ANNOUNCER: This is NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT with Tyler Mathisen and Susie Gharib, brought to you in part by —
SUSIE GHARIB, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR: Rally returns. The S&P closes in record territory. The NASDAQ is at a 13-year high — leaving many investors wondering if the stock market`s rocky January start is the rear-view mirror.
Union votes. Some Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) workers vote today on whether to unionize. But could this small group have big repercussions for the company?
And CEO of the year. Morningstar`s pick for the top chief executive is a turn-around expert whose stock has more than double over the past two years. And Tyler will introduce you to him.
We have all that and more tonight on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for Wednesday, January 15th.
Good evening, everyone. Tyler will be along a little bit later in the program.
Well, stocks are on a roll. Another triple-digit gain today for the Dow blue chips and the S&P 500 and the Dow transportation index all rose to fresh all-time highs. And the NASDAQ closed at its highest level in more than 13 years. It looks like stocks have shaken off the stumbling start to the New Year. They got a big lift this morning, from Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) earnings. The bank`s profits shot up eight-folds from a year ago.
Also helping? A big surprise boost in manufacturing and a World Bank forecast calling for a stronger growth outlook not only for the U.S., but the global economy as well. On Wall Street today, the Dow jumped 108 points, the NASDAQ was up 31 and the S&P added nine points.
John Manly joins us. He`s chief equity strategist at Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) Funds Management.
So, John, is this really a turn-around? And if so, what happened? Why the change in sentiment?
JOHN MANLEY, WELLS FARGO FUNDS MANAGEMENT: I think it is a turn-around. I`m not sure it went down all that much when you consider.
But I think what`s happening is we`re starting to get information. We`re starting to get data on what`s been going on and the profit numbers are good. And I think it`s going to be a theme throughout most of the year.
GHARIB: So, you know, we`ve been hearing from many market strategists this year, saying that fundamentals really count this year. So, we got some good earnings news these past few days. If we continue to get good earnings news and some good economic news, what does it mean in terms of the outlook for the stock market this year?
MANLEY: It should be positive. I think the Federal Reserve is committed to not tightening for a while. They want to make absolutely sure the economy is coming back. They want a higher burden of proof than the market going to require.
I think that stocks will do well under that scenario. Very, very well.
GHARIB: What do you mean by very well?
MANLEY: Well, we`ve had a target of 2,000 on the S&P for over a year and a half.
GHARIB: And we`re close to that number right now.
MANLEY: And I think that`s a very good point. But I think that`s an easy target. I think that`s a number that was meant to be raised when we put it in place, and may well very raise it as it goes on.
You have very, very modest assumptions to get you there. And I think we can probably exceed them.
One of the things you have to think about when you get — when you look at the market going into the New Year, if you get the sign right. If it`s plus or minus, let the actual numbers work themselves out — I think the fact is that people should be buying stocks because there`s profits to be made this year.
GHARIB: Well, this is a complicated and confusing time for many investors coming off of a fabulous 2013. What kinds of do`s and don`ts should investors do with their portfolio and with their money?
MANLEY: Yes. It`s always — I think the proper thing is to ask yourself the right questions. I think the first question is do I own enough stock. Do I own enough stock? Do I own enough exposure to the stock market to take care of myself and my family over a period of time?
I think stocks are ultimately going to outperform I think they may outperform this year. And then you have to ask yourself, is, what`s holding me back? What am I scared of? Is everyone else scared of that? Are these things already in the marketplace?
And I think you can`t look back, you have to look forward. And you have to accept what`s on your plate. And I think what`s on the plate is still very appetizing.
GHARIB: All right. So, in terms of more specific strategies — I mean, what kinds of stocks are we talking about? Big stocks? Small stocks? U.S. stocks, non-U.S. stocks?
MANLEY: Well, I don`t dislike any of them. I think large stocks are still a pretty good place for individual investors to go. They`re familiar names. We`re more likely to buy into those things and trying to go down the road and look at smaller stocks.
I think the U.S. is a great place to be. I actually think in some respects, Europe may be better at the margin. It`s been cheaper market, but it`s cheap for a reason. That reason is going away.
I think the European economy is beginning to recover after being in a real slump for a while. I think they have some control over their destiny. I think we can see everything you mentioned do well, but I would probably favor big.
And if I had to choose between the two, which I really wouldn`t — I think Europe may outperform the U.S.
GHARIB: All right. So, why do you say that? Why do you say —
MANLEY: I just think at the margin, the change in Europe could be greater. I mean, obviously, when you go offshore, you`re not as familiar. Maybe, you know, you need to get assistance as far as picking the stocks and picking the areas.
But I do think Europe is turning. It was a rather quaint recession and in the terms it was old-fashioned. They chose to have it and I think they`ve chosen not to have it any more. Regardless, I think Europe is coming out of its funk.
GHARIB: All right. John, thanks a lot, great information.
MANLEY: Thanks, Susie.
GHARIB: John Manley of Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) Funds Management.
Payback time at Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL). The tech giant will refund more than $32 million to consumers, settling a complaint by the Federal Trade Commission that it charged parents for costly mobile apps that kids were buying without permission from their parents.
FTC Chairman Edith Ramirez explained how the hidden charges added up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EDITH RAMIREZ, FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION CHAIRWOMAN: The FTC alleges that Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) failed to tell parents that when they entered their Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) password, they were authorizing a charge for a virtual item to be used in the app as well as opening a 15-minute window during which their child could make unlimited additional purchases without further action by the parent.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GHARIB: Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) will be also required to change its billing practices to make sure parents give the OK before getting charged for those in-app fees.
Meanwhile, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is gearing up to hit it big in the world`s largest smartphone market. Starting this Friday, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhones will be sold at China Mobile (NYSE:CHL) stores for the first time ever.
Eunice Yoon sat down with the heads of both companies.
EUNICE YOON, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The chiefs of Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and China Mobile (NYSE:CHL) are gearing up for a big day on Friday, that`s a day when the iPhone will be available to Chinese customers at China Mobile (NYSE:CHL) stores.
TIM COOK, APPLE CEO: It`s a watershed day for Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL). It`s a huge announcement.
YOON: Up until now, iPhones were only sold at its rivals, limiting Apple`s market share. But after a long courtship, the tech titan sealed the deal last December. China Mobile (NYSE:CHL) will get phones that will encourage its customers to use its high-speed data network. Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) will gain access to the Chinese company`s vast network of more than 760 million subscribers.
COOK: I`m so honored to be doing business with Chairman Xi and China Mobile (NYSE:CHL). They have the largest network.
We`re incredibly impressed with them. We have deep respect for them. And have had from the very first discussion that we`ve had together. We see this as bringing the world`s best smartphone to the very largest and now the fastest network in China.
YOON: Many analysts believe that Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) needed to broker a deal with China Mobile (NYSE:CHL) to compete further in this fast-growing handset market where low-cost smartphones are gaining ground.
Tim Cook isn`t concerned and neither is China Mobile`s chairman, Mr. Xi Guohua.
(on camera): Mr. Xi, will you now use an iPhone?
XI GUAHUA, CHINA MOBILE CHAIRMAN (through translator): Good question. Before China Mobile (NYSE:CHL) and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) joined hands, I used a cell phone of other brands. Now, I switched to an iPhone. I`m very thankful to Tim Cook, that this morning, he gave me one of the first iPhones made for China Mobile (NYSE:CHL). And it`s gold, the most popular color amongst youngsters.
YOON: China Mobile`s chairman said the company already had millions of pre-orders, even though its pricing of the phones is slightly higher than the company`s rivals.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Eunice Yoon in Beijing.
GHARIB: On Capitol Hill today, lawmakers took a big step towards passing a federal spending bill. The House overwhelming passed the more than $1 trillion bipartisan bill that will fund the government through the end of September. That bill will go to the Senate where it`s expected to pass as soon as Thursday.
The economic outlook is positive and the U.S. economy continued to grow at a moderate pace. That`s the message from the Federal Reserve`s latest Beige Book survey of conditions around the nation over the past six weeks. Now, some regions reported a pick-up in growth, thanks to more consumer spending and a jump in factory activity.
As we mentioned at the top of the program, U.S. factories have been pretty busy, especially in New York state. The Empire State Manufacturing Index rose to the highest level in two years in the month of December. New orders, shipments and even hiring all increased.
Well, the White House is betting big on even more U.S. manufacturing. President Obama was in Raleigh, North Carolina, today, to announce a new public/private manufacturing hub to be developed there. The goal is to bring more research and tech jobs to the U.S.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We`ve made progress. And that`s what I mean when I say this can be a break-through year for Americans. The pieces are all there, to start bringing back more of the jobs that we`ve lost over the past decade. You know, a lot of companies around the world are starting to talk about bringing jobs back to the United States, bringing jobs back to places like North Carolina.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GHARIB: Seventy million dollar in federal funding has been earmarked for manufacturers in the Raleigh area to make high-powered computer chips.
There could be some big changes coming to Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN).com. For the first time ever in the U.S., a group of Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) employees are voting to unionize. There`s only 30 of them voting at an Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) warehouse in Delaware, but those equipment maintenance and repair technicians could become the e-tailer`s first labor union members.
AFL-CIO head Richard Trumka says there`s a reason why Amazon`s workers want to unionize.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICHARD TRUMKA, AFL-CIO PRESIDENT: A lot of it has to do with rules that they do. They jerk people around on — for vacation, don`t let people to have adequate vacation. They don`t give them the adequate respect that they deserve.
And so, they wanted a union. Hopefully, we`ll get it for them. It will be the beginning of organizing Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) so that we can make it a stronger, better company.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GHARIB: Well, Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) issued a statement about the vote in part. It said median pay inside our fulfillment centers is 30 percent higher than that of people who work in traditional retail stores. Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) also said, “The top priority of our fulfillment center network is safety. It`s safer to work in the Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) fulfillment network than in a department store.”
Jon Fortt has been following the story and joins us now.
It`s very fascinating story. So, let`s say they have the vote. How do you think that`s all going to play out and what does it mean for Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN)?
JON FORTT, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: Well, it`s unclear, Susie. Both Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and the union have said they`re not sure which way it`s going to go. It comes down to about 30 workers. We`re not sure which way they`re going to vote. We`ll get the results late at night.
But this is important because the union has said based on this, they want to unionize the rest of the warehouse, not just those 30, but more than 1,000 other workers move on to the rest of Amazon`s network. And this is a company that`s grown gangbusters over the years, from over 20,000 workers in 2008, to nearly 90,000 as of the end of 2012. We`ll know how many they have now as of the end of this month.
GHARIB: So, you heard the statement from Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), sounding like we pay everybody well, we`re safe workplace, why is it that these workers want to unionize? Is it wages? Is it something else?
FORTT: Well, the union says it`s really not so much about wages. It is about vacation. It is about flexibility on the job. About breaks, things like that. They want to have the ones who are pushing for this, a little bit more of a cohesive voice.
GHARIB: All right. So, you know, Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) is growing gangbusters, going into all of these new areas. As this expands, is the union issue going to keep coming back?
FORTT: You know, Susie, I really think it will, because they`re moving into more traditional areas that are more traditionally unionized. We hear all this talk about the grocery business. We note they`re expanding that in San Francisco and some other areas.
You look at a company like Safeway (NYSE:SWY) that does grocery for a living, 80 percent of their workforce is union. But you look at Costco (NASDAQ:COST), closer to 10 percent of theirs is Costco (NASDAQ:COST) is known to treat its workers really well. It`s got about 15,000 teamsters workers, and they tend to treat the rest of their non-union workers, cover them under the same bargaining rights that they negotiate with the unions.
So how Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) acts from here, win or lose, is going to be really important to how much flexibility they have with their workforce.
GHARIB: And it may set the tone for other retailers like Costco (NASDAQ:COST), Walmart to follow.
FORTT: It might. Unions have been trying to get more representation at Costco (NASDAQ:COST). But the workers, by and large, don`t seem to want it.
GHARIB: I`m sure you`re going to continue following this.
GHARIB: Thanks so much, Jon, for coming with us — Jon Fortt.
Well, still ahead: two Dow components, Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) and American Express (NYSE:EXPR) (NYSE:AXP) report earnings tomorrow. Why are some expecting one report to be stronger than the other?
GHARIB: It`s been a big week for bank earnings. And tomorrow, we get two more, Dow component`s Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) and American Express (NYSE:EXPR) (NYSE:AXP).
Mary Thompson has a preview of what to expect.
MARY THOMPSON, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The fourth quarter is expected to be an up one for profits at American Express (NYSE:EXPR) (NYSE:AXP). A down one for profits at Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS). American Express`s winning recipe mixing expense controls with steady spending by its affluent client base according to analyst Daniel Furtado.
DANIEL FURTADO, JEFFERIES: I think three things, myself as well as most investors will be looking at, will be spend volumes, cost control and credit performance on tomorrow`s print.
THOMPSON: Client spending, seen rising 7.5 percent last quarter with, AmEx seen delivering on its promise of capping expense growth at 3 percent. Net of the efforts expected to be a 12 percent rise in the company`s fourth quarter profits, once you account for charges AmEx took in the same quarter ago quarter. Revenue seemed growing 5 1/2 percent to $8.6 billion.
(on camera): Like American Express (NYSE:EXPR) (NYSE:AXP), analyst Steven Chubak said the key to Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) four quarter results will be how the company handles expenses in the fourth quarter, specifically compensation expenses.
STEVEN CHUBAK, NOMURA: We believe that there`s still going to be more meaningful comp leverage in the fourth quarter consistent with what we`ve seen historically.
THOMPSON: Meaning that the amount the investment bank puts aside to pay employees as a percentage of revenue will fall in the fourth quarter, form the third. Cutting those expenses could be critical to Goldman meeting expectations for a 28 percent decline in fourth quarter profits. Behind the flood in net income, a lackluster performer by a unit generating 45 percent of Goldman`s revenue.
The business known as FIX trades bonds, currencies and commodities. It was the firm`s weak spot in the third quarter, weakness Wall Street expects spilled over into the fourth.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Mary Thompson.
GHARIB: We begin tonight`s “Market Focus” with a major restructuring announcement for JCPenney. After the market closed today, the struggling retailer said it will cut around 2,000 jobs and close 33 underperforming stores. It`s all in an effort to save about $65 million a year. Shares fell in after-hours trading. They were up 1 percent in the regular session to $7 a share.
Big management news at Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) also after the bell. The company`s chief operating officer is leaving, effective tomorrow. The news came out according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Henrique De Castro gave no reason for his abrupt departure. He was brought in by the CEO Marissa Mayer two years ago. Ahead of the news, shares fell slightly today to $41 and change.
Aetna (NYSE:AET) raised the full-year revenue outlook by $1 billion, saying that private Medicare sign-ups are better than expected. The insurer now expects revenue to come in at $54 billion. But Aetna`s stock still fell a bit to $71.40.
And CSX (NYSE:CSX) Corporation said its quarterly profits fell nearly 4 percent. The railroad operator blamed the miss on a sharp decline in coal hauling. That mapped a jump in volume from strong shipments of chemicals, autos and agricultural products. Shares dropped in after-hours trading but they rose 1 percent in the regular session to $29.23.
Well, the transportation sector is one of the indicators of economic and market growth. In fact, as mentioned earlier, the Dow transportation index hit a new high today. Now, one rail that`s had success is Canadian Pacific. And today, its chief executive, Hunter Harrison, was honored as CEO of the year by investment research firm Morningstar (NASDAQ:MORN).
Our own Tyler Mathisen sat down with Harrison in Chicago.
TYLER MATHISEN, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT: I guess my first question for you is how is business?
HUNTER HARRISON, CANADIAN PACIFIC CEO: Business is good. We just completed pretty successful year that we`ll be reporting in a week or so. And — but business levels have been surprisingly good for us.
MATHISEN: You know, in your business, the railroad business, you have a unique perch for judging the health of the overall economy. Do you a lot of intermodal truck things, consumer products, you carry a lot of fertilizer, you carry a lot of coal. You carry a lot of oil.
How is the economy doing and how do you think it`s going to fare in 2014 overall?
HARRISON: Well, some would argue that I`m not qualified to answer that question. But I think that, I think I see more positives than negatives. I think if we get over this issue about crude particularly in Canada and now in North Dakota, and I think given that we`re about to move forward with the consumer confidence, I think that`s going to just push us right over the top, and get the economy rolling again.
And I think there`s some positive numbers coming out of, if you look at housing starts. If you look at some of the projected sales in the auto industry and we`re just I think right at the top of the hill. If we can push the last little bit over, there`s some momentum there.
MATHISEN: The little engine that could?
MATHISEN: You remember that story. You carry a lot of timber.
You mentioned crude. There are a lot of people who were worried about the transportation of crude — particularly the heavy crudes from Balkan and the oil sands.
On the nation`s rail structure — how worried should they be? And is the infrastructure, the cars, the tracks, which haven`t been improved all that much over the years, is it up to the task from a safety standpoint?
HARRISON: Well, that`s a big question. Number one, I think it`s clearly in my view, we have been kind of an outlier here with the industry, the 111 tank cars that you hear so much about, if I was calling the shots would be stop tomorrow. They`re not ready, they`re not equipped for that commodity as I see it. They`ve been controversial for over two decades now.
So number one, that needs to change. I think from a track infrastructure standpoint. Much better than people give it credit for.
I think we`re looking beyond the toughest issue. And if you look and investigate a lot of these accidents, it comes down to human behavior. But that`s not the politically correct thing to talk about change people`s behavior. So, we tend to fall back on, let`s do some more regs.
Well, if people don`t live up with reg one, two and three, what makes you think they`re going to live with four, five and six?
So, it`s not a case of regulatory issue.
MATHISEN: It`s often human accountability. You came in in the summer of 2012. As part of a turn-around team at your railroad, led by the activist investor Bill Ackman who brought you in. It`s been a remarkable turn-around.
Last year, you stock was up 39 percent. 2012, it was up 58 percent.
What is the toughest part about engineering a turn-around and what has been the toughest part at your company. And where are you in that process? Are you in the eighth inning, the fifth inning? Where?
HARRISON: It`s clearly a change in people`s view. Change in the culture, when an organization is not successful and this company, it kind of lost its way. And you got to get it back and turn it back in a different direction.
It causes a lot of change with requires people to change. People resist change. So, that`s the biggest challenge that we`ve had.
But at the same time when you can make that happen, it`s the biggest rewards for you. Now, where are we in the ballgame? We`re probably in the early innings. And that`s why I see there`s a lot of runway left.
MATHISEN: What more do you have to do? You`ve cut workforce. You`ve cut locomotives. You`ve gotten rid of some train stock. What`s left?
HARRISON: Well, there`s more left in each one of those baskets.
You know, we`re spending a lot of money on improving the infrastructure with sidings, longer sidings that can accommodate longer trains. Clearly, now, we`re positioned ourselves that we can take advantage of the service offering we put together. So, we can gain market share, start to grow the business, that`s pretty exciting.
So, there`s no one area that, that we`ve — that we`re out of opportunities there. A lot of runway ahead of us. People tend to think when the company has a run like we`ve had, well, it`s over. That`s what we thought with each turn-around.
What do they do next? Well, I`ve never been in a situation where one of these turn-around stories, where we say, well, it`s over. There`s nothing else to do let`s sit back and rest on our laurels. That`s not the case.
MATHISEN: Hunter Harrison, congratulations on a job well done and on your reward, I`d say, CEO of the year.
HARRISON: Thanks. Great to be with you.
GHARIB: To find out how Morningstar (NASDAQ:MORN) chose its CEO of the year, go to our Web site, NBR.com.
And coming up on the program, as hackers attack, companies are spending big money to protect themselves. So which firms are positioned to cash in on the strong demand for security? That`s next.
GHARIB: The impact of the Target (NYSE:TGT) security breach is growing. Those 110 million debit and credit card customers who had their data and personal information stolen at Target (NYSE:TGT) may not be the only victims of the retailer`s data breach.
According to a press report, companies that helped Target (NYSE:TGT) process payments could face millions of dollars in fines and cost-related to the hack attack, including a slew of consumer lawsuits and penalties from payment network like Visa (NYSE:V) and MasterCard (NYSE:MA).
Well, Target`s data breach has sparked a big demand from fellow retailers and other companies for greater security from other retailers.
Josh Lipton takes a look at little-known companies that are poised to make big gains by taking on hackers.
JOSH LIPTON, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: Hackers are making headlines, massive credit card breaches at Target (NYSE:TGT) and Neiman Marcus (NYSE:MCS) have retailers on edge. The president of Saks (NYSE:SKS) is calling the target hack attack a, quote, “Air Force One emergency” for the retail industry.
Chief information officers are nervous. They`re ready to spend more on cybersecurity. Morgan Stanley (NASDAQ:NBXH) (NYSE:MS), in a new survey of CIOs, finds that network security is high priority in 2014. CIOs expect an average of 8 percent growth in security this year, versus 6 percent last year.
KEITH WEISS, MORGAN STANLEY: All of these indicators point to a better —
LIPTON: Keith Weiss at Morgan Stanley (NASDAQ:NBXH) (NYSE:MS) says hackers can do a lot of damage, by stealing everything from a company`s intellectual property to its customers` personal information.
WEISS: Cybersecurity in particular has been a top priority for CIOs for the past several years. The main reason is the threat environment out there is, one, getting worse, and two, quickly evolving. And that the threats are getting worse. And what those threats actually are is a changing, change in dynamic.
So, CIOs are spending a lot of time trying to stay ahead of the threat environment.
LIPTON: The question for investors, which companies are best positioned to capitalize on the stronger demand for security. Weiss says one of his top picks is FortNet. Given the stronger demand for security, he says FortNet is going to get more business this year.
Dan Ives with FBR is sticking with FireEye. He says FireEye will move higher, as it takes share from Intel`s McAfee, Symantec (NASDAQ:SYMC), Juniper and Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO) over the next 18 months.
Finally, Sanjit Singh of Wedbush is bullish on InfoBlox, which offer as product that prevents malicious software from spreading through a company. Singh says InfoBlox could get a boost when it`s expected to announce new products in late February.
The problem of hacking isn`t going away. So, these are potentially strong investments for the future as CIOs do their best to defend their companies.
Josh Lipton, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, Silicon Valley.
GHARIB: And that is NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for tonight, I`m Susie Gharib, thanks for watching. Have a great evening, everyone. And we`ll see you right back here tomorrow night.
Nightly Business Report transcripts and video are available on-line post broadcast at http://nbr.com. The program is transcribed by CQRC Transcriptions, LLC. Updates may be posted at a later date. The views of our guests and commentators are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Nightly Business Report, or CNBC, Inc. Information presented on Nightly Business Report is not and should not be considered as investment advice. (c) 2014 CNBC, Inc.