SHARON EPPERSON, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR: Best week of the year.
It took some time but stocks finished the week with solid gains and that could be an important milestone for the market.
BILL GRIFFETH, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR: Getting plowed. The farm
economy has been soft. But now, Deere says it may be even weaker than many
EPPERSON: The wealth gap. What some financial advisers are doing to
bridge the divide between black and white in the final part of our series –
– tonight on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for Friday, February 19th.
Good evening, everyone. I`m Sharon Epperson, in tonight for Sue Herera.
GRIFFETH: And I`m Bill Griffeth, in tonight for Tyler Mathisen.
What a week we had, huh? The three major averages logged their best gains
this year despite a rather uninspiring session today. The Dow gained more
than 400 points from last Friday`s close as concerns about China and oil
took a back seat, at least for now.
Today, the Dow Industrial Average fell by 21 points, closed at 16,391. The
NASDAQ gained 16, had a very good week. The S&P 500 was basically flat.
In fact, fun fact, smallest point decline for the S&P since August 2012.
For the week, all the major averages rose 2.5 percent or more.
And as Bob Pisani explains there may be a key milestone for the market.
BOB PISANI, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: This was an important
Now, going into Monday, we had a one-day rally going. But the S&P 500 was
still down about 9 percent for the year. The trend was down. Just four
trading days later, the S&P is up nearly 3 percent for the week. And the
short-term trend is, they`ll call it sideways. That`s an important change.
And it`s been notable bounces in the most beaten-up groups. Old school
tech names like Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) Enterprises and IBM, and Cisco
(NASDAQ:CSCO), all had notable bounces this week, and big global
industrials like Northrop Grumman (NYSE:NOC) and Textron (NYSE:TXT) and
Illinois Tool Works (NYSE:ITW) were up 4 percent, 5 percent for the week,
outperforming the overall market.
Most importantly, there`s been a change in the trading pattern. In the
last two months, every time we`ve had a two-day rally, it`s been met with
heavy selling. But in last two days, the markets have been mostly sideways
on lighter volume, no big selling into the rally. That`s great news
because it changes the downtrend.
Now, this is all very tentative. We need to see this kind of modest
sideways action for a few weeks before anybody is convinced that this isn`t
just a temporary bear market bounce. But it is a start. Next week, we`ll
hear from a raft of Fed speakers including Stanley Fischer, he`s always
important, and the remaining retailers like Macy`s (NYSE:M) and Home Depot
(NYSE:HD), they`ll round out the fourth quarter reporting season. Walmart
and Nordstrom (NYSE:JWN) unfortunately have not had very good news.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Bob Pisani at the New York Stock Exchange.
EPPERSON: There may be a glimmer of inflation in the economy, consumer
prices were unchanged in January, primarily because of cheap gas. But over
the past year, prices rose at their fastest clip in more than a year. And
core prices, which includes food and energy, rose at their sharpest pace in
four and a half years.
GRIFFETH: Certainly, strong inflation is something that the Federal
Reserve wants to see and today, Cleveland Fed Bank President Loretta Mester
said the fundamentals of our economy right now remain solid and that
gradual rate hikes by the Central Bank are likely. She pointed to a
strengthening job market and she said she believes that the economy will
work through any global market turbulence.
EPPERSON: In China, a top securities regulator reportedly plans to step
down. “The Wall Street Journal Report” that the official announcement will
come within days and follows a series of policy moves that were widely
criticized. Separately, the country central bank reportedly said it would
increase the amount of reserve some banks must hold. Experts say China may
be making the changes to dispel doubts about the wealth of the world`s
GRIFFETH: And from China to Europe. There`s late tonight a deal reached
between Britain and the European Union on the future of Great Britain`s
membership in the bloc. Prime Minister David Cameron set out to loosen his
country`s relationship with the E.U., as you know, to appease some members
of the opposition at home who are demanding an exit from the E.U.
But it`s not a done deal yet. A referendum in the U.K. will likely be held
Seema Mody has more now on the tenuous talks that took place in Brussels.
SEEMA MODY, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: British Prime Minister
David Cameron put his best stiff upper lip on display. How else to deal
with Britain`s possible exit from the European Union, the so-called Brexit,
which could threaten the mere existence of the E.U.
DAVID CAMERON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: As I`ve said, I`d only do a deal if
we get that Britain needs.
MODY: Late today, there was word of a deal but no details. Cameron had
said he needed concessions, the most important being tighter restrictions
on welfare benefits to supplement low-paid work, especially to migrant
workers, as Europe contends with the ongoing migrant crisis.
With a deal in place, a long-promised British referendum on whether to
continue E.U. participation can be held in late June.
MARTIN WOLF, FINANCIAL TIMES: He`s taken a huge gamble. If he was going
to have a referendum, he had to justify it by having a change in our
relationships. You could argue that he`d simply been put into an
impossible position. He`s threading a very, very narrow needle.
MODY: To thread that needle, Cameron argues restrictions would discourage
E.U. workers from moving to Britain. Both sides have plenty at stake.
Britain is the E.U.`s second-biggest economy, accounting for one-eighth of
the E.U.`s population and one-sixth of its GDP and a U.K. exit could invite
demands from the other 27 members.
Now, the campaigning can begin. In Britain, both for and against continued
participation in the E.U. Short-term, that means increased volatility in
the equity and currency markets; longer-term, London`s big banks at the
core of Europe`s bond market could leave and relocate to European shores.
WOLF: The really big issue is that if we vote no, what happens next is
complete uncertainty. Nobody knows what the new relationship will be. And
so, investors will have to cope with very high levels of uncertainty.
MODY: The question becomes, are British voters angry enough to push the
country into unfamiliar territory? Sounds familiar, doesn`t it?
Seema Mody, for NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT.
EPPERSON: Certainly does.
From British politics to our own. Republican presidential candidates are
campaigning across the state of South Carolina ahead of tomorrow`s primary.
John Harwood is in Charleston covering the tightening race.
South Carolina has been pretty famous for some bitter political fights.
How about this one, has it lived up to the hype?
JOHN HARWOOD, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Sharon.
You know, this is a state where John McCain ran into rumors about, you
know, who his children were and that sort of thing, when he ran against
George W. Bush in 2000. This year, we`ve got photoshopped mailers, we`ve
got robocalls about the Confederate flag, we`ve got charges of “liar, liar”
flying all around. It is a scramble for survival in this race.
Six Republicans, Democrats come here next week.
GRIFFETH: You know, John, in Iowa and in New Hampshire the question was
not who would win but who would come in second behind Donald Trump? What
about now? His lead has pretty much evaporated ahead of this primary,
HARWOOD: Well, Donald Trump still has an edge. There`s some polls that
show it narrowing. I don`t know if those are going to — if that reflects
a true trend or those are outliers. Others show him a double-digit lead.
But most campaigns I talked to expect Donald Trump to finish first but
there are very big stakes in who finishes second. If it`s Ted Cruz he`s
going to try to go south to the Super Tuesday states and make it a two-man
race. Marco Rubio is trying to edge in and make sure he`s a long-term
player. And then you`ve got Jeb Bush trying to hang on and John Kasich,
the Ohio governor, trying to finish just well enough to get to the Midwest
where he can do better.
EPPERSON: John, let`s talk about the Democratic side. Of course, there`s
a lot of concern there for some people who are Clinton supporters about how
she`s going to fare in the caucuses in Nevada. How much trouble is Hillary
Clinton in right now?
HARWOOD: Big trouble. The polls show that this is a neck and neck race.
This had been thought to be an advantage for Hillary Clinton because unlike
Iowa and New Hampshire, significant number of non-white voters in Nevada.
Hispanic voters which Hillary Clinton has counted on as being a strength.
Now, if she loses those caucuses to Bernie Sanders, he`s going to have
momentum. Tougher road for him in South Carolina, which their primary is a
week later than the Republicans, because African-American voters are
stronger for Hillary Clinton. But the Clinton campaign is very nervous
about what`s going to happen out in Nevada, not a state she was counting on
EPPERSON: South Carolina and Nevada, we`ll be watching those races very
John Harwood in South Carolina, thanks so much.
GRIFFETH: And still ahead, a Deere in the headlights. What the farm
equipment maker is saying about the health of America`s heartland.
EPPERSON: A continuing story we`ve been telling you about. The Department
of Justice has filed a motion now to compel Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) to assist
the FBI and comply with a judge`s order. The law enforcement agency is
seeking the tech company`s help to unlock an iPhone belonging to one of the
San Bernardino shooters which is encrypted. Prosecutors say Apple`s
refusal appears to be based on concern for its business model and public
brand marketing strategy, rather than a legal basis.
GRIFFETH: Well, there`s apparently trouble on the farm. Commodity prices
are falling as you know, incomes are declining, and today, we learn that
the farm economy is likely even softer than many thought.
Deere, the world`s largest agricultural equipment maker, cut its fiscal
full-year profit and sales forecast sharply, sending shares down more than
And as Morgan Brennan reports for us tonight, the company is placing blame
squarely on the downturn in farming.
MORGAN BRENNAN, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: Deere and Company
continues to struggle against a global economic slowdown as crop prices
stay low and demand for machinery wanes. The maker of John Deere tractors
expects farming and construction equipment sales to slide 10 percent for
the full year, compared with an earlier forecast of down 7 percent.
The industrial giant also lowered its earnings outlook to $1.3 billion from
KWAME WEBB, MORNINGSTAR: In terms of the United States, looking at
probably close to down 20 percent agricultural volumes. Down at least 10
percent of volumes in the construction business or maybe close to 10
percent. Europe should be OK, maybe flat. And then, if we look at a place
like Latin America, probably looking at volume declines on the order of at
least 10 percent.
BRENNAN: It speaks to the ongoing downturn affecting the farming economy
as the dollar strengthens and the market for crops like corn and soybeans
has weakened. The Agriculture Department expects U.S. net farm income to
total almost $55 billion this year, down more than half from 2013, when
corn prices climbed to record highs.
Income levels are on track for a third straight year of declines, the first
time since the 1970s. But the pain is being felt worldwide with farm
incomes falling in Canada, Europe, and South America as well, making
farmers less inclined to purchase new tractors and other equipment. Deere
expects industry sales in the U.S. and Canada to remain down as much as 20
percent with the largest agricultural equipment sales falling even more.
But it isn`t just farming.
WEBB: Probably the incremental data point that came out today`s results is
that the construction equipment business remains under pressure. A lot of
that continues to emanate from a slowdown of building activity, in
particularly the oil and gas patch of the United States.
BRENNAN: The results come just days after Warren Buffett`s Berkshire
Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.A) disclosed it`s upped its stake in the company, now
the largest institutional shareholder with a position valued at nearly $2
billion. But even if the so-called “Oracle (NASDAQ:ORCL) of Omaha” likes
the stock, analysts caution it may be best to watch for signs of
stabilization and earnings and guidance — factors that may not materialize
until later this year or beyond.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Morgan Brennan.
GRIFFETH: Well, Yahoo`s board forms a committee to explore strategic
alternatives. And that`s where we begin tonight`s “Market Focus.”
The technology company said its committee consists of independent directors
who will help evaluate the best path for the company`s core business. This
announcement comes two days after activist investors` Starboard Value,
which owns a stake in the company, said it would take steps toward a
potential proxy fight with Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) if necessary. Shares of the
tech giant were up 2 percent to $30.04 a share.
Outdoor apparel company VF Corp issued lower than expected earnings for its
fourth quarter as an unseasonably warm winter dragged down sales. The
owner of the North Face brand says it expects to see continued weakness in
its sportswear and contemporary brand business this year. Shares fell as a
result, more than 4 percent to $58.55.
And energy explorer Cabot (NYSE:CBT) Oil and Gas reported a narrower than
expected earnings loss for its latest quarter. The company sharply missed
analysts` estimates on revenue due to the ongoing drop in oil and gas
prices. Still, shares gained almost 2 percent today to close at $19.91.
EPPERSON: Bill, medical device company St. Jude Medical (NYSE:STJ) is
increasing its quarterly dividend by 7 percent. And that`s up to 31 cents
a share. The yield will be 2.3 percent. Shares were up a fraction to
The U.S. government has given Boeing (NYSE:BA) the green light to start
talking with approved Iranian carriers about buying planes. Boeing
(NYSE:BA) will still need a separate license to actually make jetliner
sales. Shares fell 2 percent to $115.16.
GRIFFETH: Our market monitor tonight likes big cap names. He says they
are amazing brands that are available right now at bargain prices.
This is his first time joining us on the program but he`s no stranger to
Wall Street. Chris Cordaro is chief investment officer at RegentAtlantic.
Good evening, Chris. Welcome back.
CHRIS CORDARO, REGENTATLANTIC CIO: Hi, Bill.
GRIFFETH: Nice to see you.
CORDARO: Good to see you.
GRIFFETH: Are you assuming — are you investing assuming that the economy
is stronger than the market would suggest? Or what`s the strategy here?
CORDARO: Well, yes, I think the market and the economy are stronger than
sentiment would suggest. I think everybody`s a little fatigued and feeling
a little down in the dumps if you actually look at some of the numbers.
You shouldn`t feel that bad and I think the three stocks we`re talking
about really marquee brand names. All of them are selling below 10 P/E
EPPERSON: And that`s what you like, you like value stocks. You talk about
one big name that we`ve been talking about all week. You like Apple
CORDARO: I love Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL). Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) — if you can
buy Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) that is yielding more than a 10-year treasury with
arguably better management — I mean, I just think that`s a great deal.
Everybody`s got Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) products. Everybody loves their
products. They`re — they`re making money. Even if their growth slows, at
this price, it`s a great bargain.
GRIFFETH: You`ve got a money center bank on this list but it`s not usually
anybody`s favorite, Bank of America (NYSE:BAC). Why this one?
CORDARO: It`s usually the one people like to kick around a little bit.
CORDARO: And I think they`re kicking it a little bit too hard.
Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) was pushed down a lot with other big banks with
their energy exposure. I think that`s really overdone. You know, their
exposure`s a little more than 2 percent of loans but they`ve taken it on
the chin a lot harder than that.
So, you`ve got a great bank. They`ve done a wonderful job at trimming
their expenses, which has caused their profit to increase. I think all
banks are particularly good, especially when rates start ticking up.
They`ll start making a lot of money.
EPPERSON: And a lot of people are loving these low gas prices. And you
say that`s good news for big trucks and big truck-makers?
CORDARO: Yes, and who makes really good big trucks? Ford. Right?
CORDARO: So, Ford makes great big vehicles and what we`re seeing is
consumers right now are really going after large vehicles because that`s
what we like in America. With the gas prices where they are, I think
they`ll keep doing that and that should really translate into good business
EPPERSON: You like the dividend, too?
CORDARO: Five percent dividend. That`s an awesome yield. And I think
certainly sustainable given what their profits are.
GRIFFETH: Does any of this change if and when the Fed starts to raise
CORDARO: Well, I think Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) gets —
GRIFFETH: They would like that.
CORDARO: They get more attractive.
I think — so the small move in rates will really help Bank of America
(NYSE:BAC), won`t really affect Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) or Ford too much. We
need to get at least another 100 basis points increase before you see it
pinching them at all.
GRIFFETH: All right. Chris Cordaro of RegentAltantic — good to see you.
Thanks for joining us.
CORDARO: Good to see you.
EPPERSON: Still ahead, “Bridging the Divide.” In a final part of our
series a look at the efforts to close the wealth gap between blacks and
GRIFFETH: Quick look at what to watch for next week.
Monday, the world`s biggest mobile event, the Mobile World Congress, gets
under way in Barcelona, Spain.
On Tuesday, Home Depot (NYSE:HD) reports earnings, kicking off a big week
for retail earnings.
Tuesday also, we`ll hear from a number of Fed officials, including
Minneapolis President Neel Kashkari, and Vice Chair Stanley Fischer.
That`s what`s to watch for coming up next week.
EPPERSON: We have two updates on stories that we recently reported.
Earlier this week, we told you about a small business owner Ken Quran, who
had his account seized by the IRS via forfeiture. His lawyer just told him
that the IRS will be giving back all of his money, $153,000.
GRIFFETH: And then there`s the story of the specialty pharmaceutical
company Insys Therapeutics. The firm has come under fire again after a
former employee`s plea agreement revealed how it allegedly used doctors and
engaged in illegal business practices in order to grow profits. The two
doctors in question and the company were subject of an investigative report
that we aired in November.
Well, tonight, Dina Gusovsky has the new developments for us.
DINA GUSOVSKY, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: Insys Therapeutics`
main revenue-generating drug is a highly addictive opiate, 100 times more
potent than morphine, called Subsys Fentanyl. According to the FDA, the
drug is only meant to be used for persistent cancer pain. But the company
has come under fire for illegal business practices, such as kickback
schemes and off-label marketing.
Two Mobile, Alabama-based doctors, Xiulu Ruan and John Couch, partners at a
practice, got over $210,000 from Insys in 2013 and 2014. In May, they were
arrested on drug and fraud charges. Both pleaded not guilty.
And now, a plea agreement from former Insys sales manager Natalie Reed
Perhacs reveals that she was part of a scheme in which the company
allegedly paid kickbacks in the form of speaking fees to the two doctors.
The government charges that they were involved in a conspiracy. It claims
that Insys allegedly hired Perhacs as a favor to Dr. Ruan who allegedly
approved his speaker fees and he wrote more prescriptions for Subsys after
According to the charges, she had financial incentive to do so, despite a
base salary of only $40,000 per year, commissions from off label
prescribing written by the doctors resulted in her making over $700,000
between April 2013 and May 2015.
Former Insys Sales Representative Shannon Walsh who resigned in October
spoke exclusively with CNBC.
SHANNON WALSH, FORMER INSYS SALES REP: Once somebody was a speaker for the
company, they were expected to generate a certain number of prescriptions.
And if they didn`t, then they would be taken off the speaker list.
GUSOVSKY: Not only did Ruan and Couch co-own and co-direct a pain
management clinic with two locations in Alabama, they also owned a pharmacy
next to one of the clinics. The charges state that nearly all Subsys
prescriptions they wrote were off-label for non-cancer patients. The
prescriptions were filled at their pharmacy, which then billed federally
funded and private health insurers over half a million dollars.
We reached out to Dr. John Couch but our calls were not returned. Dr.
Ruan`s lawyer did talk to us and confirms although Dr. Ruan still has his
medical license, he`s no longer actively practicing medicine at this time.
The doctor continues to deny allegations of kickback schemes.
As far as where the case stands against the two doctors, they are awaiting
jury selection in July. Insys says it`s still reviewing these developments
but told us it is a violation of the company`s compliance policies to give
items of value to health care providers in order to induce them too write
Insys stock down about 39 percent year to date.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Dina Gusovsky.
GRIFFETH: By the way, separately, a class action lawsuit filed against
this company yesterday brought up additional charges that said the company
was engaged in the illegal and improper off-label marketing of Subsys and
certain employees, including former CEO Michael Babich, were, quote,
“complicit in an illegal kickback scheme operated for the purpose of
increasing prescriptions of Subsys”, end quote.
Insys, by the way, did not respond to a request for comment on this
EPPERSON: And finally tonight, the gap in retirement security among blacks
and whites in America is startling. African-American families on average
have about $100,000 less in retirement savings than white families. That`s
according to the Urban Institute.
And this racial divide in savings contributes to a widening inequality in
overall wealth. In the final part of our series “Bridging the Divide,”
here`s a look at how some financial adviser groups are working to help
close that wealth gap.
CYNDI WILLIAMS, NOVALON INFORMATION TECHNOLOY PROJECT MANAGER: Job
changes, layoffs, helping kids get through college. You know, life
EPPERSON: Cindi and Ron Williams, both 57, admit they are not as
financially secure as they want to be.
RON WILLIAMS, COPPIN STATE UNIVERSITY COLLEGE OF BUSINESS DEAN: The vision
that we had 20, 25 years ago, is not the reality that we live now. When
you make missteps midway, they become more critical the older you get.
EPPERSON: Ensuring a secure retirement is a struggle for many Americans,
but the problem is much more acute for blacks than whites. Sixty-two
percent of black working-age households have no assets in a retirement
account, compared to just 37 percent of white households. Only 25 percent
of black households have more than $10,000 in retirement savings, about
half as many as white households.
A significant earnings gap between blacks and whites is partially to blame
for the divide. But experts say the wider and growing wealth gap is also
due to key disparities in investing. African-Americans have far less money
in the stock market.
A recent survey by Ariel Investments found among households with incomes of
at least $50,000, only two-thirds of blacks own stocks and mutual funds,
compared to 86 percent of whites.
LAZETTA RAINEY BRAXTON, ASSOC. OF AFRICAN AMERICAN FINANCIAL ADVISORS
PRESIDENT: For African-Americans, our wealth has been understood with
things that are tangible like homes. And so, what we have seen with the
housing crisis, it`s been harder for African-Americans to rebound.
EPPERSON: Lazetta Rainey Braxton, a certified financial planner, works
with clients including the Williamses, helping them understand how to
invest wisely to build wealth.
BRAXTON: When you make strong, clear financial decisions, the momentum
really allows your wealth to grow exponentially.
EPPERSON: Braxton is also president of the Association of African-American
Financial Advisers, Quad A, a group working with the financial planning
association, the largest membership organization for financial advisers to
bring more blacks into the profession and bring financial advice to more
BRAXTON: Financial advice certainly will narrow the wealth gap.
EPPERSON: Only 6 percent of U.S. financial advisers are black.
FPA chair Ed Gjertsen says increasing diversity among financial
professionals helps more people.
ED GJERTSEN, FINANCIAL PLANNING ASSOCIATION CHAIR: They`re able to take
that message back to their communities and help those individuals close
EPPERSON: The Williamss agree finding a financial adviser who understands
their needs has helped them build trust so they can plan together how to
increase their wealth and eventually retire.
C. WILLIAMS: A little bit of pain in the beginning but it`s worth it.
EPPERSON: The Williams were able to step outside of their comfort zone,
yet only 14 percent of African-Americans currently work with a financial
professional, compared to 31 percent of whites. That`s according to a
recent study by Prudential.
That report also found that blacks are more likely than whites to describe
themselves as savers rather than investors, underscoring the need to
increase knowledge as well as access to investment skills.
GRIFFETH: The number that jumps out to me, 6 percent of all financial
planners are black. That`s it.
EPPERSON: So, it starts with education. Ron Williams, who`s dean of a
business school, said, look, even though education is a big part of this
community, we need to really stress financial services and financial
education and that`s what many colleges like the American College are
GRIFFETH: Clearly an opportunity for students out there.
EPPERSON: Absolutely, absolutely.
That`s NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for tonight. I`m Sharon Epperson. Thanks
GRIFFETH: I`m Bill Griffeth. Have a good weekend, everybody. We`ll see