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U.S. wholesale inventories rise, but sales drop sharply

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. wholesale inventories rose more than expected in January, as companies built up stocks of autos and machinery, though sales posted their largest decline in nearly five years.

The Commerce Department said on Tuesday wholesale inventories rose 0.6 percent to $521.2 billion after a revised 0.4 percent gain in December.

Economists polled by Reuters expected stocks of unsold goods at wholesalers to rise 0.4 percent in January.

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