SUSIE GHARIB, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR: New highs. The S&P 500
closes above 1,900 for the first time ever. And our market monitor guest
has three stocks he says will gain 25 percent in 18 months or less.
TYLER MATHISEN, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR: Rebound. New home
sales rise, so do home building stocks. So, is it time to invest?
GHARIB: And the pressure is on for drug companies to lower their
price. And leading the push is the nation`s largest pharmacy benefit
We have all that and more tonight on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for
Friday, May 23rd.
MATHISEN: Good evening, everyone, and welcome.
Who says not much happens in the markets on a Friday before a long
holiday weekend. Despite light volume the investors pushed the S&P 500 to
a new record closing high, closing at 1900 basically on the button for the
first time ever. Stocks got a big boost from better than expected home
sales last month and we`ll talk housing in just a moment.
For the week, the U.S. markets had their biggest gain in more than a
month. The beleaguered Russell 2000 and the recently pressured NASDAQ each
gained more than 2 percent this week. The Dow transports closed at a fresh
all-time high today and here is how the major averages finished for a
Friday, heading into the holiday. The Dow up 63 points now higher for the
month of May, NASDAQ up you 31 and the S&P 500 added eight.
GHARIB: Well, as Tyler just mentioned there looks to be a spring thaw
in the U.S. housing markets, sales of newly built homes recovered in April,
shooting up a better than expected 6.4 percent. That follows two months of
sharp declines. That helped lift shares of some of the nation`s biggest
home builders. D.R. Horton (NYSE:DHI) and Lennar (NYSE:LEN) jumped 4
percent, and Hovnanian and Pulte Homes also posted big gains.
So, is it time to invest in the sector?
Joining us to answer that, Bob Brusca. He is chief economist with
Fact and Opinion Economics.
Bob, I know you`re not optimistic for the outlook for housing. Tell
BOB BRUSCA, FACT AND OPINION ECONOMICS CHIEF ECONOMIST: Well, I think
that we`ve got a lot of headwinds in the housing sector. We`ve got, first
of all, unemployment rate is low not because people got jobs but because
they dropped out of the labor force. So, those people aren`t going to be
We`ve got an economy that generally isn`t growing that fast. We`ve
got a still a difficult time getting finances. A lot of banks are still
very careful. They`ve gotten their hands burned in the past by lending in
the housing industry given some of the government policies. And so,
they`re wary, the housing finance isn`t there.
And we had a hard time getting new first-time home buyers in. They
just are not able to qualify because of the credit standards of banks put
in their way. So, as a result when they try to buy a house, they`re trying
to buy a house at a much higher mortgage rate than people with the best
credit ratings. So, these are head winds you have to face if you`re a new
MATHISEN: Let`s bring Will Randow from Citigroup (NYSE:C).
You were with us last fall. At that time you were pretty optimistic
about housing. How does your mood on housing compare today to what it was
WILL RANDOW, CITI SENIOR HOUSING ANALYST: Sure. Real quickly, I
mean, we upgraded a lot of our stocks back in early December, as we saw
sequential momentum above the normal pace for November sales. We then
downgraded early March because we saw some market softening. Now, this is
very local specific markets. It`s not particularly the whole nation, plus
we had some cold weather.
How I feel today? Good, not great. I would agree that the first-time
home buyer is a much smaller percentage of sales. They call it one quarter
to relative 40 percent, you know, if you go back historically. That being
said, let`s not forget, the FHA has just changed its democratic bent and
FHFA, which does about 75 percent of mortgage production, is now saying
they want to play ball with the banks. So, I feel a lot better than I did
when we downgraded those stocks in March.
GHARIB: Bob, react to what Will was saying. And also, just to add in
another what I think is a positive development. We saw mortgage rates this
week dropping across the board, the 30-year mortgage is down to 4 percent.
RANDOW: Yes, mortgage rates have come down a little bit. But really
they`re oscillating at a pretty low level right now. I don`t think they`re
changing very much and I don`t think this drop is going to cause people to
be able to go over the affordability hurdle.
As far the regulations, it changes the way that some of these agencies
are going to deal with banks, I think that you have to be careful. The
banks are going to be I think somewhat wary, because they have been burned
in the past. So, there is a little bit of good news that might be there
for home buyers in the future.
But I think you have to be wary. The banks are going to be wary about
thinking that this is a new regime because it`s still a very difficult
world out there for lenders.
MATHISEN: Let me get both of you to answer the following question.
Bob, when I hear you say you`re not optimistic about housing and you see a
lot of headwinds for housing, does that suggest that you think home prices
on average nationally are going to fall a year from now from where they are
And, Will, would you answer the same question? Bob, you go first.
BRUSCA: Yes, I don`t think you`re going to have much gain or you
could have a decline. House prices have increased a lot. New home sales
are already lower year-over-year. So, we`ve already seen that happened.
And I think that they`re going to be challenged moving forward. Although I
think activity in the housing sector will improve a little bit, I don`t
think it will improve by much.
MATHISEN: Will, would you agree with that or disagree?
RANDOW: I would disagree from the perspective of, if house prices go
negative, all bets are off, because sentiment will die for housing. If
that happens, all bets are off. That`s the first point.
Second point here is I do think we will see improvement and we will
see moderation in home prices appreciation. That`s natural. Why? Because
inventories come back to the market.
If you look at Case Shiller, it will up 7 percent, instead of 11
percent, within the next two months. That`s not a bad thing. We need
moderation. And that`s good for housing.
GHARIB: Will, I know you are just starting to recommend a few of
these home builder stocks. Which ones do you like and why?
RANDOW: We recently upgraded D.R. Horton (NYSE:DHI), ticker DHI, and
Masco (NYSE:MAS). Really what it came down to is we thought we were
getting kind of a bottom in terms of sentiment for the stocks, number one,
and more importantly, the regional diversification is a important here. If
you look at some of the out west markets, that`s where the — it`s got a
little proppy. That`s where it`s got choppy and that is what we`re worried
These guys have national exposure. So, they should benefit from
easier comps in the second half, which a lot of people are focused on.
GHARIB: All right. Gentlemen, thank you both very much. Have a
great weekend. Appreciate you coming on the program tonight.
BRUSCA: Thank you.
RANDOW: Thank you.
GHARIB: Bill Randow from Citigroup (NYSE:C), Bob Brusca with Fact and
MATHISEN: But one of the biggest gainers in the S&P 500 today was the
computer giant Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ). Shares up about 6 percent after
earnings late Thursday were pretty much in line with forecasts for the
And the nation`s number one PC maker announced plans to cut another
11,000 to 16,000 jobs by October. CEO Meg Whitman explained that the
newest job cuts at under-performing units are all part of her multi-year
(BEGN VIDEO CLIP)
MEG WHITMAN, HEWLETT-PACKARD CEO: Remember, we`re managing the
portfolio of businesses. We`ve got some businesses that are declining.
Some business that are holding their own, and some that are growing quite
rapidly. So, if we can continue to grow the fast-growing businesses, and
stem the decline in the big legacy businesses, then maybe it will turn out
the way we hope.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATHISEN: Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) says the new job cuts will save
an extra billion dollars annually, within two years.
GHARIB: Another iconic American company is also undergoing some big
changes. Time Warner (NYSE:TWX) is spinning off its storied magazine
publishing division, forming a new company called Time Inc., and that will
begin to trade on its own next month.
Morgan Brennan has more on what`s behind this move by the media giant.
MORGAN BRENNAN, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: Today was the
last day you could buy Time Warner (NYSE:TWX) stock and expect automatic
shares in this company, as well. Time Inc. will have 45 Web sites and 23
magazines, including “People”, “Fortune” and its namesake, “Time”.
Experts say the spinoff will allow Time Inc. to focus on a sweeping
JEFFREY LOGSDON, BMB CAPITAL MARKETS ANALYST: For Time Inc., this
frees them now to pursue what`s best for them in terms of corporate
strategy, a capital strategy, and you`ve got a built-in shareholder base
because you`re spinning this off obviously out of the Time Warner
BRENNAN: The emerging company is already making big changes,
announcing it will trade its Time & Life building for less expensive
offices in Lower Manhattan, near the World Trade Center and it is
experimenting with unprecedented ads, running them on the front of “Time
Magazine” and “Sports Illustrated”.
For Time Warner (NYSE:TWX), this marks the end of a seven-year
restructuring, having spawned off Time Warner (NYSE:TWX) Cable and AOL
(NYSE:AOL) before this. And this parent company can now focus exclusively
on TV and movie content, namely Warner Brother Studios, TV networks like
HBO, CNN and TBS. Time Warner (NYSE:TWX) is following in the footsteps of
other media giants that have separated assets to become pure play content
providers, like Viacom (NYSE:VIA) and CBS (NYSE:CBS) and News Corp
(NASDAQ:NWS) and 21st Century Fox.
LOGSDON: Decommissioning or deconglomerizing those elements, puts
them back in a place where the dynamics for film production and film
distribution, television production, television distribution are much more
interesting to investors, much less capital intensive in many cases. And
certainly investors have responded very favorably in each of these
companies to these different dynamics.
BRENNAN (on camera): The question now will be whether timing can
stand on its own and attract investors, because the publishing industry
continues to struggle as more people abandon hard copies of magazines in
favor of the Web, where they can access the same content for free.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Morgan Brennan in Los Angeles.
MATHISEN: Some harsh words from Russian leader Vladimir Putin about
President Obama and the U.S. today, at the annual economic forum in St.
Petersburg, Russia. But Putin admitted the top economic sanctions against
his country for its encroachment into the Ukraine is already affecting the
Our Geoff Cutmore has more.
GEOFF CUTMORE, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): An
apparent softening of the Russian president`s position on the Ukrainian
elections over the weekend saw the ruble spike to a four-month high. But
the president had harsh some hard-headed words for Mr. Obama in the White
House, effectively criticizing Mr. Obama`s comments saying that the Russian
president was on the wrong side of history over the Ukrainian crisis.
VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Who is he to
judge? Who is he to judge, seriously? He wants to judge people. Why
don`t he get a job and work somewhere?
CUTMORE (on camera): I asked President Putin about his view on the
sanctions that had been imposed on Russia. He again very unhappy with the
sanctions and said that they had had an impact on the Russian economy.
PUTIN: These sanctions are absolutely illegal, unlawful. And of
course, they decrease — they make our relations worse. We are now hearing
about the third package of sanctions and I have a question, in that regard,
CUTMORE: The message, though, that will come out of the president`s
comments today that he will respect the choice of the people when it comes
to the presidential elections on Sunday in the Ukraine.
This is Geoff Cutmore for NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, in St. Petersburg.
MATHISEN: And still ahead, the price is wrong. What one of the
largest pharmacy benefit managers is doing to get drugmakers to lower the
high price of specialty drugs?
GHARIB: We told you last night about the new hepatitis C drug called
Sovaldi. It costs a staggering $84,000 for a three-month treatment.
There`s been an uproar over that hefty price. Now, one of the largest
benefit managers is launching a campaign to get the drug manufacturer to
lower its price.
Bertha Coombs has more.
BERTHA COOMBS, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: Express
(NYSE:EXPR) Scripts` Steve Miller is in the business of reining in high
drug costs. When Gilead scientists priced its new hepatitis C drug Sovaldi
at $1,000 a pill, he denounced it as downright unfair.
DR. STEVE MILLER, EXPRESS SCRIPTS CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER: If you look
at the price of treating hepatitis C, it went just from five or six years
ago to $25,000, to then there were some newer drugs that came out at
$50,000, they`re taking a premium on a premium on a premium and we think
that`s not sustainable.
COOMBS: Express (NYSE:EXPR) Scripts projects hepatitis C drug
spending will double in the U.S. this year and increase 200 percent in 2015
MILLER: The cocktail to treat the patients is going to cost well
north of $100,000 per patient. We have 3 million patients in the United
States that have hepatitis C. That would be $300 billion to treat them
COOMBS: Dr. Miller has launched a crusade to get insurers and
employer health plans to push Gilead for a lower price and hold out for new
drugs due next year.
MILLER: If a product comes out that is less expensive, we`re going to
move our entire market share to that.
COOMBS: Gilead defends Sovaldi`s value as a cure for the Hep C virus,
which now causes more deaths in the U.S. than HIV. In countries like
Britain, with universal health systems, the drug maker has discounted the
price. Drug industry consultants say the chance U.S. regulators will
pursue the same strategy is slim.
LAUREN BARNES, AVALERE HEALTH SVP: I don`t think our country is ready
to stem the drug negotiations and drug regulations to that extent.
COOMBS: But with more high priced specialty drugs in the pipeline at
a time when more Americans are getting health coverage, some analysts say
it could be a matter of time.
ANA GUPTE, LEERING PARTNRS SR. RESEARCH ANALYST: There are a number
of breakthrough cancer therapies that will likely come to market in the
next few years. It will place a huge burden on payers.
COOMBS: Some drug makers have joined Miller`s coalition and vowed to
find a solution. Gilead isn`t one of them.
MILLER: We have got to come to a sustainable model in the United
COOMBS (on camera): Dr. Miller says the pharmaceutical industry has
an opportunity to act now and work with payers. If not, they may well find
themselves dealing with government control.
Bertha Coombs, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, St. Louis.
MATHISEN: Shares of Aeropostale (NYSE:ARO) plummeted after Morgan
Stanley (NASDAQ:NBXH) (NYSE:MS) issued a warning about the teen retailer,
and that is where we begin tonight`s “Market Focus.”
The firm`s analyst questions the companies ability to stay in
business, even through next year, since it`s been burning through cash amid
mounting losses. Late yesterday, the retailer reported its sixth straight
quarterly loss and issued a weak outlook. The stock fell almost 25 percent
to $3.41. That won`t even buy a t-shirt.
Shares of Aruba Networks (NASDAQ:ARUN) also got hammered in today`s
session. The computer networking company reported earnings that were in
line with estimates, and sales topped consensus. But analysts at JPMorgan
(NYSE:JPM) said its gross margins were below estimates and the firm
reiterated its underweight rating on that stock. Aruba down almost 11
percent to $17.89.
GHARIB: Shares of PTC Therapeutics shot up after European regulators
recommended the conditional marketing approval of its muscular dystrophy
drug. That lets patience with the disease get treatment, the stock surged
31 percent to $23.03.
And Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is reportedly nearing the deal to buy Skybox
imaging for about $1 billion. Skybox specializes in recording very
detailed landscape pictures and videos. Shares of Google (NASDAQ:GOOG)
were up 1 1/2 percent, to $563.80.
Our market monitor expects lots of noise and volatility to drive the
markets over the next few months. But he says fundamentals were key to
getting from point A to point B in the long run. He is Don Wordell,
portfolio manager at RidgeWorth Capital Management.
Don, welcome good to have you with us.
You expect volatility to pick up? It`s been very, very low over the
DON WORDELL, RIDGEWORTH CAPITAL MANAGEMENT: Well, I mean, I guess the
important thing to know, like you said, fundamentals will get you from
point A to point B. But there are always going to be some bumps along the
road, like we experienced over the last five months with the polar vortex,
and some geopolitical unrest that always seems to strike fear to market
GHARIB: You have a couple of stocks that you think are going to well
in this world that you just described. You said that three things are
guiding them. Tell us what they are.
And tell us why you like Ameriprise.
WORDELL: Sure. So, for stock to get into the portfolios that we
managed at the RidgeWorth Mid-Cap Value Equity Fund, stocks have to have
three things — dividends, valuation and fundamentals, when all three of
those come together like they do for Ameriprise. That`s the stock that we
— you know, we have a big position in.
Ameriprise has a 2 percent dividend yield. That company`s valuation
is very attractive relative to other asset managers. Some folks would say
it`s — you know, it`s a life insurance company and true. Historically, it
But the asset management and wealth management part of the business is
growing. And so, the company is going to get a higher multiple for that
better return business. And we really expect the productivity of their
sales force to improve and we also are expecting some very solid flows to
begin in their asset management business. So, we really think there is a
material upside in the stock over the next two years.
MATHISEN: A second stock that you like, in fact, you think as these
other two that we`ll mention here, can grow 25 percent over the next 12, 18
months, is Cigna. Why?
WORDELL: Well, you know, Cigna is one that could experience some
volatile. But at the end of the day, patient investors will be rewarded,
you know, as the market gets comfortable with the move, to — to the
exchanges model, where you have private exchanges and public exchanges and
we bring all of these people into the health care system.
You know, this is a company that`s going to do great things. Their
dividend is smaller at this point. We expect that to grow over time. They
have done a complete restructuring of the business by selling some non-core
assets and buying back shares. And we think that the ultimate earnings
power of this company is well above what the street has modeled.
And so, I think that these companies, all these managed care
organizations, whether it be United, or Aetna (NYSE:AET), WellPoint, et
cetera, we think they`re all going to re-rate higher as they get more
stability, more consistent, you know, quarterly reports. And that`s why we
think Cigna can do very well at this point.
GHARIB: Ingersoll-Rand (NYSE:IR) is another one on your list. It
closed today at $58, tell us why you like it and where do you see the stock
closing down the road.
WORDELL: Yes. Sure, so Ingersoll-Rand (NYSE:IR) is a different
animal and this is an industrial company. They`ve done some really great
things. Again, our process is dividends valuation fundamentals.
And so, the company has roughly 2 percent dividend yield. The
valuation is — you know, in line with its peers. But we think the
fundamental story is the expected cycle in front of us for construction,
whether it be residential or non-residential.
Ingersoll-Rand (NYSE:IR) makes, you know, air conditioning, HVAC
equipment. And we think that their products are positioned great and we
think that we`re on the front end of what could be — we`re beginning to
see that the grass green shoots, so to speak, of a non-residential
construction cycle. We think that housing will continue to build.
WORDELL: And they`re going to do some non-core things there as well
like moving some businesses out and into this company, and buying back
stock. Got a ton of cash to grow the dividend and buy back stock.
So, we`re really encouraged by what we see there and think that
Ingersoll is going to do well, at least over the next 12, 18 months.
MATHISEN: We have to leave it there. Any disclosure on these stocks?
You mentioned that you did own or your company owned Ameriprise,
(INAUDIBLE) money, and the other ones, too.
WORDELL: Well, yes, my ownership of this is through the ownership of
the mutual funds, yes.
MATHISEN: All right. Don, thank you very much — Don Wordell with
RidgeWorth Capital Management.
GHARIB: And coming up on the program, the benefits available to
service members and veterans that many don`t know about. That story is
next, as we head into the Memorial Day weekend.
MATHISEN: New York City may be America`s financial capital, but New
York state has a long standing reputation of — well, not the easiest place
to do business.
Now, Governor Andrew Cuomo has launched a multi-million dollar effort
to change that and if it works, it could bring the already fierce
competition between states to a whole new level.
Scott Cohn has more.
GREG HEILAND, CEO & FOUNDER OF VALUTEK: Why is our Arizona-based
company relocating manufacturing to Upstate New York?
SCOTT COHN, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The
ad campaign alone is costing $15 million to make it look like businesses
are flocking to New York.
Valutek CEO Greg Heiland is one of the stars.
HEILAND: I think there is a new edge to New York in wanting to be
competitive and wanting to attract high-tech companies, and I thought, hey,
let`s have fun with this.
COHN: Valutek, which makes supplies for high tech manufacturing, is
only bringing about 25 jobs to a workforce of nearly 9 million. Overall
job growth in the last year is behind the national average. And New York
consistently ranks among the most expensive states — high tax, high
regulation, high stress.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Governor Andrew Cuomo is always been a champion.
COHN: Governor Andrew Cuomo has set out to change that. But even his
hand-picked economic development commissioner, the man behind the ads,
admits they`re not there yet.
KENNETH ADAMS, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COMMISSIONER: There is no denying
these reforms and the overall improvement of business climate are work in
COHN: But simply by talking the talk, New York is plunging itself
into a competition that`s increasingly intense.
(on camera): State finances across the country have largely recovered
from the recession but job growth still has not. That means the states are
bringing a lot more fire power into the fight for a handful of jobs.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Governor Cuomo, it is so —
GOV. RICK PERRY (R), TEXAS: Why more jobs and businesses move to
Texas than any other state?
COHN (voice-over): No state has been more aggressive than Texas
running ads in six states, including New York.
But now, New York is fighting back.
ADAMS: We`re the economic capital of the country, so it is
understandable that the governors would come here with a mission to try and
secure — you know, get our companies to move elsewhere.
COHN: New York`s newest weapon? A 10-year total tax break for
companies that partner with universities in the state, though no company
has signed on yet.
Texas Governor Perry says he welcomes all competition.
PERRY: It makes you get up every day and work harder. So, we don`t –
– we don`t take any time off.
COHN: The game is on among the states. Now, if only the jobs will
Scott Cohn, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT.
GHARIB: And finally tonight, just ahead of the Memorial Day weekend,
when the nation honors its fallen soldiers, Sharon Epperson takes a look at
some of the benefits available to active duty and retired members of the
U.S. Armed Forces, including ones that many veterans might not even know
SHARON EPPERSON, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):
The attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon changed Matt Colvin`s
life and his career. He joined the U.S. Air Force that day.
MATT COLVIN, IRAQ & AFGHANISTAN VETERANS OF AMERICA: I joined in
September 11, 2001. And that just really set me on a course for a quick
indoctrination into the military. I had already known that that`s where I
wanted to go, but it just solidified my past.
EPPERSON: Colvin rose to the rank of staff sergeant during six years
of military service. After returning to civilian life, like many veterans,
he went to college.
COLVIN: Without the G.I. bill, I never would have been able to take
advantage of, you know, college, because I would have had to take out the
loans and be in the same predicament as many other people with — you know,
with this looming debt. So I thank the G.I. bill for that.
EPPERSON (on camera): The military offers active duty servicemembers,
veterans and their families some of the most generous benefits around.
While most know that the military can help to pay for college, there may be
other benefits that are not on their radar.
MECHEL LASHAWN GLASS, CLEARPOINT CREDIT COUNSELING SOLUTIONS: When I
got out of the service, I was not aware of any of my benefits except for
the G.I. bill. And that`s really sad, and that`s what a lot of veterans go
through. They`re only aware of one or two of their benefits.
EPPERSON (voice-over): Mechel Lashawn Glass served in the U.S. Army
for four years. After college, she worked at IBM before setting on a new
mission. Now, vice president of a national non-profit counseling agency,
she educates service members and veterans about benefits that can protect
their financial future.
GLASS: Many of them are hurting. A lot of them don`t know about all
the benefits that they qualify for. Many of them when they leave the
service, they`re not even aware that they should go to the V.A. and get
themselves registered so that they can figure out what their benefits are.
EPPERSON: Some of the benefits include more favorable terms on home
loans, no down payment, no private mortgage insurance premiums, and limits
on clothing costs. As well as programs to assist veterans with job
training, small business loans and franchise opportunities.
GLASS: There are so many organizations out there that want to help
veterans. Reach out to one of those organizations and let them help you
through the process. But always know that you`re not alone.
EPPERSON: Veterans can find out which benefits they`re qualified to
receive at military.com, the government Veterans Affairs Department, and
also get help from nonprofit organizations.
Taking the initiative to learn what assistance is available is
critical, says Colvin, who now works in New York helping the veterans
navigate the maze of resources and benefits available to them.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Sharon Epperson.
GHARIB: They deserve all of those benefits, don`t they, Tyler?
MATHISEN: They certainly do.
GHARIB: That`s NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for tonight. I`m Susie
Gharib. Thanks for watching.
MATHISEN: And I`m Tyler Mathisen. Have a great weekend, everybody.
We`ll see you back here on Monday night.
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