The level of inventories in relation to sales is an important indicator of the near-term direction of production activity.
The markets did not react much to the import and export prices data nor to the retail sales figures earlier this morning. The markets are still looking for a reason to go up or down, and right now the gains are holding. The S&P 500 is up 3.6 points and the DJIA is down about 9 points.