Inventory and Sales Data Prove Stable Despite Anemic Economy
U.S. equity markets edged higher on Friday afternoon, buoyed by a myriad of relatively positive news ranging from corporate earnings to economic data. Both Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT) beat earnings expectations and climbed as much as 8 percent and 6 percent, respectively. Adding to the generally optimistic aura surrounding the market on Friday are wholesale trade sales and inventories data, which came in slightly better than expected in August.
The U.S. Census Bureau reported that sales from merchant wholesales increased 0.6 percent on the month to $428 billion and are now up 5.6 percent on the year. Durable goods sales climbed 0.9 percent on the month and 5.4 percent on the year, with strong sales of +3.1 percent in computer peripheral equipment and software. Nondurable goods sales increased 0.3 percent on the month and are up 5.7 percent on the year, with strong sales of +3.1 percent in chemicals and allied products.
Meanwhile, wholesale inventories increased 0.5 percent on the month, the largest since January, and are now up 2.5 percent on the year. Durable goods inventories climbed 0.6 percent on the month and 5.3 percent on the year, led by gains in motor vehicles and motor vehicle parts of +2.4 percent, and electrical and electronic goods of +1.1 percent. Nondurable inventories climbed 0.5 percent on the month and 1.6 percent on the year. Petroleum inventories increased 2.8 percent on the month.