(Newser) - Maria Fernandes pulled into a Wawa parking lot Monday morning to take a nap between jobs—the 32-year-old Newark, NJ, woman had four of them—but she left her car running as she slept. Eight hours later, she was found dead in the car, apparently overwhelmed by carbon monoxide and... More »
(Newser) - When Dennis "Nathan" Meyer apparently overdosed on Dilaudid, a painkiller, while hanging out with Chelsie Berry, 24, and Jared Prier, 28, last week, police say the Missouri pair reacted in perhaps the worst possible way: They allegedly took a selfie with his corpse, dumped the body, and then posted... More »
(Newser) - A British man visiting his mother discovered her spare bedroom was already in use—by thousands of wasps that had chewed up the mattress and pillows to make a 3-foot-wide nest on the bed. Pest controller John Birkett says a small window in the bedroom had been left open and... More »
(Newser) - "We don't want to see our streets look like a war zone. Not in America. We are better than that," Hillary Clinton told a tech conference in San Francisco yesterday in her first public remarks on events in Ferguson, Mo . Clinton praised "decent and respectful law... More »
(Newser) - Alice Alexander probably had no idea that the name she gave her new Siamese cat 14 years ago would prove so prescient. She called him "Ming," because he liked to mingle—so much so that he has been going back and forth between her New Zealand home and... More »
(Newser) - Joan Rivers is "resting comfortably" in the hospital with family, daughter Melissa announced late yesterday. But amid reports that the 81-year-old comedian has been placed in a medically induced coma , Melissa Rivers offered no further details about her mother, who reportedly stopped breathing during a routine throat procedure. "... More »
Stocks went nowhere in a quiet trading session ahead of the Labor Day holiday weekend. As Rich Barry of NYSE put it in his mid-afternoon update on Friday: "Felt like I was the only knucklehead commuting to work this morning." Despite the quiet trading session, the S&P 500 did manage to make a new all-time closing high for the third time this week.
First, the scoreboard:
Dow: 17,098.45, +18.9, (+0.1%)
S&P 500: 2,003.37, +6.6, (+0.3%)
Nasdaq: 4.580.27, +22.6, (+0.5%)
And now, the top stories on Friday:
1. Personal spending unexpectedly declined in July, falling 0.1% against expectations for a gain of 0.2%. Personal income also came in below expectations, growing 0.2% against expectations for a 0.4% increase. The personal income and outlays report also contained the latest personal consumption expenditures, or PCE, data, the Federal Reserve's preferred measure of inflation. "Core" PCE, which excludes the more volatile cost of food and energy, rose 1.5% year-over-year, right in line with expectations. Following the report, Michael Gapen at Barclays said, "Altogether, the report suggests a much softer start to consumption in Q3 and is a negative for our GDP tracking estimate as the level of real personal spending in July is below the Q2 average. After today's report, we are now tracking 2.2% for Q3 real GDP, down five-tenths from 2.7% prior to the report."
2. The University of Michigan's final consumer confidence survey for August came in at 82.5, topping expectations for a reading of 80.0. This reading was also far better than the 79.2 preliminary reading from earlier this month. The current conditions index ticked up to 99.8 from a preliminary reading of 99.6, the highest reading since 2007.
3. The Institute for Supply Management-Chicago's PMI for August came in at 64.3, blowing away expectations for a 56.5 reading. This was also up signifcantly from July 52.6 reading, which was the lowest reading in a year. Following the report, Dean Maki at Barclays said, "The Chicago PMI had fallen sharply in July after strong readings in Q2 2014; the August rebound suggests that production in this region is on a solid track in Q3 2014 despite a soft July reading."
4. Among the biggest stock gainers on Friday was Splunk, up nearly 20% after the software company on Thursday night reported revenue of $101.5 million, up 52% over the prior year. Splunk also raised its revenue outlook for the current fiscal year to $423-$428 million from a prior outlook of $402-$410 million.
5. The Russian ruble fell further against the U.S. dollar, bringing its losses over the last two months to more than 8% as one U.S. dollar now buys nearly 37 rubles. The most recent slide in the value of the ruble comes after tensions between Russia and Ukraine flared on Thursday. Also on Friday, Oppenheimer Funds, the largest fund shareholder in Carlsberg — which is one of the foreign companies most highly exposed to the Russian economy — cut its stake in the brewer. Earlier this month, Carlsberg said sales volume in its Eastern Europe segment were down 20% in the second quarter.
6. On Friday the U.K. government raised the current terror threat level to "severe," indicating that an attack is "highly likely," though the British government said no intelligence suggests an attack is imminent. British Home Secretary Theresa May said on Friday that, "The increase in the threat level is related to developments in Syria and Iraq where terrorist groups are planning attacks against the West. Some of these plots are likely to involve foreign fighters who have traveled there from the UK and Europe to take part in those conflicts." This is the first time the threat level has been raised to "severe" since 2011. In the U.S., the Obama administration said it had no plans to follow Britain's lead.
7. U.S. markets are closed on Monday in observation of the Labor Day holiday. U.S. markets won't be closed for a holiday until Thanksgiving, so enjoy the day off Monday and celebrate the unofficial end of summer.