WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. businesses left stockpiles unchanged in June while sales rose modestly, an encouraging sign.

The Commerce Department says business stockpiles were flat in June compared with May. Inventories had fallen a slightly 0.1 percent in May. Sales rose 0.2 percent in June after a solid 1.1 percent increase in May.

The stagnant level for stockpiles could be setting the stage for inventory rebuilding in coming months. That would support increased factory production and overall economic growth in the second half of this year.

Business stockpiles in June stood at a seasonally adjusted $1.66 trillion, 3.5 percent higher than a year ago. Inventories at the manufacturing and retail levels both rose 0.1 percent. Stockpiles at the wholesale level fell 0.2 percent, the third consecutive decline.