SUE HERERA, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR: Race to the finish. The
stock rally picks up steam into the closing bell. But after days of
violent swings, is Wall Street satisfied with the bounce back?
Jackson hold. Are the odds of a September rate hike eroding as
central bankers grapple with the global economic mess?
New tax. Why a quarter of all U.S. employers could soon face some
hefty fees on their health plan.
All that and more tonight on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for Wednesday,
Good evening, everyone, and welcome. I`m Sue Herera. Tyler Mathisen
is off tonight.
The move higher was massive, culminating in the Dow`s third biggest
point gain ever. It was the exact opposite of yesterday when the rally
turned into a head fake and selling intensified into the close.
Today, the buyers came out in force, snapping six days of dramatic
selling. And at the close, the Dow Jones Industrial Average soared 619
points to 16,285. The NASDAQ rose 191 points, having its best day in four
years. And the S&P 500 rallied nearly 73 and has emerged out of correction
But with questions about global growth still lingering, was Wall
Street satisfied with that rally?
Bob Pisani reports from the New York Stock Exchange.
BOB PISANI, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: It was another
wild day but with a very different ending. It started like yesterday with
a 300-point move in the Dow at the open. Unlike yesterday, we began
rallying midday and we just kept going.
The issue that sunk the market yesterday was not much of a factor
today. After 3:00 p.m. yesterday, waves of orders to sell stocks at the
close started hitting the floor. Very large numbers.
When traders saw this sell imbalance, they sold ahead of it. And that
exacerbated the big sell-off we had yesterday.
That did not happen today. Sell orders at the close were relatively
So, is this the bottom? It`s really too early to say. The floor was
happy to see a rally in the close and on very big volume. But even though
the rally held into the close, I think traders continue to believe the
market remains a bit sketchy and are not convinced this is necessarily a
sustainable upside. Caution will be the theme near term.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Bob Pisani at the New York Stock
HERERA: So, with investors still cautious and traders skeptical that
the optimism can be sustained, amid doubts of China`s economic growth, how
can investors know if the market is in for a longer term bounce back or
position for a prolong pull back?
Dominic Chu navigates it for us.
DOMINIC CHU, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: To buy or not to
buy, that is the question. Many stock market investors are trying to
figure out if the recent volatility is a reason to stay in or get out of
There are a number of reasons why the stock market rally could march
on despite the recent sell-off. Some experts point to lower oil and
gasoline prices as being beneficial to consumers. Others say that the
relative value of stocks is now more attractive given the pullback. But it
may be too much to expect massive gains for stocks in the coming months.
MICHAEL CUGGINO, PERMANENT PORTFOLIO FUNDS PRESIDENT: You have
corporate earnings that all the rate of growth have slowed, are still
growing. You have — regardless of what the Fed does, you still have
historically easy money. And so — and you have a properly sloped yield
curve. So, you generally don`t see bear markets start with those
So, I think money can be made in stocks. I just don`t know if you`re
going to see the stock market returns we`ve seen in the last six years or
so going forward.
CHU: Of course, for all the bullish commentary, there are reasons for
caution as well. Those same lower commodity prices could take a bite out
of energy company profits. There are also global economic risks,
especially from China that could continue to be a drag and, of course,
there`s the Fed and interest rate policy.
DOUG MACKAY, BROADLEAF PARTNERS, LLC: If the Fed doesn`t raise rates,
it could signal to the markets that they`re worried that something
systematic — could be problematic for the economy. So I think it would be
far better if the Fed just gets on with it. The world is never going to be
puppy dogs and rainbows.
CHU: One thing is more certain. The market volatility has given
people a reason to think about their portfolios and what kinds of
investments are appropriate given each person`s tolerance for all the ups
and all the downs.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Dominic Chu.
HERERA: Another key piece of this market puzzle is the Federal
Reserve, and when it will raise interest rates for the first time in nearly
a decade. Over the next few days, central bankers will tackle head on the
stock market turmoil and its looming decision on rates.
Steve Liesman reports from the annual Kansas City Fed symposium in
Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
STEVE LIESMAN, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: As central
bankers from around the world are ready to meet in the shadows of the
majestic Teton Mountains in Jackson Hole, markets look more like this after
five days of extreme volatility. That`s led a leading Fed official today
to suggest the odds of September rate hike from the Fed are eroding.
WILLIAM DUDLEY, NY FEDERAL RESERVE PRESIDENT: For my perspective, at
this moment, the decision to begin the normalization process at the
September FOMC meeting seems less compelling to me than it was a few weeks
ago. Normalization could become more compelling by the time of the meeting
as we get additional information on how the U.S. economy is performing.
LIESMAN: Dudley, who along with Fed Chair Janet Yellen is not coming
to Jackson Hole, said Chinese economic weakness, the strength of the
dollar, and recent market gyrations all combine to make the chance of a
hike less likely in September. But he wouldn`t rule it out since it`s
still three weeks until the next meeting and lots of data to come.
MAURY HARRIS, UBS INVESTMENT RESEARCH: A lot can happen between now
and then. We`ll be very sensitive to what happens to the employment
numbers a week from this coming Friday. And it looks like you`re probably
going to get another decline in the unemployment rate.
LIESMAN: A new CNBC Fed survey finds that Wall Street economists now
expect a later first Fed rate hike than they did previously, moving the
expectation the expectation to December from September.
But nearly 40 percent of the 26 surveyed still see the chance of a
The irony is that U.S. data has been reasonably strong recently. Just
today, the government reported that business investment in July rose the
most in a year. But the Fed is cautious about recent developments.
DUDLEY: The slowdown in China and the falling prices are emerging
economies. And this could lead to less demand for U.S. goods and services.
LIESMAN: Some thought the Fed in Jackson Hole might go for a hike in
the mountains, solidifying a case for a rate hike.
But it looks more like that the Fed in Jackson Hole is, at least for
now, is going to be on hold.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Steve Liesman in Jackson Hole,
HERERA: And tomorrow from Jackson Hole, we`ll hear from Kansas City
Federal Reserve President Esther George and Federal Reserve Vice Chair
Stanley Fischer is scheduled to speak on Saturday.
So, how resilient is the U.S. economy? And are the problems in China
and other markets a threat to our economic growth?
We turn now to Joe Davis, chief economist at Vanguard, for some
insights and answers.
Joe, good to see you. Thanks for joining us.
JOE DAVIS, VANGUARD CHIEF ECONOMIST: Thank you for having me.
HERERA: Let`s start with China, because it seems to be the flash
point right now. We`ve obviously seen financial impact in our markets.
What about the economic impact that a slowdown in China might have?
DAVIS: I think that`s the critical question, Sue, because it`s the
economic — it`s really China`s economy that should be the focus. Not
really its equity market, despite the focus on the recent volatility.
We`ve had concerns for the past year that many sectors within China,
particularly the manufacturing sector, was growing, potentially much weaker
than was widely appreciated. I think some of those concerns are becoming
much more commonly appreciated. So, that has had some modest impact on
some parts of the U.S. economy.
HERERA: Do you believe the numbers coming out from China in terms of
their growth? Or do you think they`re exaggerated even though they`re
lower numbers than we`ve seen in the past. Do you think they`re actually
growing at a 7 percent rate or perhaps even better or less?
DAVIS: Well, I think, you know, I think more importantly, some of the
measures just tend to be less volatile than one would expect from just
economic statistics. I think the leading indicators we look at, you know,
suggest that potentially, they will not officially reach their 7 percent
growth target this year, perhaps as early as the third quarter and I think
that paired with the recent currency, I think those two combined had some
role to play in some of the market volatility that we`ve seen.
HERERA: Where does this put the Feds? That`s the big debate on the
street right now.
DAVIS: Yes, and, unfortunately, now I really stress the word
“unfortunately”. This does come at an unfortunate time because I think,
until that time I was firmly in the camp that September, despite some
suggesting it was a close call, I think the Federal Reserve was going to
very well raise rates, begin the normalization process.
I think it`s hard for them to be, quote-quote, “reasonably” confident
that inflation will have, you know, start to march up, or just giving
another voracious let down in commodity prices. I don`t think the equity
market that may leave them to pause. It`s much more the commodity prices
and the weakness in emerging markets that may lead them to pause.
HERERA: What about your investors? What are you hearing from them
surrounding the market volatility of the past four or five days? Are they
nervous? Are they holding pat and just kind of letting Wall Street do what
it needs to do to normalize? What are you hearing?
DAVIS: Yes. Well, amazingly, they are standing pat. I mean,
clearly, we are hearing from them more. I mean, they are certainly more
interested. Just the headline, certainly, the increase in, say, log on
accounts and call volumes are up. You know, roughly 50 percent, what —
again, relative to a typically — or slow August.
But I think call volumes have been actually in line with what we see
during a packed season. I would say the transaction activity has been much
less, you know, high or elevated, and it`s actually much more balanced on
both sides of the ledger. So, nothing I would say actually would be
commensurate with the sort of volatility that we`ve seen in the markets.
It`s actually fairly balanced.
HERERA: Well, Main Street is smarter than Wall Street.
Joe, thank you very much.
DAVIS: Thank you, Sue.
HERERA: Joe Davis with Vanguard.
A $13 billion buyout in the energy sector. Schlumberger (NYSE:SLB),
the world`s largest oil field services provider, will buy Cameron
International (NYSE:CAM), amid the downturn in oil prices. Shares of
Cameron soared 41 percent, while Schlumberger (NYSE:SLB) fell more than 3
percent. That deal comes at a time of increased consolidation in the
industry, as companies cut back on spending and try and shield themselves
from plummeting crude oil prices.
Speaking of which today was Texas Intermediate, settled at $38.60 a
barrel, down nearly 2 percent. Gasoline prices also dropping, which would
make it an odd time for an automaker to roll out on a new car that doesn`t
run on gas. But that`s what Toyota (NYSE:TM) is doing, and we`ll bring
that you story a little bit later in our program.
Falling oil prices prompting Transocean (NYSE:RIG) to cut its
dividend. The offshore rig operator plans to stop investors payouts as the
falling crude prices weakens demand for its drill ships. At a special
shareholder meeting in October, investors will be asked to approve the
cancellation of the final two dividend payments of the year. That
pressured shares which fell almost 5 percent.
Coming up, the Affordable Care Act backlash. Why a looming employer
tax could be a big burden for companies and consumers.
HERERA: As individual investors grow concern about their retirement
accounts in this volatile market, Boeing (NYSE:BA) has reached a
provisional settlement in a class action lawsuit over the company`s 401(k)
plan. That lawsuit claimed the plan charged employees excessive fees. No
details of that settlement have been released.
So, how do you know whether the fees in your 401(k) plan are
reasonable or not?
Sharon Epperson is back with us with what you need to look for.
So, Sharon, good to see you as always.
SHARON EPPERSON, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: Good to be
HERERA: So, what exactly are workers paying for with these fees in
EPPERSON: Well, there are a lot of different services that you`re
getting with the 401(k) fees. Administrative services, transaction
processing, regulatory fees as well as investment management fees and
financial education as well from some plans.
HERERA: Do we have an average of about how much those fees are?
EPPERSON: It really can depend on the plan size, how the participants
are on the plan, how large it, and also what the plan is investing in, the
equity holdings, the fees may be higher.
But larger plans, a million dollars or more, in plan assets, you might
see the plan participant paying between 0.29 percent and 1.29 percent.
HERERA: Wow, that`s quite a range.
EPPERSON: It is a big range, and again, the bigger the plan, the
lower that fee is going to be.
But a smaller company plan, we`re talking about half a million dollars
in assets or so, they could see a fee as high as 2 percent to 3 percent.
So, if you`re working for a small employer, you could see a much higher
HERERA: So, how do you know, how can you find out whether the fees
that you`re paying are excessive?
EPPERSON: One thing that you want to do is probably go to a Web site
like BrightScope.com. They do a really comprehensive survey of 401k plans.
A lot of large company plan. Some smaller company plans as well.
Look at your plan. And also a plan with the participant and the
assets about the same size and kind of compare to see where you stand and
where your plan stands, that`s one thing to do.
Also, consider the fact that it`s not just the 401(k) fee eating away
at your assets. It could be the mutual fees as well.
EPPERSON: So you want to know what`s inside your plan and what those
expense ratios are on those plans. Morningstar (NASDAQ:MORN), a great
resource for that, personal capital also has a 401k analyzer that you could
go to online.
HERERA: OK. So, I go to the Web site and I look at my plan and I get
a little sticker shock. What can I do? Is there any recourse?
EPPERSON: So, when you go inside and you look at the different funds,
maybe you can change to index funds, they`re at lower cost funds. You use
those tools and find out, if you change your holdings with that, lower the
overall cost of the plan.
EPPERSON: And then, think about this. You`re still likely going to
get a company match. Many 401k plans provide company`s matching
contribution. That`s free money on the table. So, that may offset the fee
that you`re paying. For many people, they`re not going to save any other
way. A 401(k) is a great automated way to save.
So, it`s better to put it in a place where you know you`ll have it
long term. Yes, you`re paying a fee. You don`t want to pay a high fee.
But if you`re getting the company match as well, it`s a great place to put
your money on retirement.
HERERA: Sharon, as always.
HERERA: Thank you so much, Sharon Epperson.
Impressive quarterlies from Express (NYSE:EXPR) is where we begin
tonight`s “Market Focus”.
The retailer easily beat estimates on both fronts, and raised its 2015
outlook and lifted guidance for the current quarter. Its same-store sales
also trumping estimates. The better than expected numbers came as the
company scaled back on promotions. Shares surged nearly 20 percent to
Also a strong day for another retailer, Abercrombie & Fitch
(NYSE:ANF). That chain posted a surprise adjusted quarterly profit as its
performance was helped by strong results at its Hollister brand. Shares
rose 9.5 percent to $18.91.
And rounding out today`s reports from retailers is Chico`s, which also
popped on better-than-expected results. The clothing company said it would
sell its Boston Proper direct-to-consumer business and close its existing
stores. The stock was more than 6.5 percent higher to $14.75.
And Monsanto (NYSE:MON) dropped its nearly $50 billion bid for
Syngenta. The Swiss company recently rejected a sweetened offer from
Monsanto (NYSE:MON), so now Monsanto (NYSE:MON) says it will focus on its
core business and resume its share buyback program. Monsanto (NYSE:MON)
rose 8.5 percent to $97.08. Syngenta tumbled 13.5 percent to $67.51.
The Affordable Care Act is back on the radar. A report released this
week by the Kaiser Family Foundation says that about a quarter of employers
that offer health insurance plans could be hit by the so-called “Cadillac
tax”. That`s the tax levied on the most generous health plans. That
provision was designed to rein in excessive spending and help pay for
expanded coverage. So, how might that impact you if you receive health
benefits from your employer?
Larry Levitt is the senior vice president for special initiatives at
the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Larry, nice to have you here. Thanks so much for joining us.
LARRY LEVITT, THE KAISER FAMILY FOUNDATION SR. VICE PRESIDENT: Thanks
for having me.
HERERA: So, what will this mean for workers? If these health care
taxes go into effect? What net-net would be the bottom line impact?
LEVITT: Well, I mean, this is a very significant tax. It`s 40
percent on health insurance premium that exceed certain thresholds in the
law. And no employer is going to want to pay this tax. I mean, it`s such
a substantial amount and it`s very complicated to figure out the tax.
So, employers are going to do everything they can to avoid it. And
most likely, what that means is employers are going to trim back benefits.
They`re going to raise deductibles, raise co-pays. So, for workers, they
can expect more of that to happen. It`s been happening for years, but this
tax will really accelerate the trend.
HERERA: If it doesn`t go into effect until 2018, why all of a sudden
is it back on the radar?
LEVITT: Well, yes. I mean, 2018 seems like a long time away. And it
really seems like long time away when the Affordable Care Act pass in the
There`s a couple of reason. One is there is a big political push now
to repeal the tax by employers and insurers and health care providers.
That I think is really putting it back on the agenda. And employers are
starting to look at what they`re going to, you know, how much tax they
might face here and what they`re going to do to avoid it.
HERERA: A lot of people use health savings accounts and other times
of accounts to help supplement. First of all, it`s at tax advantage for
them in many ways. But also, it helps make up for the difference between
the deductible and perhaps what they owe the doctor or a hospital, et
cetera. Will this tax affect that or their ability to shield that income?
LEVITT: It does. I mean, the tax is quite sweeping. It doesn`t just
affect your standard health insurance benefits but it also hits health
savings account, help reimbursement arrangements, flexible spending
accounts, even on-site clinics that employers might offer.
So, all those benefits go into figuring out whether an employer would
face a tax under this provision.
HERERA: If it`s not going to be repealed and you mentioned the fact
that there`s a big pushback by various companies and others, is there a
chance perhaps the tax could be reduced? I mean, is there wiggle room, a
negotiating room, if you will, or no?
LEVITT: Well, you know, final regulations haven`t been issued and
those will certainly affect how much any one employer might face in the
tax. But there could also be congressional efforts to scale back the tax
or allow the threshold under the tax to grow faster overtime. Right now,
they grow just with inflation. There might be certain adjustments for
regional cost of living.
So, you know, 2018 is still a ways away. And there could definitely
be changes between now and then. We also have an election coming up
between now and 2018.
HERERA: That`s right. I was just going to say, and it`s an election
LEVITT: That could certainly affect things as well.
HERERA: All right. Larry, we`ll leave it there. Thank you very
LEVITT: Thank you.
HERERA: Larry Levitt with the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Coming up, Katrina 10 years later, and how one New Orleans hospital
that witnessed that devastation first hand has transformed since the
tragedy hit that city a decade ago.
HERERA: Here`s what to watch tomorrow: a preliminary reading on gross
domestic product growth for the second quarter. That`s the broadest
measure of economic activity. Weekly jobless claims are out and we`ll see
how the labor market is doing. Also on the data front, pending home sales.
And that`s what to watch for Thursday.
Sales of new vehicles are expected to fall 4 percent in August when
compared to last year. That`s according to Kelly Blue Book. A caveat,
however, last year included sales from the Labor Day weekend, so those
years ago levels are harder to beat, and this doesn`t necessarily meet
demand is weakening.
Gasoline futures, as we told you, drop nearly 6 percent today, as
supplies rose. And with the price you pay at the pump expected to drop
roughly $2 a gallon at the end of this year, it would seem like a strange
time to roll out a new car that won`t run on gas. Instead, the new Toyota
(NYSE:TM) Mirai will be powered by hydrogen. But will it sell?
Phil LeBeau has more.
PHIL LEBEAU, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: Meet the Mirai,
Toyota`s newest car looks like other midsize sedan, but it`s radically
different. It`s powered by hydrogen.
CRAIG SCOTT, TOYOTA MOTOR CORP: The car that lets you go 300 miles
plus, refuel in three minutes and drive like normal. So, I think that`s
what brings people to it.
LEBEAU: Officially, the Mirai gets 312 miles on a full tank of
hydrogen and is expected to cost between $40 and $55 to fill up. The
Mirai`s price? Just over $58,000.
Toyota (NYSE:TM) plans to sell 3,000 Mirais in America, almost all of
them in California.
That`s because there are just a dozen hydrogen refueling stations open
to the public in the U.S. and 10 of them are in the Golden State.
Paul Berkman has been to many of them, filling up his hydrogen powered
Hyundai Tucson. He loves driving on hydrogen, but he says refueling can
take up to a half-hour and some pumps aren`t always working.
PAUL BERKMAN, FUEL CELL VEHICLE OWNER: If I didn`t live close to the
stations, I wouldn`t be a happy person. But I live close. I have three
alternatives. So, that`s the only reason I chose this hydrogen because I
have three alternatives within a two to three-mile radius. If there was
only one, I kind of maybe think twice about it.
LEBEAU: Toyota (NYSE:TM) is confident California will add more
refueling stations to support the Mirai, and the very gradual growth of
hydrogen powered cars.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would like to say it is a decade behind the
vehicle technology. So, we`ll get there, but it`s going to take more time.
LEBEAU: A new car in a new technology, in a state pushing to get more
clean burning vehicles on the road.
Phil LeBeau, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, Los Angeles.
HERERA: And finally, it`s hard to believe but it`s been almost 10
years since Katrina, the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history. When
it slammed into New Orleans, overwhelming that city`s infrastructure,
causing floods, death and displacement. And there was one hospital in New
Orleans that witness that had tragedy and began its own transformation.
Bertha Coombs has the story.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One, two, three.
BERTHA COOMBS, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: Most hospitals
don`t have their own navy, much less flood rescue drills.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Leaving evacuation hospital.
COOMBS: Ochsner Baptist in New Orleans does because of Hurricane
DR. GLENN CASEY, OCHSNER BAPTIST: My job was to man the waters. Try
on corral any boats that we could to start evacuating the ambulatory
COOMBS: Ten years ago, Glenn Casey helped save patients when the
waters rose. He would spend much of the year after helping to save the
CASEY: I practiced there for 30 years. I was born there. I couldn`t
see that institution going away.
COOMBS: But after Katrina, nearly half of New Orleans` population
fled. The hospital`s owner, Tenet Healthcare (NYSE:THC), ultimately chose
to sell rather than reopen.
LISA GOLDSTEIN, MOODY`S MANAGING DIRECTOR: It was a market that, as
you know, went from over 2,000 hospital beds to shortly after Katrina, just
500, with some of the closures that we had.
COOMBS: Ochsner, then just a single hospital operator stepped in to
buy the hospital and two others in the area from Tenet.
WARNER THOMAS, OCHSNER HEALTH SYSTEM CEO: I think Katrina was an
event that for a lot of reasons, people looked at it and said this is our
chance to do something different. This is our chance to be bold.
COOMBS: Since then, Ochsner has led the wave of hospital
consolidation in the region, acquiring five additional facilities in the
last ten years, turning Baptist into one of its crown jewels.
THOMAS: We have invested well over $100 million of resources into
COOMBS: With state-of-the-art emergency operating systems.
In addition to this massive generator that can run all of the hospital
systems, Ochsner moved all of the supporting equipment, the pumps and
switches well above the high water mark and now has a dedicated fuel line
in order to keep it running.
THOMAS: Katrina is a one in 100-year storm. (INAUDIBLE) haven`t need
them, but if we ever did, we`re prepared
COOMBS: Now, analysts say hospital operators like Ochsner ought to be
prepared for tough reimbursement battles in the wake of the proposed Aetna
(NYSE:AET)-Humana (NYSE:HUM) and Anthem-Cigna mergers.
GOLDSTEIN: Many are already getting ready by looking at their cost
structure, becoming very efficient in their operations.
COOMBS: After the last 10 years, they feel prepared at Baptist for
CASEY: We were able to become very flexible, which is what you need
to be in today`s modern health care field.
COOMBS: Bertha Coombs, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT.
HERERA: Our coverage of Katrina, 10 years later, continues tomorrow
with a look at how Katrina transformed the city and how its recovery is
still a work in progress.
And that will do it for us on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT tonight. I`m
Thank you for joining us. Have a great evening, everybody. We`ll see
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