SUE HERERA, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR: Request denied. Apple
(NASDAQ:AAPL) makes it official, formally saying it will not help the FBI, intensifying this very public fight.
TYLER MATHISEN, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR: Travel bargain? Not if
you`re flying. Why fares are rising even as jet fuel costs fall.
HERERA: President and CEO? If Donald Trump wins the White House, can he
still manage his company? The surprising answer tonight on NIGHTLY
BUSINESS REPORT for Thursday, February 25th.
MATHISEN: Good evening, everyone, and welcome.
Exactly — Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) did exactly what it said it would. The
world`s most valuable public company formally opposed the court order to
unlock the iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino terror attack shooters.
Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) made the argument that the government`s request is
“unprecedented” and violates among other things the company`s First
Amendment rights that protect against compelled speech.
On the other side of the corporate story that`s capturing the world`s
attention is FBI Director James Comey who earlier today testified on
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES COMEY, FBI DIRECTOR: I love encryption, I love privacy. When I hear
corporations saying, “We`re going to take you to a world where no one can
look at your stuff,” part of me thinks, “That`s great, I don`t want anybody
looking at my stuff.” Then I step back and say, you know, law enforcement,
which I`m part of, really does save people`s lives. Rescue kids. Rescue
neighborhoods from terrorists. And we do that a whole lot through court
orders that are search warrants and we do it a whole lot through search
warrants of mobile devices.
So, we`re going to move to a world where that is not possible anymore? The
world will not end, but it will be a different world than where we are
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATHISEN: Eamon Javers has been following the story from Washington.
What exactly did Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) say in its filing today? I`ve read
some of it. I thought it was interesting that they cited a First Amendment
right calling basically code speech.
JAVERS: Yes, that`s exactly right, Tyler. This is officially called a
motion to vacate. They filed it today.
They also used a First Amendment argument and a Fifth Amendment argument
here, arguing that they shouldn`t be conscripted here by the federal
government to write that code which they say is in effect speech of theirs.
Here`s what Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) said in the filing making these
constitutional arguments. They said, “No court has ever authorized what
the government now seeks. No law supports such unlimited and sweeping use
of the judicial process and the Constitution forbids it.”
So, clearly, Tyler we`re getting the sense here that this is a fight that`s
going to go all the way to the Supreme Court.
HERERA: We heard a little bit in that sound bite from the FBI director,
but in his testimony today, how did FBI Director Comey say he was
approaching this particular case?
JAVERS: He was very careful, Sue. This was not a guy who wanted to come
out and lambast Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL). In fact what he said was, he offered
a few words of praise for Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), talking about how they`d
cooperated with the FBI before this process became an absolute dispute that
went public last week.
So, the FBI director here very careful to say he sees both sides of the
argument as we saw in that clip but ultimately he`s got to stand on the
side of law enforcement here. There`s a terrorism investigation and they
need access to that phone.
MATHISEN: You know, Eamon, it seems to me that Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL)
fundamentally has been saying to the FBI, you just don`t understand it, you
say that you just want a key to this one individual phone identified by
serial number. But if we do that and you don`t even want the key, you just
want the contents, we can keep the key — but that in doing that,
effectively they have to create a key that would unlock all phones that run
that same operating system, right?
JAVERS: Yes, that`s exactly what Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) CEO Tim Cook said in
an interview on national television last night. He said ultimately this
affects hundreds of millions of users, potentially, around the world if we
create this software — he called it akin to a cancer. Just the existence
of this software could be so dangerous if it got out into the wider world
here, you know. Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is not immune from attacks from
hackers even though they are very, very good at keeping secrets as those of
us who cover them know.
This is a company that is under attack all the time by hackers. It`s also
under assault by nation states and spies from China and Russia and other
places. Would this get out into the world? That`s their concern.
MATHISEN: All right. Eamon, thank you very much. Eamon Javers in
HERERA: Well, the correlation between stocks and oil has not been broken.
On Wall Street today, equities rallied as crude prices rose. The Dow Jones
Industrial Average gained 212 points to 16,697, the NASDAQ climbed 39, the
S&P 500 added 21. And as for oil it reversed course to settle up nearly 3
But it wasn`t just oil that got stocks moving higher. Comments from a Fed
official may have also contributed to the optimism.
HERERA: James Bullard, the same James Bullard who long pushed the Federal
Reserve to begin raising interest rates, reversed course last week and is
backing that stance this week.
JAMES BULLARD, FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF ST. LOUIS PRESIDENT: One of the
things I want to do is get away from trying to predict how many increases
there`s going to be in a year. We want to be data independent, I think we
want to better coordinate with market on the idea that, you know, we will
move but we`ll move on good news.
HERERA: What, if anything, does that tell us about the state of the U.S.
economy? If the data does not warrant another rate hike should we be
worried about a recession? On the one hand, Bullard says —
BULLARD: No, I don`t think the probabilities are particularly highlight
HERERA: But on the other hand —
BULLARD: Of course, you always face risk and we are at a lower trend
growth rate, so you could always argue that there might be a higher
probability of recession because your trend growth rate is now lower than
it was historically in the U.S.
HERERA: And that low growth rate is just what worries Citibank, which
says, “We are in a highly precarious environment for global growth caused
by a large increase in the uncertainty about the advanced economy`s outlook
notably for the U.S.”
Globally, the usual suspects are worrisome. The slowdown in China, rising
debt, sinking commodities, and now a new player.
DAVID CAMERON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Somehow if we vote to remain in —
HERERA: A possible Brexit in which a UK departure could unravel the entire
European Union. Still, Citi says global growth should top 2 percent this
year but that growth is driven by the United States. Any slowdown here
puts the global economy at risk.
The IMF which had forecast 2016 growth to top 3 percent also warned this
week that it may have to lower expectations.
MATHISEN: And in that IMF report, the agency said China`s slowdown was
adding to those global economic persons. The world`s second-largest
economy which is growing at the slowest rate in 25 years is also hosting
the G-20 summit in Shanghai. That`s where we find Eunice Yoon.
EUNICE YOON, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: G-20 finance ministers
and central bank governors have arrived in Shanghai to discuss ways to
support global economic growth. The IMF earlier this week called for the
G-20 nations to take bold action and conversations have large by centered
around fiscal policy or the use of structural reforms to try to offset some
of the pressure on monetary policy as well as exchange rates.
Now, China has come up as largely a risk, the slowdown, of course, has
roiled the markets over the past several months. I spoke to the PBOC,
Chinese central bank`s chief economist, who said investor concerns have
largely been overblown.
MA JUN, PEOPLE`S BANK OF CHINA CHIEF ECONOMIST: The investors are overly
nervous about various aspects of the Chinese economy. But if you look at
the more fundamental aspect of real economy, for example, the consumption,
it`s actually quite robust. What I saw recent statistics is that during
the Chinese New Year, retail sales were growing 11 percent, quite an
YOON: Market volatility front and center, as we saw in the Shanghai
markets on Thursday, down by 6 percent. Some of that`s because of
liquidity concerns, as well as overall fragile sentiment in the stock
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Eunice Yoon in Shanghai.
HERERA: And slowing demand from China is one of the issues pressuring the
oil market — in addition, of course, to excess supply. And today, San
Francisco Fed President John Williams said he expects oil prices to stay
low for a few more years, simply because supply and demand is so out of
MATHISEN: And those falling crude braces are taking a toll on yet another
engineer company, Halliburton (NYSE:HAL), cutting 8 percent of its
workforce, or roughly 5,000 positions. The second-largest oil field
services company has already slashed 25 percent of its staff since 2014.
HERERA: With the win in Nevada earlier this week, Donald Trump has inched
closer to the Republican nomination. But taking it one step further would
president Trump have to relinquish management over his companies if he does
win the White House? Or could he be both CEO and president?
Robert Frank takes a look.
ROBERT FRANK, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: When Donald Trump
announced his run for president, he managed to promote his book, his real
estate, and his golf courses.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have the best courses in the
world. I have one right next to the White House.
FRANK: Now, with Trump inching closer to the nomination, the question is,
could Donald Trump serve as promoter in chief and CEO of his companies
while also being commander in chief?
The answer surprisingly is yes. According to U.S. statutes, there is no
law that would prevent Donald Trump from owning and running his companies
if he`s elected president. There are detailed criminal laws preventing
executive branch employees from participating in a government matter or
negotiation that would benefit them or their families, but under a
different statute, the vice president and the president are both exempt.
JOHN WONDERLICH, SUNLIGHT FOUNDATION: Most people would find it ludicrous
that the amount of power we give to the president, the American president,
everything that represents, that we don`t have better laws preventing a
conflict of interest or the kind of abuses that we see so often in other
countries around the world.
FRANK: So Trump would be able to keep his company, remain on the board,
and promote his hotels, golf courses, and condos while in the White House.
Now Trump says he might let his children run the business if he`s elected
and he says his business is, quote, “peanuts” compared to the more
important job of running America.
But he hasn`t promised to sell his ownership in his companies. And he
probably couldn`t since he`s so closely tied to the brand and the licensing
His businesses are incredibly complicated, with over 500 different
entities. Along with his companies in the U.S. he has projects in Dubai,
Scotland, South Korea, India, Turkey, and Panama. And some say Trump`s
corporate conflicts of interest would simply be difficult to untangle if he
WONDERLICH: As wealth becomes more and more centralized, the way we view
the presidency, as being trustworthy and objective and separate from
personal interests, it`s going to have to come into focus in a different
FRANK: Yes legally speaking, Trump could be the country`s first CEO and
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Robert Frank.
MATHISEN: And with Super Tuesday just a few days away, the presidential
candidates are doing their best to define themselves to voters and show off
their leadership qualities.
Joining us to talk about traits that make great leaders great is Susie
Gharib, senior special correspondent at “Fortune” and contributor to
NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT.
Welcome. You`ve been speaking to lots of CEOs exploring the traits that
are associated with leaders. What do those CEOs tell you is the key to
being a good leader?
SUSIE GHARIB, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CONTRIBUTOR: First of all, Tyler,
one thing I`ve learned in all of this is that there is no formula to
leadership, there`s no right way to lead. But in all my interviews,
whether with Warren Buffett and a lot of other CEOs, 60, 70 CEOs of the
Fortune 500 I`ve been talking to, the one thing when I say, what makes them
an exceptional leader, is vision.
And Warren Buffett kind of sums it up for all of them. He said, you know,
you have to have a clear vision of where you`re going so you can convince
people to follow you. It has to be an inspiring and appealing vision, not
something that you just make up as you go along.
And on that point, Mary Barra of General Motors (NYSE:GM) said, it`s not
enough just to have the vision. If you haven`t won the hearts and minds of
people, if they`re not with you, you won`t go too far.
HERERA: Right. Does that go to the core qualities that you`ve found and
were there any common core qualities? Vision is one, obviously. But you
have to have I would assume passion?
GHARIB: Passion, trust, integrity, credibility, some humility. I mean,
you know, trust is the one that comes up all the time. And when I was
talking to the CEO of Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC), John Stumpf, who`s a down to
earth guy, I thought he said it best.
He says, the DNA of leadership is trust, whether it`s in family
relationships, in business, in government. You can be smart and fearless
and bold, but people have to trust you.
And I`d add in there too, authenticity. You know, it sounds kind of
obvious. But is he or she real? Or are they phony? So, those are some of
MATHISEN: The best leaders I`ve worked with have been individuals who have
established a firm culture in the corporation and have set standards.
Standards of conduct, standards of business relationship, so forth.
Were there any surprises that came out of your interviews?
GHARIB: Well, I think the surprise is not so much — everybody talks about
the right thing to do and ethics and all of that. But the one thing that
kept coming up was failure, making mistakes, the importance of making
mistakes. And this goes to the trait of resilience.
And Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric (NYSE:GE), you know him
well, would say whenever he was interviewing someone for a leadership
position, he wanted people who had one or two really tough situations they
went through, the kind that knocked the wind out of you, because it shows
their ability to regroup. And I think what`s important for voters is when
choosing a president, you want him or her to have had that experience
because in crisis time, too late to learn that.
MATHISEN: Susie, thanks very much.
GHARIB: Good to see you.
MATHISEN: Susie Gharib, special correspondent of “Fortune” and an NBR
HERERA: All right. As Super Tuesday does approach, the 12 states holding
elections were not only less affected by the housing crisis but now have
stronger housing markets than most other states in the nation.
So, Diana Olick takes a look now at the housing in those states and how
it`s fared in the last four years.
DIANA OLICK, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: Political candidates
have said precious little about housing in the race so far but maybe they
don`t have to, especially come Super Tuesday. Why?
Well, here are some super stats. Those states saw half as many foreclosure
sales as a percentage of all sales between 2008 and 2012 than nonvoting
states, according to a new report from Trulia. Even better the median
price of homes listed for sale today in those states is up about 50 percent
over the last four years and is almost 8 percent higher than the rest of
Take Texas. Prices are up 50 percent in the last five years and Colorado,
they`re up 40 percent. But there are some Super Tuesday states that are
underperforming in the housing recovery. The median home price in Vermont
has seen no gains in the last five years, although it`s down less than 1
percent. Home prices in Alabama and Arkansas are up 7 percent and 8
percent respectively, but those are below the double-digit gains seen
Bottom line, housing is not in a crisis anymore, so it`s not a huge
priority for voters. Sure, affordability is getting worse, but that`s more
about the state of a heating housing market and not public policy.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Diana Olick in Washington.
MATHISEN: Still ahead, an air travel conundrum. Why are fares rising as
jet fuel prices are falling?
HERERA: Declining sales of mobile devices hurt Best Buy`s results. The
biggest U.S. consumer electronics chain reported a drop in sales in the
fourth quarter and the company expects that trend to continue through the
first half of this year.
And as Courtney Reagan reports, it`s not what you want to hear from a
retailer undergoing a turnaround.
COURTNEY REAGAN, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: Best Buy
(NYSE:BBY) didn`t have the best holiday quarter. The consumer electronics
retailer reported a sales drop for November and December and January wasn`t
enough to push sales above last year`s levels. In fact, fourth quarter
sales fell more than 4 percent, though in line with analyst expectations.
Mobile phones and computing products make up more than 40 percent of Best
Buy`s revenue and sales in those categories were weak. What`s worse, the
retailer thinks the softness will continue. However, it did raise its
quarterly dividend and issue a special dividend along with a billion-dollar
Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) has been undergoing transformation since 2012, cutting
costs, exiting its China division, investing for the long-term, and cutting
prices to better compete. The problem is now that the bulk of those
actions have been taken, growth has to come from sales and that`s getting
harder to do.
The retailer is heavily dependant on the product cycle for consumer
electronics, from smartphones to TVs. But the pipeline of new, innovative,
must have consumer electronics has been pretty dry. Consumers aren`t
replacing smartphones as often. Tablet sales have plunged. And TVs just
keep getting cheaper.
But there is value in being the last big consumer electronics retailer.
It`s just questionable what that value is.
CHRIS HORVERS, J.P. MORGAN RETAIL ANALYST: Best Buy`s going to stick
around. But because of the nature of the category, being very big ticket
and very product cycle dependant, demand becomes very volatile. So, the
way we look at it is, there`s always a trade in best buy, a long-term
investment scenario is something that is much more questionable.
REAGAN: Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) CEO Hubert Joly also said the company will use
cash for strategic acquisitions to drive growth. And while Wall Street may
be skeptical of any upside surprise in the near future, the general
consensus is management is at least making the best moves to right the
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Courtney Reagan.
MATHISEN: Sears (NASDAQ:SHLD) reports a wider than expected loss for its
fourth quarter and that is where we begin tonight`s “Market Focus.”
Like its competitors, sales at Sears (NASDAQ:SHLD) were dragged down by the
unseasonably warm start to the winter. The retailer said increased
competition during the holiday season resulted in higher than expected
markdowns but Wall Street liked the news that one of the company`s biggest
shareholders is taking a seat on the board. As a result, Sears
(NASDAQ:SHLD) shares rose more than 3 percent to $17.50.
Department store Kohl`s (NYSE:KSS) said it would close 18 of its
underperforming stores this year. The news comes after the retailer
reported a 20 percent drop in profit in its latest quarter and said it
expects revenue for 2016 to fall below expectations. Shares of Kohl`s
(NYSE:KSS) rose more than 2.5 percent to $46.67.
And Domino`s Pizza (NYSE:DPZ) saw shares surge today after the company`s
quarterly profit jumped more than 30 percent, thanks to strong domestic
sales, 30 percent. Domino`s also hiked its dividend to 38 cents a share
from 31 cents. Shares were up 13 percent to $132.90.
HERERA: SeaWorld reported a wider than expected net loss for its fourth
quarter. The company also warned of a tough first quarter due to soft
attendance. Adding to the misery, the amusement park operator admitted it
had asked its employees to pose as animal rights activists to spy on
critics, a practice it says it has ended. Shares fell 9 percent to $18.01.
Dynegy (NYSE:DYN) says it has collaborated with a private equity firm to
buy power plants in the U.S. that are owned by the French utility NG. The
plants were worth more than $3 billion. Dynegy (NYSE:DYN) says the deal
will give its company a stronger presence throughout the nation. The
shares popped 14 percent to $9.49.
And Bankrate, the personal finance company, saw its shares plunge today
after its profit fell sharply and it missed estimates. The company cites
less ad visibility rather on Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and lower ad revenue and
said it couldn`t give full-year guidance yet. As a result, several
analysts slashed their price targets on that company. Bankrate shares had
their worst day ever. They plunged 43 percent to $7.28.
MATHISEN: If you`re getting ready to book a trip for this spring or summer
get ready also for a little bit of sticker shock. Airfares are going up,
and it`s a trend that could continue over the next several months.
As Phil LeBeau reports this comes even as jet fuel prices have fallen
almost 50 percent over the past year.
PHIL LEBEAU, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: It`s getting costlier
to take a flight. In fact, less than two months into this year, airlines
have already raised fares more than they did all of last year. So far,
airlines have succeeded in raising domestic airfares three times this year
for a total increase of $22 round trip, well above the airfare hikes in
What`s behind the increase? Strong demand. Airlines are filling more
seats on more flights. In fact, it`s not uncommon to find many flights to
be completely full.
So, the airlines have pricing power, and they`re taking advantage of it.
That may not sit well with passengers who see airlines paying far less for
jet fuel. In fact, jet fuel prices are down 48 percent in the last year.
But if you think airlines will pass along those savings and cut ticket
prices, think again. Over the last 15 years, airfares, inflation adjusted,
have been going down and hover around $375 round trip. Some of that is
because low-cost carriers have pushed down fares on many routes.
How much higher will airfares go this year? Nobody`s quite sure, but as
long as the economy remains relatively strong with low unemployment,
Americans will want to fly. And that will keep airfares from falling.
Phil LeBeau, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, Chicago.
HERERA: Coming up, Ponzi schemes targeting middle-class Americans are on
the rise. A crime and punishment report, next.
MATHISEN: We all know the name Bernie Madoff. His Ponzi scheme netted
billions of dollars, attracting wealthy investors. But there are many
other schemers who target the middle class, including one who was sentenced
yesterday in federal court. And like Bernie Madoff, he used investor cash
to fund his lavish lifestyle, including a vacation home, cars, and designer
Andrea Day has the story of crime and punishment.
POLICE OFFICER: Police, search warrant!
ANDREA DAY, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: By the time federal
agents raided the firm`s office, investigators say the Agape scheme pulled
in more than $370 million, one of the largest Ponzi schemes in the nation`s
history that left thousands of investors stunned.
VICTIM: My parents, friends, family —
DAY: Now, the Ponzi`s biggest moneymaker has been sentenced to nine years
in prison, 38-year-old broker Jason Kerik, who was also ordered to pay $179
million in restitution.
During Kerik`s trial, prosecutors testified the broker sold bogus Agape
World investments, promising investors huge returns for short term bridge
loans. But in reality, investigators say payments came from new investor
money in a classic Ponzi.
According to prosecutors, Kerik took nearly $9 million in commissions.
Kerik is just the second person to be sentenced in the case. Seven others
have been convicted and are waiting to be sentenced.
Agape`s founder Nicholas Cosmo was sentenced to 25 years behind bars.
MATHISEN: And Andrea Day is with us now.
Andrea, you said — welcome first.
DAY: Thank you.
MATHISEN: You said thousands of people who were victimized here. How did
this guy manage to rope in so many?
DAY: Well, Tyler, they didn`t have to work very hard to rope in investors.
This was a case where word spread through brokers, friends and neighbors,
all telling each other they were making a lot of money. In fact, one of
the brokers actually had a nail salon in the past, so she used all of those
Now, the heartbreaking part of this case that is we`re talking about a ton
of regular people from all walks of life, in many cases they took out home
equity loans, they spent college funds, just to invest in this thing,
really scraping the money together. It was very tough on them, and then,
of course, losing out in the end.
HERERA: That is so tragic. You know, the lessons I guess that we learn
from this is you really have to be aware. But certainly are there ways to
protect yourself? So this doesn`t happen to you?
DAY: Certainly. In fact, in this case, if any of these rick victims had
checked into the founder, Nicholas Cosmo, before investing, listen to this
— they would have discovered that he was convicted of fraud a few years
before starting this business, Agape, even spent time in jail.
Now, I can`t imagine many of these investors, knowing that information,
which was easy to get, would have gone in and given money in this scheme.
MATHISEN: The promise or suggestion of fat returns can blind you to doing
a lot of the homework. I guess that`s one of the lessons.
DAY: We`ve seen that over and over, and these were fat returns too.
MATHISEN: You suspend disbelief, heck, he must know something.
HERERA: Right, and especially if it comes from friends.
DAY: That`s where you really have to be careful.
MATHISEN: Which was the case in Madoff as well.
MATHISEN: Everybody sort of knew somebody who knew him.
Andrea Day, thank you.
DAY: Nice to see you, too.
MATHISEN: You bet.
HERERA: All right. Here`s a market recap on this trading day on Wall
Street which saw oil prices rise 3 percent. The Dow Jones Industrial
Average gained 212 points to 16,697, NASDAQ climbed 39, the S&P 500 added
All right. That`s NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for tonight. I`m Sue Herera.
Thanks for joining us.
MATHISEN: And I`m Tyler Mathisen. Have a great evening, everybody, and
we`ll see you back here tomorrow night.