Business inventories decreased 0.2% in December, the first decline in three months as economists had expected an increase, while sales were up 0.9%, the Commerce Department reported Friday.

Inventories had increased in November and October following 13 consecutive monthly declines. In November, inventories rose 0.5%, while sales soared 2.4%.

Economists expected inventories to rise 0.3% for the month, according to the median estimate from Thomson Reuters.

Subscribe Now

Independent and authoritative analysis and perspective for the bond buying industry.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.