SUSIE GHARIB, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR: Flare-up. Protests in
Hong Kong grabbing Wall Street`s attention. And increasing concerns about
potential long-term economic repercussions.
TYLER MATHISEN, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR: Too big to fail? Six
years after AIG`s record bailout, was it legal? Its former CEO is in court
trying to prove it was not.
GHARIB: And economic improvement. A new survey says things are
looking up. So, why does one Federal Reserve official want to wait and
wait to raise interest rates?
We have all that and more tonight on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for
Monday, September 29th.
MATHISEN: Good evening, everyone.
Today`s closing numbers on Wall Street don`t really tell the story at
all. Yes, it was a down day, but at the opening bell, it looked like it
could have been one for the record books. Stocks dived from the get-go.
Within minutes the Dow was down nearly 200 points.
There were fresh worries about slowing growth in China, to be sure,
but that wasn`t the half of it. What really spooked investors was this —
the stunning sight of tens of thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators
flooding the streets of Hong Kong.
Police cracked down hard. Banks and other Hong Kong businesses shut
down for the day. Stocks sold off in Asia, then in Europe. The
demonstrations continued well into the early morning hours Tuesday and may
well continue for another day.
After that early tumble, though, U.S. stocks fought back. Here`s how
things looked at the closing bell: the Dow down just 42 points. The NASDAQ
lower by 6 and the S&P 500 lost 5.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index had a terrible Monday with stocks
falling nearly 2 percent.
Susan Li is on the ground in Hong Kong with more on what the
protesters are demanding and why investors are paying such close attention.
SUSAN LI, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: The streets of Hong
Kong are flooded once again with protesters, more than the 80,000 that were
estimated to have taken the streets over the weekend. And they`ve
virtually shut down the fifth largest international market in the world.
Now, what has made the international community really take notice was
the escalation in the confrontation from the Hong Kong riot police and also
from the Hong Kong government firing tear gas and pepper spray at the
crowds yesterday, which we haven`t seen since the handover from the U.K.
back to China in 1997. At one point, the Hong Kong riot police holding up
signs saying disperse or we will fire. And the speculation amongst the
crowd was there were rubber bullets to be shot. We don`t have individual
confirmation of that.
And it really harks back to 1989. The reason for this is that his is
meant to be a peaceful student movement for democracy in Hong Kong. And
people can`t help but make the comparison of the tanks rolling into Beijing
It looks like the movement has been rewarded with a stance of the Hong
Kong government, the second in command, the chief secretary tonight has
told the people of Hong Kong that they will take a hard stance at Beijing
and hopefully take a look at the right for Hong Kongers to vote for their
leader in the future. But he did say that given the chaos we`re seeing in
the city, that might take some time.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Susan Li in Hong Kong.
GHARIB: Let`s turn now to two more experts for more analysis on all
of this. We`re joined by Michael Farr, president of Farr, Miller and
Washington. And John Rutledge, chief investment strategist at Safanad.
And, John, let me — let me begin with you.
JOHN RUTLEDGE, SAFANAD CHIEF INVESTMENT STRATEGIST: Thank you.
GHARIB: Looking at that video, it`s pretty unsettling to see the mobs
of protesters. But here we are thousands of miles away from all of that.
To what extent that what`s going on in Hong Kong and those protests impact
the U.S. economy and the U.S. market? How important is it?
RUTLEDGE: Well, I think it`s quite important because it`s going to be
building over time. It`s not an instant blowup problem.
But our market is pretty ready for a correction anyway. As we see,
it`s been going up a long time. It`s got some pretty silly looking IPOs
recently. The Alibaba IPO among them. I think it`s time for it to take a
breather. But the economy is in pretty good shape. The economy is not
going t to be knocked out of the box by the Hong Kong situation unless it
MATHISEN: Michael, do you see it the way John does?
MICHAEL FARR, FARR, MILLER & WASHINGTON PRESIDENT: Well, not exactly.
I see these protests as something that happens from time to time, and have
going on for a number of years, protesting for democracy.
I think that the police, military and China have learned their lesson
against becoming too heavy handed and creating a larger incident that would
result in sanctions and other things. I mean, they know with enough
experience that not to overreact.
So, I think this passes as long as it doesn`t escalate, I think the
China investment story is largely intact, though I probably wouldn`t put
money in today.
MATHISEN: What about John`s argument that we`re due for a correction
MATHISEN: — and that some of the froth as evidenced by the Alibaba
IPO is further argument lending credence to that thought.
FARR: Well, I think a completely different subject but we`ve been
expecting a correction in U.S. markets now I think for three years
certainly. This is probably most over-anticipated correction that just
hasn`t happened in my career.
So, yes, we`re due. He`s right. But it just doesn`t seem to happen.
This could be the spark or we continue back as normal. It feels toppy.
You know, let me ask you this, John. We know that the Chinese economy
has been weakening for quite a while now. How vulnerable is the Chinese
economy to this conflict in Hong Kong? And then, you know, by virtue of
that, what ripple effect could that have on all the American companies that
do business there?
RUTLEDGE: The Chinese economy is complicated like layers of an onion.
And one story in China, growth is slower than it was, that`s also true.
It`s also different than it was — less infrastructure, less heavy metal,
less manufacturing, more services, more finance and so forth. That
restructuring will continue and also says growth will be more like 7 than
the 10s we got used to.
But let`s face it, this economy is $9 trillion or $10 trillion in
size. If it grows 7 percent, that`s a $700 billion increase in GDP for the
year. They`re still doing OK. But in the short-term, the Hong Kong thing
could spook people a little bit, in which case you could have a hiccup for
a quarter or so, but I think that that`s — I think the China growth
As I think Michael was saying, that doesn`t mean I want to buy Chinese
stocks listed in China. I`d rather make my China bets in the U.S. and
other places where I trust the courts, the judges, the audits and so forth
MATHISEN: Michael, I can tell you want to jump in there. Go ahead.
But also spin the reel forward a little bit. We`re going to begin the
final quarter of the year here day after tomorrow. What do you expect?
FARR: OK. First, I was going to jump in with just one risk that I
see out there and that`s our complacency. We seem to believe in that
central planning that China`s been doing won`t work. We`ve avoided or they
haven`t seen a real downturn in the business cycle in China since 1994.
Somehow, we I think are drinking the Kool-Aid that it won`t happen.
If this negative downturn continues and less than 7 percent or less than 6
percent and so forth growth occurs, that causes pressure on commodity
prices. That affects all of us.
As we come into the end of the year, Ty, more than ever I feel like
it`s a jump ball. To me, we can certainly be at the beginning of a
significant correction. We are overdue. But we`ve been waiting a long
time. The Fed is still nearby, and anybody who`s bet against this trend
has lost. So cautious and careful and know what you own and make sure
they`re good balance sheets and real earnings with companies.
GHARIB: All right, gentlemen, thank you so much. Thank you, Michael.
Thank you, John. Michael Farr of Farr, Miller and Washington —
FARR: Thank you.
RUTLEDGE: Thank you.
GHARIB: — and John Rutledge at Safanad.
MATHISEN: Well, economists worry about growth in China and that
unrest in Hong Kong, a new survey out today shows steady economic growth
here in the U.S. But even though we`re heading in the right direction, one
member of the Federal Reserve is urging caution about raising benchmark
interest rates too soon.
Steve Liesman has the story.
STEVE LIESMAN, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):
Charlie Evans, the Chicago Fed president and one of the more dovish members
of the Central Bank, saying today that he`s ready to be patient before
raising interest rates. Evans is even willing to go later than the current
market consensus of mid-2015 to make sure the economy is on firm footing.
His reasons, the Fed doesn`t want to reverse course if the economy down
again and because of economic weakness overseas.
In fact, Evans, who is a voter next year, fairly bristles when asked
why the Fed still has a zero interest rate policy now.
CHARLES EVANS, CHICAGO FED PRESIDENT: Sometimes I just think you have
to be kidding me on this, right?
Look at Europe. Look at the situation that they`re facing. They`re
facing inflationary risk, it`s very low. They put the monetary union
together and they are not able to hit their target. They`re way below
there. They`re worried about the entire integration of that community.
Look at Japan. They`ve had low interest rates and bad economy,
disinflation for 20 years.
China`s having its difficulties in terms of overheating and how
they`re going to generate growth without also bubbles appearing in the
LIESMAN: Evans acknowledged the U.S. economy has improved. In a new
survey from the National Association for Business Economics sees the
improvement continuing through 2015. With the economy breaking out of the
lackluster 2 percent growth pattern that`s prevailed since the recovery
JOHN SILVIA, INCOMING NABE PRESIDENT: It looks like it`s a return
from 3 percent growth for the year ahead and it`s broad based. You`re
talking about residential and consumer business investment. So, it looks
good. And government finally turns a corner away from negative to
LIESMAN: That optimism got a boost with new income and spending
numbers for August. A surge in auto sales boosted spending but there were
also gains in services. Americans spent more because they had more money
in their pockets. Wage and salary gains are a critical missing link in
this recovery were the best since March.
(on camera): All of today`s data and commentary will be cast aside
this Friday when we get the September jobs report, the pace of job growth
and the level of the unemployment rate will provide the best boost for the
pace of economic growth and just when the Federal Reserve will hike
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Steve Liesman.
MATHISEN: One U.S. company that`s getting hurt by weakness overseas
is ford. Shares fell 7 1/2 percent after an investor meeting revealed that
the automaker now expects a loss next year in Europe, and it is planning to
take a pretax loss of a billion dollars in South America for this year,
2014. Ford also expects margins in North America to be on the low end of
GHARIB: But Americans are spending more money and a lot of it on new
cars. Consumer spending rose a healthy 0.5 percent in August after being
flat in July, with most of that increase coming from higher auto sales.
Consumer incomes rose 0.3 percent that same month, a bit more than
MATHISEN: A drop in the number of people signing contracts to buy
existing homes does not bode well for the fall housing season. According
to the National Association of Realtors, pending home sales fell 1 percent
in August. Contracts to purchase previously owned homes are lower than
they were a year ago.
Diana Olick explains why.
ERIC GARCIA, PROSPECTIVE HOME BUYER: I just have been outbid. I`ve
been outbid by other buyers and that`s made it very challenging.
DIANA OLICK, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Eric
Garcia has been shopping for a home in the Burbank, California, area for
two years. And for two years, prices have been going up.
GARCIA: It`s just been harder to shop because you need more money to
put down. You need more — you need a bank to give you a good mortgage
offer. So you kind of have to compete now a little bit more financially
and that just makes it kind of challenging.
OLICK: That`s why other first-time buyers like Eric had been
sidelined since the start of the housing recovery, while all cash investors
were pumping up sales and prices. Now, investors are starting to pull out.
JOHNELLE MAYS, CALIFORNIA REALTOR: Now, it was just investor,
investor, investor, now it`s a market for your normal family looking to buy
a home, people looking to buy their starter home, et cetera.
OLICK: But normal means mortgage dependent buyers who need financing.
While prices are still moderating, they were still up over 5 percent a year
ago according to the latest reading from Black Knight Financial Services.
MARK HANSON, M HANSON ADVISORS: The return to normal, I believe, is
going to be what leads housing down 10 percent to 20 percent in prices and
demand over the next one to two years.
OLICK (on camera): The exodus of investors from the market means home
sellers are no longer in the driver`s seat and will have to adjust their
expectations accordingly. This home, for instance, is on one of the most
coveted streets in a close in D.C. suburb. But it went for below asking
price. The buyer says hers was the only offer.
(voice-over): Listings usually go down in the fall but new listings
fell three times more than usual, according to Redfin. Potentially sellers
clearly scared off by the new normal.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Diana Olick, in Chevy Chase,
GHARIB: If you think your bank has been jacking up the fees that it
charges — well, guess what, you`re right. A new survey from Bankrate.com
says ATM fees have risen 5 percent in the past year and overdraft fees for
checking accounts have shot up by nearly a third during that same period.
MATHISEN: Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) is paying a big fine for
overstating the value of its Merrill Lynch unit again and again. The
Securities and Exchange Commission charged the bank more than $7.5 million
for breaking civil securities laws by repeatedly overstating Merrill`s
value to investors by about $4 billion, and for what it calls poor internal
GHARIB: And at another big U.S. bank, some former employees have been
charged with insider trading. The SEC charged a Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC)
analyst with tipping a trader at the same bank ahead of some big market
moving ratings upgrades and downgrades. That trader raked in more than
$100,000 in profits.
MATHISEN: Six years after the government put together a record
bailout for AIG, the insurance giant`s former CEO is in court again,
arguing that the company and its shareholders were treated unjustly and
unfairly by Uncle Sam.
Mary Thompson has our story from Washington.
MARY THOMPSON, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):
For 40 years, Hank Greenberg ran AIG. For the past four, he`s tried to
prove the government acted illegally when it took AIG over through a $182
billion bailout, hurting his former firm while helping others.
Here`s Professor John Coffee.
JOHN COFFEE, COLUMBIA LAW SCHOOL: I think the government is going to
be very embarrassed by this suit because the basic claim here is that the
AIG bailout was really being used as a conduit by which to push money into
the favored banks.
THOMPSON: Greenberg`s latest attempt at redemption? A six-week trial
in the federal claims court. Greenberg`s investment firm, Star
International, once AIG`s biggest shareholder, now the lead plaintiff in a
class action suit seeking $15 billion to $17 billion in damages. A trial
with expected testimony from key architects of the government`s response to
the financial crisis, former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and
former Treasury Secretaries Hank Paulson and Tim Geithner who ran the New
York Fed at the time.
(on camera): In Monday`s opening arguments, lawyers from both sides
laid out their case.
(voice-over): Plaintiff`s attorney David Boies charging the
government violated AIG and its shareholders` Fifth Amendment rights. This
by charging AIG unusually high interest rates on loans and failing to
adequately compensate shareholders when taking a 92 percent stake in the
firm. Government lawyers countered the Federal Reserve was trying to save
the financial system from the effects of an AIG failure not AIG itself, and
that its board agreed to all conditions because the firm had no
alternatives — a point legal experts say favors the government.
JAMES COX, DUKE UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW: We were really at the edge
of AIG and therefore the whole financial system falling over the cliff. So
I think the credible story here is the story the government has
consistently adhered to.
THOMPSON: Greenberg, who resigned from AIG in 2005 amid an accounting
investigation, long argued AIG did have alternatives the government never
pursued. With a sister suit thrown out of district court, the current
trial may be Greenberg`s last chance to prove the government did him and
other AIG shareholders wrong in trying to save the company.
In Washington, D.C., I`m Mary Thompson for NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT.
GHARIB: And coming up: three major pharmaceutical companies have
released new data on promising cancer drugs. Details next.
MATHISEN: More on last week`s news about PIMCO founder Bill Gross
leaving the asset management firm and the $2 trillion bond powerhouse he
co-created. “The Wall Street Journal” reports $10 billion in outflows from
PIMCO on Friday alone. And the journal says there are fears inside the
firm that $100 billion maybe even more could flood out in the wake of
GHARIB: So, where did a lot of that investor money go? Jeff
Gundlach, the CEO of rival investment firm DoubleLine Capital says he saw
between $400 million and $500 million in net inflows on Friday alone, in
the wake of Bill Gross` sudden departure.
MATHISEN: DreamWorks Animation could soon have a new Japanese owner,
and that is where we begin tonight`s “Market Focus”.
According to reports, Japan`s media and communications company
SoftBank is now looking to buy DreamWorks, the studio behind animated
movies like “Shrek” and “Madagascar.” The reported offer price is almost
$3.5 billion — that`s $32 a share — and a big premium over DreamWorks
closing price today, even as shares soared 26 percent to $28.18.
EnCana, a Canadian natural gas company, is buying Athlon Energy, a
Texas shale oil producer for almost $6 billion. The move will give the
Canadian company a foothold in one of North America`s most oil-rich regions
and it will let the company move away from the low-priced natural gas
business and into more lucrative oil production. Shares of Athlon surged
almost 25 percent to $58.32. EnCana rose two percent to $21.59.
And another deal to tell you about — Tibco Software has agreed to be
taken private by Vista Equity Partners, the price tag here, about $4
billion. Tibco has been looking for potential suitors as an activist
investor has been pressuring the company to maximize shareholder value.
Well, they got a little more maximal today, up 21 percent higher to $23.65.
GHARIB: Iron Mountain (NYSE:IRM) shares rose on a Bloomberg report
that it`s in talks to buy Recall Holdings for more than $2 billion. The
data storage and information management company is said to be working with
Evercore Partners (NYSE:EVR) on the potential deal. Shares jumped more
than 6 percent to $33.90.
Three drug makers announced promising drug results at an oncology
conference in Europe this weekend. Merck`s advanced Melanoma drugs show it
may have promise in treating other cancers like gastric, bladder, lung and
other forms. AstraZeneca presented promising, but early data for its lung
cancer drug combination. And Roche`s breast cancer treatment has shown
“unprecedented” benefits in extending lives in its trial. Shares of all
three drug makers, as you can see, barely budged today.
GoPro launched a new line of cameras, sending its shares to an all-
time high. The new hero line up includes models ranging in price from
about $500 to $130, which is the company`s lowest priced camera yet. The
company`s founder and CEO Nick Woodman says the newly public company is
prepared for the roll out. Shares popped nearly 11 percent to $90.94.
And FedEx (NYSE:FDX) announced a new stock buyback program up to 15
million shares after the bell. That would cost almost $2.5 billion based
on its current stocks. Shares were little changed after hours, during the
regular trading day, the stock was up 1.5 percent to $162 and change.
MATHISEN: And there`s a new stock that will begin trading soon, Dave
& Buster`s (NASDAQ:PLAY). Maybe you`ve been there. The arcade and
restaurant chain plans to put up nearly 6 million shares for sale, setting
a price today between $16 and $18. They`re all having fun there and it`s
good. The exact timing of the IPO is still to be determined but we know
shares will trade on the NASDAQ under the sticker symbol “PLAY.”
And coming up, remember those new tax rules issued by the Treasury
Department to curb the inversions, Medtronic (NYSE:MDT) along with its deal
for Covidien may be feeling the full effects of them. We`ve got the
GHARIB: Federal safety regulators are studying consumer complaints
about unexpected acceleration in some older Toyotas. The National Highway
Traffic Administration hasn`t opened a formal investigation but it`s
looking into more than 100 complaints about Toyota (NYSE:TM) Corollas from
the years 2006 to 2010 that suddenly accelerate at low speed.
MATHISEN: And meantime, a pretty sizable recall for some Harley-
Davidson (NYSE:HOG) motorcycles. More than 100,000 brand new touring bikes
are being recalled because their clutches may fail, causing stopped bikes
to creep forward without warning.
GHARIB: Expect a lot of delays if you plan on flying anywhere near
Chicago over the next two weeks. Federal aviation regulators say that`s
how long it could take to reopen the Chicago area air traffic control
center which was set on fire last week by a troubled temporary employee
grounding thousands of flights.
MATHISEN: And a twist on the growing list of U.S. companies looking
to lower their corporate tax rate business reincorporating overseas.
Shares of Civeo plunging today, down 50 percent after the company which
provides housing and other accommodations for energy workers in remote
locations said it would not pursue a conversion to a REIT and would instead
move its headquarters to Canada without buying or merging with anyone.
Civeo generates 90 percent of its revenue outside the U.S., much of it in
the oil sans region of Canada, so it won`t be subject now to those new
Treasury Department rules aimed at curbing tax inversions.
GHARIB: And those new rules by the Treasury Department to crack down
on corporate inversion plans is causing Medtronic (NYSE:MDT) to rethink the
terms of its planned acquisition of Dublin-based Covidien. The possibility
that that could restructure the deal sent shares of the medical device
company down by more than 1 percent today.
Meg Tirrell shows us how the new rules could impact this already
agreed-upon deal and others in the health care sector.
MEG TIRRELL, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The
record deal activity in health care this year may be hitting a stumbling
block. The U.S. Treasury last week announced new rules to stop inversions,
acquisitions in which companies buy overseas competitors to lower their
corporate tax rate. And they may be causing buyers to take a pause.
DAMIEN CONOVER, MORNINGSTAR EQUITY ANALYST: I think with the passage
of the new U.S. treasury laws, I think it`s likely that the acquiring
companies are going to try to come back to the table and say, hey, with
this new structure on tax policy, we`d like to renegotiate some of the
terms of the deal.
TIRRELL: Billions of dollars worth of deals could be affected
particularly in health care, an industry that`s led the strategy. North
Chicago based drug mark AbbVie announced a deal this year to buy Ireland`s
Shire (NASDAQ:SHPGY) for about $55 billion. While Medtronic (NYSE:MDT), a
Minneapolis-based medical device maker, announced a $43 billion deal to buy
Medtronic (NYSE:MDT) says it`s studying the Treasury`s actions and
will comment on any potential impact to its acquisition of Covidien once
it`s finished its review. Abbvie declined to comment.
Renegotiations could be risky analysts said. Larry Biegelsen of Wells
Fargo (NYSE:WFC) said Medtronic (NYSE:MDT) may seek to restructure its deal
including asking for a lower price and there`s risk it could fall apart if
the two sides can`t agree.
Medtronic (NYSE:MDT) may also look to use more stock and less cash,
“Reuters” reported. Covidien`s got some leverage. A breakup fee of $850
million in the deal falls through.
And while the U.S. acts to stop inversions, companies say a change to
the country`s tax code is what`s needed.
CONOVER: They want comprehensive reform, a reform that really does
level the playing field for U.S. companies, because U.S. companies are at a
disadvantage relative to foreign companies because of paying higher taxes
in the U.S.
TIRRELL (on camera): Until then, Morningstar`s Damien Conover said
companies are likely to continue to pursue inversions even if the U.S.
succeeds in making them a little more difficult.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Meg Tirrell.
MATHISEN: And finally tonight, “Forbes” magazine out with its annual
list of the 400 richest Americans. We`ll give you the top five.
In fifth place, Christy Walton, one of the heirs to the Walmart
fortune, she`s worth $38 billion. Three other Walton family members are
right behind her in the top ten.
Tied for fourth place, industrialist Charles and David Koch, with each
of the brothers worth $42 billion.
In third, Oracle (NASDAQ:ORCL) co-founder and outgoing CEO Larry
Ellison, worth $50 bil.
And second place, Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.A)
worth $67 billion.
And at number one, the Big Bill, Bill Gates, the Harvard dropout who
founded Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), he is worth $81 billion.
GHARIB: You have to be worth $1.5 billion to get on that list.
That`s NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for tonight. I`m Susie Gharib. Thanks
MATHISEN: All right. I`m Tyler Mathisen. Have a great night,
everybody. We`ll see you tomorrow night.
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