Wholesale inventories rose an in-trend 0.6 percent in April, well below a 1.1 percent jump in sales at the wholesale level. The smaller rise in inventories wasn't enough to bring the stock-to-sales ratio down, at least to two decimal places. The ratio is steady for a seventh straight month at a lean 1.17. Still, inventories of durable goods may be backing up a little bit with the stock-to-sales ratio for this component at 1.54 which is the highest in nearly two years.
Turning to sales, April's jump is concentrated in farm products and petroleum products, two volatile categories subject to price swings. Sales of durable goods at the wholesale level rose only 0.1 percent.
With the risk that economic growth may be slowing, the management of inventories, that is keeping them lean to avoid overhang, takes on special importance. Factory inventories, data already released, show no change for April. Next data on inventories will be the business inventories report on Wednesday.