Inventories at U.S. wholesalers rose a slightly-less-than-expected 0.5 percent in September as stocks of automotive goods declined, a government report showed on Tuesday.
Analysts polled by Reuters were expecting a 0.6 percent rise in wholesale inventories.
Automotive inventories declined 0.6 percent, as sales swelled 0.8 percent, the Commerce Department said.
Stocks relative to sales held at a lean 1.15 months' worth in September as sales slowed to a 0.6 percent increase after a downwardly adjusted 1.0 percent rise a month earlier.
Overall stocks of durable goods, items meant to last three years or more, rose 1.0 percent, while inventories of non-durable goods fell 0.3 percent following a 0.2 percent slide a month earlier.
Stocks of metals rose 2.6 percent and lumber inventories surged 2.0 percent.
Stocks of farm products plunged 5.9 percent on flat sales.