TYLER MATHISEN, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR: Renovation nation. Homeowners are pouring money into new projects. And Home Depot (NYSE:HD) is coming out on top with a strong quarter and a stock at record highs.
SUSIE GHARIB, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR: Must-own for your portfolio. The one stock our guest tonight says every investor should buy whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been in the market awhile.
MATHISEN: And making the splash. How the ice bucket challenge could forever change fundraising and charitable giving.
All that and more tonight on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for Tuesday, August 19th.
GHARIB: Good evening, everyone.
Housing and Home Depot (NYSE:HD), those are the two big boosters on Wall Street today, adding to more gains for the major stock averages. Housing starts surged last month and earnings went through the roof at Home Depot (NYSE:HD), making it the best performing stock in the Dow today. We’ll have more in just a moment.
Well, investors were also in the buying mood, thanks to encouraging news about inflation. Consumer prices rose just 1/10 of 1 percent in July, this is the slowest gain since February. A sharp drop in gasoline prices offset a rise in food costs, keeping inflation in check.
By the closing bell, the Dow was up 80 points, the NASDAQ rose 19, and S&P added nearly 10 points, and is just a half a percent high of the all-time record close.
MATHISEN: More now on that rebound in new home construction last month. It shot up nearly 16 percent, the most new home building since last November. With construction of single family homes and multi family units both up sharply, now, even though housing stocks surged in July, all housing data are not equal in the current recovery.
Diana Olick explains why.
DIANA OLICK, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was a welcome surprise from the builders, housing starts soaring nearly 16 percent in July from June, it was well beyond what traders expected, and so, the trades took off. Names like DR Horton, Lennar (NYSE:LEN), Hovnanian, all climbing on the news.
But it was these stocks, multi-family apartment REITs, AvalonBay and Equity Residential (NYSE:EQR) that hit new all-time highs.
JED KOLKO, TRULIA: People are downplaying the multifamily side, because that’s more volatile. That’s been a big part of the construction recovery. When you look at the markets that are seeing a construction boom right now relative to what’s normal for them, it’s places like New York, and Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, places where most of the new construction is multi-unit.
OLICK: Single family starts rose 8 percent month-to-month and were up 10 percent from a year ago. But multi-family, which is mostly rental apartment, jumped 33 percent month-to-month and nearly 50 percent from a year ago.
(on camera): Apartment rents are soaring with starts, but demand is still strong. The same cannot be said for the jump in single family home prices, prices which are sidelining some buyers.
ROBERT SHILLER, YALE SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT: We are seeing a sort of boom in the housing market. So, you know, we’ve got stocks and bonds highly priced, and now, we’re starting to see maybe housing going in the same direction. It’s like everything, everything is pricey.
OLICK: The boom is in prices, not so much in sales, yet, and that was a strategic move by builders.
BRAD HUNTER, METROSTUDY: It was a little bit too much too fast. I think the builders were trying to slow down their sales paces because they were running short on lots, they wanted to maximize their profit margins per house. So, they said let’s raise the prices, that’s the only natural thing to do, but they over did it.
OLICK: Now, going into fall, builders may take on a new strategy. DR Horton in fact already said it would start offering incentives to buyers to get them back in the door.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I’m Diana Olick in Washington.
MATHISEN: And to read more about the hot market for apartments, head to our Web site, NBR.com.
GHARIB: Now, another beneficiary of the housing recovery is Home Depot (NYSE:HD), as more Americans fixed up their homes and yards this spring, second quarter profits surged 14 percent. Home Depot (NYSE:HD) shares rose more than 5 percent today, closing at a new all-time high, $88.23 a share.
Courtney Reagan has more on what’s behind Home Depot’s strong earning’s report and what’s ahead for the do-it-yourself chain.
COURTNEY REAGAN, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Retailers may be lagging, though it’s far from the case with the world’s largest home improvement store. Home Depot (NYSE:HD) built another strong quarter straight through and all around, improving profit and sales above expectations, posting record customer transactions, strong traffic throughout the store and across regions, a stark contrast to many other retailers’ reports.
On earnings call, Home Depot (NYSE:HD) executives attributed the breadth of sales strength to new store layouts, including the core of the store and demand for spring merchandise as well as sales of appliances and high price services like counter top and window instillation.
PETER KEITH, PIPER JAFFRAY: People had not put very much money into their homes during the housing downturn. So, you’re still seeing this release of pent-up demand that’s driving remodel activity and wallet shares shift to the home improvement space.
REAGAN (on camera): While the housing market has been a driver for Home Depot (NYSE:HD), on the conference call, CFO Carol Tome said she’s most concerned about mortgage financing availability, though not everyone is worried.
KEITH: The large majority of what drives Home Depot’s business is non-mover remodeling. And as long as home prices are going up, we think that remains the key growth engine to this business.
REAGAN (voice-over): Despite mixed signals from the housing market, analysts say the low interest rate environment will continue to give consumers a reason to spend on their homes. As a result, analysts from Credit Suisse and Janney think the stock market hasn’t given Home Depot (NYSE:HD) appropriate credit for consistently impressive results, but investors may have made up for lost time today, pushing shares to all-time highs.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I’m Courtney Reagan.
MATHISEN: Another big retailer topping Wall Street forecast. Last quarter, TJX, it is hot, hot, hot. The owner of the off price stores like T.J.Maxx, Marshalls and Home Goods, well, net income climbed 8 percent on higher sales in the U.S. and abroad, and with the company raising its full-year earnings forecast, shares up nearly 9 percent today.
GHARIB: The earnings news at Dick’s Sporting Goods (NYSE:DKS) not as strong. Net income fell 17 percent in the second quarter, after the retailer cut jobs in its golf business on declining sales of golf gear and equipment. Still, Dick’s beat analysts estimates and shares rose nearly 2 percent.
MATHISEN: And after the bell, earnings from a company that makes products I know and love, La-Z-Boy (NYSE:LZB). Earnings of 20 cents a share missed by a penny, even though revenues topped forecast as first quarter furniture sales were up 7 percent despite what the CEO of La-Z-Boy (NYSE:LZB) called a challenging retail environment. The board of the company also OK’d plans to purchase up to 5 million more shares in the company. Shares initially fell in after-hours trading as you see there, but they closed the day higher.
GHARIB: Steve Ballmer is out at Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT). The long-time chief executive of Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and new owner of the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers has resigned from the board of the legendary tech company. This ends a 33-year career with the world’s largest software maker where he was one of the original employees hired by Bill Gates. He is still the largest individual shareholder at Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT).
Still ahead: on the 10-year anniversary of Google’s going public, its shares are up more than 1,300 percent. Is the stock still worth buying?
GHARIB: A milestone birthday for Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) today. It sold stock to the public 10 years ago. On this special occasion, the company is reportedly going after a new demographic, kids. According to “The Financial Times”, it’s planning to offer children under 13 their very own Gmail and YouTube accounts for the first time ever. Parents will have control over how the services are used.
MATHISEN: We know Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) bought out YouTube eight years ago, and, of course, we all know Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) from its online search business, which many of us use every day. But Google’s footprint is a lot larger than just online searches.
Josh Lipton takes at a look now at just how ubiquitous Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) has become in our lives.
JOSH LIPTON, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When you think of search, you think of Google (NASDAQ:GOOG).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I use Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) for everything.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) docs. Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) drive.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mostly Gchat, the drive and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) documents.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Almost all the things are coming in Google (NASDAQ:GOOG).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have an Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) phone, but I still use the Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) software because the maps are better.
LIPTON: There are 3.5 billion searches every day —
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) now.
LIPTON: — but there’s more to Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) than meets the eye.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Navigate to the Golden Gate Bridge.
LIPTON: If you have a smart phone, chances are you’re using Android, Google’s operating system.
Android will run on 80 percent of smartphones sold this year, according to IDC.
Been to YouTube lately? Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) bought that company in 2006 and now generates an estimated $5.6 billion in gross revenue per year.
And thanks to Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), the days of paper maps and those bulky GPS units are long gone.
(on camera): So, what’s next for Google (NASDAQ:GOOG)? At the company’s developer’s conference in San Francisco earlier this summer, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) said it wants everybody using it’s operating system, whether they’re at work, at home, even in their cars.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I’m Josh Lipton in Mountain View, California.
GHARIB: Paul Meeks has been a big believer of Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and its stock. He’s portfolio manager and head of technology research at Saturna Capital.
Paul, nice to have you on the program.
I know you’re a big believer in the stock. You say that if someone is going to start a portfolio from scratch today, one of the first stocks that they should buy is Google (NASDAQ:GOOG). But at $596 a share, it’s hard to see like how much of a return you’re going to make on that investment. So, make a case about why someone should buy Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) today.
PAUL MEEKS, SATURNA CAPITAL: Well, first of all, even though the company has been 10 years since its been public, it’s still growing at a pretty rapid rate. I think for the next couple of years, both the top and bottom line will continue to grow at 15 percent to 20 percent per annum, and next year on December 2015 earnings, the stock is trading when you adjust for cash at about 17 times per earnings, and it’s going to grow its earnings that year 19 percent.
And so, this is actually a one peg or sub one peg ratio stock which is very compelling for a company at technology space or elsewhere.
MATHISEN: Paul, do they have a sufficient moat around their various businesses?
MEEKS: Tyler, it’s great question that you asked. You know, they started dominating search on the desktop and they have extended that dominance with Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) on the mobile application, and I also think over time, they’re going to see a wonderful growth driver in what we call the Internet of things.
MATHISEN: What does that mean, “the Internet of things”?
MEEKS: Now, about a year ago, they acquired a company called Nest Labs. And so, what this will do is link very mundane apps in your life, not even non-technology apps, to the Internet and really change your life and could be a monstrous market.
GHARIB: Let me just follow up on that a little bit. When we think of Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), we think of it as the king of tech, a real innovator, a risk taker. It has a lot of cash. It attracts some of the best technology talent in the world to the company.
But that’s what it’s been for the last 10 years. But looking at the next 10 years, can it continue to dominate the technology world? We’ve seen other companies dominate like, I’m speaking of IBM or Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), and they didn’t continue that way. What about Google (NASDAQ:GOOG)?
MEEKS: I think Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) has a good a chance as anybody else. It’s tough for a tech analysts and portfolio manager like me — I’ve been doing this almost exclusively since the late ’80s — to say they’ll never slow down. I do think that they do have some runway for that 15 percent to 20 percent top and bottom line growth for several years.
Now, the interesting thing about this company, unlike some of the tech titans of the ’80s and ’90s, it’s already in 10 short years reinvented itself. So, I feel very strong about their vision and execution and I think they will do well for the foreseeable future.
MATHISEN: So, you own the stock. I assume you would add to the stock, your holdings at these prices. Which shares would you buy, A’s or B’s?
MEEKS: So, first of all, I would buy the A share because that’s the share class GOOGL. That is most shareholder-friendly. And what I would do, the stock trades $590-plus.
Earlier this month, so not too the long ago, earlier this month, it traded $570. I think that’s an interesting place to nibble and the best place to buy more is where it’s really shown great support to the 200-day moving average, and that price is $564.
GHARIB: Real quickly, do you think Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) will ever pay a dividend?
MEEKS: I think that they will, but in the near term, I’m pleased that they don’t because they have enough opportunities to reinvest their cash flow and high return on investment projects. When you see a company, particularly in a tech sector start to pay very lavish dividends and buy back a lot of stock regardless of how high the stock has risen, they are probably mature or slow down.
MATHISEN: Very, very quickly. What’s the biggest risk it faces?
MEEKS: I think the biggest risk, Tyler, is that I’m wrong and it fails going forward to continue to recreate themselves, to continue to be visionary and they miss the next trend.
GHARIB: All right. Very interesting conversation.
Paul, thanks so much for joining us. Paul Meeks, at Saturna Capital.
MEEKS: Thank you.
MATHISEN: All right. Since Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) began trading 10 years ago, shares have risen 1,300 percent but here are 10 other stocks, 10 others that have done better over the same time frame. See if you can guess some of them.
Top spot: Keurig Green Mountain, the company behind those K-Cup coffee cups up nearly 8,000 percent. Energy drink-maker Monster, online travel site Priceline, but up more than 6,000 percent. And there’s Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and then there’s Alexion and Regeneron, up more than 4,000 percent, and rounding out the list, Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX), Intuitive Surgical (NASDAQ:ISRG), Salesforce, and Western Digital (NYSE:WDC).
I hope you all bought them a decade ago.
Elizabeth Arden (NASDAQ:RDEN) posts its biggest quarterly loss ever, and that is where we begin tonight’s “Market Focus”.
The beauty products maker didn’t blame weather or a consumer funk like some other retailers, it said Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift weighed on its results. I’m not kidding. A sales decline in celebrity fragrances, particularly from those two singers hurt revenue. Shares plummeted 23 percent to $15.05.
Shares of Salix Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:SLXP) spiked on a report that Allergan (NYSE:AGN) has approached the company about a possible acquisition. According to that report, Allergan (NYSE:AGN) is in talks with more than one acquisition target and it could strike a deal as early as next month. Now, this as Allergan (NYSE:AGN), the maker of Botox, battles a $53 billion hostile bid from Valeant Pharmaceuticals. Salix popped 15 percent to $160.80. Shares of Allergan (NYSE:AGN) also up about 4 percent to $161.82.
Skilled Healthcare and privately held Genesis Healthcare have agreed to combine. The all-stock transaction will create one of the largest operators of long-term care facilities in the U.S. The combined companies will be called Genesis Healthcare and it will trade on the New York Stock Exchange. Shares of Skilled Healthcare soared almost 20 percent to $7.37.
And PetSmart (NASDAQ:PETM) popped towards the end of the trading day on a report that it may soon announce its intent to explore strategic alternatives, including a potential sale. Several shareholders, including activist investor Jana Partners have pressured the pet supply retailer to sell itself. The stock was up almost 2 percent to $69.70.
Sprint is upping the ante with its new mobile plans. The number three U.S. carrier unveiled a new pricing plan that offers 20 gigabytes of data and up to 10 lines for $100. This will replace its Framily plan and offer customers more data for the money than plans from Verizon (NYSE:VZ), AT&T (NYSE:T) and some of T-Mobile’s options.
But shares of Sprint fell 4 percent to $5.39.
BHP Billiton (NYSE:BHP) is planning to spin-off $16 billion in assets to shareholders in the form of a new company. The move is an effort by the mining company to focus on its most profitable assets. But investors were disappointed that the company is holding off on a share buyback. That sent shares down almost 4 percent to $70.03.
Soon, you’ll be able to wake up and smell the McCafe at home. McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD) plans to start selling its packaged coffee at supermarkets across the country by early next year. The fast food chain is partnering up with Kraft (NYSE:KFT) Foods to make and distribute the coffee. Shares were up slightly to $94.57.
And a milestone day for Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) today. The tech giant hit $100 a share for the first time since its seven-for-one split back in June. Shares held on that gain, closing at $100.53, a gain of more than 1 percent.
MATHISEN: Well, a good idea with a best intention doesn’t always work out the way you might have anticipated and last month, we told you about new rules proposed by the Securities and Exchange Commission to stop runs in the money market mutual fund industry.
Well, today, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York says those very rules could actually insight runs. New York Fed economists say giving funds the ability to limit out-flows when liquidity runs short could actually make investors pull their money out sooner.
GHARIB: Coming up on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, how the ice bucket challenge may be doing more than making a philanthropic splash. It could also change the way people donate to charity. That’s next.
GHARIB: A big American company is defending a planned acquisition and tax inversion despite a lot of criticism from Washington about dodging corporate taxes. We’re talking about medical device maker Medtronic (NYSE:MDT) and it says, it’s, quote, “fully committed to completing its $43 billion deal to buy Ireland-based health care products company Covidien, and then reincorporating in Ireland to lighten its tax burden.
MATHISEN: Well, Medtronic (NYSE:MDT) is one of about 50 U.S. companies using these inversions to reduce their tax bills and now, the U.S. treasury is taking steps to block companies from reorganizing overseas.
Joining us to talk about what the administration can do is Andrew Friedman. He’s the founder and managing partner at “The Washington Update”.
Andy, welcome, and happy birthday, by the way.
ANDY: Oh, thank you, Tyler.
MATHISEN: You’re very — we’re so happy you’re spending your birthday with us.
ANDREW FRIEDMAN, THE WASHINGTON UPDATE: Happy to be with friends. Thank you the same way.
MATHISEN: Let’s talk about what the administration can do. I gather that their pallet of options is relatively limited to end these inversions.
FRIEDMAN: I think you’re right, Tyler. I mean, this is not the first time we faced inversions. This came up a number of years ago.
And Congress gave us rules saying that if the company merges with an offshore company and 20 percent at least of these shareholders after the merger are foreign entities, foreign people, then it’s a good inversion. And there is no regulations that allow treasury to do much to stop that. It really takes congressional action.
GHARIB: All right. So, what can treasury or the White House do in the meantime whether it’s, you know, a partial fix or not, what exactly can they do to change that and disincentivize American companies from doing this inversion?
FRIEDMAN: Well, there’s a couple of things they can do, Susie. First of all, there is jawboning. I mean, the president made it clear these companies leaving the United States is unpatriotic.
And believe it or not, that’s having some effect — Walgreens is suggesting maybe it won’t do that. Companies that get a lot of money from the IRS, say, through Medicare reimbursements, are going to be hesitant.
The second thing is that inversion is kind of a cake. But there is big icing on this cake. And that is once the companion inverts, it can have a foreign parent loan money to the U.S. subsidiary and the subsidiary pays interest out of the United States back to the parent and that interest is deductible. This is called earnings stripping because it lowers their earnings here in the U.S. And their treasury does have a lot of authority to say those aren’t really loans and that isn’t really interest and the amount shouldn’t be deductible.
MATHISEN: That’s really a payment of equity back to the company that should not be deductible.
Could the federal government say to these companies, you mentioned it with respect to Medicare and Medicaid? Could the federal government say to these companies, if you do this, we’re not going to do any business with you? We’re not going to have it — you’re not going to have any federal contracts?
FRIEDMAN: Absolutely. In fact, some senators asked the president to do just that. Issue an executive order and say, if you’re going to move out of the U.S., you’re no longer going to do business with the federal government. That is, again, something that can force those companies to rethink moving offshore.
GHARIB: How big a problem is this really, and we just reported that about 50 American companies have done this over the last decade. It doesn’t sound like a lot.
Is this more headlines or is this a real serious threat to the U.S. economy?
FRIEDMAN: I’m not so sure it’s that big a threat, Susie. You might have seen the article in “Reuters” yesterday which looked back at the companies inverted and it turns out they are lower since the inversion than they were before the inversion. That may not be because of the inversion but it certainly is not a panacea that’s giving companies wonderful earnings.
I’m not sure it’s that huge a deal, but if you really want to address it, you address it with tax reform. You lower the corporate tax rate here so companies don’t want to move offshore.
MATHISEN: But the effective tax rate for corporations is low. It’s not — comparatively with others, it’s not phenomenal or the stated rate. It’s what they pay when it all is said and done, right, Andy?
FRIEDMAN: Right. That’s right, Tyler. But the reason it’s slow is because companies are moving their operations overseas. So, we have the Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) CEO testify last year in Congress, they have moved all their manufacturing overseas, they’ve lowered their effective tax rate. So, it means that they have less U.S. earnings and they’re paying less U.S. taxes.
MATHISEN: All right. Once again, happy birthday, Andrew Friedman with “The Washington Update”.
FRIEDMAN: Thank you, Tyler. Take care now.
GHARIB: You’ve probably seen the video of the ice bucket challenge. This is a clever campaign to raise money for research into ALS, better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
But is the popularity of the challenge a one-time gimmick or does it mark a fundamental change in the way charities will raise money in the future?
Robert Frank takes a look.
ROBERT FRANK, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The ice bucket challenge has become one of the biggest sensations ever in the charity world. It’s raised over 22 million over the past three weeks. That compares with 1.9 million during the same period last year.
These donations come from 453,000 new donors, along with existing givers. It’s not just Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and Twitter users, it’s also many of the top CEOs and leaders from Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) founder Bill Gates, Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) CEO Jeff Bezos, to Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
The question is whether this is just one-time gimmick or whether this will change the entire business model of philanthropy. Americans gave $300 billion to charity last year and most of that still used the old model. But the ice bucket challenge could change all that.
Charity experts tell me this shows the power of social media and attracting mass donors rather than relying on a few rich patrons. It’s also added an element of fun to fundraising and it shows nonprofits can support a campaign without controlling every detail.
(on camera): Yet the bucket challenge is starting to create a bucket backlash and some charity experts say it goes against the core values of giving to solve serious social problems.
(voice-over): The stunts may overshadow the cause. Many people have watched videos and still don’t know what ALS is or have given money.
And this money may be a one-shot donation that’s not repeatable. Either way, the ice bucket challenge has thrown some cold water on old notions of fundraising.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I’m Robert Frank.
MATHISEN: And finally tonight, imagine a world with no Nutella. If you’re nuts about that delicious hazel nut and cocoa spread, as my 8-year-old Mackie is, you may want to stocking up, that is because there could be a shortage of the popular treat after bad spring weather in Turkey wiped out more than half of this year’s worldwide hazelnut crop. Hazelnut prices have been soaring since the damaging frost this past March, now at a 10-year high.
If there is no Nutella, my son is not going to eat.
GHARIB: You’re going to run to the grocery store right after the show.
MATHISEN: I’m going to stock up right now.
I’m going to get the jugs.
GHARIB: That’s NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for tonight. I’m Susie Gharib. Thanks so much for joining us.
MATHISEN: And I’m Tyler Mathisen. Thanks from me, as well. Have a great evening, everybody. We’ll see you tomorrow. Eat your Nutella.
Nightly Business Report transcripts and video are available on-line post broadcast at http://nbr.com. The program is transcribed by CQRC Transcriptions, LLC. Updates may be posted at a later date. The views of our guests and commentators are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Nightly Business Report, or CNBC, Inc. Information presented on Nightly Business Report is not and should not be considered as investment advice. (c) 2014 CNBC, Inc.