SUSIE GHARIB, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR: Sharp selloff. Stocks
plunge and so do bond yields. What should nervous investors do? And are
you better off in equities or fixed income?
TYLER MATHISEN, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR: Consumer concerns.
The world`s largest retailer Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) reports its weakest sales
growth in five years and its outlook isn`t much better. Are its core
customers tapped out?
GHARIB: When he speaks, Wall Street listens. And what this hedge
fund billionaire just said about the market matters to investors.
We have all that and more tonight on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for
Thursday, May 15th.
MATHISEN: Good evening, everyone.
It is an evening for your beverage of choice.
If you own stocks, the funds that invest in them, Japan, Europe, here,
everywhere you turn investors were selling shares today. At one point the
Russell 2000 Index of smaller U.S. stocks dipped into correction territory,
off 10 percent from recent highs. And unlike other major U.S. indexes
today, it did manage to end off its lows, but there was plenty of damage
Just two days at the closing, at an all time high, the Dow fell 167
points, making for a two-day loss of nearly one and a quarter percent. The
NASDAQ was down 31 today, and the S&P ended lower by 17, about 1 percent.
Now, what`s worrisome is how swiftly sentiment has changed. The Dow
component Wal-Mart`s earnings and outlook cast doubt on the health of
American consumer. Today`s economic data were mixed. Jobless claims fell
to a seven-year low and the key regional manufacturing sector hit a four-
But overall, industrial output was off last month, and so was home
builder confidence, and then there was the commentary factor. Technical
analyst Ralph Acampora told CNBC he had a, quote, “sick feeling” that
smaller stocks could fall 25 percent soon.
Meanwhile, in Las Vegas, influential hedge fund investor David Tepper
told an investment conference that he was worried stock prices were
stretched and warned investors not to be strongly long the market. Maybe
what`s said in Vegas should have stayed in Vegas.
DOMINIC CHU, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): So,
why all the fuss over David Tepper`s comments? Well, let`s just say he`s
got a history of making market-moving calls. Back in September 2010,
Tepper`s first appearance on CNBC, he said the Fed`s stimulus program is a
signal to get aggressive.
DAVID TEPPER, APPALOOSA MANAGEMENT FOUNDER: That`s what going to come
with Q.E., right? Then, what`s going to do well? Everything in the near
So what do I do? I got to buy. I can`t take the chance of not being
a little bit longer now. That`s not meaning I`m going (EXPLETIVE DELETED)
through the walls. Can I say that?
CHU: He said it. And what followed became known as the Tepper rally,
a 14 percent bump in the S&P 500 during the next six months.
TEPPER: I`m the animal at the head of the pack, and like I said I
either get eaten or get the good grass.
CHU: Tepper was at it again last May, talking about the Fed winding
down its stimulus program or the long awaited taper.
TEPPER: If there is a true taper there`d better be a true taper, or
else you`re back into the last half. I think you might be in the last of
`99. So, like, guys that are short, they better have a shovel to get
themselves out of the grave.
CHU: The market run to new highs right after that, then stalled for a
bit. But over the next six months, the S&P 500 was up a little over 8
percent. And just last night, at the SALT Conference in Las Vegas, Tepper
told investors, “Don`t be too fricking long right now.”
(on camera): Once again today, the market responded with a selloff.
Advisers often like to warn that the past is no indicator of future
performance. But one thing seems to be certain. When David Tepper speaks,
the market listens.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Dominic Chu.
GHARIB: Well, as stocks tumbled, so did yields of the benchmark 10-
year treasury note. They are now below 2 1/2 percent, a seven-month low.
So, what`s driving bond yields lower and will they drop even further?
Steve Liesman gives three reasons why they could.
STEVE LIESMAN, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A
funny thing happened on the way to the year that interest rates were
supposed to march higher. They went lower, much lower. And some are doing
an about-face of forecasting that can keep going down from here. The yield
on the 10-year sank below 2 1/2 percent for much of the day, a place it
hadn`t been since 2013, and there are now three reasons some people think
that rates could fall further here.
First, it`s the economy. It was another day of mixed economic data,
with a strong improvement in jobless claims offset by weaker manufacturing
report. The housing data, meanwhile, continues to be weak.
The upshot the economy might have contracted in the first quarter,
while looking for a decent rebound in the second quarter. But taken
together, the first half growth currently forecast to be an anemic 1.6
percent, mostly it was a bet on stronger growth this year and higher
inflation underpinning the call for higher rates. Neither seems to be
Second, central banks are still easy and getting easier, the European
Central Bank is expected to ease in June. The U.S. Fed is reducing bond
purchases but still buying, taking long term paper off of the market, and
helping drive down rates.
Finally Long-term yields have been coming down for almost 30 years.
Some economists believe they are further yet to fall because the post-
financial crisis economy is going to grow sluggishly for years to come.
Since companies have billions of cash on their books, they don`t need to
borrow as much as they did. Consumers, meanwhile, burned by too much debt
during the recession are less willing to take on more of it.
Less demand for debt means lower interest rates. On the upside, lower
rates mean consumer borrowing cost should come down for homes, autos and
credit cards. And the lower the yield on bond and more attractive stocks
could become. Relatively that is.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Steve Liesman.
MATHISEN: Our guest tonight says he is advising clients to stick with
Alan Haft is a partner at Kelly Haft Financials.
Alan, welcome. Good to have you with us.
ALAN HAFT, KELLY HAFT FINANCIAL PARTNER: Hey. Thanks for having me.
MATHISEN: I`m sure you heard what David Tepper said. He doesn`t seem
to share your view. He says don`t be too long, he said don`t go short but
don`t be too long. Why is he wrong, Alan?
HAFT: Well, look, I mean, David Tepper is hard to argue, but I will
have to — you know, I`m reading a book called “Think Like a Freak.” It`s
the guy that wrote “Freakonomics.”
In the book, I was reminded of this, this morning. They analyzed —
there was a report that analyzed 6,000 stock predictions over the last 10
years. And about 40 percent of them came true. So, the prediction
business is very, very difficult, especially in a time where there is so
much mixed economic data.
Beginning this year, everybody thought bond yields would be higher
right now. They`re not. The prediction game is very, very difficult,
that`s for sure.
GHARIB: All right. So, Alan, why stocks?
HAFT: Because there`s nowhere else to put your money right now. For
as long as the Fed is going to keep interest rates low, just last week,
Yellen said that they`re going to keep rates low for at least a lengthy
period of time. There is nowhere else to put money right now. So let me
ask you this, if you can put money in a treasury and get 2 1/2 percent for
10 years, does that sound like a reasonable investment?
A lot of investors flooded into the bond market but they`re going to
be scratching their heads pretty soon and realizing, wait a second, we`re
not making any money in bonds. So, as long as the rates stay low, which
they will be for sometime to come, there is nowhere else to go right now in
this planet, except for stocks, especially with the one that pay nice
MATHISEN: There were a lot of stocks in the S&P 500 as we were
pointing out earlier today that actually yields more than the 10-year
But back to the point here — at the beginning of this year, I heard
an awful lot of folks saying exactly what you`re saying, why do you want to
tie up your money for 10 years at 3 percent. But so far this year, Alan,
the 10-year bond has out-performed the S&P, the Dow, Lord knows it out-
performed the Russell and the NASDAQ. It`s up in total return about 6 1/2
HAFT: Great point. So, here is where I would expand on that theory
instead of staying in stocks, because the market right now as a whole is
very tricky. It`s not very attractive. The bond market is out-performing
the stock market as a whole and segment plays in the market like sector
That being said, to stay in stocks right now on the big proponent of
staying in individual stocks, you`ve got to get picky right now. You can`t
exactly swear by the indexes, swear by the broad sectors. Being very picky
right now in stocks is really the best place to be at least for the short
term, because again, you`re not going to make money anywhere else.
And to your point, the market isn`t doing too well this year, as a
broad measurement to everything that`s going on.
GHARIB: All right, so help us pick one of the picky stocks. Name one
or two for our viewers for our viewer.
HAFT: I`m not a big fan of predictions, but I will say, even prior to
the show today, when we were on the call earlier, I did say AT&T (NYSE:T)
is one of my favorites, especially for the longer term, because look at a
company like AT&T (NYSE:T). It`s paying a little over 5 percent dividend
which is much, much higher than the bond rates are right now on reasonable
quality companies. So, if you`re going to pick a stock like an AT&T
(NYSE:T) and you`re going to get paid 5 percent and the dividends are
pretty reliable, if you have to stay in AT&T (NYSE:T) for five, seven, to
10 years, will it be worth more than it is today? For my money,
So, that`s why stocks like an AT&T (NYSE:T) are a much better place
for me to put my money than some long-term bond that is going to see me at
maybe 2 percent, 3 percent. I have to lock my money for that period of
MATHISEN: May all of your predictions come true, Alan.
HAFT: I hope so.
MATHISEN: All right. Alan Haft of Kelly Haft Financials.
GHARIB: All right. More now on Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT), we talked about
that at the top of the program. The stock was the biggest decliner in the
Dow today, falling about 2 1/2 percent. As we reported, it posted
disappointing first quarter results and is forecasting more weakness for
the current period.
Courtney Reagan has more on what`s working, what`s not working and
what needs to be done at Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT).
COURTNEY REAGAN, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: It is another
weak quarter for the world`s largest retailer. Wal-Mart`s first quarter
profit dropped falling short of expectations. Revenues also came up short.
Like other retailers, Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) says the severe winter
weather not only hurt sales but also increased expenses including
maintenance and utilities. Plus, it paid a higher than expected tax rate.
It`s hard to deny that weather did impact the retail sector in the
beginning of the year. But this is the fifth straight quarter of stagnant
or negative growth for sales at Wal-Mart`s U.S. stores open at least a
year. The problem goes beyond the polar vortex.
ROB PLAZA, KEY BANK EQUITY ANALYST: The consumer that they target is
in a tough spot until they see real wage growth, real improvement on the
jobs front. It`s going to be tough for Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) to really
deliver any meaningful upside.
REAGAN (on camera): Plus, Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) says the cuts in the
government food stamp program continues to pressure some of its shoppers.
U.S. CEO Bill Simon told reporters the retailer`s disappointing profit
forecast for the current quarter comes as a result of a cautious but
(voice-over): Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) launched five new programs in the
first quarter including a lower priced money transfer service, video game
trade-ins and an auto insurance comparison service. The problem is, none
of those are big enough to move the needle for the world`s largest
Not all of Wal-Mart`s segments are struggling, the neighborhood
markets continue to post strong sales, it`s international business
performed well and global economy sales grew 27 percent. But many believe
that as long as the lower income consumer suffers, Wal-Mart`s core sales
will limp along, as well.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Courtney Reagan.
MATHISEN: Still ahead, an early look at promising cancer drugs and
the companies behind them. They`re expected to come out of this year`s
biggest event for cancer research.
MATHISEN: Fast food workers left their fryers and took to the streets
today, protesting in 150 cities in 30 countries. Today`s one-day, wild cat
strike with workers demanding as much as $15 an hour and better working
conditions targets chains like McDonald`s and Burger King, which the
protesters say make huge profits while paying many workers the minimum
GHARIB: A crucial vote on open Internet or rules on so-called Net
Neutrality. The Federal Communications Commission voted to move forward
with new proposals that could allow Internet service providers to charge
content producers for Internet fast lanes, which would mean slower traffic
for everyone else. And a lot of people aren`t happy about it.
Hampton Pearson has more.
HAMPTON PEARSON, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):
FCC commissioners were met by protesters outside the agency headquarters
and inside the packed hearing room. Before a new set of Internet rules
were even put on the table.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A common carrier is required to provide service
in general terms and indiscriminately —
PEARSON: What followed was a divided FCC, debating new Internet rules
crafted by Chairman Tom Wheeler, aimed at banning broadband providers from
blocking or slowing down Web sites but opening the door for providers,
striking deals with content companies despite misgivings from the chairman.
TOM WHEELER, FCC CHAIRMAN: There is one Internet. It must be fast.
It must be robust, and it must be open. The speed and quality of the
connection that the consumer purchases must be unaffected by what content
he or she is using.
MICHAEL O`REILLY, FCC COMMISSIONER: Even the ardent supporters of net
neutrality recognize that some amount of traffic prioritization or
differentiation must be allowed or even encouraged. Voice must prioritize
over emails, video over plain data. Prioritization is not a bad word. It
is a necessary component of reasonable network management.
PEARSON: The commissioners voted along party lines to put out
proposed rules that will be open for public comment for the next four
months. Today was net neutrality advocates, those who feel all Internet
traffic should be treated equally whose voices were the loudest.
NICK KIMBRELL: Right now we`re facing a frightening future where
there could be internet for the rich, and maybe corporations like Comcast
(NASDAQ:CMCSA) (NYSE:CCS), like Verizon (NYSE:VZ), like AT&T (NYSE:T) would
be able to dominate the Internet, to monopolize the Internet, to flood the
Internet with their content at the expense of the rest of us.
MARY ALICE CRIM, NET NEUTRALITY PROTESTER: I already pay a lot for my
Internet bills. I don`t want to see those bills go higher. I certainly
don`t want to pay more for the access that I`ve already have.
PEARSON (on camera): Over and over, embattled FCC Chairman Tom
Wheeler emphasized that today`s action is the first step by regulators on
the road to drafting new rules for a truly open Internet.
At the FCC, I`m Hampton Pearson for NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT.
GHARIB: And we should note that Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) (NYSE:CCS),
one of the companies that Hampton mentioned in his report is the parent
company of CNBC, which produces this program.
Also today, another important vote from the FCC — in a story we told
you about yesterday, the agency voted to limit how much wireless spectrum
space giant telecoms like Verizon (NYSE:VZ) and AT&T (NYSE:T) will be able
to bid for in an auction of valuable airwaves, slated to take place next
year. The idea is to prevent those companies from stopping the low band
spectrum while allowing smaller competitors and new comers access to some
wireless air space.
MATHISEN: Verizon (NYSE:VZ) seeing some interest from Warren
Buffett`s Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.A) and Dan Loeb`s Third Point, and
that is where we begin tonight`s “Market Focus”.
In regulatory findings out tonight, Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.A)
disclosed a stake of more than half a billion dollars or about 11 million
shares in the telecom giant. Dan Loeb`s Third Point took a $170 million
stake. The stock was initially higher after the bell. During the regular
session, shares were slightly off at $47.96.
Shares of JCPenney shut off after the retailer reported a quarterly
loss that was narrower than expectations and revenue that beat estimates.
Same store sales were a little higher, marking the second straight
quarterly gain after nine straight declines. The retailer also announced
they obtained a new larger credit facility to strengthen its balance sheet.
The stocks surged initially after the bell, up as much as 27 percent.
Look at that chart. During the regular session the stock was down nearly 3
percent at $8.37.
Nordstrom (NYSE:JWN) posted strong quarterlies after the bell thanks
to sales online and at its rack outlets. Earnings were down from the
previous years mainly from investing and spending from the Canadian market.
The high end retailer backed its market for the full year. And after
hours, the stock was up about 10 percent. Shares were off in regular
trading to $61.49.
GHARIB: Rackspace shares also jumped on a Bloomberg News report that
it has hired Morgan Stanley (NASDAQ:NBXH) (NYSE:MS) to evaluate its
strategic option. The Cloud computing services provider may be looking to
team up with bigger technology companies. The stocks spiked right at the
close, up more than 7 percent to $30.68.
Kohl`s (NYSE:KSS) saw its profits drop as the retailer recorded lower
sales. Same store sales also fell missing analyst estimates. The company
did reaffirm, though, its previous full-year guidance. Still, shares fell
more than 3 percent to $52.21.
And shares of Eli Lilly (NYSE:LLY) tumbled after the drugmaker lost a
patent case in the English high court over its blockbuster lung cancer drug
to Actavis. The court ruled Actavis can launch a generic version of the
treatment. Lilly says it will appeal the decision. The stock was 3
percent lower to $58.21.
MATHISEN: A handful of biotech stocks saw big moves today. A few
weeks ahead of the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical
Oncology. The year`s biggest event for developments in the big money field
of cancer research and medication.
Meg Terrell joins us with more on the ASCO meeting, newest drugs
creating buzz and which companies investors are watching.
Meg, what are the big themes expected to be at this year`s meeting.
MEG TIRRELL, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Tyler, so
one of the big themes we`ve seen in years past and we`ll continue to see
this year is immuno oncology and that`s drugs that harness the immune
system to fight cancer. Now, a lot of the big pharma companies are working
on drugs in this space, including Bristol-Myers, AstraZeneca, Merck
(NYSE:MRK) and Roche. We`ll be looking to see more data there and, of
course, we saw some of that as we mentioned in the data drop we saw last
Another big theme this year is one we`ve seen over the last year and
that`s in blood cancer. Some of these therapies now are moving potentially
beyond chemotherapy and areas like chronic lymphocytic leukemia. So,
that`s a big new advance there.
And finally, I think there will be a lot of discussions around cancer
drug prices. Now, of course, this isn`t therapy. But this has been a huge
and growing issue as some of these new cancer drugs get very expensive.
GHARIB: So I understand, Meg, that there are a lot of abstracts or a
lot of studies that come out just before the meeting. What can you tell us
about what investors, as well as consumers can expect to hear from all of
TIRRELL: Yes, big data drop, with more than 5,000 studies coming out
of the meeting in advance. So, of course, you are seeing a lot of stocks
move today as investors are reacting to that news. Now, Bristol-Myers is
an interesting one. They`re one of the leaders in immuno oncology, but it
shows how high the expectations there are in that space.
Bristol-Myers getting downgraded today by an analyst at BMO, who is
disappointed with some combination in lung therapy from some of its
therapy. So, the stock fell today.
Also, some disappointment in a very early stage trial of an immuno
therapy drug from a company called insight, that stock also down today.
But that was a very, very small study. Only in eight patients and we
should see updated data at the meeting.
Now, in some more positive news, a positive lung cancer study from
AstraZeneca. And, of course, this is very important in the context of
Pfizer`s $106 billion bid for the company. AstraZeneca putting a lot of
emphasis on its cancer drug pipeline, says that this drug could potentially
bring in $3 billion in peak sales. So, that positive data is a boon for
But in an interesting twist, we also saw the stock rise of a small
biotech company called Clovis, which has a similar drug. And analysts are
saying that that data from AstraZeneca makes Clovis` drug look even better.
So that stuck went way up.
MATHISEN: All right. Meg, thank you very much.
And to read more about the companies that are working on cancer
treatments, head to our Web site, NBR.com.
GHARIB: And coming up. The fight for your car`s dashboard and why
Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) wants it to look like an iPhone.
MATHISEN: General Motors (NYSE:GM) has already recalled 8 million
cars this year alone, and just today, five more recalls were announced,
adding another 2.7 million vehicles to the list. Today`s new recalls
involve Cadillacs, Corvettes, Chevy SUVs and new Chevy Malibus, and the
problems range from faulty tie rods and tail lights, to power brake
software problems, GM says these newest troubles will cost the company $200
million in charges this quarter.
For more information on today`s recalls, head to our Web site NBR.com.
GHARIB: Well, no matter what kind of car you drive, Apple
(NASDAQ:AAPL) and Pioneer are teaming up to make any vehicle a smarter one.
They have created CarPlay. It`s an in-dash multi-media system that brings
the internet right to the driver`s seat.
Josh Lipton has more.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And certain functions are available via touch.
JOSH LIPTON, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For
the tech titans, the next big battle isn`t in your home or office, it`s in
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the CarPlay interface.
LIPTON: In that fight, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) made news today. Pioneer
Electronics will soon start selling five radios that are compatible with
Apple`s CarPlay. The technology allows consumers to use their iPhones in
their cars to make calls, use maps, listen to music and access messages
with their voice or touch.
The Pioneer radios will sell from between $700 and $1,400 at retailers
such as Best Buy (NYSE:BBY).
UIDENTIFIED MALE: It really is a matter as simple as plugging into
the lightning connector.
LIPTON: In March, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) announced that it was
partnering with a range of car makers from Mercedes to Toyota (NYSE:TM),
which will offer CarPlay later this year. But now, you don`t have to buy a
new car if you want CarPlay. You can upgrade the car you already own with
TED CARDENAS, PIONEER ELECTRONICS VP OF MARKETING: There are still a
lot of consumers that don`t want to go out and make investments in a new
vehicle, but they have iPhones and they want to be able to use those in the
vehicle. So, now, giving them the choice to be able to upgrade the radio
that`s in their car to one of these new Pioneer units and get Apple
(NASDAQ:AAPL) CarPlay compatibility.
LIPTON: Tech companies are working hard to introduce their operating
systems into your car. Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is partnering with carmakers
to bring its android platform to automobiles this year. And Microsoft`s
operating system powers Ford`s in-car entertainment system.
There are concerns about all of this in-car entertainment. Thousands
of people are killed every year because they`re distracted while driving
according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Take us to the Hyatt Regency Hotel.
LIPTON: Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) argues, though, that drivers use their
voices to control CarPlay which means they can keep their eyes on the road.
GREG JOSWIAK, APPLE VP OF MARKETING: We`re always looking at how do
we make sure we`ve absolutely minimize driver distraction as much as
possible, which is why the voice becomes so important to the experience.
So, I don`t even actually have to look at the screen. We call that an eye-
VOICE: I found your places matching the Hyatt Regency pretty close to
LIPTON (on camera): Right now, it`s impossible to say which tech
titan will come out on top. At least for today, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is
taking the spotlight. Pioneer saying that those radios with CarPlay
compatibility will be available in just the next few weeks.
Josh Lipton, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, San Jose, California.
MATHISEN: Finally tonight, it wasn`t just a difficult day in the
markets, but a difficult day for thousands who lived through the 2001
terror attack on the World Trade Center in the heart of New York`s
Today, President Obama was in Lower Manhattan helping to dedicate the
National September 11th Memorial and Museum, located at the site of the
former World Trade Center. He said the museum tells the story of 9/11, so
that future generations will never forget.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No act of terror can
match the strength or the character of our country. Like the great wall
and bedrock that the embrace us today, nothing can ever break us. Nothing
can change who we are as Americans.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATHISEN: Right now, the museum and the multi-media displays,
archives, and artifacts from the attacks only opened to survivors, families
of the deceased and emergency responders. It will open to the public next
GHARIB: We`ll never forget that day and I believe the artifacts that
are very personal like letters and articles, gloves —
MATHISEN: Watches and things, yes.
GHARIB: Clothing, things like that — very emotional.
GHARIB: Well, that`s NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for tonight. I`m Susie
Gharib. Thanks for joining us.
MATHISEN: Thanks from me, as well. I`m Tyler Mathisen. Have a great
evening, everybody. And we hope to see you right back here tomorrow night.
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