SUSIE GHARIB, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR: Reversal of fortune.
Economic growth fell sharply in the first few months of 2014. So, why are
top economists and Federal Reserve policymakers so optimistic about the
rest of the year?
TYLER MATHISEN, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR: Bidding war. What
Hillshire Foods has that other companies are willing to get.
GHARIB: And pump up the volume. Does Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) need a cool
gadget to beef up the stock now that the Beats deal is done?
We have all that and more on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for Thursday, May
MATHISEN: Good evening, everyone, and welcome.
Stocks rose again today with the S&P 500 ending at yet another fresh
all-time closing high. And the Dow, within 17 points of its own record
high, and this happened despite data showing that the U.S. economy actually
contracted during the first quarter of this year. In a release that
surprised few, a preliminary read on first quarter gross domestic product
showed a must worse than expected 1 percent decline with the wicked weather
getting much of the blame.
But Wall Street was unfazed. Stocks got a big boost from a sharp drop
in first time jobless claims last week, which are now back at pre-recession
levels and there was also a modest pending home sales in April. That was
the second monthly increase in that statistic in a row.
Now, stocks finished at the highs of the session today. The Dow up
65. The NASDAQ higher, and the NASDAQ — excuse me, the S&P 500 added 10
to close at the new all-time high of 1,920. And benchmark treasury yields
inched up from yesterday`s 11-month lows with the 10-year, trading at 2.47
So, what gives? Why are stocks at or near record highs after the
economy shrunk for the first time in three years last quarter? How
different is the current quarter? And are economists counting on even more
growth over the year ahead?
Steve Liesman has more.
STEVE LIESMAN, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: The
unexpectedly sharp downward revision to first quarter GDP, to a full
percentage point decline, actually prompted economists on Wall Street to
grow more optimistic about the second quarter. On average, economists
raised their forecast for the current quarter by two-tenths of a point, to
a strong 3.7 percent. The reason? The negative number appears to be
mostly the result of harsh winter weather.
The downward revisions came because of much lower inventory. It turns
out businesses kept a lot less stock on their shelves in the first quarter
and they`re going to have to restock now.
JOHN TAYLOR, HOOVER INSTITUTION SENIOR FELLOW: Part of that negative
is the weather, to be sure. But if you think about what the bounce back is
going to be in the second quarter and average that to the first, you still
got a growth rate that`s less than 2 percent. So, I think that is a
disappointment of what people were thinking before. So, it`s a
continuation of this unfortunately slow recovery.
LIESMAN: A big drop in unemployment insurance claims reported today
to just 300,000 bolsters the bull`s case for a near-term strength in the
economy and the job market.
The bigger question being debated is, what happens after the bounce-
back? And the decline in yields for 10-year U.S. government debt to around
2.44 percent has some believing that the bond market is sniffing out the
weaker growth ahead.
JEFFREY LACKER, RICHMOND FEDERAL RESERVE BANK PRESIDENT: I think the
leading hypotheses are that, you know, the fall, since the beginning of the
year reflects an appreciation that maybe the surge in growth we got at the
end of last year isn`t going to be sustained over the next couple years.
LIESMAN: Next week, investors think the European Central Bank can
take additional action to stimulate their anemic economy. That can give a
boost to U.S. growth and help make the bounce-back more than just a one-off
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Steve Liesman.
GHARIB: Here is something else that some say could give the economy a
lift, ending the decades old ban of exports on U.S.-produced crude oil. A
new report today has reignited the debate, concluding that such a move
could create jobs and lower gas prices, putting more money in the pocket of
Jackie DeAngelis has more.
JACKIE DEANGELIS, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: Rising oil
prices, more pain at the pump, leaving consumers wondering if the U.S. is
ramp up energy production, then why are prices so high?
Traders say part of the reason is geopolitics — concerns within the
global market over supplies coming out of Libya, Iraq and Iran.
But a new study released by the IHS (NYSE:IHS) says there is a
solution, lifting export restrictions on U.S. crude, an issue currently
being debated in Washington.
Dan Yergin, the study`s author, says that this will not only ease oil
and gas prices, but also add nearly 1 million jobs to the U.S. economy.
JEFF KILBURG: It is time to lift this ban, it`s pathetic. It`s
another black eye for Congress that they think that a 1970s policy is
applicable today in 2014. And not only would this help produced jobs, but
it would be a tax savings for the consumer.
DEANGELIS: Proponents of lifting the ban point to the study`s
findings, that a total of $746 billion in additional investment would be
generated from producing an average of more than one million barrels of oil
per day between 2016 and 2030.
That increase in U.S. production would cut the U.S. import bill by an
average of $76 billion a year.
In addition, producing crude would lower gas prices by an average of 8
cents. Add it up and it`s the total cost savings of $265 billion over the
course of 15 years, for U.S. consumers.
JIM IUORIO, TJM INSTITUTIONAL SERVICES DIRECTOR: If the export ban on
crude was lifted I believe the global provides prices of crude would come
down, because remember, it increases the ease of availability. So, right
now, we have crude trading at about $103.5. I think we could see it go
down below — you know, probably into the $90s if we did, that would be the
DEANGELIS: But for now as Washington continues the conversation,
prices remain high.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Jackie DeAngelis.
GHARIB: As for oil prices today, crude rose after government
inventory report data showed a sharp drop in gasoline inventories,
offsetting an increase in U.S. crude supplies. And to read more about the
calls for the U.S. and its crude oil export ban, go to our Web site,
MATHISEN: Earnings out today from Sanderson farms. That`s the
nation`s third largest poultry producer and the numbers were just ducky.
Profits more than doubled from last quarter, higher demand for its fresh
and frozen chicken as consumers switched from expensive beef to more
economical poultry. Shares of Sanderson up 3 percent today.
GHARIB: Well, Sanderson`s gains were small potatoes compared to
shares of some other top meat producers. Shares of Tyson Foods (NYSE:TSN)
up 6 percent, Hillshire Farms surged nearly 18 percent, and that`s all
because of a food fight on Wall Street with two different food giants both
making bids to acquire Hillshire Farms.
And as Sara Eisen reports, things are just beginning to get juicy.
SARA EISEN, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Jimmy
Dean sausages never looked so good. Hillshire Brand is the company that
makes them. They`re also behind Ballpark Hotdogs and Sara Lee (NYSE:SLE)
deserts. And right now, it is one of the hottest deal targets on Wall
Tyson Foods (NYSE:TSN), the largest U.S. meat processor by sales and
second largest pork producer, stepping in, offering to buy Hillshire for
$50 a share, in a deal worth $6.8 billion. That one-up the offer from
Pilgrim`s Pride (NYSE:PPC) a few days ago to buy Hillshire for $45 a share.
Clearly, Hillshire`s portfolio, which includes State Fair corn dogs,
is in demand.
AKSHAY JAGDALE, KEYBANC CAPITAL MARKETS: They do have some pretty
nice brands in their portfolio. For example, Jimmy Dean breakfast platform
that they have is a growing platform and has been doing really well.
EISEN: Higher margins, established brands and strong supermarket
presence are appealing. And as Tyson says in a press release, “We believe
that the strength of the products in the breakfast category will allow
Tyson to capture opportunities from shifting trends in this attractive and
fast-growing daypart where Tyson has little presence today.”
Hillshire says it is thoroughly reviewing Tyson`s offer. No question
the food section is hot right now for deals.
JAGDALE: Both the bidders of these assets, Pilgrim and Tyson, have
transformed their balance sheets over the last three to five years. So,
their balance sheets are in a much stronger position than they`ve ever
EISEN: So what impact would this deal-making be on the consumer?
JAGDALE: If all the synergies that these companies expect from the
deal actually come through, you know you would hope eventually that prices
might even be lower to the consumer.
EISEN: The next move may come from Pilgrim`s Pride (NYSE:PPC) if it
decides to raise its offer to beat Tyson. Investors and analysts certainly
see the potential for a bidding war. In fact, shares of Hillshire surged
on Wall Street today, indicating investors see this company fetching a
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Sara Eisen.
GHARIB: Still ahead, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) shares rally today on news
of its beef acquisition. But does the company have a new innovative
product in the pipeline to get investors really excited?
MATHISEN: A French bank may have to pay a hefty fine for ignoring
tough U.S. economic sanctions against Iran, Cuba and Sudan. The Justice
Department is pushing BNP Paribas to pay more than $10 billion to settle
those allegations which would be one of the biggest penalties ever imposed
on the bank. BNP Paribas is also negotiating with U.S. banking authorities
over whether it could lose the ability to transfer money into and out of
GHARIB: A bunch of other banks may be in trouble for possibly
overcharging the U.S. government on foreclosure fees. The U.S. attorney`s
office in New York City is investigating whether Uncle Sam was charged way
too much for expenses incurred during foreclosures on federally-backed home
loans. The banks have already received subpoenas, PNC Financials, PHH
(NYSE:PHH) Corp, MetLife (NYSE:MET), Santander Holdings, and Citizens
(NYSE:CIA) Financial. This is a unit of Royal Bank of Scotland.
MATHISEN: Earning season maybe winding down, almost over, in fact.
But warehouse club operator Costco (NASDAQ:COST) reported its latest
quarterlies today, sales were up but so were costs. And with the
retailer`s profits getting squeezed, prices could be higher, too?
Courtney Reagan has more.
COURTNEY REAGAN, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):
Running a retailer is an expensive task, add in foreign currency and
gasoline price fluctuations, as well as membership fees and it becomes an
even more difficult business model.
Warehouse reporter Costco (NASDAQ:COST) reporting disappointing
profits bogged by higher expenses. It`s the fourth straight quarter Costco
(NASDAQ:COST) has missed Wall Street`s earnings expectations.
But analysts see it as one of the stronger retailers out there.
Revenue took hits from weak foreign exchange rates and lower prices at the
pump. Profit is getting squeezed as Costco (NASDAQ:COST) faces higher
merchandise costs, though shoppers may not need to worry about seeing big
On the earnings conference calls, CFO Richard Galanti said the cost of
its popular rotisserie chicken has dramatically increased, but Costco
(NASDAQ:COST) hasn`t passed the price onto consumers.
(on camera): Though, generally, Janney Capital Markets analyst David
Strasser says Costco (NASDAQ:COST) does pass on higher costs to consumer,
though slower and to a lesser degree than other retailers, so it hurts
shoppers` pocketbooks a little less.
JAN KNIFFEN, ROGERS KNIFFEN WWE CEO: You know, taxes were a little
lower, expenses are a little higher, sales were fine. I mean, do I think
anything was going on here that`s unusual? I don`t. I still think Costco
(NASDAQ:COST) is the best retailer in the world. I think any time you can
buy Costco (NASDAQ:COST) cheaper than it is the day before, you should.
And I think they are still running the business really, really well.
REAGAN: While the quarter wasn`t the brightest one for the warehouse
retailer, it`s not enough to deter analysts. At least four reiterate their
recommendations to buy shares of Costco (NASDAQ:COST).
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Courtney Reagan.
GHARIB: The people who run Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) have released a rare
and not very colorful profile of the company`s diversity. Eighty-three
percent of Google`s tech workers are male and white. Women account for
only 17 percent. But in terms of racial diversity, black workers account
for 2 percent of its U.S. workforce, Hispanics, another 3 percent, and 34
percent are Asian.
Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and other tech companies have been under pressure
to release diversity data.
MATHISEN: If you think you`ve seen the best from Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL)
— well, think again. The maker of the iPhone, the iPad and Mac products
could have something even juicier in its product pipeline. An Apple
(NASDAQ:AAPL) executive dropped the bombshell that was heard around the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EDDY CUE, APPLE SVP INTERNET SOFTWARE AND SERVICE: We`re not smart
enough to do a hundred great things. We want to do a few really incredible
things and we`re focused on that. And that hasn`t changed.
And it`s been — you know, keep going down the path. We`re building
great, great products and, you know, later this year, we`ve got, you know,
the best product pipeline that I have seen at Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) in my 25
years at Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATHISEN: Some claim, but can the company live up to that bold
Here to talk more about it is Andy Hargreaves. He`s senior research
analyst with Pacific Crest Securities.
Andy, welcome. Good to have you with us.
Let`s start with the Beats deal. Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) paid a lot of
money for some headphones and for a streaming music service that is nowhere
near the top of the heap so far. How do you grade this acquisition?
ANDY HARGREAVES, PACIFIC CREST SECURITIES: Yes. Well, I — it`s good
on a few different levels. I think financially I would give it a pretty
good grade actually. It is headphones, but they`re really expensive
headphones that would probably make very good margin. So, I think in the
multiple that they paid on the hardware business is probably pretty
For a strategic kind of vision, I would grade it really low, primarily
because Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) needs really, really big markets. And music is
a large market but on Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) scale, I would have hoped to have
seen them try something bigger.
GHARIB: Andy, I want to ask you about the sound bite we just heard
from Eddy Cue — best product idea I`ve seen at Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) in my
20 years at Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL).
GHARIB: Do you buy the hype or is it for real?
HARGREAVES: Well, that sounds pretty aggressive. I would say the
product pipeline they had in early 2007 was probably pretty tough to beat
in the history of consumer electronics, even for Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) now,
you know, they will probably have bigger iPhones, maybe that`s what he is
referring to. I would be surprised if he had any sort of — anything sort
of similar to what we saw in 2007 in terms of impact of the company,
MATHISEN: Tell us how you view the stock right here, Andy. I noted
today that the stock is trading at its highest level since I believe it was
the fall of 2012. It is up there pretty high. Where did you think it can
HARGREAVES: Yes. Yes, our price target is $650, and that`s based in
large part of optimism around the iPhone 6 cycle. Quite honestly, once you
get into that, I think we`re going to be faced with pretty significantly
decelerating and possibly declining profit levels again. So, we like it
right now and we like it into the iPhone 6 cycle.
But unless they launch some pretty massive new product or service
between now and then, we`d be more likely to be sellers above that $650
level than continue —
MATHISEN: And that is not so far from where it is today.
HARGREAVES: It`s not so far from where it is today, no. It`s been a
GHARIB: Yes, at $635 now.
Well, let`s talk a little bit about the future. On Monday is Apple`s
world developer`s conference. Usually, they don`t say too much to move the
needle. But are you expecting Tim Cook, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) CEO, to say
something that`s really going to pump up the volume and enthusiasm for
Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) investors?
HARGREAVES: Yes. Not really, there is always the outside chance.
And management certainly, has been effusive, I guess in their praise of the
pipeline. So, maybe they come out with something that surprises us. But
I`m not expecting it a whole lot. I`m expecting it to be mostly software
updates that people are fairly well aware of at this point.
MATHISEN: You know, they still have very good share in the smartphone
market, particularly in the United States. But Samsung has certainly
nibbled at that business. They have not been blowing away the music world
since streaming has come on with Pandora and Spotify and others.
Is this company as innovative as it was five years ago?
HARGREAVES: Well, I think so. You know, I think part of the issue
and part of the knock on them not being innovative is they`re rhino
chasers, their unicorn chasers, you know, they`re bigger, they have had the
iPhone, had iPad and it`s just really, really hard to come out with
products that address that big of a market and have that big of an impact
on the world. And I think they try, which takes a long time.
So, you know, I think it`s still an incredibly innovative company. I
don`t knock them for that. I just think it is a really big company. It is
hard to move the needle at big companies.
MATHISEN: All right. Andy, thank you very much. Interesting
conversation and we appreciate it. Andy is with Pacific Crest Securities.
GHARIB: Shares of Abercrombie and Fitch (NYSE:ANF) popped after the
teen retailer announced a smaller than expected loss. And that`s where we
begin tonight`s “Market Focus.”
Revenues fell slightly but were still better than analysts` estimates.
And looking ahead, the company stuck by its full year earnings forecast.
The stock rose almost 6 percent to $37.14.
A health care deal in the news today. Health care facility operator
Amsurg (NASDAQ:AMSG) is buying the physician-outsourcing service, Sheridan
Health, in a deal valued at nearly $2.5 billion. Now, Amsurg (NASDAQ:AMSG)
says the combined businesses will have a total market value of about $750
billion. Its shares rose 7 percent to $45.74. Sheridan is a privately
A Cloud computing deal could be in the works between Microsoft
(NASDAQ:MSFT) and Salesforce.com (NYSE:CRM). Reportedly the two are in
talks to let Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) Cloud customers use Salesforce
relationship management programs. Shares of both companies rose in today`s
section, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) up a fraction to $40.34, Salesforce rose 2
percent to $54.40.
MATHISEN: Well, Susie, if you`re a Dish Network customer, you will
soon be able to pay your bill in Bitcoin. Isn`t that good news?
The satellite TV operator says it will be the biggest company to
accept the virtual currency as payment, which it will start to do in the
third quarter. So, get your bitcoins together. Shares rose a fraction to
Express (NYSE:EXPR) reporting weaker than expected first quarter
results, especially apparel retailer. Also saw its same store sales shrink
and it gave weak guidance about future results. Shares fell sharply after
the report. During the regulation session, though, the stock was up a bit
Another miss after hours from Lionsgate Entertainment. That company
saw its revenue decline 8 percent. That`s despite strong contributions
from the movie “Divergent”, which premiered 10 days before the end of the
quarter. Shares tumbled after the close. At the close, the stock was up
more than 2 1/2 percent to $29.53, but you see the fallout on that chart.
GHARIB: The interview this week with Edward Snowden by NBC News,
which included revelations of NSA surveillance on a number of foreign
countries, is drawing a big response in China.
Eunice Yoon tells us why China`s reaction to the Snowden interview may
be cause for concern for the American business community.
EUNICE YOON, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: Edward Snowden`s
interview is being played up in China. People here are calling him a
patriot and hero. A government spokesperson said that Edward Snowden only
exposed what many people here already suspected, that America is the
biggest cyber spy and adheres to double standards.
This comes after the U.S. Justice Department indicted five Chinese
military officers to highlight the American perspective, that spying on
government is one thing, but spying to steal corporate secrets and give
your company an advantage is unacceptable. That distinction is lost in
China. It`s an economy dominated by the state.
The question this week has been how much can China retaliate when it
wants American know-how and the two economies depend so much on each other?
The state press has started to soften its tone, including commentaries
running counter to the outrage, saying that the (INAUDIBLE) over cyber
security shouldn`t undermine the overall relationship.
Still, many in the American business community are concerned about
retribution. There are, of course, that U.S. consultancies and American
(AUDIO GAP) are under threat of losing businesses for state-owned
companies. Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO) has also been criticized by the state press
for being complicit with U.S. government on cyber spying, accusation that
Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO) denies.
The Chinese government said that it`s getting (ph) foreign technology
companies here on security concerns at a time when many U.S. tech firms say
they`re already facing a tough environment in China.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Eunice Yoon in Beijing.
MATHISEN: Coming up, the biggest annual meeting for cancer doctors
gets under way tomorrow. And there is one topic that is expected to
dominate the conference. We have the details next.
GHARIB: An important safety warning about tanning salons and skin
cancer. The Food and Drug Administration just announced that sun lamps
used in tanning salons must carry a black box type warning label stating
that they should not be used by children under the age of 18. And market
materials must include information about cancer risks to adults, urging
repeat customers be checked for skin cancer on a regular basis.
MATHISEN: British pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline has reportedly
approached a handful of private equity firms in hopes of getting some bids
to buy some of its older medicine brands. GSK has about 50 drugs in what
it calls its established products portfolio, including heartburn drugs like
Tagamet and Zantac, which have lost their patent protection. With tough
competition from cheaper generic rivals, Glaxo has been looking to sell off
some its older drugs to focus on more lucrative new ones.
GHARIB: Big pharmaceutical companies along with Wall Street investors
are gearing up for one of the biggest events in the industry. This
weekend`s annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. It
gets under way tomorrow in Chicago and as Meg Tirrell reports, there`s one
subject that investors will be paying close attention to.
MEG TIRRELL, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: ASCO is bound to
move stocks through early next week on data being presented there Analysts
say the key thing will be immuno therapies, drugs that harness the immune
system to fight cancer. So, how do they work?
(voice-over): Immuno therapies can work in different ways. Some
involve harvesting a patient`s immune cells, specifically the T-cells best
equipped for attacking cancer, multiplying them, and then reintroducing
them into the body to fight that cancer. Another technique takes T-cells
out of the patient`s body and recodes them to be better cancer hunters,
then returns them so they can find and destroy cancer.
Other immuno therapies are medications patients take by intravenous
infusion. Some help boost immune cells so their attacks pack a heartier
punch against cancer cells. Others help immune cell cells see the enemy,
revealing invisible cancer cells so immune cells can identify the target
(on camera): Companies working on these therapies include Bristol
Myers, Merck (NYSE:MRK) and Novartis. Smaller companies like Geno
Therapeutics and kite farmer are also in the space.
Analysts say for Bristol-Myers alone, the drugs could bring $13
billion in peak annual revenue. And this weekend will give us another
glimpse of the promise of these medicines.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Meg Tirrell.
MATHISEN: Nearly 1.5 million more vehicles are being recalled for
safety concerns, but this time, Ford is the company involved. Most of the
effective late model cars, 900,000 of them, are Ford Escapes and Mercury
Mariners, for a potential problem with the torque sensor inside the
Also being recalled 200,000 Ford Explorers for a power steering issue,
along with 200,000 Taurus sedans for a corrosion problem and other models
are being recalled to update the floor mats.
GHARIB: More trouble maybe just down the road for General Motors
(NYSE:GM) over the recall of 2.5 million cars with faulty ignitions that
have been linked to at least 13 deaths. Just today, congressional
investigators say they met with a suspended General Motor`s engineer who
was involved in that massive recall, but was pulled off the job back in
April along with another handful of other G.M. employees.
MATHISEN: And finally tonight, a little bit of welcome news for
General Motors (NYSE:GM) after it has recalled about 15 million cars so far
this year. Only eight vehicles earned a superior rating for their
collision warning systems and tests conducted by the Insurance Institute
for Highway Safety. And four of those cars were made by General Motors
That includes the only non-luxury make in the bunch, the 2014 Chevy
Impala. The others topping the ratings, the BMW 5 series, the BMW X5, the
Mercedes-Benz E-Class, the Buick Regal, the Cadillac CTS (NYSE:CTS), the
Cadillac XTS, and the Hyundai Genesis.
GHARIB: So they`re doing some things right over at General Motors
MATHISEN: Those avoidance systems are amazing.
GHARIB: And that`s NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for tonight. Thanks for
watching. I`m Susie Gharib.
MATHISEN: I`m Tyler Mathisen. Thanks from me as well. We hope you
have a great evening, and will join us back here tomorrow night.
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