Transcript: Nightly Business Report — March 18, 2015

NBR ThumANNOUNCER: This is NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT with Tyler Mathisen and
Sue Herera.


JANET YELLEN, FEDERAL RESERVE CHAIR: Just because we removed the word
“patience” from the statement doesn`t mean we`re going to be impatient.


may have dropped the word “patient”, but Janet Yellen added something else
that sent stocks soaring.

Shares of FedEx (NYSE:FDX) fall on a disappointing outlook. We`ll take you
behind the words and numbers and tell why they`re not so bad after all.

HERERA: What`s brewing? Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) launches a campaign
to get people talking about race relations. But does it come at a cost?

All that and more tonight on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for Wednesday,
March 18th.

MATHISEN: Good evening, everyone. And welcome.

Janet Yellen took the stage and stocks took off. The Federal Reserve
dropped the words investors have been obsessing over, patient, from its so-
called policy statement. And that`s the explanation and outlook the Fed
gives at the end of its monetary meeting.

So, will the Fed now become impatient? Well, you just heard her say,
no — not so in deciding when to raise interest rates, quite the contrary,
said Chair Yellen. In fact, she said the Fed will remain cautious and
focused on economic data and some of that data said the Fed indicates the
pace of economic growth in the U.S. has moderated lately.

And that launched stocks like an F-18 off a carrier deck. The Dow
Jones Industrial Average rose 227 points, to close above 18,000 trading in
a 400-point range. NASDAQ gained 45. S&P 500 tacked on 25. Now, the
yield on the 10-year bond fell back below 2 percent.

And one of the biggest moves was in the currency market as the dollar
slumped and the euro jumped.

We`ve got two reports tonight. Bob Pisani on the markets, sharp
reaction from the New York stock exchange. But, first, Hampton Pearson has
more on what some are calling the Federal Reserve`s most important policy
decision in years.


Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen and fellow monetary policy makers appear
ready to open the door to a rate increase later this year. But they also
appear to be in no rush to do so.

YELLEN: Just because we remove the word “patient” from the statement
doesn`t mean we`re going to be impatient.

PEARSON: The Fed chair ruled out a rate hike at the April meeting.
Economic data tracking further improvement of the job market and higher
inflation appear to be the most sensitive rate hike triggers, but the Fed
chair acknowledged slower economic growth and more downward inflation
pressure from the strong makes a strong case for waiting.

YELLEN: Just as we don`t want to be premature in tightening policy
and aborting a recovery that we have worked long and hard to proceed as far
as it has, we also don`t want to be behind the curve and beginning to
tighten given those lags.

PEARSON: Markets rally based on the notion of late increase may be
further off than what many traders had assumed.

BOB DOLL, NUVEEN: We can debate June or September, but it`s this
year. Remember, rates are zero. Our economy got to a zero Fed funds
because we had an emergency. The emergency is long since passed. The Fed
needs to get rates where they belong.

PEARSON (on camera): What we got today was a small step towards what
will eventually be the new normal for interest rates. But the exact timing
as to when liftoff actually occurs remains anybody`s guess.

For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Hampton Pearson in Washington.



again. The markets were terrified at the prospect that the Fed would
remove the “patient” phrase. The Fed did exactly that and yet, stocks
staged one of their biggest rallies of the year. The Dow Industrials, for
example, was down almost 150 points going into the Fed meeting at 2:00 p.m.
Eastern. But in the next hour and a half, it rallied at about 400 points.

In the bond market, 10-year bond yields saw one of its biggest
declines of the year, going from roughly 2.03 percent to 1.91 percent.
That`s huge. With bond yields dropping, interest rates sensitive sectors
that compete for yields rally dramatically with gains in utilities and
REITs and telecoms and home builders.

Hey, wait, I`m not done. Lower rates caused the dollar to drop
dramatically, particularly against the euro. As the dollar collapse,
commodities like oil and gold rallied as did commodity stocks like energy
and metals.

What happened? Well, despite Yellen`s comments that the Fed could
raise at any time, traders believe that the Fed is once again pushing the
day of rate hikes farther down the road.

ART CASHIN, UBS: It looks to me as though the markets are reading
that dovishness and heard, no rate hikes this year. We heard what you
said, but no rate hikes this year.

PISANI: Was anybody not loving this? Well, lower rates are not good
for banks, who make money by borrowing short and lending long. Big banks
like Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), Citigroup (NYSE:C) and KeyCorp (NYSE:KEY)
ended down on the day.

For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Bob Pisani at the New York Stock


HERERA: Randy Kroszner joins us now for more analysis on the Fed. He
is a former Fed governor and now professor of economics at the University
of Chicago`s Booth School of Business.

Welcome back, Randy. Nice to have you here.


HERERA: Let`s start first of all with something I found kind of in
the statement, and also in the Q&A session. And that is that the Fed chair
seems to feel as though the economy has kind of backtracked a little bit.
We don`t have any inflation and she`s still worried about the labor market
and those who want to work more but can`t find those jobs.

Did that surprise you as well, or not?

KROSZNER: It didn`t surprise me because the — I think the chair has
been fairly clear that we`ve made progress in the labor market. But if you
look at the broader labor market indicators, not just the unemployment rate
and remember, they kind of took out the emphasis on the unemployment rate a
while ago from the statement, it doesn`t look quite as robust.

If you look at the number of people who would prefer to be full-time
and are only part-time employed, that`s over 6 million. If you look at the
number of people who haven`t looked for a job recently but have looked
sometime in the last year or would like to be employed, that`s another 2
million. So, there`s still a lot of slack in the labor market I think as
far as the Fed is concerned.

MATHISEN: Randy, Jon Hilsenrath of “The Wall Street Journal” wrote
today that the Fed has opened the door to raising interest rates later this
year, but is reluctant to walk through it. Why do you think that is?

KROSZNER: Well, I think exactly as you had in the quotation from
Janet Yellen. You know, when I was at the Fed and when Janet was at the
Fed, we were working long and hard, and certainly, they have worked very
hard since I left the Fed in 2009, to make sure we didn`t have a repeat of
the Great Depression. So, I think there`s a reluctance to move too quickly
to try to kind of cut off some of these green chutes before they really
take root.

HERERA: You know, there were those today who said that perhaps the
Fed had lost a little credibility, because the last news conference that
Ms. Yellen held, she seemed to indicate that rates would go up in the next
few meetings. Has she lost credibility? Because it seems as though she`s
backtracking on that today.

KROSZNER: So, I didn`t really take that from the previous press
conference. I took that it was going to be data-dependent, that they`re
going to see where inflation and growth are. And certainly, one of the
developments that we`ve seen is a little bit slower growth or robustness in
the economy. And certainly, the inflation rate has been moving downwards
rather than upwards. And the Fed doesn`t want deflation to come back.

MATHISEN: No, they do not. And so the question then becomes, when
you have the dollar until today moving higher against the euro, you`re
effectively sort of importing this inflation or deflation, if you want to
take it to that.

How do you spark inflation, Randy?

KROSZNER: So, they want some inflation but not too big a spark.

MATHISEN: It`s an Alice in Wonderland. No, excuse me, I mean, it`s

KROSZNER: Try to get the balance just right. So, you know, we start
to see inflation kind of moving downwards. Certainly, we don`t want to see
slip into deflation territory. So, they want to see a bit more robustness
in the job market. That would likely to be leading to greater wage growth.

But you don`t want that to go too far. Janet Yellen talked about
that. She doesn`t want to be behind the curve. Inflation hasn`t moved.
So, they try to get the balance right but it`s really about data and not
about particular dates.

HERERA: There are those who think that the dollar did have a big
influence on the Fed, but if central banks around the world are actually
easing and the Fed is standing pat, how does that — does that weaken the
dollar? It doesn`t seem to. Many people think it`s going to continue on
its upward path.

KROSZNER: Well, it depends on what`s happening in these other
countries because most — many of these other countries are now facing
deflation. And so, they sort of take some leaves of the Fed`s playbook in
2008 and 2009 to cut rates close to zero or in some cases, even make them
negative to undertake quantitative easing. And I think the Fed realizes
the rest of the world may need the kind of support now that the Fed had
given to the U.S. economy in 2008/2009.

HERERA: Randy, thank you very much. Pleasure to see you again.

KROSZNER: Good to be with you.

HERERA: Randy Kroszner with University of Chicago`s Booth School of

MATHISEN: And a case in point of what Randy was just talking about —
over in Europe, Sweden`s central bank slashed its interest rate deeper into
negative territory. The Riksbank also expanded its bond buying program to
stem the rise in its currencies. Sweden central bank is just one of
several in Europe using unconventional measures to fight low inflation.

HERERA: The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development is
warning global economies from relying too much on monetary policy to
support growth. The OECD`s chief economist said overreliance on central
banks could exacerbate risk taking and endanger the stability of the
financial system.


CATHERINE MANN, OECD CHIEF ECONOMIST: There has been an overreliance
on monetary policy. We understand why the central banks have moved the way
they have or the way they`re going to, but they can`t be the only policy
player we are looking for, stable, medium term fiscal path, a sense of
certainty about what the fiscal path is going to be. There`s been
uncertainty about that.


HERERA: Mann also said the outlooks for the world economy has
improved, especially in Europe as oil prices stay low and the euro

MATHISEN: European Central Bank President Mario Draghi inaugurated
the new billion dollar ECB building in Germany today. But the ceremony was
met with protests that erupted into riots, the measures imposed by the ECB.

Annette Weisbach has more now from Frankfurt.


been meant to be a day of glory for Mario Draghi, it turned to be his worst
nightmare, serious violence clashes here on the streets in Frankfurt.


WEISBACH: More than 10,000 people took to streets here and had
serious clashes with the police. They were protecting, of course, against
the austerity policy of the ECB, against the fact that many people in the
southern periphery live in poverty because of those policies of the ECB and
(INAUDIBLE) advocating.

Bottom line from the day is that we had more than 80 people injured
from the police. Many cars are burning across town, and there is part of
the town where essentially blocked by the police. People living and
working in Frankfurt were actually asked to stay at home and not to go to
their workplace because it was meant to be dangerous.

For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, Annette Weisbach, Frankfurt.


HERERA: In the energy market, oil prices made a sharp U-turn after
that Federal Reserve policy statement. Earlier in the day, the commodity
was lower when inventory showed another massive build-up, hitting record
highs for the tenth week in a row. With the dollar tumbling after the
policy statement, oil prices rallied with crude settling up almost 3
percent. Brent settled up by almost 4.5 percent.

MATHISEN: And in Mexico, that country`s finance minister said sees
the same slump in oil prices and that the country`s public finances will
face hurdles in the year ahead. Revenue from state oil company, PMAC,
accounts for a third of the federal budget. Drop in crude has pushed the
currency to record lows.

HERERA: Still ahead, FedEx (NYSE:FDX) delivers a disappointing
outlook, but there`s more to the company`s earnings report than meets the


MATHISEN: Target (NYSE:TGT) is reportedly raising the minimum wage
for all of its workers to $9 an hour. The move matches similar moves by
Walmart, TJX companies as well. As first reported by Dow Jones, the new
wages go into effect next month.

HERERA: FedEx (NYSE:FDX), the world`s largest cargo airline trims the
top range of the first year profit forecast citing the strong dollar. The
company is often considered a barometer of economic activity, simply
because the better the economy, the more goods that are shipped. Shares
dropped more than 1 percent on the weak outlook.

But as Morgan Brennan tells us, the report may be better than it


Santa was good to FedEx (NYSE:FDX). The parcel carrier`s earnings for the
peak holiday season soared more than 50 percent, trouncing analysts`
expectations. Lower fuel cost, relatively mild weather in ongoing
restructuring in the air express segment contributed to the strong results.
But analysts say the biggest takeaway is that package volumes continued to

DONALD BROUGHTON, AVONDALE PARTNERS: Ecommerce continues to grow.
Worldwide as far as domestic air freight started to grow. A very positive
outlook on the overall economy.

BRENNAN: Four percent more packages were delivered via FedEx
(NYSE:FDX) domestic express shipping. Ground volumes jumped 7 percent. On
the earnings call, company executive said this was likely the best
Christmas peak ever in terms of service for customers.

But it wasn`t all good news for the shipping giant. Revenue fell
short of expectations and fuel surcharges for customer were adjusted lower,
and the strong dollar created a head winds. Sending shares lower today,
the company also tightened its full year guidance to a forecast that fell
short of Wall Street expectations.

Still, analysts remain bullish on the stocks, especially in light of
strong profit growth.

BROUGHTON: We continue to be positive about FedEx (NYSE:FDX) despite
the drop in price today. It`s just a minor adjustment. This is a company
on pace to earnings by 30 plus percent this year. It should be able to
grow another 20-something-plus percent next year. Yet, it`s selling for
slightly below market multiple.

I don`t know anywhere else in the big cap land that I could find 30 —
20 percent earnings growth on top of 30 percent earnings growth, and pay a
market or below market multiple part.

BRENNAN: Backlogs at the West Coast ports continue to translate into
more freight coming across the Pacific into the United States via FedEx

(on camera): Now that the holidays are out of the way, experts are
keeping an eye on oil, and whether it will continue to boost earnings.
Also, the success of dimensional weight pricing, a new size plus weight
price structure for ground packages that ruled out in January.



MATHISEN: A legal victory for Herbalife (NYSE:HLF) is where we begin
tonight`s “Market Focus”.

Herbalife (NYSE:HLF) won the dismissal of a lawsuit related to claims
the company is an illegal pyramid scheme. The judge said in the decision
that shareholders did not show that the maker of weight loss and
nutritional products inflated its stock by misrepresenting itself as a
legitimate company. Shares popped 12.5 percent to $38.76.

General Mills (NYSE:GIS) reported earnings and revenue that beat
estimates. Earnings did fall on restructuring charges and as the stronger
dollar hurt revenue. The maker of Cheerios also saying it completed its
previously announced plan to cut about 800 positions. Shares 1.5 percent
higher, they finished at $52.86.

Investors getting a chance to react today to news that Kraft
(NYSE:KFT) is recalling about 6.5 million boxes of Kraft (NYSE:KFT) Mac &
Cheese — 6 million of which were in my kitchen — because some packages
contain or possibly contain pieces of metal. The food company has received
customer complaints, no injuries happily have been reported. To find out
more information on the recall, head to

Shares of Kraft (NYSE:KFT) up slightly today at $61.87.

Microsemi (NASDAQ:MSCC) announced the purchase of Vitesse
Semiconductor for almost $400 million. This as other chip makers have also
merged, driving consolidation in the industry. Shares of Microsemi
(NASDAQ:MSCC) were more than 2 percent higher. Vitesse Semi soared almost
40 percent, but it is worth noting, it`s a small cap stock.

William Sonoma reporting late results that were in line with
consensus. But the retailer gave weak guidance, which it partly blamed on
the slowdown at the West Coast ports. It did hike its dividend by 6
percent to 35 cents a share. Shares lower initially in after-hours
trading. Before the close, the stock was off about 3.5 percent to $80.96.

And Jabil Circuit (NYSE:JBL), which makes phone casings for Apple
(NASDAQ:AAPL) reported a 20 percent rise in quarterly revenue, helped by
strong iPhone sales. After the bell, the stock popped initially. Before
the close, the stock was up a penny to $22.65.

MATHISEN: And coming up, Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) takes a bold step
into race relations, tying its brand directly to that hot button issue.
We`ll discuss the risks to business and brand with a top marketing man.


MATHISEN: Just a quick look at what to watch tomorrow.

As Janet Yellen said today, the Fed`s policy needs to be data-
dependent and Thursday will bring a fresh read on the jobs market with a
weekly jobless claims report. Retail giant Nike (NYSE:NKE) will announce
its earnings after the market closes and investors will get a chance to see
how Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) performs its first day trading as a Dow component.

HERERA: Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) is going more than brewing up coffee.
At its annual meeting today, the CEO announced a 2-for-1 stock split and
test delivery service. But the initiative that`s got everybody talking
about is its Race Together Campaign. The coffee chain is encouraging
baristas to get customers talking about race relations. Shares of
Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) up 1 1/2 percent.

The Race Together Campaign is designed to stimulate conversation. But
is it smart business?

Jane Wells reports from Seattle.


HOWARD SCHULTZ, STARBUCKS CEO: Starbucks` dear, dear friend, Jennifer

Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) always puts on a good show for its investors, but
this year`s annual meeting seemed to show the company less about coffee,
more about change.

SCHULTZ: This meeting is going to be a little bit different because
we are going to tackle a subject that is making its rounds throughout
America and tearing up so many lives and so many people and so many

WELLS: The subject is race and Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) is hoping to
get people talking about it by encouraging baristas to write “Race
Together” on coffee cups. The social media backlash was brutal, with
tweets like “Breaking: All Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) baristas will serve
beverages from atop a high horse.”

But shareholders, mostly white, who began lining up before dawn like
the concept.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) seems to promote, you
know, socially progressive things and I think that`s a terrific thing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m mixed on that. I mean, I don`t know how
baristas are going to have time to have conversations.

WELLS: Customers outside the very first Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) in
Seattle were also supportive. Mostly.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it`s a good idea.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t know how much you can have in a short
period of time while waiting to get coffee.

WELLS (on camera): Would it make you uncomfortable while you`re
buying a cup of coffee for someone to engage in a conversation about it?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not really, depends on if I have the time to

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Race, religion, politics, you don`t touch them.
Just walk out.

WELLS: Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) made other announcements at the
meeting, like a two for one stock split, a new delivery service rolling out
in New York and Seattle later this year. A salute to veterans, but a good
portion set aside to discuss the rates initiative, which is voluntary.
Workers do not have to do it. Though many say they want to.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s kind of putting into words how I feel about

WELLS (voice-over): Baristas like Harrison Detheridge (ph) and Tyler
Wright (ph) are preparing themselves to have a new kind of coffee talk
while whipping up lattes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There`s always time to make that extra effort and
have those conversations.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Multitasking. You got the bottom half of your
body that`s doing all this stuff and then your head is thinking. So, I
mean —

WELLS (on camera): Solving the world`s problems.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, exactly, making coffee and solving problems.
Day in the life, right?

WELLS (voice-over): Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) will soon find out if
Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) customers drink it up.



MATHISEN: Our guest, Dean Crutchfield says Starbucks` Race Together
campaign is a positive for the brand. He`s senior vice president at
Sterling Brands, a brand consultancy in New York City.

Dean, welcome. Good to see you.

You say it is a positive for the brand. I`d love you to explain why.
And what do you see as the risks inherent in spurring conversation in their

the successful brands are about having clarity and a true difference in
terms of how they, you know, position and communicate themselves to the
market and to their customers, and Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) has done an
amazing thing today. And they knew they would get a lot of negativity from
it initially, but what`s important is they actually put their best foot
forward to tackle the subject where government and institutions have
potentially failed, why not can a commercial enterprise like Starbucks
(NASDAQ:SBUX) actively target this conversation?

HERERA: What about the risks though? As Tyler mentioned, there are
risks. I suppose if this is successful, and he does get the conversation
going — I mean, that`s a huge leap forward. But what if that doesn`t

CRUTCHFIELD: Well, I think, you know, do or don`t do. There is no
try. This is a very big subject that Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) has taken on.

But let`s think about it. It was one of the first to talk about gay
rights and marriage. It offered health insurance to its staff. Why not
talk about race? I think that it`s very appropriate.

Brands are about who you are, what you do, and why I should believe in
you. This is very perfect or bang on Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) brand. We
get a real sense of their personality, their products very relevant,
they`re sourced from all over the world, and this gives me an extra reason
to buy the coffee but also believe in Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) just as a

MATHISEN: It might give you an extra reason to buy the coffee, but I
can well imagine it might give some people pause who don`t want to be
engaged or evangelized or choose your descriptor there, when they`re going
in basically to buy a latte and get out.

CRUTCHFIELD: Well, not everybody is going to be talked to by the
barista. They`re obviously going to kind of see whether there`s a
potential for a conversation. So, I don`t think it`s going to be constant
or consistent. It`s going to be happening during the course of the day,
but not every customer will be asked. Not every customer has to be

You know, they might just want to come and get their coffee and go.
That`s not going to be a problem. But we`re better than a coffee shop to
have a discussion about such a hot topic.

HERERA: Yes, he says in his statement that he doesn`t want to point
fingers or place blame, and it`s not because we have the answers, but
because staying silent is not who we are.

And it struck me when we had our afternoon meeting, that maybe he`s
already partly succeeded because it`s what everybody is talking about
already today.

CRUTCHFIELD: Look, any publicity is good publicity. And I think for
a subject like this, who could really defend someone not tackling this
subject? It`s such a big issue in America right now. I think you would be
foolish to pooh-pooh it.

I mean, you might not be into having a conversation, but I can`t see
why you`d say don`t do this. I would be very first to find a lot of people
that would have that attitude. That`s my take.

MATHISEN: Are there legal risks here at all, Dean, that you can see
that people might feel harassed or singled out because of their race for
conversation or engagement?

CRUTCHFIELD: Well, litigation is a $258 billion market in America.
So, this is a country that certainly will go after something if they think
there`s that opportunity, if someone feels that they`ve been discriminated
against or they`ve been embarrassed, these situations might occur, they
might be moves from some baristas that they don`t want to be involved. Who

But this is a business that`s very sophisticated, it knows what it`s
doing. It has very powerful agency partners. It must have discussed this
with its PR. They knew they would get a lot of negativity.

You know, failing to prepare is preparing to fail, and here is a case
where I believe Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) is prepared, has organized itself,
and I believe this will be a major impact for their brand and their

MATHISEN: All right. Dean, thank you very much for your viewpoints

CRUTCHFIELD: My pleasure.

MATHISEN: We appreciate it. Dean Crutchfield with Sterling Brands.


HERERA: Also in Seattle, an update on a story we told you about last
night. A federal judge has decided not to block part of that city`s new
minimum wage law. The low raises Seattle`s minimum wage to $15 per hour.
The increases are phased more quickly for big companies than small ones.
The International Franchise Association argued that a franchise should be
considered a small business, not a large one, even though it is part of a
bigger network.

And that does it for us on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT. I`m Sue Herera.
Thanks for joining us.

MATHISEN: And I`m Tyler Mathisen. Thanks from me as well. Have a
great evening everybody. We`ll see you back here tomorrow night.


Nightly Business Report transcripts and video are available on-line post
broadcast at 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) 2015 CNBC, Inc.

This entry was posted in Transcripts. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply