During the first nine months of fiscal 2018, we spent approximately $22.3 million less cash for inventory compared to our spending during the same period a year ago. This resulted from the combination of timing of purchases by retail customers and a systematic reduction of inventory levels at certain businesses in our consumer segment. Days of inventory outstanding at February 28, 2018 decreased to 126.3 days from 129.8 days of inventory outstanding at February 28, 2017.
The change in accounts payable during the first nine months of fiscal 2018 used approximately $17.2 million more cash than during the first nine months of fiscal 2017, resulting principally from the timing of certain payments. Accrued compensation and benefits used approximately $4.6 million less cash during the first nine months of fiscal 2018 versus fiscal 2017, due to lower bonus accruals made during fiscal 2018 versus fiscal 2017. Other accruals and prepaids, including those for other short-term and long-term items and changes in accrued loss reserves, provided $20.0 million more cash during the first nine months of fiscal 2018 versus the same period a year ago, primarily from the timing of customer rebates.
Cash provided from operations, along with the use of available credit lines, as required, remain our primary sources of liquidity.
Capital expenditures, other than for ordinary repairs and replacements, are made to accommodate our continued growth to achieve production and distribution efficiencies, expand capacity, introduce new technology, improve environmental health and safety capabilities, improve information systems, and enhance our administration capabilities. During the first nine months of fiscal 2018, we paid $60.0 million for acquisitions, net of cash acquired, versus $246.9 million during the comparable prior year period. Capital expenditures of $72.8 million during the first nine months of fiscal 2018 compare with depreciation of $61.1 million. In the comparable prior year period, capital expenditures were $80.1 million, which compared with depreciation of $53.3 million. We have been increasing, and will continue to increase, our capital spending in fiscal 2018 in an effort to more aggressively invest in our internal growth initiatives, especially in overseas markets. We anticipate that additional shifts at our production facilities, coupled with the capacity added through acquisition activity and our planned increase in future capital spending levels, will enable us to meet increased demand throughout fiscal 2018 and beyond.
Our captive insurance companies invest their excess cash in marketable securities in the ordinary course of conducting their operations, and this activity will continue. Differences in the amounts related to these activities on a year-over-year basis are primarily attributable to differences in the timing and performance of their investments balanced against amounts required to satisfy claims. At February 28, 2018, the fair value of our investments in marketable securities totaled $177.8 million, of which investments with a fair value of $93.3 million were in an unrealized loss position. At May 31, 2017, the fair value of our investments in marketable securities totaled $164.5 million, of which investments with a fair value of $60.0 million were in an unrealized loss position. The fair value of our portfolio of marketable securities is based on quoted market prices for identical, or similar, instruments in active or non-active markets or model-derived-valuations with observable inputs. We have no marketable securities whose fair value is subject to unobservable inputs. Total pretax unrealized losses recorded in accumulated other comprehensive income at February 28, 2018 and May 31, 2017 were $3.8 million and $3.5 million, respectively.
We regularly review our marketable securities in unrealized loss positions in order to determine whether or not we have the ability and intent to hold these investments. That determination is based upon the severity and duration of the decline, in addition to our evaluation of the cash flow requirements of our businesses. Unrealized losses at February 28, 2018 were generally related to the normal volatility in valuations over the past several months for a portion of our portfolio of investments in marketable securities. The unrealized losses generally relate to investments whose fair values at February 28, 2018 were less than 15% below their original cost or that have been in a loss position for less than six consecutive months. From time to time, we may experience significant volatility in general economic and market conditions. If we were to experience unrealized losses that were to continue for longer periods of time, or arise to more significant levels of unrealized losses within our portfolio of investments in marketable securities in the future, we may recognize additional other-than-temporary impairment losses. Such potential losses could have a material impact on our results of operations in any given reporting period. As such, we continue to closely evaluate the status of our investments and our ability and intent to hold these investments.
As of February 28, 2018, approximately $214.5 million of our consolidated cash and cash equivalents were held at various foreign subsidiaries. Undistributed earnings held at our foreign subsidiaries that are considered permanently reinvested will be used, for instance, to expand operations organically or for acquisitions in foreign jurisdictions. Further, our operations in the U.S. generate sufficient cash flow to satisfy U.S. operating requirements. Refer to Note 9, “Income Taxes,” to the Consolidated Financial Statements for additional information regarding unremitted foreign earnings.
RPM International Inc. (NYSE: RPM) owns subsidiaries that are world leaders in coatings, sealants, building materials and related services. From homes to precious landmarks worldwide, their brands are trusted by consumers and professionals alike to protect, improve and beautify. Among its leading consumer brands are Rust-Oleum, DAP and Zinsser. Learn more about RPM brands >>
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