Summary: Stocks end higher but Ukraine, Middle East limit upside; Google reveals drone home delivery tests; Tesla bets big on China, stock hits record. Conway G. Gittens reports.
Wall Street bounces around into the weekend as escalating tensions involving Ukraine offset another round of mostly upbeat economic data out of the U.S. Gains were small, but small enough for the S&P 500 to log its fourth record close this week. The Dow and Nasdaq extending a weekly rally to week number four. Britain raised its international terrorism threat level to the second highest, reminding investors of the geo-political risks out there ranging from the Middle East to Russia. Keith Bliss of Cuttone and Company: SOUNDBITE: KEITH BLISS, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, CUTTONE AND COMPANY (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Political intrigue is always going to be there. All of us know Vladimir Putin has designs of global domination - not just Ukraine, so we are going to have to deal with that. It's going to be a stealth campaign, the only thing that makes me a little concerned is if it gets to an all-out shooting war. Then all bets are off on where the equity market will go, so fingers crossed that's not going to happen." But signs of an economic pick-up continue to support the market. Business activity in the Midwest grew more than anticipated this month, and consumer sentiment surged to a seven-year high. And good news for those hitting the road: this will be the cheapest Labor Day travel weekend in four years, thanks to lower prices at the pump, according to GasBuddy.com. A surprise, though, on the shopping front. Consumer spending in July, down for the first time since January, according to the Commerce Department. A jump in savings and a stall in income gains suggest cautious consumers are choosing to save rather than spend. In company news: Google joins Amazon in plans to use drones to deliver your next small package. Project Wing is in the development state and may take years to become a reality. Drone Delivery has been tested to drop off candy bars to a farmer in Australia. More rumors about Apple ahead of the expected September iPhone launch. Apple will use chips made by NXP Semiconductors, enabling users to pay by touch, that's according to the Financial Times. Of course, there's no confirmation - but shares of both companies moved higher. Tesla making its biggest investment so far in China. The electric car company is teaming up with China Unicom to build charging facilities across the world's biggest auto market. Tesla is looking to fight off competition from BMW and Mercedes. Tesla's stock reaching an all-time high. Finally, European shares closed out the week slightly higher.