Transcript: Tuesday, November 11, 2014

NBR ThumANNOUNCER: This is NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT with Tyler Mathisen and Susie Gharib, brought to you in part by —

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SUSIE GHARIB, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR: Let’s make a deal. The U.S. and China reached an agreement to drop tariffs on $1 billion worth of technology products. And some well-known companies could feel the impact.

TYLER MATHISEN, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR: $9 billion in 24 hours. That is how much the Chinese Internet goliath Alibaba rang up in sales today on Singles Day, an event that is now bigger than Cyber Monday and Black Friday combined.

GHARIB: And a few good men from the battlefield to the workplace. What some on Wall Street are doing to train and hire our veterans.

We have all that and more tonight on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for Tuesday, November 11th.

MATHISEN: Good evening, everyone, and welcome.

On a quiet Veterans Day on Wall Street, the Dow and S&P 500 did manage to close at fresh record highs. The numbers in just a moment.

Meanwhile, the day’s biggest business news took place a half a world away in China. There at the APEC Summit in Beijing, President Obama found some rare common ground with his Chinese counterpart, striking a deal to eliminate tariffs on as many as 200 tech products shipped between China and the U.S., including next generation semi-conductors made by companies like Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) and Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM), with tariffs as high as 25 percent, MRI machines made by companies such as General Electric (NYSE:GE), video game consoles, GPS devices, like those made by Garmin (NASDAQ:GRMN), and many, many more.

It is a deal that some say covers a staggering $1 trillion worth of global trade and signifies real progress in the strained relations between China and the U.S.

But there was a lot more going on at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit and our Susan Li reports from Beijing.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SUSAN LI, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: At APEC China 2014, we had some really interesting one-on-ones at the beautiful lakeside compound where all the leaders were at 50 kilometers away from Beijing, a discussion taking place between the U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Also, a walk around the resort between the Chinese President Xi Jinping and Obama. Kind of reminiscent of the California golf course walk that they had when Xi first got into office.

But APEC is mostly about the economy and mostly about trade. We do have two competing trade deals on the table, the Trans-Pacific partnership championed by the U.S., and the STAAP that’s being championed by China. At the end of it, looks like Chinese President Xi Jinping says he has got a one-up on the U.S. this time around.

One of the most significant developments here at APEC was the stoic relations between the two largest economies in the Asia-Pacific. We had Japan’s leader Shinzo Abe shaking hands for the first time with the Chinese President Xi Jinping. First time they’ve both touched palms since they both got into office in 2012. And people are thinking and hoping that the deep hostilities between the two are now behind them.

But everyone is still talking about the outfits at APEC, the traditional garb that they don for the family photo. I’ll let you decide for yourself what you think of it.

In Beijing for NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I’m Susan Li.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GHARIB: And there was a lot more going on in China today as that nation marked Singles Day as something like our Valentine’s Day. But the made-up shopping event racked up a very real $9.3 billion in sales for online retail giant Alibaba. That’s a new record. And more than tripled the combined sales of Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the U.S. last year.

Now despite that, shares of Alibaba which began trading here in the U.S. in September declined nearly 4 percent today.

Eunice Yoon has more from a very busy and very noisy Alibaba headquarters in Hangzhou, China.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

EUNICE YOON, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: It’s a big day for Alibaba and it’s a big day for its founder, Jack Ma. Today, the Chinese e-commerce giant posted $9.3 billion in sales on this Singles Day. That’s 59 percent larger than last year and an all-time record.

Now, Singles Day is a major shopping holiday day in China. It’s multiple times larger than Cyber Monday in the United States.

It wasn’t always like that. Singles Day used to be a day about singles. People would get together and sometimes buy themselves gifts. Now, it’s become a major consumer holiday here in China and Alibaba has had a lot to do with that.

Jack Ma said he is hoping to bring this holiday to the world.

JACK MA, ALIBABA FOUNDER: I wish it would be a global shopping day for States, for Europe, for anywhere in the world. So, I really cannot imagine how big that will be because I want more people involved, more companies involvement, more offline shops with involvement.

It’s going to be big. I don’t know, this day, I just think the number today, I’m happy about that.

YOON: Now that Alibaba is listed in New York, Jack Ma says he has his eye set on the financial arm, Alipay, and possibly (INAUDIBLE) in China.

MA: Ninety percent of the young people, right, they’re using online payment, they are using our payment system in China. And everybody say, wow, that big. Anybody watch that for us?

You know, of course, we use the system. We use technology. We use every system we could. But if we could be public, more people know about us. More people look on us. That would be good.

YOON: But today’s focus was on China’s shoppers. Everyone here was talking about the great deal they were getting and deep discounts on everything from handbags to electronics.

Jack Ma addressed them as well, saying thank you, shopaholics of China, for contributing to the country’s GDP.

For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I’m Eunice Yoon in Hangzhou.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MATHISEN: Wow.

Well, closer to home, some of our biggest brick and mortar retailers are preparing to post their latest earnings as they gear up for the busiest shopping season of the year hereabouts.

Courtney Reagan with more now.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COURTNEY REAGAN, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The second half of November is about as busy as it gets for retail. All the heavyweights will be reporting third quarter results over the next couple weeks and then days later, it’s Black Friday, retail’s Super Bowl. Macy’s (NYSE:M) and JCPenney report earnings tomorrow, followed by Walmart, Kohl’s (NYSE:KSS) and Nordstrom (NYSE:JWN) on Thursday. So, the week’s focus will be on department stores. The results will include back-to-school sales.

Baird analyst Mark Altschwager thinks the group will report result in line with Wall Street’s generally low expectations.

Talmage Advisors CEO Liz Dunn says is the quarter weakens for retailers as it progressed but doesn’t think the trend means holidays will be weak.

LIZ DUNN, TALMAGE ADVISORS CEO: The truth about the consumer is that they seem to show up for appointment shopping. So, when there’s a reason to shop they’re in the stores shopping. They shopped for back to school. They took a little bit of a breather in the third quarter, but as we ramp up to the fourth quarter I think they’ll show back up and shop for holiday.

REAGAN: Dunn joins the chorus of analysts telling investors to pay attention to the unplanned discounts retailers ended up offering in the third quarter, because it could foreshadow how far retailers are willing to go in the holiday quarter to win a sale.

When it comes to the holiday season, consumers want it all — low prices, great product, free shipping, and the option to shop online and in the store seamlessly. While low gas prices are expected to help pad consumer quality shopping budgets, retailers have to offer it all to win shoppers over and the competition has only just begun.

For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I’m Courtney Reagan.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GHARIB: On Wall Street today, the bond markets were closed to honor Veterans Day, but traders and investors were still buying stocks and some of the averages still managed to set some new records. Dow edged up one point to another record closing high. The NASDAQ rose about nine points and the S&P added one point, also closing at a fresh all-time high.

Over in the oil markets, domestic crude reversed early losses and closed 54 cents higher, ending just below $78 a barrel. International Brent crude fell again, down to a four-year low.

MATHISEN: U.S., British and Swiss financial regulators are expected to come down hard on some big international banks tomorrow over charges they fixed foreign exchanges markets.

Kayla Tausche has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KAYLA TAUSCHE, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: We are getting word that the 18-month investigation by cross-border regulatory authorities into potential manipulation by banks of foreign currencies could be coming to a head. The first settlement between some of these authorities and various financial institutions are expected to hit first thing Wednesday morning.

Among those settlements — one between six banks and the United Kingdom’s financial conduct authority. That I’m told by sources could be more than $1.5 billion in fines. Secondly, we are expecting that there will be a U.S. settlement between the Commodities Futures Trading Commission and several banks here in the U.S. that could also involve the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

At this point, it is expected that each bank named in that settlement could pay roughly $300 million each for those charges of FX manipulation. It’s unclear which banks will agree to be part of this settlement. That, of course, will happen overnight. Banks have been storing away billions of dollars in expectation of these charges, most recently, Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) and Citigroup (NYSE:C) adjusting their third quarter earnings in order to put more money away as well.

So, this is the first sign that this multi-year investigation could be coming to a close, although there are several regulators, including the Department of Justice, that are still investigating.

For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I’m Kayla Tausche in New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MATHISEN: And still ahead, should the Federal Reserve change the way some Central Bank officials are appointed? We will talk to the head of one group who says yes.

(MUSIC)

GHARIB: This was supposed to be a turnaround year for Xerox (NYSE:XRX). But today, the company said it’s not growing as much as expected and projected flat revenues for 2014 and lower than expected earnings for next year.

Speaking to analysts in New York, CEO Ursula Burns talked about the challenges of broadening the company’s focus beyond copiers, told me thinks will look better next year.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

URSULA BURNS, XEROX CEO: I am very confident we can grow. We have a great business model. We have great set of offers and we have great client engagement. Most of what we’re going to do to grow, we’ve already signed. So, signed with our clients. I’m very confident on our growth.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GHARIB: Xerox (NYSE:XRX) also announced an expansion of a stock buyback plan to $1.5 billion and the stock rose more than 1 percent.

And coming up tomorrow on NBR, we’ll have more of my interview with Ursula Burns. She talks about her take on the economy, hiring and tax reform.

MATHISEN: Ford’s big bet with big pickup trucks is rolling off the assembly line and into show rooms right now. The new F-Series, a bit of a gamble for the automaker, with its aluminum panels and fuel economy that’s expected to be far higher than what we’ve traditionally seen with pickup trucks.

Phil LeBeau has the details.

(BEGI VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is as big as it gets at Ford Motor (NYSE:F) Company.

PHIL LEBEAU, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It is not just another pickup truck. Ford’s new F-series represents a whole new way of building and selling trucks starting with aluminum panels that make the truck lighter and more fuel efficient. The aluminum also forced Ford to retool its Dearborn truck plant with an influx of robots.

MARK FIELDS, FORD MOTOR COMPANY: Actually the installation of the body shop went a lot smoother than I expected. And we’re exactly where we are expected to be on that ramp-up curve for production. So, we’re right where we want to be.

LEBEAU: Ford says its newest trucks will be as tough as dependable at its current F-Series. It’s also loaded with new technology, including a 360-degree camera. But the real selling point is the mileage buyers can expect. Ford and the EPA have not finalized the truck’s fuel economy rating. But if it gets close to 30 miles per hour on the highway as some have suggested, then the new F-series could be a game-changer.

LARRY DOMINIQUE: I know fuel economy or fuel prices recently have moderated a little bit, but this lighter weight up to 700 pounds on any given trim is going to be a real game changer for fuel economy.

LEBEAU: As Ford has transitioned to a new truck, both GM and Ram have aggressively pushed sales of their own pickups and, in fact, have gained ground on Ford. Now, the question is whether Ford’s new truck can keep the F-Series as the best selling vehicle in America.

JACK NERAD, KELLEY BLUE BOOK: I think there are probably going to be some people, you know, some fleet buyers who go let somebody else buy it in the first year. We’ll see how it goes. And then, you know, if it’s going well, we’ll jump in this the second year.

LEBEAU (on camera): The price of the new F-Series is between 2 percent and 8 percent higher than the previous generation of Ford trucks. These new aluminum models will start rolling into showrooms over the course of the next month. But it won’t be into well into next year that we get a true sense of whether or not the aluminum F-Series is a real hit with truck buyers.

Phil LeBeau, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, Dearborn, Michigan.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GHARIB: D.R. Horton (NYSE:DHI) saw home orders jumped in its fourth quarter and that’s where we begin tonight’s “Market Focus”.

The home builder posted higher orders and closings across most of the country. The company’s earnings missed, but investors saw the results as a sign that housing demand is picking up. That sent shares of other major home builders higher. Shares of D.R. Horton (NYSE:DHI) were up 2 percent to close at $23.95.

Vivint Solar posted a hefty loss that exceeded analyst estimates, and that stock plunged today. The residential solar power company says its loss widened because it’s investing to increase installations. But investors weren’t buying it. Shares tumbled 22 1/2 percent to $11.42.

MATHISEN: Regeneron was one of the best performing stocks in the S&P 500 today. The company and Sanofi both released positive trial data on their experimental drug that treats moderate to severe asthma. Sanofi up 2 percent to $47.14. And Regeneron was up 3 percent to $398.36.

Shares of Zoetis were higher on a report that activist investor Bill Ackman has taken a $2 billion stake in the company. He could push the animal health firm to sell itself to a large drug maker. That sent shares up almost nine percent to $43.72.

After the bell Fossil (NASDAQ:FOSL) impressed investors with its earnings report. The fashion accessories maker beat estimates and renewed a licensing agreement with Michael Kors to continue to create watches together. It’s also authorizing a $1 billion stock buyback.

Fourth quarter guidance was light, but that didn’t seem to matter. Shares surged initially after the bell, up as much as 15 percent. During regular trading, shares were up slightly. They closed at $103.75.

GHARIB: Are low interest rates making you nervous? Well, Charles Plosser says they should make all of us nervous.

In an interview today, the president of the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank said that right now, there is no reason to keep record-low interest rates at current crisis era levels.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHARLES PLOSSER, FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF PHILADELPHIA PRESIDENT: There are many indicators that tell us that rates are too low. We’ve been at zero for nearly six years now, almost six years. And there’s no precedent in history even when inflation was too low to have rates at zero with unemployment rates are as low as they are.

So, I think we’re really behaving in a way that is outside historical norms and that should make us nervous.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GHARIB: Plosser is scheduled to step down as head of the Philly Fed in March.

MATHISEN: And with the retirement of Mr. Plosser and also the head of the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank next year, a coalition of community groups and labor unions has called on the Federal Reserve to change the way some Fed officials are appointed. In letters sent to the Central Bank, the group is asking for the public’s help to the two empty positions. They call the current process secretive, undemocratic and dominated by banks and corporations.

Kati Sipp, director of Pennsylvania Working Families, a non-profit agency group — advocacy group, is a part of that coalition and joins us now.

Ms. Sipp, welcome. Good to have you with us.

What is your complaint here? And what do you think is not only wrong with the process but wrong with the results that have come out of the Federal Reserve Banks, the regional banks?

KATI SIPP, PENNSYLVANIA WORKING FAMILIES: Well, I think that the clip that you just played from Charles Plosser was sort of indicative of the problem that we feel exists with the Philly Fed and the Federal Reserve, generally.

You know, I’m coming to you from Philadelphia which is a city that is all of 2014 has averaged 8 percent unemployment. If you look at the African-American community in the city, it’s about 14 1/2 percent unemployment.

So, for Charles Plosser to be talking about the unprecedented act that the Federal Reserve has taken by keeping interest rates at zero percent and now talking about the need to do that, we think he’s really not listening to, you know, sort of every day people in the region that he is representing. We think that there should be a more Democratic voice in monetary policy in general and also in picking his replacement.

GHARIB: So, Kati, I understand that you and some of the other advocacy groups on this mission are going to be meeting Fed Chair Janet Yellen on Friday, which is pretty amazing that she’s meeting with you. What do you want to tell her and what do you want her to do about this?

SIPP: Well, when the Federal Reserve was originally created, there were positions that were sort of held aside for the public and for consumer advocates. We think that the Fed has generally across the country gotten away from having people who really represent public interests on the Federal Reserve and we want them to start putting more people from the community from community organizations from labor unions, from elected officials who represent low-income communities on the Federal Reserve to be influencing the monetary policy.

That’s sort of the reason that we’re going to talk to her. Obviously, it’s spurred for me in Philadelphia by the fact that Plosser is stepping down and that they’re currently working to find a replacement for him.

MATHISEN: I gather what happens here is that the boards of the Federal Reserve Banks made up of nine people, three of whom are bankers, six of whom are non-bankers, they then select the presidents of the various regional banks.

And I guess what you’re calling for is that those six non-bankers on those regional boards be better representative of the community from which they come. Right now, I gather of the 72 non-bank positions on the Federal Reserve boards across the country, only something like eight are not really basically out of the executive or banking community one way or another.

SIPP: Right. I think there are two that represent different labor organizations and I believe there are nine across the country that come from the non-profit sector. But all of the rest is folks from corporate America or from financial institutions and we think that people in this country in many neighborhoods are still struggling and they don’t feel like the recovery has come down to their neck of the woods and we think that they deserve to have a voice in the way that our monetary policy is set moving forward.

MATHISEN: All right. Ms. Sipp, thank you for being with us tonight. We’ll be looking to see what change or results you get, if you get any, on Friday with Ms. Yellen. Thanks very much.

SIPP: Thanks so much for having me.

MATHISEN: You bet.

SIPP: I appreciate it. Thanks.

GHARIB: And coming up, from war to Wall Street. How a financial firm and some tech start-ups are helping veterans transition back into civilian life.

But first with the bond market closed today for Veterans Day, here are how commodities fared.

(MUSIC)

GHARIB: On this Veterans Day, honoring all the men and women who have served in the U.S. armed forces — the unemployment rate for veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is about 9 percent. That’s way above the national average.

But some vets are getting some much needed help as they re-enter the workforce.

Kate Rogers (NYSE:ROG) tells us about a group called Vets in Tech, which helps veterans apply the skills they learned during service to the country to new jobs and even start-ups in the tech world.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KATE ROGERS, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After eight years in the marines, Donald Coolidge found transitioning back into civilian life and the working world difficult. Instead of turning to a career in criminal justice or law enforcement, as many vets do, Coolidge opted for technology, drawing on the skills he honed while serving.

DONALD COOLIDGE, VETS IN TECH: Creative problem solving, teamwork, leadership, and really able to think on your feet, think fast and make a decision.

ROGERS: Coolidge is director of the New York City chapter of Vets in Tech, a national non-profit helping veterans find work in the booming technology industry.

Founder Katherine Webster says she was inspired to start the group after hearing how returning veterans were struggling to find work.

KATHERINE WEBSTER, VETS IN TECH: I was sitting in the center of the tech ecosystem in San Francisco thinking that’s kind of crazy, because these veterans are more tech savvy than ever before.

ROGERS (on camera): To date, Vets in Tech has worked with more than 2,000 veterans and its membership doubles that. They’ve partnered with big names like Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), Intuit (NASDAQ:INTU) and Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) to both mentor and hire veterans.

(voice-over): David Gowel, co-founder of software company RockTech, says the best part of Vets in Tech is the opportunity to pay it forward to other veterans.

DAVID GOWELL, ROCKTECH: One of the core elements that I’m excited about is helping to feed the tech industry with early employees now that can become leaders and ultimately mentors to help all the droves of veterans transitioning out.

ROGERS: Helping a few good men, and women, make a smooth transition from the battlefield to the workplace.

For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I’m Kate Rogers (NYSE:ROG).

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MATHISEN: Hiring veterans isn’t just good for them. It is also good for business. And at one Wall Street firm, which actively recruits U.S. vets, to the world of high finance, business is booming.

Dominic Chu has the story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DOMINIC CHU, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For Wall Street firm Drexel Hamilton, Veterans Day doesn’t just come once a year.

LAWRENCE DOLL, DREXEL HAMILTON: The reason we started the firm was I’m a disabled Vietnam veteran and I never forgot the people that helped me when I got back from Vietnam in a really tumultuous time. And what we do here, we try to match a veteran of Wall Street up with a veteran from combat.

CHU (on camera): This room houses Drexel Hamilton’s capital markets operation. Of the 18 members here, seven are military veterans, and five of them are service disabled veterans.

What exactly has been the most difficult part of this going from your navy career to one on Wall Street?

KIMBERLY ALONZO, NAVY VET: The most difficult thing was actually finding the opportunity.

CHU (voice-over): Seven-tour veteran Captain John Martinko noticed as well.

JOHN MARTINKO, SEVEN-TOUR VETERAN: Nobody came to Jalalabad, Afghanistan, to camp and recruit me.

CHU: But he was convinced he had the skills it took.

MARTINKO: A lot of our vets coming home from overseas have had to have been in these situations where things haven’t gone correctly, just like a trading floor, your trade might be going upside on you, but the ability to manage that risk and be profitable.

CHU: For Purple Heart recipient, Jerry Majetich, skills weren’t the problem.

JERRY MAJETICH, PURPLE HEART RECIPIENT: Burned over half of my body, shot four times, broke my back, was in the hospital for almost two years. Both of my ears are actually prosthetic and I didn’t have them yet. There is an intimidation factor. I didn’t blame any of that, it’s human nature. But because of that I couldn’t find employment.

And that’s when I came across Drexel Hamilton, gave me a new life. When something holds you down, you got to stand up and keep going. Now, my son wants to follow in my footsteps by enlisting in the Marine Corps. I said, that’s great, follow in my footsteps, just not all of them. Watch for that last one.

CHU: An example for a son. An example for a business. An example for us all.

For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I’m Dominic Chu.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GHARIB: And finally tonight on a lighter note, a birthday to celebrate. “Sesame Street” turns 45, becoming the longest running show for kids in U.S. history. All the favorites are still there, including Elmo caught reading “The Wall Street Journal” today, along with Oscar the Grouch, Big Bird, Cookie Monster and many more. “Sesame Street” currently reaches 156 million kids and their parents in 150 countries.

And, Tyler, at 45, it shows no signs of slowing down. Love the show.

MATHISEN: Love Elmo.

GHARIB: That’s NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for tonight. Thanks so much for joining us. I’m Susie Gharib.

MATHISEN: And I’m Tyler Mathisen. Thanks from me as well. Have a great evening. And we will see you right here tomorrow.

END

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.

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