SUSIE GHARIB, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR: No news is good news.
Investors were in a buying mood on a quiet day on Wall Street, turning out
a triple-digit gain on the blue chip Dow index, and sending the NASDAQ to a
TYLER MATHISEN, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR: Housing disconnect.
Why homebuilder confidence is gaining steam, even as the housing market
itself is cooling off?
GHARIB: And, cute, but expensive. Why it will cost you almost a
quarter million dollars to raise a child, and that`s not including college.
We have all that and more tonight on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for
Monday, August 18th.
GHARIB: Good evening, everyone. And welcome.
It`s been a kind of two steps forward, one step back year on Wall
Street. And today may be a little surprisingly, was a step forward kind of
day. The catalyst really was that there was no negative catalyst. There
was no deterioration of the situation in eastern Ukraine over the weekend
thankfully. In fact, Ukraine`s and Russian`s foreign ministers met for
lengthy talks in Berlin, with moderate progress, cited by Ukraine`s
Iraqi and Kurdish troops retook a strategic dam in northern Iraq.
And Gaza — and in Gaza, Israeli and Palestinian militants reportedly
extended their truce.
In the U.S., homebuilder sentiment improved, and the dollars were
flying, as Dollar General (NYSE:DG) bid $9.7 billion for Family Dollar.
Put it all together and you have a recipe for a 14-year high for
NASDAQ, and a rally in the S&P 500 that took it to within a percentage
point of an all time high.
Here`s how the stocks finished the day at their highs, by the way.
The Dow up 1 percent, adding 175 points. Disney (NYSE:DIS) and Home Depot
(NYSE:HD), all time highs for those two. NASDAQ was up 43, it ended at its
highest close since March of 2000. And the S&P 500 was up 16.
Crude oil down 94 cents. It settled at $96.41. Lowest level in seven
months on easing tensions in Iraq, and news that Libya has increased
Falling price of oil helped lift airline stocks, including United
Continental, American, Delta, Southwest, and JetBlue. They were all up
more than 2 percent.
GHARIB: Our guest tonight says investors are buying up stocks of
American companies because the U.S. is the global safe haven. He`s Scott
Wren, senior equity strategist at Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC), advisors.
Scott, nice to have you on the program tonight.
I guess the question is, is it safe? Is it safe for investors to be
putting new money into the market, given all the uncertainties that are
going on around the world?
SCOTT WREN, WELLS FARGO ADVISORS SENIOR EQUITY STRATEGIST: Susie,
there really are a lot of uncertainties. I think that on a relative basis
the U.S. is safe. The reason I say that, because I think the economic
growth here, and the modest inflation is something that investors can count
on, and I think that`s why the money`s coming here.
MATHISEN: You know, Scott, the president last week took some heat for
an alleged foreign policy principle that was — don`t do anything stupid.
And that was sort of — is that your principle?
If the economic principle or the stock market principle is, the U.S.
is good because everybody else is bad, is that really a long term formula
WREN: That`s really probably not, Tyler. But here`s what I would
say, I believe this modest growth, modest inflation environment that we`ve
been really living with for the last four years, is probably something
we`re going to be living with for the next few. Stocks can do well in that
type of an environment, especially when that growth is dependable, and
valuations are reasonable. They`re only in line with the average if you
look at something like a P/E.
So, I think the stock market`s a good place to be.
GHARIB: Stock, I want to ask you about the NASDAQ, because it`s been
red-hot recently in spite of all this geopolitical stuff. Now, we know
that it`s driven a lot by technology stocks. But if things do get a little
bit intense, you know, on the geopolitical side. What does that mean for
technology stocks? Will the NASDAQ sell off like all the other stocks
WREN: Well, I think large capped technology which drives the NASDAQ.
It drives — it`s a big driver of the S&P 500, I think in the type of an
environment that I envision, tech`s going to do well. I think it`s a place
to be overweight. But if there`s some turmoil in the market, the smaller
cap tech names they`re going to feel it. I think the larger cap tech names
are, just like most stocks, because there`s a lot of uncertainty.
So, I expect higher volatility, not just in tech stocks, Susie. I
think for the market as a whole over the next couple months, we could see
some good-buying opportunities.
MATHISEN: Scott, has the — is the end of the Federal Reserve`s bond
buying, known as quantitative easing, is supposed to end in October, has
that been priced into the market? I ask because the last couple times, the
Feds stepped back from pumping money that way into the system. Stocks
WREN: I think that the Fed realizes that that particular Q.E.
program, quantitative easing program, was pretty ineffective. I think the
market likes it that the Fed is starting to get out of this.
Always, Tyler — and you know this as well as anybody else — when the
Fed starts to reverse course from easing to tightening, you don`t know the
timing, there`s lots of uncertainty. It causes volatility. But the
tapering program they have going on right now, the market`s completely fine
with that, it`s going do have absolutely no effect on the stock market in
GHARIB: All right. We`re going to be talking about the Fed and all
of this kind of stuff as the week goes on.
But, Scott, thank you so much for coming on tonight. Scott Wren of
Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) advisors.
MATHISEN: Some good news today in housing, as we mentioned,
confidence among the nation`s home builders surged to an eight month high
in August. And that sent shares of home builder stocks higher by more than
1 percent, as group. But that higher optimism comes despite slower home
sales. And housing starts in July.
Diana Olick explains the disconnect.
DIANA OLICK, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): More
than two thirds of the 30 units going into this townhouse complex just
outside the nation`s capitol are already sold, two of them this past
weekend. That developer Bob Youngentob says is because he picked the right
location for the right buyer.
BOB YOUNGENTOB, EYA PRESIDENT: The empty nest market here is
exploding. You know, every time I look around, there are people like me,
their kids going off to college, thinking, why do I need the big house in
the suburbs anymore?
OLICK: These units priced at around $1.4 million are tailor-built for
baby boomers, while rental construction is rampant targeting younger
YOUNGENTOB: As a developer, you have to be an eternal optimist. And
I am. You know, I believe that, you know, well-located housing will
continue to sell.
OLICK: And he`s not alone. A monthly home builder confidence index
surged in August, to the highest levels since January. Its three
components all gaining, current sales and sales expectations with
prospective buyer traffic leading the gains.
(on camera): While homebuilder confidence maybe gaining steam, the
housing market itself is cooling off, that`s because all of that optimism
last year pushed home prices too far too fast.
YOUNGENTOB: I think a lot of it is attributed to the fact that in
2013 there was a robust energy in the marketplace that every builder raised
their prices as you would expect them to do relatively aggressively. And
we probably price some people out of the market.
OLICK (voice-over): Weaker demand and a steep drop in mortgage
applications caused mortgage giant Fannie Mae to revise down dramatically
its housing outlook for the year. It now predicts sales of newly built
homes will rise just 1 percent from a year ago, rather than the 13 percent
jump predicted just a month ago.
MARK PALIM, FANNIE MAE ECONOMIST: The most significant factor that
drove reduction is what we`re hearing about supply constraints from
builders, and the difficulties they`re having in finding labor and
materials, permanent land, they can build down, which has slowed down
OLICK: And 2015 is no longer expected to be a breakout year for
housing, not with home prices outpacing job and wage growth and weaker
affordability bulldozing demand.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Diana Olick in Bethesda, Maryland.
MATHISEN: To read more about the disconnect between home builder
confidence and the housing market itself, head to our Web site, NBR.com.
GHARIB: Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG), the big home product company, may
be shedding some of its iconic household brands. P&G is in the process of
reviewing up to 100 underperforming units and may be looking to sell off
some of them. No decisions have been yet, but Duracell batteries and Braun
electric shavers are reportedly two of the biggest ones likely to go.
MATHISEN: More now on that merger proposal we told you about at the
top of the broadcast, with Dollar General (NYSE:DG) looking to acquire
rival Family Dollar for nearly $10 billion, trumping a competing offer from
Dollar Tree (NASDAQ:DLTR).
Here`s how shares of all three dollar retailers ended the day: Dollar
General (NYSE:DG) up nearly 12 percent. Family Dollar, that`s the one
everybody else seems to buy, up 5 percent. And Dollar Tree (NASDAQ:DLTR)
down more than 2 percent.
Courtney Reagan now with more on what`s behind the battle for Family
Dollar, and whether the stakes could go even higher.
COURTNEY REAGAN, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):
It`s the deal Wall Street anticipated all along.
JAN KNIFFEN, J. ROGERS KNIFFEN WWE: I`ve been expecting Dollar
General (NYSE:DG) to buy these guys for 18 months. And I just was
surprised that Dollar Tree (NASDAQ:DLTR), which is a very different
business from Family Dollar, decided to make this transaction.
REAGAN: Dollar General (NYSE:DG) is offering $78.50 per share in cash
for Family Dollar, superior to Dollar Tree`s $74.50 offer at the end of
Additionally, Dollar General (NYSE:DG) says the cost savings of its
combination with Family Dollar would roughly double the amount estimated by
Dollar Tree (NASDAQ:DLTR). The potential merger of Dollar General
(NYSE:DG) and Family Dollar creates a network 7,000 stores larger than a
combination with Dollar Tree (NASDAQ:DLTR). Combined sales with Dollar
General (NYSE:DG) would be $28 billion annually, and because of the two
retailer similarities, analysts see Dollar General (NYSE:DG) as the more
PAUL TRUSSELL, DEUTSCHE BANK BROADLINE RETAIL ANALYST: Family Dollar
and Dollar General (NYSE:DG) should be able to absolutely attain
significant synergies. It`s a very similar box. Same size, similar
customer that they`re going after, and the merchandise mix overlaps quite a
bit. This is a winning deal within retail.
REAGAN (on camera): The competing bid for Family Dollar comes as
Walmart continues to open smaller neighborhood stores, seen by some as what
would be direct competition for Dollar General (NYSE:DG). But Dollar
General (NYSE:DG) CEO Rick Dreiling says the merger would keep them ahead
in the smaller box store space.
RICHARD W. DREILING, CEO & CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD: The hits we`ve
taken on those so far has actually been less than what happens when a
Family Dollar opens up. And after a year where we`ve taken on that Walmart
express competition, our stores are cycling positive comp. So, we view it
as again just the normal day to day operation of competition.
REAGAN: Dreiling will also stay on through 2016 to lead Dollar
General (NYSE:DG) through the merger, should it gain regulatory approval,
delaying a planned retirement for next year.
The battle for Family Dollar is far from over. Dollar General
(NYSE:DG) is now waiting to see how Family Dollar responds if dollar tree
ups its offer and ultimately what regulars have to say about either
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, Courtney Reagan.
GHARIB: Still ahead on the program, Google`s stock, the top holding
of mutual funds, turns 10 tomorrow. Not only has it changed the tech world
and our every day lives, but it`s returns have been a gift for shareholders
that many hope will keep giving.
MATHISEN: Mixed news about jobs. The Labor Department says
unemployment rates rose in 30 states during July, even as employers stepped
up hiring, adding more than 200,000 jobs. The reason? More Americans are
jumping back into the workforce looking for a new job.
Now, Mississippi has the highest unemployment rate in the country at 8
percent. North Dakota continues to have the lowest, 2.8 percent, thanks to
the energy boom in that state.
GHARIB: Here`s another interesting and surprising new survey about
how little so many Americans have saved for their retirement, including
more than a third of us who saved zero. Breaking that down, Bankrate.com
says more than two thirds of millennials, these are people age 18 to 29,
have nothing saved for retirement yet. A third of those aged 30 to 49,
it`s the prime working years, have set aside no savings for retirement as
well. And a quarter of the people aged 50 to 64 have nothing saved up.
One of seven of those 65 and over have no savings set aside.
Before many of us can think about retirement, there is the daunting
and increasingly high cost of raising a family. And a new government
report out shows just how costly having a child can be right now.
Morgan Brennan has the story.
MORGAN BRENNAN, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):
It`s getting more expensive to have a kid.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The economy today is definitely not great, but the
cost of raising a child is definitely up there.
BRENNAN: Here in the U.S., the average middle class family can now
expect to spend $245,340 to raise a child to adulthood. Adjusted for
future inflation, nearly $305,000. That`s according to a new report from
the USDA, and it`s up nearly 2 percent since last year.
Those totals include food, child care, health care, education and
housing, for the first 18 years of a child`s life. One thing that`s not
factored in: college tuition, a hefty expense that has itself been on the
The USDA says parenting costs have actually outpaced inflation. In
1960, child rearing averaged a little more than $25,000 or just under
$199,000 in today`s money.
(on camera): That increase is due to two things. The cost of health
care has more than doubled as an expense, and second, modern day child
care, an expense that was insignificant 50 years ago.
(voice-over): But financial advisers say parents do have options for
navigating these rising costs.
TIM MAURER, BUCKINGHAM ASSET MANAGEMENT: Well, parents should
actually be communicating some of the financial realities to their
children. As early as 5 years old, we have the opportunity to communicate
varying levels of information to them, inviting them into the notion of an
allowance and chores.
BRENNAN: Where a family decides to live can play a part as well. The
Northeast is the most expensive, thanks largely to the high price of
housing. But the urban South is dramatically cheaper as is the urban
A high income family in the Northeast could expect to spend $455,000
on just one child, while a low income family could spend only $145,000.
But there is a silver lining. The USDA also finds the more kids a family
has, the lower the price per child.
As toys and clothing are shared and as food — one of the highest
costs — is purchased in larger bulk quantities that tend to sell at
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you want to keep up with the Joneses, you
have no choice, you spend more than $145,000 (ph).
BRENNAN: Even so, parents keep feeling the pinch. It`s enough to
make anyone want to eat their shoe.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Morgan Brennan in Fort Lee, New
GHARIB: Urban Outfitters (NASDAQ:URBN) profits fell, but sales were
higher and that`s where we begin tonight`s “Market Focus”.
The parent company of Anthropologie and Free People blamed higher
expenses for the profit drop and said sales at its namesake brand continued
to slip. Sales were flat and its gross margins narrowed. All that bad
news overshadowed better than expected revenue. Shares were volatile in
after-hours trading. During regular trading session, though, the stock was
up about 2 1/2 percent to $36.92.
Struggling teen retailer, Aeropostale (NYSE:ARO) announced some shifts
in management. The company is rehiring Julian Geiger as its CEO, replacing
Thomas Johnson. The company also announced that second quarter sales
plunged, but it is forecasting a narrower than expected loss. Shares
initially popped after hours. During the regular session, shares were up 2
percent to $3.24.
Well, night owls will be happy to hear that Target (NYSE:TGT) is
keeping stores open later. The retailer announced plans to extend shopping
hours by one or two hours at more than half of its stores in the U.S. in
hopes of drawing more customers to its locations after a really challenging
year. Shares rose 1 1/2 percent to $58.55.
MATHISEN: DreamWorks Animation saw its shares pop after the company
appointed a new chief financial officer, a former executive at DirecTV.
Separately, the latest movie from the studio, “How to Train Your Dragon 2,”
became the highest grossing animated film of this year. Shares jumped 9
1/2 percent to $22.55.
Shares of Fabrinet (NYSE:FN) plummeted after the electronics
manufacturing services company postponed its fourth quarter and full-year
earnings results. It cited an internal investigation into its accounting
practices as the reason for the delay. That`s never good news. Shares
tumbled 18 percent to $14.53.
And the folks at Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) did a little shopping today
buying Jetpac, a tech start-up that makes city guides and recommendations
for travelers based on popular photos posted on Instagram and other social
networking site. No terms were disclosed for the Jetpac. Class “A” shares
of Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) were up 1 1/2 percent to $592.70.
GHARIB: Well, on the subject of Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), it was 10 years
ago today that the search giant priced its initial public stock offering at
just $85 a share. A decade later, Google`s grown into the world`s second
largest tech company, trailing only Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) in market cap. And
if you looked inside Google`s numbers, the facts and figures are
Josh Lipton has the story.
JOSH LIPTON, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):
Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), it`s not just a company, it`s a verb. And a lot has
changed since the company first went public.
Let`s start with the market cap, which now exceeds $390 billion.
That`s greater than Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), IBM,
Oracle (NASDAQ:ORCL), or Intel (NASDAQ:INTC). It`s nearly twice the market
cap of JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) and just slightly less than the value of Exxon.
Investors who poured money into Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) have enjoyed an
incredible return. In fact, shareholders have reaped the gain of nearly
1,300 percent over the past decade. That dwarfs the return of the S&P 500
and the NASDAQ over the same time period.
That massive stock run-up has made Google`s co-founders very wealthy.
Larry Page and Sergey Brin are both now worth more than $31 billion each.
That puts them both in the world`s top 20 billionaires, according to
FRED VOGELSTEIN, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, WIRED: The business model that
Larry and Sergey and Eric Schmidt have created is maybe not quite as good
as the discovery of oil, but up there. I mean, the online advertising
business that they`ve created generates just mountains of cash.
LIPTON: Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) has continued to grow rapidly over the
past decade, it`s revenues reached $16 billion in the latest quarter. And
the company now has more than 52,000 employees. At the core of its
business is search. And the advertising generated from those queries. And
the numbers on Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) search are massive by any metric.
Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) processes over 3.5 billion searches every day, and
more than 1.2 trillion per year.
(on camera): And all these numbers continue to grow almost daily,
there`s no question Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) wants to remain the world`s
destination when it comes to accessing the wealth of information at home,
at work, in an increasing global world.
Josh Lipton, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, Silicon Valley.
MATHISEN: Coming up, why smaller biotech companies are on the front
lines of the fight against obesity, not big pharma.
MATHISEN: As if being in a hospital isn`t troublesome enough, some
people may have had their personal data hacked while they were getting
better. Community health systems, one of the nation`s biggest hospital
groups, says it was the victim of a cyber attack that originated in China,
and that the personal data of 4 1/2 million patients including names,
birthdates, social security numbers was stolen during April and June.
GHARIB: We have so many overweight Americans, you think big
pharmaceutical giants would be at the forefront of treating obesity. But
that`s not the case.
And as Meg Tirrell, there`s good reasons why small biotech firms are
the ones leading the fight against fat.
MEG TIRRELL, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: It`s a disease
that affects one in three American adults, more than 78 million people.
But using drugs to treat obesity has been an uphill battle.
TOM HUGHES, ZAFGEN CEO: People have regarded obesity as the problem
of the patient. Very much that it`s there responsibility for becoming
obese. And it`s their responsibility to become lean again, as if that
TIRRELL: But how is obesity defined? The Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention says it`s a body mass index, a measurement of height and
weight of 30 or more.
For example, a person who is 5`9″, a weight greater than 203 pounds is
(on camera): And despite the market potential, the obesity space is
dominated by smaller biotechs. Two years ago, Belviq and Arena got
approval for the first new drugs for obesity in more than a decade. And a
third drug from Orexigen is under review with the FDA now.
(voice-over): Big pharma companies were in this space years ago, but
it mostly pulled out over safety concerns with drugs like Fen-phen, Meridia
and Acomplia, all pulled from the market.
JASON BUTLER, JMP SECURITIES BIOTECH ANALYST: The last experiences we
had in the space have been negative, and really discouraged any innovation
or investment into the space. So, it`s taken small biotech companies to
TIRRELL: That`s not the only reason this big market is dominated by
BUTLER: They`re primarily physician caution, reimbursement, and
potentially a lack of resources with the launches we`ve seen so far.
TIRRELL: There`s a fourth company on the scene, Zafgen, which takes a
new approach to fighting obesity.
HUGHES: It works to really impact the way the body handles fat. In
so doing it, it suppresses the way the liver makes fat out of the food that
we eat. It also stimulates the release of fat from our adipose tissue, and
at the same time, we see a very powerful reduction in hunger.
TIRRELL: Conversely, diabetes drugs are an active space for
development. The market worldwide is $54 billion. That for a disease
linked to obesity.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Meg Tirrell.
MATHISEN: Federal safety officials said today they want to require
that high-tech cars of the future be able to talk with each other so that
they can avoid collisions.
The National Traffic Safety Administration says the technology could
prevent an estimated 600,000 left turn and intersection crashes a year,
saving more than 1,000 lives.
GHARIB: And, finally tonight, what do you think cars might be like 25
years from now? And with more drivers expected on the road, how bad will
traffic be in another quarter century? Well, the future of transportation
and solutions to expected problems are being worked out right now.
Phil LeBeau gives us a look at what might be next.
PHIL LEBEAU, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):
Tired of trapping? Well, it`s only getting worse. Over the next 25 years,
it`s estimated another 10 million vehicles will hit American roads and will
spend even more time behind the wheel.
JOHN GARTNER: The problem is likely to get worse before it gets
better, there are a lot of things in development that give us hope for the
LEBEAU: One solution? Self-driven cars. Tech firms like Google
(NASDAQ:GOOG) and automakers like Mercedes-Benz will use real-time traffic
data to have cars take us to our destination faster, with fewer headaches.
JOHAN JUNGWITH, MERCEDES-BENZ: One of our main intentions actually,
on the one hand increased safety, reduce the number of accidents. But also
getting time back, actually giving convenience back to our customers.
LEBEAU: Bob Lutz, former vice chairman of General Motors (NYSE:GM),
goes even further. By 2039, he sees autonomous drive modules chauffeuring
us, often on high-speed freeways where inductive electric lines in the
pavement recharge the modules as they zip along, without us steering or
controlling the speed.
BOB LUTZ, FORMER GM VICE CHAIR: The primary driver of this vision I
describe of the electrified standardized modules is the need for efficiency
in human transportation. Is this great news for the car fan? No, it
isn`t. But I don`t see the problem being solved any other way.
LEBEAU: Almost everyone admits it will take time for self-driving
cars to take off, because state and federal regulators will be hesitant to
allow people to turn over their driving duties to computers and sensors in
(on camera): But make no mistake, electric and self-driven cars are
coming. And with them, hopefully, a whole new way to avoid traffic
Phil LeBeau, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, Chicago.
GHARIB: For more on what the future of transportation might look
like, including the airline industry, go to our Web site, NBR.com.
And that`s NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for tonight. I`m Susie Gharib.
Thanks for watching.
MATHISEN: I`m Tyler Mathisen. Thanks from me as well. Have a great
evening, everyone. And we hope to see you right back here tomorrow night.
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