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Inventories and sales both gain in February

WASHINGTON — Businesses added to their stockpiles for a 14th straight month in February while sales increased for an eighth consecutive month, signs that factories expect to see rising demand in coming months.

The Commerce Department says business inventories rose 0.5 percent in February. Combined sales by manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers increased 0.2 percent during the month.

Healthy gains in sales and inventory restocking should translate into strong orders for U.S. factories. Manufacturing has been a standout performer so far in this recovery, benefiting not only from increased U.S. demand but also stronger export sales.