The NASDAQ was trading higher during the final trading session of the week, despite a barrage of weak economic data and earnings reports.
The employment cost index disappointed analysts with a rise of 0.2%, representing the smallest increase in 33 years and coming in well below analysts’ expectations. The number is a clear sign the U.S. economy is struggling, potentially putting off the Federal Reserve’s rumored interest rate hike later this year.
Weak corporate profits have also put a lid on stock market gains. Investors were disappointed with the numbers from oil-giants like Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE/XOM) and Chevron Corporation (NYSE/CVX). A number of NASDAQ-listed firms, including Apple Inc. (NASDAQ/AAPL), Parkevision Inc. (NASDAQ/PRKR), and QLogic Corp. (NASDAQ/QLGC) were also trading sharply lower.
Top Technology Stories
Facebook Finished Building an Internet Drone
The social media giant announced that it had finished construction of Aquila, a full-scale drone that can deliver wireless internet with lasers. Facebook plans to use the drone to provide internet access in remote parts of the world. It is part of Facebook’s mission to “connect everybody in the world.”
The drone is powered by solar energy, and can fly without landing for three months at a time. Facebook said that the drone would fly at around 60,000 to 90,000 feet above the Earth.
Google Street View Cars to Measure Pollution
Google is partnering with air quality technology company Aclima to equip some of its Street View cars with devices that can measure air pollution. Google’s Street View cars have been going around the world collecting data for Google Maps. Now they have a new function.
The companies conducted a pilot program in Denver last August. The new air quality-measuring cars will hit the streets of San Francisco starting this fall.
President Obama Orders Development of the World’s Fastest Computer
President Obama signed an executive order to announce the National Strategic Computing Initiative, a government effort to research and build the world’s fastest computer. The new supercomputer would be twenty times quicker than the current fastest computer—China’s Tianhe-2.
Top Stocks to Watch
LinkedIn Corporation (NYSE/LNKD)
The business social media giant released its earnings after the closing bell yesterday. Its stock price initially jumped up more than 10% in after-hours trading, but started to drop sharply at around 5:00 p.m. E.T. This morning, it’s trading nine percent down at $206.79 a share.
Expedia Inc. (NASDAQ/EXPE)
Expedia Inc.’s stock price is up 10.2% at $118.59 on Friday morning. Investors were impressed by the increase in the number of room bookings. Domestic room nights increased 24% while international ones jumped 50%.
The Western Union Company (NYSE/WU)
The Western Union Company reported better-than-expected earnings yesterday. The results were due to strong growth in its digital presence. The company’s stock price was up 5.3% at $20.03 this morning.