INVENTORIES GROW: Business inventories edged up a slight 0.1 percent in June, the Commerce Department reported. That followed a 0.3 percent gain in May.
SALES FALL: Sales at the retail, wholesale and manufacturing levels fell 1.1 percent, the sharpest decline since March 2009. However, retail sales rose 0.8 percent in July following three straight monthly declines, a hopeful sign the economy may be emerging from its spring slump.
IMPACT: Weaker inventory growth could act as a drag on overall economic growth. When businesses place fewer orders, factory production slows.