US business inventories edged up in April

WASHINGTON (AP) — Stockpiles held by U.S. businesses edged up slightly in April, while sales jumped by the largest amount in two months.

The Commerce Department says business inventories increased 0.1 percent in April following a 0.3 percent gain in March. Total business sales rose 0.9 percent in April after a 0.2 percent sales increase in March. It was the best showing since a 1.1 percent sales advance in February.

A slowdown in restocking empty store shelves has been a drag on overall economic growth over the past two quarters. But analysts are hoping that stronger sales will give businesses more confidence to replenish their inventories in coming months, helping to boost economic growth.