ANNOUNCER: This is NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT with Tyler Mathisen and Susie Gharib, brought to you in part by —
SUSIE GHARIB, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR: Back in the game? With the Dow at a record, many are wondering if the individual investor is piling into stocks again. And what it may mean for the market`s next move.
TYLER MATHISEN, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR: Economic powerhouse. China`s leaders are meeting to set a path for the world`s second largest economy. And its outcome could have an impact here at home.
GHARIB: And, hiring our heroes. What businesses large and small are doing to help make the veterans make the transition from active duty into the workplace.
We have all that and more tonight on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for Monday, November 11th.
MATHISEN: And good evening, everybody. I`m Tyler Mathisen in Washington, D.C., at the Schwab IMPACT Conference. It`s the nation`s largest and longest running gathering of registered investment advisers.
And it comes at a time when the Dow is at a record high, the S&P 500 near one. And many, but by no means all in the investment community, saying the individual investor is back and buying stocks — Susie.
GHARIB: Thanks, Ty.
Good morning from as well, everyone. I`m Susie Gharib.
On Wall Street, stocks kicked off the new week to the upside. But with the bond markets closed for the Veterans Day holiday, trading was subdued. Still, any move up for the Dow meant a new record.
And that`s just what the blue chips did today. The index posted its 35th record for this year. The Dow added 21 points, the NASDAQ went up a fraction, and the S&P added one point.
So, with the Dow at another new high and the S&P 500 just a point away from a new all-time close, where are we in the markets right now? Are we in the middle of an extended bull run or on course for a slight pullback?
Dominic Chu takes a closer look at the pros and cons of what could happen next.
DOMINIC CHU, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With just weeks to go before year end, many investors are left wondering what to do about their stocks. Should you keep riding this bull wave higher, sell some of your winners, buy stocks now? The responses vary.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our ages right now are much, much more conservative, especially in this economy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To see stocks, I love to see stock goes up. It`s made me money. So —
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I bought most of mine at the record lows.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What has changed in the last year is that I personally just don`t trust money managers.
CHU: The uncertainty doesn`t change much when it comes from the view of the market professionals, the experts. On the one hand, you got the optimistic camp.
Oppenheimer`s chief market strategist John Stoltzfus is one of those bulls. He says corporate earnings continue to flow in and for the most part, they have been better than expectations, economic data in the U.S. is also improving, and Europe is slowly working its way out of recession. Even the market for initial public offering of stock is heating up, those can all be interpreted as bullish industries.
On the other hand, the cautionary signs remained evident. Mark Newton of Greywolf Execution Partners is keeping a close eye on stocks. They have been under-performing lately and that may indicate that stocks could be due for a pullback.
Paul Hickey at Bespoke Investment Group is looking at the market sentiment. He says that one indicator to watch is the investment`s intelligence survey. It now says that 55 percent of the respondents are bullish.
The last time it got to that high level was back in May, and the S&P dropped around 5 percent back then.
The important thing to remember is that no one can predict the future, even the experts disagree on where stocks head from here.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Dominic Chu.
MATHISEN: Well, as Dominic just mentioned, as we saw in today`s “Wall Street Journal”, many investors are putting their money back into stocks five years after the financial crisis, and just as the U.S. economy seems to be getting a little steam.
Well, here at today`s big Charles Schwab investor conference in Washington, the individual investor was never far from anyone`s mind. After all, the 2,000 registered investment advisors in attendance managed the money of thousands, tens of thousands of affluent retail investors.
But when I asked Schwab CEO Walton Bettinger what he was seeing in his retail business, his answer was a bit of a surprise.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATHISEN: So, Walt, there`s been a lot of talk that the retailer investor is back. Is that what you are seeing in your business?
WALT BETTINGER, CHARLES SCHWAB CEO: It`s really not. What we`ve seen is that gets defined as people pouring into the equity markets. What we`ve seen is investors are highly engaged with their portfolios. But we don`t see them saying, I`ve got to be in the markets. I`m putting all my money in the markets going up. This is the time to buy stocks.
MATHISEN: When you say highly engaged, what does that mean?
BETTINGER: It means that they`re looking at their portfolios on a regular basis. They`re planning around their portfolio. They`re looking at the long term. But they`re certainly not timing the markets.
MATHISEN: Are they afraid? Are they complacent? Are they bullish, what?
BETTINGER: I think they`re concerned. Two thirds of our clients have indicated that they expect a market correction sometime in the next nine months. That`s a pretty high statistic for us historically.
At the same time, they know that being in the markets for the long haul is probably the right strategy. So, they`re not looking to bail out either.
MATHISEN: When Chuck Schwab started this company, one of the selling points was we were going to give the individual investor a fair shake, a low commission. They were buying and selling stock. Is that still the main part of your business or is it more sticky money, less trading money?
BETTINGER: Well, it`s an important part of our business, but it`s a very small percent overall, maybe 15 percent. The vast majority of our clients today are long-term strategic investors. And today, what we do is provide services that help them manage that money, I think again at a great model, just like Chuck started out with. But it`s a kind different business model than it was 40 years ago.
MATHISEN: I assume some are still buying individual equities, but an awful lot of them are buying ETFs, aren`t they?
BETTINGER: You`re exactly right, Tyler. Individual equities for the most part have been replaced by ETFs for many investors. The idea of buying that single company and hoping your right just doesn`t measure up to buying a portfolio of companies. So, ETFs continue to grow.
MATHISEN: We`re here in Washington for this event, 2,000 registered investment advisers. How concerned are your clients about what they see going on in Washington, and are they more concerned about the budget and debt mess or are they more concerned about the Fed?
BETTINGER: I think they`re a lot more concerned about the Fed. I think many of our clients look at the politics of what goes on in Washington and they almost brush it off. It`s been going on so long that it`s not something that drives their decision-making.
The Fed, on the other hand, is a whole another story. The Fed is pumping money into this economy, buying their issued debt, the treasury issued debt instrument. No investor knows how this ends up. How does this unwind?
And that causes a lot of fear among long-term, very wise and sophisticated investors.
MATHISEN: So what you seem to be saying is that the Fed by its action has done two things. They propped up asset prices of equities and other things, and they have kept interest rates down. Has that meant that people who would otherwise be in safe, secure bonds have migrated up the risk spectrum?
BETTINGER: That`s exactly what it means. People that counted on retirement making 3 percent, 4 percent, 5 percent in bonds or CDs, it`s not just possible.
So they are being pushed either into equity stocks that pay dividends or higher risk fixed income.
Again, I don`t know how this ends. I`m worried about how it ends. Our investors worry about how it ends.
We`d love to see the Feds start to slowly unwind some of the stimulus, that`s what our clients are telling us what they want.
MATHISEN: So, that`s your message to presumably the new chairman, Ms. Yellen.
BETTINGER: Well, they`re a lot smarter than I am. So, their decisions are above my pay grade, but I can tell you what our clients are saying, and they`re saying it`s time to back off a little bit of the medicine.
MATHISEN: Well, Bettinger`s comments about investors` appetite for exchange traded funds backed up by some hard numbers. In a survey for the conference, 55 percent of investors` advisers say their clients want more low expense ETF and index funds in their portfolios — Susie.
GHARIB: Tyler, now, turning thousands of miles away in China. A key meeting is underway with Chinese leaders to plan the future path for that country`s economy. It`s known as the third plenum. This secret, closed-door meeting of communist party leaders takes place every five years. Now, some China watchers are predicting this gathering will result in big economic and social changes.
MATHISEN: Well, those leader`s probably welcomed a report today showing that China`s economy is picking up strength. The industrial output at Chinese factories rose more than 10 percent in October, the gains far more than expected and adding to recent data showing momentum in China`s economy.
GHARIB: Our next guest just returned from China, where he met with Chinese policy-makers and business leaders to talk about what reforms to expect from the third plenum meeting in Beijing.
He`s Robert Hormats, former under-secretary at the U.S. State Department. And he`s now vice chairman at Kissinger Associates.
So, Bob, a lot of talk about this meeting having a big breakthrough, bold reform. Is that what you`re expecting? I mean, what did you hear from the people you talked with in China last week?
ROBERT HORMATS, FORMER STATE DEPT UNDER SECRETARY: Well, I think most Chinese people who are engaged in this are not expecting very bold reforms. For instance, 1978, you had Deng Xiaoping`s major reforms opening up China and introducing a dramatic series of changes to make the economy more market-oriented. This time, the key words are comprehensive and deep.
And I think they need to cover a wide range of things. They need to improve the efficiency of the banking system to make sure that capital goes to more efficient uses rather than largely state enterprises. They need to free up the deposit rate so depositors will get a more market-oriented rate.
They need to make some changes in the capital output, to allow a greater degree of inflow and outflow of capital. They need to improve opportunities for state and local governments to obtain revenues because now they engage in very unwise practices about selling land and giving it to developers. And they don`t have their own sources of revenues so they have to do this. And this disturbs a lot of people whose land is being confiscated.
So, there are a wide of issues that need to be addressed.
GHARIB: But, Bob, what does this mean in terms of economic growth? I mean, one of the things that we heard from a lot of the CEOs of American companies this earning season is that their profits were impacted by slower growth in their China operations. So is there was hope there would be more liberalized business practices in China or some efforts to boost economic growth.
Are we going to hear any of that coming out of this meeting?
HORMATS: Well, there are a lot of points, in your question. One, there will be greater liberalization. There will be a reduction in regulations. It will be easier to make investments. They`d be less elements in the government approval process for lots of business transactions.
So, the economy will be a lot more market-oriented. At the same — and that should help growth. At the same time, there is a lot of excess capacity and the government is tightening up credit to help to shrink that excess capacity. They`re also going to try to re-orient capital from less efficient to more efficient utilization purposes, like away from state enterprises and the private sector.
But the government has said itself, that it`s not going to go all-out for the kind of growth that it had years a few years ago, 9 percent and 10 percent. They`re going to go for around 7 1/2 percent to enable this transition to take place smoothly, and enable this down — pressing down of excess capacity to take place and to deal with environmental issues.
The difference for American business will be the kind of things that China will buy. China is less export oriented than before. The kind of things they buy will be high-end consumer goods. Capital equipment to make more high-quality technology products, rather than the more traditional capital intensive products of the past.
GHARIB: So how can U.S. businesses and investors act on this new information? I mean, is this a game changer in terms of doing business with China?
HORMATS: It may not be a game-changer. It may not be quite as dramatic as these so-called third plenums of past. But I think it will put China`s growth, if it works on a steadier stream, a more secure stream of growth around 7 1/2 percent or 8 percent in the next few years.
And investors should look at the compositional changes, that is to say the kind of things China will buy will move from raw materials and a sort of heavy capital-intensive kinds of equipments to other things that are more technology-oriented and high-quality consumer products will be very important if consumer growth increases.
GHARIB: Right. I know it`s a secretive meeting, but we should know in the next day or so any headlines coming out of the meeting, right?
HORMATS: Yes, and it may take a little time, but we should hear a press conference at the end of the meeting, and then they`ll be a plenum report sometime in the next several days, but perhaps not right away.
GHARIB: All right. We`ll see what happens. Thank you so much, Bob. Always a pleasure to get your analysis.
HORMATS: Thank you. Thanks.
GHARIB: Robert Hormats, former undersecretary with the U.S. State Department.
MATHISEN: All right. Susie, thank you very much.
You know, today is 11-11. It`s known as single`s day in China, sort of their Valentine`s Day, when single gentlemen are encouraged to confess their feelings for someone special. And everybody is encouraged to shop online. This year, Chinese consumers spent an estimated a $5.1 billion on single`s day gifts, mostly that from the Web site, Alibaba, partly owned by Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO). And that broke a record for e-commerce sales on this single`s day.
GHARIB: Well, over in the oil markets today, a lot of talk about Iran and those weekend talks in Geneva. Negotiations over the past six days between Iran, the U.S., and five other world powers ended without a deal on Iran`s nuclear program, which could result in the lifting of sanctions against buying Iran`s oil. Well, those talks are expected to resume in 10 days.
Meanwhile, with no deal reached, oil prices rose a bit today, closing just above $95 a barrel.
MATHISEN: Gasoline prices continue to slide. The Lundberg Survey reports that over the past three weeks, prices at the pump have fallen nearly 15 cents a gallon to a nationwide average of just $3.22 for regular.
GHARIB: And still ahead on the program: Amazon`s wish list. Sunday delivery is now available in major cities. But is it enough to deal a blow to Amazon`s biggest competitor?
But, first, here is a look at how the international markets closed today.
MATHISEN: Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) has engaged in settlement talks with government-run mortgage giant Freddie Mac after the bank was found liable for fraud over faulty mortgages sold by its countrywide financial unit. The government is seeking $864 millions in damages, and a deal would shield Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) from any future so-called put-backs of mortgages from Freddie Mac, stemming from loans sold before 2012.
GHARIB: The world`s biggest online retailer is teaming up with the nation`s biggest delivery service for something that has never been done before, door-to-door deliveries on Sunday from the post office.
Jon Fortt has the story.
JON FORTT, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) got its start as a bookseller, the biggest parts of its pitch were price and selection. But now that it`s expanding into selling practically everything, speed is as important as ever.
(on camera): And that`s why today`s news is especially important for the company. Working with the Postal Service, Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) is beginning to roll out Sunday package delivery starting with New York and the L.A. areas.
(voice-over): For the Postal Service, it`s the rare headline that might actually make customers happy, after plenty of talk about cutbacks on Saturday mail service and price hikes to 49 cents to send first class mail, Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) expects to offer Sunday delivery at no extra charge.
So, for the postal service, which had nearly $12 billion in revenue from packages and shipping last year, it`s a boost to a growth business. What`s in it for Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN)? Loyalty. Prime subscribers order from Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) more often, with Sunday delivery, they`re likely be happier with the company.
JEFF BEZOS, AMAZON PRES. & CEO: So in our retail business, we know, for example, that ten years from now, people are going to still want low prices. We know they`re still going to want fast delivery. We never have to worry that we`ll wake up 10 years from now and customers will say, Mr. Bezos, I love Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), I just wish you delivered a little more slowly.
That`s not going to happen.
FORTT: And what will this do for Amazon`s bottom line? Probably won`t help in the short-term but it could help the company continue to grow faster than competitors, which is what investors want to see.
R.J. HOTTOVY, MORNINGSTAR: I just think this is a win, win for both Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and the United States Postal Service. I think that by offering a number of different ways to get products to consumers, I think that`s a huge win for Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN).
FORTT (on camera): We`ll have to wait for Amazon`s next earnings call in January to find out whether find out whether Sunday package delivery was a hit for Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN). But either way, it seems like the reindeer won`t be the only ones working overtime this season.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Jon Fortt.
MATHISEN: Drugmaker Shire (NASDAQ:SHPGY) is shelling out $4.2 billion to buy ViroPharma (NASDAQ:VPHM) and that`s where we begin tonight`s “Market Focus”.
The Irish company, Shire (NASDAQ:SHPGY), is placing big bets on the market for treating rare diseases, by acquiring ViroPharma (NASDAQ:VPHM), a bio pharmaceutical firm that specializes in unusual disorders. The purchase price is almost 30 percent more than ViroPharma`s Friday closing price. Shares of ViroPharma (NASDAQ:VPHM) surged 25 1/2 percent today, to $49.42 on the news. Shire (NASDAQ:SHPGY) was up a fraction, to $135.39.
For a lack of diversity, in Eli Lilly`s pipeline is worrying analyst at Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS). Goldman downgraded the drugmaker to sell from neutral. Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) downgraded the drug maker to sell from neutral. Analysts also cited upcoming patent expirations and a week outlook for new drugs. Shares of Eli Lilly (NYSE:LLY) fell a fraction to $50.28 — Susie.
GHARIB: Transocean (NYSE:RIG) and activist investor Carl Icahn finally reached an agreement after a months-long proxy fight. The oil field services company agreed to pay a dividend of $3 a share and to shrink the number of seats on its board.
Now, Icahn owns a small stake on the offshore driller, and says that the reason he went after the company was over problems with development strategies and mergers.
Shares of Transocean (NYSE:RIG) popped 3 1/2 percent on news of a resolution. It closed at $55.37.
Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) director Marc Andreessen sold one third of its stake on the social media company. That`s according to an SEC filing. The venture capital still holds more than 4.5 million shares of Facebook (NASDAQ:FB). The stocks dropped almost 3 percent to $46.20.
And Gogo shares go-going up. That company provides in-flight-access, and reported a smaller than expected loss and better sales. Gogo also boosted its full year profit and sales guidance as more airlines are signing up for its services. The stocks surged almost 29 percent to $24.15.
MATHISEN: FedEx (NYSE:FDX) is helping survivors of last Friday`s typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. It is believed to have killed upwards of 10,000 people. Federal Express (NYSE:EXPR) says it is working with disaster relief organizations, including the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army and Heart to Heart to donate the transportation of equipment and supplies to impacted areas.
GHARIB: Washington state lawmakers voted to extend nearly $9 billion in tax breaks to the year 2040 to the aerospace agent, Boeing (NYSE:BA). They are looking to entice the company to build its new 777X passenger jet at a facility outside Seattle. Boeing (NYSE:BA) has yet to announce where it plans to build the new aircraft.
MATHISEN: Meantime, lawmakers in Illinois are considering extending $53 million in tax credits over the next 15 years to Office Depot (NYSE:ODP), after its planned acquisition of rival Office Max which has 2,000 jobs based in Naperville, Illinois. Office Depot (NYSE:ODP) will decide whether to move those workers to its current home base in Boca Raton, Florida.
GHARIB: But. Tyler, Illinois may have bigger problems. The situating service has downgraded some $8.5 billion worth of municipal bonds issued by the city of Chicago, cutting them three notches lower. Now, it is the latest recognition of a massive pension crisis in America`s third largest city.
And as Scott Cohn reports, Chicago is by no means alone.
SCOTT COHN, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The city of the big shoulders has a giant albatross around its neck.
MAYOR RAHM EMANUEL, CHICAGO: Our pension debt threatens all the investments we`ve made in the past two years to reform and strengthen Chicago for the future.
COHN: That`s Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel who told the city council last month that the city is recovering from the worst of the recession, but there`s that one big issue.
EMANUEL: We must deal with our looming pension crisis.
COHN: A $27 billion crisis, that`s the shortfall in Chicago`s six employee pension funds.
EMANUEL: We cannot allow the future to become a stark choice between a pension payment or a police officer, a pension payment or a parks program, a pension payment or a school principal.
COHN: But that`s already happening. With 1,700 fewer police officers on the street than there were five years ago, Chicago is the murder capital of America. Pension risks overshadow recent fiscal improvement, wrote Fitch, in downgrading Chicago`s debt.
Emanuel is negotiating with the unions and he`s proposing new taxes and fees to shore up the pension funds, which Chicago has been short-changing for years.
(on camera): And in that respect, Chicago is hardly unique. Virtually every municipality in America is facing some sort of pension issues, some estimates as high as $4 trillion. After all, when the economic area gets tough, one of the ways to put it off is the payment to the pension funds.
(voice-over): John White heads the PFM Group, which helps cities clean up the mess.
JOHN WHITE, PFM GROUP CHAIRMAN: Pretty much everyone who has a pension problem will skip payments. And that comes home to roost.
COHN: And pensions are just one of the issues facing America`s cities, which together make up 85 percent of U.S. output. There is aging infrastructure. Budget cuts, an economic engine that`s sputtering.
Scott Cohn, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT.
GHARIB: Now, all next week, Scott will be crisscrossing the country, highlighting some of the other issues facing America`s cities — five cities, five issues, in five days.
MATHISEN: And coming up, how businesses large and small are helping veterans transition from active duty to a civilian job.
But, first, how the commodities performed today. The bond markets closed today for Veterans Day.
GHARIB: It`s Veterans Day. And sadly, many of the nation`s vets, transitioning service members and their spouses are currently unemployed.
But initiative Hiring Our Heroes has been making big strides in changing that.
Hampton Pearson has the latest.
HAMPTON PEARSON, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After laying a wreath paying tribute to America`s veterans at Arlington National Cemetery, President Obama said now is the time to focus on the next generation of veterans coming home from a decade of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our time of service to our newest veterans has only just begun.
PEARSON: Jason Boyle spent 10 years in the Army, including two tours in Afghanistan, but when the infantryman came home last year after a medical discharge due to combat injuries, he spent eight months searching for a job. His service and sacrifice overlooked by potential employers.
JASON BOYLE, ARMY VETERAN: They just overlooked. They`re like, OK, well, yes, you`re infantry. Anybody can hold a gun and go to Afghanistan. What is your other skill set?
PEARSON: He and his wife were on the verge of losing their military health insurance and exhausting his separation pay when Jason decided to go to one more job fair where he got a job with a Richmond, Virginia area telecom company.
BOYLE: It was life-changing. The night before we went to the career fair, I was laying in bed crying, I didn`t know what else to do.
PEARSON: In the next five years, an estimated 1.5 million service members of the post-9/11 era will be making a lift from active duty to a civilian job. Their unemployment rate is 10 percent, well above the national average. For vets under 25, the unemployment rate is closer to 20 percent.
Two years ago, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce launched the Hiring Our Heroes initiative, launching job fairs in all 50 states and partnering with businesses large and small.
ERIC EVERSOLE, HIRING OUR HEROES EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: The Pentagon, the V.A., they`re all estimating that it could be anywhere from 280,000 to 300,000 service members are going to be transitioning each year for the next five years. And that doesn`t include their spouses. So, we`re going to see a significant number of post-9/11 veterans who are going to be all looking for jobs in the next five years.
PEARSON (on camera): The message from veterans to potential employers: give us a chance to take what we learned in the military to prove it can apply to jobs in the civilian economy.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Hampton Pearson, in Washington.
GHARIB: And that is NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT tonight. I`m Susie Gharib. Thanks for joining us.
MATHISEN: And I`m Tyler Mathisen. Thanks from me as well. Have a great evening everybody. And we hope to see you right back tomorrow night.