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Wholesale inventories rise, sales fall in August

From Wire Reports

WASHINGTON – U.S. wholesale companies restocked their warehouses in August at the fastest pace since April, led by big increases in computers, lumber and furniture. But wholesale sales fell by the most since January.

The Commerce Department said Thursday that wholesale inventories rose 0.7 percent after a 0.3 percent increase in July. Sales fell 0.7 percent, the biggest decline since a 1.8 percent drop in January.

The figures indicate that inventories rose partly because sales slowed more than wholesalers anticipated. That suggests they may cut back their orders in the coming months.

Computer sales fell 1.7 percent and lumber sales dropped 0.9 percent, the report showed. Wholesale auto sales also fell.

Stockpiles rose in many of the same categories: computer inventories jumped 4.5 percent, and lumber supplies rose 1.5 percent. Auto stockpiles rose 0.6 percent.

Time Warner, Comcast deal moves forward

NEW YORK – Time Warner Cable said Thursday its shareholders approved its acquisition by Comcast Corp., clearing another hurdle for the $45 billion deal.

In February, Comcast said it agreed to buy rival Time Warner in an all-stock deal. The deal will make Comcast, which also owns NBCUniversal, a dominant force in both creating and delivering entertainment to U.S. homes.

The news comes a day after Comcast shareholders approved the deal, which is still awaiting clearance from regulators.

The deal is expected to close by the end of the year.

Symantec plans to split into two businesses

NEW YORK – Security software maker Symantec is the latest company to announce plans to split itself into two.

The maker of Norton antivirus software said Thursday that it will separate into one business focused on security and the other on information management.

Symantec said that separating its businesses will create greater growth opportunities and more value for its shareholders. The announcement comes about six months after Symantec fired its chief executive Steve Bennett and named Michael Brown as his replacement. Brown is the current CEO.

The security business provides services including data encryption, user authentication, and mail, Web and data center security. The company said that the unit had about $4.2 billion in revenue in its latest fiscal year. Brown will be president and CEO of the security business.

The information management company’s services will include backup and recovery, archiving and storage management. It has about $2.5 billion in annual revenue.

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