TYLER MATHISEN, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR: Smooth sailing? The men
who could soon be in charge of the nation`s money and power sources faced
sharp questions on their qualifications to lead two critical departments.
SUE HERERA, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR: Rolling back the rules. The
president-elect has promised to loosen some energy regulations. But will
it be a lot easier said than done?
MATHISEN: And all board the activist train in an unusual twist. The CEO
of one railroad leaves to try and shake up another.
Those stories and more tonight on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for Thursday,
HERERA: Good evening, everyone.
On the eve of the presidential inauguration, the man who may soon be in
charge of the nation`s finances was on Capitol Hill. Steve Mnuchin
defended his record to a Senate panel including his leadership at a
controversial California bank that`s been called a foreclosure machine.
The Wall Street veteran also touched on a number of issues that the markets
want to hear more about, like tax reform, which he said would be fully paid
for and regulations as well.
Eamon Javers reports tonight on the confirmation hearing.
EAMON JAVERS, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely packed
house here today on Capitol Hill for the Mnuchin hearing. People waited in
line for up to five hours to get seats in this room. That gives you a
sense of just how enthusiastic people were to hear from Mr. Mnuchin.
Democrats going in felt that Mnuchin might be the one Trump nominee they
had a chance of derailing from confirmation. By the end of the day, they
might have been felt differently about that, though.
Take a listen to this exchange to get a sense of some of the fireworks that
we heard in the hearing room as well as some of the policy disputes.
STEVEN MNUCHIN, TREASURY SECRETARY DESIGNEE: It seems to me, in all due
respect, you just want to shoot questions at me and not let you — not let
me explain what are complicated issues.
SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D), OHIO: I`ll let you explain after I go through
questions because I know one answer will take my all time. So, I`ll let
you explain when I`m done —
MNUCHIN: Let people at least understand these are complicated questions.
BROWN: They are complicated.
MNUCHIN: Let me at least explain them, otherwise there`s no point in
shooting them all at me and I don`t have the ability to respond.
JAVERS: Mnuchin also said something we`re not accustomed to hearing
treasury secretaries say when he was asked about the U.S. dollar. He
didn`t give that reflective explanation that the United States prefers a
strong dollar instead he offered a more nuanced answer on that and several
MNUCHIN: The U.S. currency has been the most attractive currency to be in
for very, very long periods of time. I think that it`s important and I
think you see that now more than ever. I think when the president-elect
made a comment on the U.S. currency, it wasn`t meant to be a long-term
comment. It was meant to be that perhaps in the short-term, the strength
in the currency as result of free markets and people wanting to invest here
may have had some negative impacts.
I will commit to absolutely work with the Congress, the House and the
Senate so that we don`t get to the last minute and run out of money.
SEN. MICHAEL BENNET (D), COLORADO: Is that a yes, passing a clean debt
MNUCHIN: I don`t know your technical issue of what a clean debt ceiling
BENNET: The debt ceiling.
MNUCHIN: But let me be clear, I would like us to raise the debt ceiling
sooner rather than later.
BENNET: That`s fair enough for me.
MNUCHIN: I had a chance to talk to Mnuchin after the hearing. He said it
was terrific to be before the committee. He clearly felt good about what
had happened here today. And I also talked to Senator Orrin Hatch, the
chairman of the Finance Committee. Hatch said that he thinks Mnuchin will
be confirmed. Committee aides told me think that could happen as soon as
next week at the earliest, maybe the week after. They feel confident the
Republicans do, that they have the votes.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Eamon Javers on Capitol Hill.
MATHISEN: In another hearing room, Donald Trump`s nominee to run the
Energy Department made his case to be secretary. Rick Perry faced some
tough questions on issues like climate change, budget cuts and nuclear
And as John Harwood reports, the serious confirmation hearing also had some
moments of levity.
RICK PERRY (R), FORMER TEXAS GOVERNOR: The third one, I can`t, sorry.
JOHN HARWOOD, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: Perry forgot the
department of energy in a 2011 debate and triggered a thousand comedy
routines. No one would have imagined he`d have a confirmation one day to
become its secretary.
He had one today and it went smoothly. The former Texas governor showed
the political skills that got him elected to three full terms. He disarmed
critics but renouncing his past support for abolishing the department and
disavowed the Trump transition team`s attempt to identify energy staffers
who had worked on climate change issues.
Perry said he believes climate change is real and partially caused by human
activity, and said he reduced carbon emissions in Texas by supporting
natural gas and wind energy.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: I`m asking if you agree with the
scientific community that climate change is a crisis and that we need to
transform our energy system.
PERRY: And, Senator, I will respond that I think that having an academic
discussion, whether it`s with scientists or whether it`s with you is an
interesting exercise, but do I have a record of effecting the climate in
the world and in this country and the answer is yes.
HARWOOD: He suggested he would defend the department from severe budget
cuts that were floated in a news story shortly before his hearing. He also
showed a bit of humor that helped break the tension that some of President-
elect Trump`s have faced.
SEN. AL FRANKEN (D), MINNESOTA: Thank you so much for coming into my
office. Did you enjoy meeting me?
PERRY: I hope you were as much fun on that dais as you were on your couch.
FRANKEN: Well —
PERRY: May I rephrase that, sir?
FRANKEN: Please. Please. Please. Oh, my Lord. Oh, my Lord.
PERRY: Well, I think we found our “Saturday Night Live” sound byte.
HARWOOD: The goal of course is winning confirmation votes in both the
Energy Committee and on the full Senate floor. At the moment, there are no
obstacles in sight.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m John Harwood in Washington.
HERERA: President-elect Donald Trump has also promised to roll back
regulations in the energy industry during his first 100 days. This in an
effort to help businesses grow and create jobs. Critics say looser
regulations could be hard to implement and may come at a cost.
Jackie DeAngelis is in Marmora, New Jersey.
JACKIE DEANGELIS, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: Donald Trump
vowed to lift the Obama/Clinton roadblocks and allow vital energy
infrastructure project like the Keystone Pipeline to move forward on his
first day. But while federal government has jurisdiction over a few big
projects like the Keystone because it crosses international borders and the
Dakota Access Pipeline because it crosses federal lane, most infrastructure
projects are local and residents have strong opinions about them.
Look at this electricity plant. It needs a pipeline attachment but the
root of the proposed attachment would cross over environmentally sensitive
lands in New Jersey. Proponents of the project say it would create vital
jobs. Opponents, including four ex-New Jersey governors, say the build out
is potentially hazardous.
JEFF TITTEL, NJ SIERRA CLUB DIRECTOR: This power plant will actually I
think hurt jobs long-term because it`s a big polluting plant right across
from Ocean City, which is one of our major tourist areas. It also impacts
fisheries. There`s enough cooling towers it`s grandfathered in and it
kills millions of fish a year and super heated water impacts the fisheries
in the bay.
So, I think by moving towards offshore winds and those jobs and from
redevelopment the site, we can create many better jobs that are more
lasting than by basically going backwards with the fossil foolishness of
DEANGELIS: The state commission reviewing it and Governor Christie are
supportive. But because of the tension surrounding it, a public hearing
will be held on January 24th to further investigate. In a letter
supporting the project, the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce said the
pipeline will provide the electric generation plant with the natural gas
supply it needs to stop burning coal and become one of the cleanest power
plants in the state.
But even if the Trump administration gets Keystone or Dakota approved, that
won`t get this pipeline built.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Jackie DeAngelis in Marmora, New Jersey.
MATHISEN: On the eve of the presidential inauguration, the Dow closed
lower for the fifth straight day as treasuries slumped and the dollar
weakened. Financials were lower in part because the nominee for treasury
secretary, Mr. Mnuchin, did not advocate throwing out tough regulations
during his Senate confirmation hearing. The Dow Jones Industrials dropped
72 points to 19,732, NASDAQ off 15, the S&P lost eight.
HERERA: Dow component IBM reported its 19th consecutive quarter of falling
revenue. Big Blue has been trying to transform itself by relying less on
its older business units and more on growth in new ones. For the latest
quarter, IBM blew past profit estimates, earning more than $5 a share
helped by demand for its cloud business. But revenue was off more than 1
percent to nearly $22 billion. And the stock was volatile in after-hours
Deirdre Bosa has the one key takeaway from Big Blue`s quarter.
DEIRDRE BOSA, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: IBM continues to try
to pivot itself for a modern business era, though perhaps not as quickly as
some were hoping and that brought shares of Big Blue lower in after hours
trade after initial pop right after earnings.
Now, it`s important strategic imperative units which include Watson, data
analytics and cloud, that now makes up more than 40 percent of total
revenue. However, it`s not yet enough to get total revenue growing for
IBM notched the 19th consecutive quarter of declining revenue though it
continues to reward shareholders. The company says that in fiscal year
2016, it returned almost $9 billion to shareholders in dividends and growth
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Deirdre Bosa in San Francisco.
MATHISEN: Fellow Dow component American Express (NYSE:EXPR) (NYSE:AXP) saw
its profit fall. The credit card issuer increased spending on marketing in
the quarter to better compete with rivals. The company did earn 91 cents a
share, but that was below expectations. Revenues off 4 percent coming in
at about $8 billion. The stock which has rallied since the election fell
initially in after-hours trading today.
HERERA: Drama on the rails. The CEO of one railroad company is leaving
the station, but in a twist he`s stepping down so he can shake up a rival
company a help of an activist. That railroad is CSX (NYSE:CSX) which saw
its shares soar.
Morgan Brennan has more on this unusual turn of events.
MORGAN BRENNAN, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: Call it a railroad
shake-up, as two well-known names in the industry, Hunter Harrison and Paul
Hilal, spurred a big rally in rail stocks today. Harrison, a highly
regarded railroader, is stepping down from a CEO role in Canadian Pacific,
forfeiting $89 million to, quote, “pursue opportunities involving other
class 1 railroads”. He says he`s in talks to team up with Hilal, an
activist investor who recently started the Mantle Ridge Fund. After
parting ways with Bill Ackman`s Pershing Square last year.
It was Hilal who initiated Pershing`s infamous proxy battle for Canadian
Pacific, luring Harrison to lead a turnaround at that company. Now, the
two men are reportedly setting their sights on CSX (NYSE:CSX). Analysts
say it`s a move that could make a lot of sense.
CHRIS WETHERBEE, CITIGROUP GLOBAL MARKETS: Hunter has a long history of
operational improvement at every railroad that he`s been. And I think his
last target would be an Eastern Railroad and CSX (NYSE:CSX) looks like it`s
the one. I think there`s a big opportunity for him to get into that
company and really begin to improve margins for them. That could drive a
lot of earnings and a lot of value for shareholders and I think that`s
what`s going on with the stock today.
BRENNAN: In response to all the talks, CSX (NYSE:CSX) saying it will,
quote, “actively evaluate Mantle Ridge`s views and look forward to
discussing its core strategy to continue driving earnings growth and
But Wall Street may already be pricing a management change into the stock,
sending the share price to new highs and feeling renewed hope for a merger.
WETHERBEE: From a Canadian Pacific standpoint and from a CSX (NYSE:CSX)
standpoint, I do believe that that is optionality that we might see play
out over the course of several years. I think the near term opportunities
improve the margins and the operations of the business, but over the course
of the next several years, we could be talking about mergers more.
BRENNAN: And the industry may already be bracing for that possibility.
Incoming Canadian Pacific CEO Keith Creel, a Harrison protegee, told the
investment community just last night that he believes consolidation, quote,
“will occur in the industry, possibly as soon as next year.”
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Morgan Brennan.
HERERA: Union Pacific (NYSE:UNP) saw its profits rise, thanks to an
increase in energy prices, favorable agricultural markets and improved
consumer confidence. Like its rivals though, Union Pacific (NYSE:UNP) was
challenged by a decline in coal freight as utilities switched to cheaper
natural gas. Shares of Union Pacific (NYSE:UNP) rose more than 2 percent
on the day.
MATHISEN: And still ahead, we`ll take a trip to the U.S./Mexico border.
JANE WELLS, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: I`m Jane Wells in
America`s southern border in Calexico, California, where there`s already a
wall. Though Border Patrol says plenty of people still jump it. But the
new president of the United States wants to build a bigger and better wall
to keep people there over there. What will it mean for Americans over
That`s coming up on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT.
HERERA: The Department of Defense is reportedly nearing a $9 billion deal
with Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT). Negotiations have been focused on
bringing down the cost of the F-35 fighter jets below $100 million for the
first time. The F-35 is the costliest military systems program in history
and has been criticized by the president-elect.
MATHISEN: Donald Trump made his last cabinet pick. Former Georgia
Governor Sonny Perdue has been nominated to led the Department of
Agriculture. Georgia, home to 42,000 farms, and has a big focus on the
cattle industry, by the way. Mr. Perdue earned a doctorate in veterinary
HERERA: It was perhaps the most iconic campaign promises.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT-ELECT: We are going to build a great border
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HERERA: But that promise may now turn into reality and it`s prompting
cheers and jeers along the U.S. Mexico border.
Here`s Jane Wells.
WELLS: Bob Maupin is focusing on the end of America. No really. He`s
patrolling the physical end of the United States. It`s southern border
where Maupin`s ranch is just a stone`s throw away from Mexico and where a
wall and a fence have not stopped trespassers.
BOB MAUPIN, CALIFORNIA RANCHER: To me, it`s a national security problem
the government doesn`t care about.
WELLS: Maupin has spent an estimated $20,000 over the years repairing
damage to his property caused by illegal immigration. It`s an old story,
the image most Americans are accustomed to seeing from the border.
But there`s also this imagine, shoppers from Mexico spending money in
American stores, people who have legally crossed the border to buy better
quality goods without tariffs.
ROBERT GRONICH, GARLAN`S CO-OWNER: Upwards of about 95 percent comes from
WELLS: Store owner Robert Gronich says sales are off double digits since
the election, in large part to the devalued peso, which some blame on the
That`s Mexicali, Mexico, right over there to the border fence. Cars are
lined up all day to come through the crossing. Every year, more than 27
million people cross over to Calexico here on the U.S. side, and west of
here it`s an even bigger deal where trade between San Diego and Tijuana is
a multibillion dollar a year industry.
GRONICH: Look at all these customers that are coming in, these are
Mexicans coming in. They`re coming across the border with money. They`re
buying goods here. You know, they`re money is employing people here in the
U.S. What`s the problem?
WELLS: Gronich recognizes that immigration is a problem but he says
building a wall is not the answer.
Rancher Bob Maupin could not disagree more. He wants an even better wall
to slow down traffic, and in the meantime, he will continue his own border
patrol, calling authorities when he finds a trespasser.
MAUPIN: As an American I`m protecting the country as best I can on my
property, and the way I feel, if you don`t think that`s right, why don`t
you go live in Cuba?
WELLS: For NIGHTLY BUSINES REPORT, Jane Wells, along the U.S.-Mexico
MATHISEN: JB Hunt posts a rise in profit and revenue, and that is where we
begin tonight`s “Market Focus”.
The trucking and transport company said it strengthened its international –
– intermodal, excuse me, and dedicated contract services divisions helped
results. The company also benefited from a nearly $10 million after-tax
benefit, but the earnings missed Wall Street expectations and Hunt shares
fell more than 3 percent to close at $94.36.
Bank of New York Mellon (NYSE:BK) saw its profit rise, as higher interest
rates lifted results. The bank also posted a gain in revenue, but a strong
dollar and outflows resulted in a drop in assets under management. Shares
fell 3 percent to $44.84.
HERERA: Panasonic (NYSE:PC) said it wants to expand its partnership with
Tesla by working with the automaker to create technology for autonomous
driving. Panasonic (NYSE:PC) currently makes batteries for some of Tesla`s
cars. Separately, the U.S. government closed an investigation into a death
involving Tesla`s auto pilot feature and said it will not issue a recall.
Tesla shares rose 2 percent to $243.76.
Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) supplier Skyworks reported earnings and revenue after
the bell that beat expectations. The company also gave upbeat guidance for
the current quarter and said it will launch a new $5 million share buyback
programs. Shares initially rose following the news, but fell 1 percent
during the regular session to $78.46.
Shares of Rent-A-Center (NASDAQ:RCII) continued to get hammer today after
the furniture and electronics rental company warned late yesterday of
disappointing quarterly results. The company said it expects to post lower
in sales and a profit loss due in part to heavy promotions. Rent-A-Center
(NASDAQ:RCII) is expected to report results in February. The shares
plunged 18 percent to $8.31.
New home construction increased more than expected in December. According
to the Commerce Department housing starts rose by more than 11 percent.
Much of that increase came from a rebound in multi-family units.
Separately, the 30-year fixed rate mortgage fell for the third straight
week to an average of 4.09 percent.
MATHISEN: A big shift in mortgage lending is raising concerns about one
area of the housing market. According to “The Wall Street Journal”, bonds
back some non-bank lenders like Quicken Loans and others who lend to
borrowers who can`t get loans at traditional banks have topped a trillion
dollars. They did so for the first time in November.
Ralph McLaughlin is chief economist at Trulia and joins us now to discuss.
Ralph, welcome. Good to see you.
RALPH MCLAUGHLIN, TRULIA CHIEF ECONOMIST: Good to see you, Tyler.
MATHISEN: Tell us — give us a little background here. It used to be that
you went to a savings and loan or conventional bank to get a loan. But
now, there are lots of nontraditional lenders in the marketplace.
How big are they as a percentage of all the mortgages that are written?
MCLAUGHLIN: Yes, so they are certainly playing a more important role in
lending. And in fact, if you look at just say FHA lending, for example,
you know, their share is grown from about 9 or 10 percent from mortgage
originations to about 60 percent over the last four or five years. So,
they are starting to play a much more important role in lending.
On top of that, some of these nontraditional lenders, you know, are
offering products that are more attuned to younger generations. So, for
example, you know, SoFi, you know, does everything online. So, they are
starting to cater to different generations and many of them are starting to
cater to the younger households that can`t afford a big down payment. So,
they`re increasingly getting into FHA loans.
HERERA: We mentioned that these nontraditional or nonbank banks, the
amount outstanding cumulatively topped a trillion dollars for the first
time ever. The worry is that we`re going to see a replay of the housing
crisis of a few years back. But you don`t seem to think that is a
possibility or probability perhaps?
MCLAUGHLIN: You know, at Trulia, we`re not too worried about it, at least
not yet. I`ll tell you why. There`s really two reasons we`re not worried
Number one, the general economy is very healthy. Jobs are growing solidly
and so are wages. And those are two conditions that really aren`t ripe for
increasing defaults. So, you know, in that first case the economy`s doing
well, don`t have to worry about defaults, at least just yet.
Number two, even if defaults were to start rising, any FHA loans or most
FHA loans, borrowers have to pay mortgage insurance, and that mortgage
insurance goes into a fund held by the FHA that is used to ensure against
defaults. So, you know, there`s not much reason to think of there being a
problem just yet.
But that said, if defaults really start to rise and they get greater than
the capitalization that Fannie has — or, I`m sorry, that FHA has in their
insurance pool which is about $27 billion, then we might start seeing a
need for taxpayer bailouts. But, again, you know, we think that`s unlikely
and very, very far down the road if it`s going to happen at all.
MATHISEN: Right. We leave it there, Ralph. Good explanation.
Ralph McLaughlin with Trulia.
HERERA: Coming up, the costly mistake both investors and companies can
HERERA: There is a new study out that shows that small businesses are slow
to hire. In fact, just 20 percent of small businesses added more than two
full-time positions in a year. The study conducted by J.P. Morgan Chase
analyzed 2015 payroll records for more than 45,000 small firms and
highlights the challenges that these employers are facing.
MATHISEN: You might be concerned about threats from outside your company
like hackers, but what about your own employees or the person you invest
your money with? Oftentimes, companies and investors do not do their due
diligence and that can be a costly mistake.
Andrea Day has our story.
KEN SPRINGER, FORMER FBI SPECIAL AGENT/PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR: You need to
do reference checks, and often times, the HR departments at companies don`t
have the manpower to do it and they say, we want the background check done
ANDREA DAY, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: And it`s that pressure
to hire quickly that can wind up costing millions. According to former FBI
agent and private investigator Ken Springer, investigating key executives
can uncover financial stress and any patterns of bad behavior.
SPRINGER: Some of the biggest internal investigations we`ve done is with
problem IT people because they do indeed have the keys to the castles.
DAY: And with so much at risk, more firms are now hiring investigators to
do deep dives.
SPRINGER: And we find often their credentials weren`t there.
DAY: Like this case, where prosecutors say an ex-con almost straight out
of prison managed to siphon millions from the luxury jet maker, Gulfstream.
Marvin J. Caukin allegedly lied on his resume to score a job as the
director of finance and accounting. He`s now serving time behind bars.
ANDREW BROWN, ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY, CALIFORNIA: There`s going to be
some company that fails to do all the required investigation and therefore
fails to uncover the truth and all he needs, of course, is one to give him
DAY: And Springer says some of the biggest internal threats may not have a
SPRINGER: It`s not what they tell you, but often what they don`t. Whoever
comes in on a pitch that says, oh, by the way, I`m under investigation by
SEC or sued by my former employer?
DAY: And the same rules apply if you`re hiring someone to invest your
This man wound up pleading guilty to being part of a massive fraud scheme.
And according to the SEC complaint, when Brian Callahan took money from
some investors, he failed to disclose that he`d been permanently barred by
the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority from associating with any of
its members. He`s currently awaiting sentencing.
And James Peister —
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My investors already heard from me.
DAY: — busted in a $17 million Ponzi scheme. Prosecutors say he told
investors he was a former FBI agent, and that he had years of experience to
start a hedge fund, but —
KELLY CURRIE, FORMER ACTING U.S. ATTORNEY, NY: He lied at every stage. He
lied about his qualifications.
DAY: Should investors have trusted James Peister with their cash?
CURRIE: Absolutely not.
DAY: And Peister is now serving a six year sentence. According to
Springer, it`s not only important to screen every key employee that comes
in, but to set up checks and balances in each department before you give
anyone the keys to the castle.
I`m Andrea Day for NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT.
HERERA: And that will do it for NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT tonight. I`m Sue
Herera. Thanks for joining us.
MATHISEN: And thanks for me as well. I`m Tyler Mathisen. Have a great
evening, everybody, and we`ll see you back here tomorrow night.
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