Transcript: Nightly Business Report – February 28, 2017


ANNOUNCER:  This is NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT with Tyler Mathisen and Sue

Funded in part by —


President Trump deliver specifics on his pro-business policies?  It`s what
Wall Street is waiting for.

troubles were tough last year.  This year could be tougher.  And now, the
struggling retailer is doing something risky to win back customers.

HERERA:  The discount bin.  Investing online just got cheaper and mom and
pop investors are the clear winners.

Those stories and more tonight on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for Tuesday,
February 28th.

Good evening, everybody, and welcome.  I`m Sue Herera.

GRIFFETH:  And I`m Bill Griffeth, in tonight for Tyler Mathisen once again.

Well, it`s over.  The Dow`s run of 12 straight record closes has ended.
There will be no number 13.  Today, a feeling of caution permeated
throughout the market ahead of the president`s first major national address
this evening.  Investors are holding back, waiting to see if he offers
policy details.

By the close, the Dow Average lost 25 points to finish to 20,812.  The
NASDAQ fell by 36.  The S&P was down 6.  But for the month, the three major
averages posted gains of about 3 percent to 4 percent.

HERERA:  The big event for investors comes tonight.  President Trump will
deliver his first address to a joint session of Congress.  His speech is
intended to outline his vision for the country.  And for investors, that
means how he intends to boost the economy and business activity.

Kayla Tausche is in Washington with more on what to expect tonight.

Kayla, so what are some of the big themes that the president will likely
touch on tonight?

mentioned, the purpose of tonight is for the president to set the table for
the agenda for his administration and its congressional counterparts which
will be tasked with turning much of his agenda into law, or putting it on

Here are some of the broad strokes that we`re expecting to hear tonight.
First, expect heavy focus on the economy, the trade deficit.  Companies
that are bringing jobs back to the United States and incentives for
companies that may have yet to do so.

Then, the conversation will turn toward national security and a White House
official today says expect immigration to figure prominently in that part
of the speech, unclear how much detail the pleasant give about forthcoming
policy on immigration with the “Wall Street Journal” reporting at this hour
that potentially a new executive order on immigration could exempt current
visa holders.  We will see whether the president goes that far, but an
official tells me expect the speech to be optimistic, yet realistic.

GRIFFETH:  We all know, Kayla, the expectations are very high on Wall
Street for these initiatives.  What about the timing of the ability of the
president to get them passed?

TAUSCHE:  Well, Bill, beware the Ides of March, as they say.  There are
multiple legislative priorities and deadlines coming up in the next few
weeks.  The administration has said, expect some tangible ideas on paper
about tax reform and about a new replacement for the Affordable Care Act in
a matter of weeks.

That comes as the White House has a March 16th deadline to turn in a budget
blue print to Congress and there could be some new skepticism about exactly
where the president and the White House want to spend their money.

Here`s Senator Lindsey Graham on the Hill today.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA:  It`s a budget proposal that will
meet the same fate as Obama`s proposals.  I think President Obama`s budget
in seven, eight years got one vote.  The bottom line is I appreciate the
increase in military spending.  But you`re undercutting the ability to win
the war if you take soft power off the table.


TAUSCHE:  Of course, then there`s skepticism on tax reform and whether that
could take longer than originally expected.  Congressman Jeb Hensarling
says it`s not going to be a 30 or a 60-day matter, Bill and Sue, but that
this Congress might take a full two years to get done.

HERERA:  Kayla, thank you so much.  Kayla Tausche for us at the White House
this evening.

GRIFFETH:  Back to the stock market.  The Dow has risen about 2,500 points
since the election and now, investors do want to hear specifics from the
president on his pro-growth policies, as we mentioned.  What he says
tonight could set the tone for trading tomorrow.

Bob Pisani takes a look for us now at what investors want to hear and what
the reaction might be.


awaiting President Trump`s address to Congress tonight.  Now, they want
specifics on three issues.  First, tax cuts.  Second, infrastructure
spending, and third, the timing of the repeal of Obamacare, along with what
will replace it.

Unfortunately, most traders have come to believe that the speech will be
short on specifics and will likely reiterate broad objectives of tax and
regulatory reform, infrastructure, trade, immigration, and defense.  Now,
much of the speech will be directed at a small group, congressional
Republicans, many of whom are deeply skeptical that much of the president`s
plan will result in more deficits and more debts.  All of that is anathema
to the traditional Republican base.

Now, that may indeed happen.  But the president has already argued that his
great triumvirate of tax cuts, and less regulation and infrastructure
spending will rev up the economy.  So, how much will it rev it?  Well, GDP
growth has been about 2 percent a year for the last decade.  But Trump is
arguing his measures could get us back to 3 percent growth.  Now, that
would be the long term average.

So far, the trading community has given the president the benefit of the
doubt.  February is ending with a roughly 4 percent gain in the S&P 500.
You know, that`s a great showing considering that February is historically
a down month.

But that passes based on the idea that the president will accomplish his
goals, and that potential problems like a trade war will not materialize.
Should traders start doubting those goals, the market will definitely react

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


HERERA:  Billionaire investor Wilbur Ross was sworn in as commerce
secretary.  Vice President Pence administered the oath of office, a day
after Mr. Ross was confirmed by the Senate, with Democratic support.

And he has a big to-do list.  The commerce secretary is expected to start
working on renegotiating trade relationships with both China and Mexico.
He will also likely play a role in cutting trade deficits.  And many say
that he will have a part to play in trying to bring manufacturing jobs back
to the U.S.

GRIFFETH:  Speaking of which, economic growth slowed in the last three
months of 2016.  The nation`s gross domestic product, which is the broadest
measure of the goods and services produced here in the U.S., grew at a 1.9
percent rate.  That was less than the previous report and slightly below
expectations.  Business investment and government spending were revised
downward in the fourth quarter, while consumer spending remains solid.

HERERA:  And that`s being reflected in the greatest confidence index which
just hit a 15-year high.  The conference board measure gauges both
consumers` assessment of current conditions and also their expectations for
the future.  Economists closely monitor the mood of the consumer because
their spending accounts for about 70 percent of economic activity.

GRIFFETH:  Well, consumers do not appear to be shopping at Target
(NYSE:TGT) right now.  The discount retailer is coming off a weak holiday
season.  And it said that 2017 does not look much better at this point.
Profits plunged in the most recent quarter and the company now expects
full-year profits to come in well below estimates as well.  That sent
Target (NYSE:TGT) shares tumbling, down more than 12 percent today.

And now, as Courtney Reagan reports for us, the company is planning on
doing something dramatic to get those shoppers back.


(NYSE:TGT)`s holiday quarter missed the bull`s-eye and the retailer doesn`t
expect a turn-around this year.  In fact, the opposite — the discounter is
reversing course, now forecasting comparable sales and profit to fall.
Target (NYSE:TGT) laid out its three-year strategy, though it looks a lot
like what it and other retailers have already been doing.

BRIAN CORNELL, TARGET CEO:  We think we`ve got the right plan in place.

REAGAN:  CEO Brian Cornell and other executives detailed Target
(NYSE:TGT)`s plan to invest $7 billion to improve its online operations and
delivery, remodel 600 stores, build 100 more small format stores in more
populated cities, introduce new brands, and take a hit to margins in order
to lower prices.

More than a year ago, though, competitor Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) began
remodeling its stores, invest billions in its online operations and lower
prices, and it`s paid off in the form of high sales for Wal-Mart
(NYSE:WMT), perhaps in part at Target (NYSE:TGT)`s expense.

CORNELL:  Last year, we remodeled 25 stores.  Well, we`ve got 1,800.  Over
the next two years, we`ll take that learning to over 600 stores.  And as we
re-imagine these stores, we know how the guests react.  It drives more
traffic, it brings our guests back more often, it builds greater
engagement.  Well, we`ve got to do that at scale.  Now, it`s going to take
some time.

REAGAN:  Target (NYSE:TGT) still leans heavily on its network of stores,
because while e-commerce is a growth spot, it`s still only 5 percent of
total sales.  Target (NYSE:TGT) says both online and in store are still
priorities.  And while many are skeptical of the three-year plan, Target
(NYSE:TGT)`s CEO says he has support of the board.

CORNELL:  The board has been incredibly supportive.  Obviously, we spent a
lot of time with the board prior to today, but I can tell you, universally,
they support the plan because they know it`s the right thing long term for
the company.  It`s the right thing for the brand and it`s the right thing
for our shareholders.

REAGAN:  Although shareholders felt differently today as the Target
(NYSE:TGT) stock plunged in reaction.

For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Courtney Reagan in New York City.


HERERA:  So, with Target (NYSE:TGT)`s turnaround plan looking a lot like
what others in the industry are doing, is this a race to the bottom for

Some answer perhaps now from Joe Feldman.  He`s senior retail analyst at
Telsey Advisory Group.

Good to see you again, Joe.  Welcome back.

Thank you.

HERERA:  The CEO says the right plan is in place.  But as Courtney pointed
out, cutting prices is already being done by a number of Target
(NYSE:TGT)`s competitors.  Is that the correct strategy for them do you

FELDMAN:  Well, I think they need to stay competitive and just to keep that
gap with those other competitors that are closing, shutting, reducing
prices.  For example, Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) announced yesterday that they
would be reducing prices in like 1,200 stores in the Midwest.  Kroger
(NYSE:KR)`s has been reducing prices.

I mean, there`s a lot of pressure.  Others are leading this on the prices
down.  And, you know, Target (NYSE:TGT) just has to keep up and that`s
really part of the pressure for them.

GRIFFETH:  Mr. Cornell pointed out that the board is on board if you will
with his three-year plan they have in place to turn things around.  But,
clearly, Wall Street is not.  Stock down 12 percent today.

What do you think Wall Street wants to see Target (NYSE:TGT) do?

FELDMAN:  Well, I think Wall Street wants to see proof in the pudding.  You
know, they`ve had other strategies in place.  Some have worked.  You know,
they`ve talked about signature categories, core areas like home and
apparel, and they`ve done better there.  But there was not much discussion
of groceries today.  During the Q&A, at the analysts day, they talked about
grocery a little bit, but that`s like 35, 40 percent of the store.  And,
you know, there wasn`t much answer there as to what`s going.

And I think Wall Street wants to see and hear more proof that some of these
strategies are going to pay off.  And we need time to see that happen.
But, you know, as of today, people don`t want to give them that time and
the visibility for the next couple of years is still pretty limited.

HERERA:  The company pointed out a 34 percent online sales growth metric,
which they say validates their performance, or that model of their
performance.  But they`re going up against the likes of an Amazon

FELDMAN:  Yes.  And, look, their growth is very strong right now.  And it
is a smaller base.  So — but they`ve been capturing a little more share.
Then, you kind of wonder, but are they taking some share that they would
have otherwise gotten in the store?

They need to have both, as do most retailers.  And they are closer to the
consumer given the 1,800 stores or so.  But I feel like they`re sort of
sandwiched a little bit between Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Wal-Mart
(NYSE:WMT).  And they have a decent overlap with both customer bases on the
higher and the lower end of their, you know, customer spectrum.  And that`s
created a lot of pressure for them.

And that`s really where Target (NYSE:TGT) sits right now.  I think they`re
trying to find ways to differentiate to drive that customer, the core
customer, back in the store and to spend more.

HERERA:  All right.  We will be following the story.  Joe, thank you very

FELDMAN:  Thank you.

HERERA:  Joe Feldman with Telsey Advisory Group.

GRIFFETH:  Target (NYSE:TGT) is not the only company cutting prices to lure
consumers, as we just talked about.  So are discount brokers.  Fidelity
now, the latest to lower its fees as competition in that industry
intensifies.  That sent shares of publicly traded discount brokers like TD
Ameritrade (NASDAQ:AMTD), ETRADE and Charles Schwab sharply lower today.
But what`s news for their business may be good news for their customers.

Dominic Chu has more on the fight over fees.


investing business just got even more heated.  So, what does that raging
price war mean for everyday investors?

RICHARD REPETTO, SANDLER O`NEILL & PARTNERS:  When the average price comes
down, I think the investor benefits, you know, we don`t believe there will
be any degradation of services, you know, at this point.  So, we think,
yes, the winner here has been the retail investor over the e-brokers at
this point.

CHU:  Fidelity views the move as a way to aggressively bring new customers
to the company`s ranks, attract clients of other brokerages and keep the
one that it already has.  In a statement, Fidelity`s president of retail
brokerage, Ram Subramanian, said, quote, “With these unprecedented price
cuts, Fidelity is continuing to transform brokerage industry, bringing the
best value to retail clients.  Our active trader clients who make hundreds
of trades each year will particularly benefit from our dramatic price
reduction and all clients who trade will be able to keep more money in
their pockets.”

More money in the pockets of investors means potentially better returns and
more profits to retire on down the line.  But as investors benefit, the
brokerage industry will feel the pain.

REPETTO:  Obviously, pricing commission cuts will negatively impact, you
know, the revenue and the earnings of the e-brokers.  It depends on, one,
how much they have coming from commission and it varies among Schwab,
ETRADE, Ameritrade.  Schwab having the least dependency on commissions,
Ameritrade having the most.

CHU:  The cost for investing for everyday Americans has always been a hot
topic among those in the financial industry and regulators as well.  Over
the past decade, plus, costs and fees for things like trading positions and
fund management have been falling, making investing more accessible to more
people.  Now, the big question for the industry is, how it adopts to
continued pricing pressure.



HERERA:  Still ahead, why the corporate nerve center of a global electronic
powerhouse is in crisis management mode.


GRIFFETH:  Chances are, you own a Samsung product.  It`s a big company,
maybe a TV or a tablet.  Well, the South Korean conglomerate is now
embroiled in a corruption scandal after a number of its executives,
including its billionaire heir, were indicted.

Pauline Chiou reports tonight from Singapore.


special prosecutor formally indicted Samsung`s head, Jay Y. Lee, on charges
of bribery and embezzlement.  Four other Samsung executives have also been

The question is whether $38 million in Samsung donations to charities were
actually bribes for government backing of a Samsung merger in 2015.  The
charities were run by Choi Soon-sil, who is President Park Geun-hye`s long
time friend and adviser.  Prosecutors alleged the donations curried favor
with the president.

So, how Samsung Group shares do?  Well, investors didn`t seem fazed as
Samsung Electronics, the crown jewel of the group, rose 1 percent.  A
battery company, Samsung STI, and Samsung Engineering, also gained.

Samsung also confirmed the former vice chairman, Choi Gee-sung, and the
president, Chang Choong-gi, have both resigned.

For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Pauline Chiou in Singapore.


HERERA:  Valeant predicts a tough year ahead, and that`s where we begin
tonight`s “Market Focus”.

The drug maker predicts 2017 will be a year of transition.  The company
expects revenue to fall as it continues to adjust to a changing business
model.  Valeant also cited head winds from drug pricing pressures and fewer
prescriptions.  Shares plunged almost 14 percent to $14.38.

Shares of Signet Jewelers took a hit following a “Washington Post
(NYSE:WPO)” report alleging years of systemic sexual harassment at a
subsidiary.  The report was based on class action arbitration filings.  The
jeweler responded by saying the class action did not involve sexual
harassment, only gender discrimination, claims regarding pay and promotion.
Shares fell 12 percent to $63.59.

Kite Pharma`s experimental cancer drug hit its main goal during a study.
The drug uses a new type of treatment to attack tumors.  The company is
optimistic that treatment will win government approval.


ARIE BELLDEGRUN, KITE PHARMA CEO:  This data is actually about six to seven
times better than anything that has been described so far for these
patients.  This is not a 20 percent increase or a 40 percent increase.
This is significant.  So, therefore, we believe the bets (ph) will hold, we
will see an approval by the end of the year.


HERERA:  Shares pumped more than 24 percent to $70.77.

GRIFFETH:  3D printer maker 3D Systems (NASDAQ:TDSC) swung to a profit in
its latest quarter, and that topped estimates.  The revenue did rise but
not at the clip that analysts have been expecting as weaker sales of
professional printers and on demand services hurt results.  Shares were
down 10 percent today to close at $15.20.

And Palo Alto Networks (NASDAQ:PANW) said that execution challenges in the
latest quarter caused revenue to rise less than expected.  The cyber
security firm also reported a wider than expected loss.  Shares there
initially fell in afterhours trading and it finished the regular session
down 1 percent to $151.90.

The CEO of Tenet Healthcare (NYSE:THC) says the delays in changes to
Obamacare will actually help the hospital.  During an earnings conference
call, the CEO said that the idea of repeal and repair is a positive for his
company.  Tenet reported weak revenue, by the way, and that may have caused
shares to slump by 14 percent to $19.30.

HERERA:  And it`s not just investors who will be paying close attention to
what the president says tonight.  But also small business owners, and
that`s because the big changes coming to the Affordable Care Act could
impact the way they do their business.

Kate Rogers (NYSE:ROG) has our story.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Hi, Mike.  How are you?

Paloma Clothing, in Portland, Oregon, doesn`t have to offer employees
benefits like health insurance.  The company of just 15 is too small to be
forced to comply with the employer mandate of the 2010 Affordable Care Act.
That mandate requires firms with at least 50 or more full time employees to
offer coverage will be hit with a fine for failing to comply.

Even though Roach didn`t have to offer insurance, he realized the benefit
of doing so back in 2007.  And once the Affordable Care Act came into law,
he was given an added bonus.

MIKE ROACH, PALOMA CLOTHING:  When the Affordable Care Act passed, it
included federal income tax credit that was quite generous towards small
businesses that provided health care for our employees.  It was almost
$5,000 in 2010.  And it ramped up a little each year.  Last year, it was
almost $8,000.  We used that to basically pay down the actual cost of our
employees` health insurance.

ROGERS:  While Roach no longer qualifies for the credit, he`s decided to
continue offering coverage, recognizing it is a competitive advantage for
his business.  But in a health insurance marketplace that stands to be
impacted in a big way with President Trump`s promises to repeal and replace
the Affordable Care Act, many like Roach are wondering what the future

Dirk Bak said he`d like to return to the days of having a say in the
benefits he offers for his nearly 200 workers.

DIRK BAK, SDQ JANITORIAL:  I would like to see the mandate dropped on
there.  Before, it was something that, you know, as a company, you have a
choice.  You know, what do you want to offer your employees and the type of
benefits and people have the choice as to where they want to work.

ROGERS:  Some young entrepreneurs like Christian Birky benefited from
Obamacare policies, including a provision allowing individuals to remain on
their parents` plan until age 26, enabling him to launch his sustainable
men`s clothing start-up.

CHRISTIAN BIRKY, LAZLO:  I just got off my parents` healthcare.  I just
turned 26.  So, that was something that was very helpful for me.  And as we
look at the business, at being able to support our employees, I think, you
know, that`s something we`re very conscious of.

ROGERS:  No matter what side of the policy debate entrepreneurs find
themselves on, Main Street will be listening carefully tonight and looking
for any clues as to how they stand to be impacted by the Trump
administration`s changes to the health care law.



GRIFFETH:  Coming up, hitting the gas.  The cars that dominate list of best
vehicles and the one big American brand that was left out.


HERERA:  Here`s a look at what to watch for tomorrow.  More retailers
report their earnings, including Best Buy (NYSE:BBY), Lowe`s and Dollar
Tree (NASDAQ:DLTR).  The Fed releases its Beige Book and anecdotal look at
the nation`s economy and automakers will release their sales numbers for
February.  And that`s what to watch for on Wednesday.

GRIFFETH:  Speaking of automakers, the annual issue of consumer reports
rating the best and worst vehicles, shows foreign automakers continue to
outpace domestic brands.  In fact, just two American auto companies are
ranked in the top ten this year.

Phil LeBeau has the ratings and why this report is especially bad news for
one of the Big Three.


cars and trucks at a record pace, almost every automaker is cashing in.
But according to “Consumer Reports”, which tests almost every new model, it
also asks subscribers to rate their open cars and trucks, some automakers
are doing a better job than others.  This year, the top four brands are
Audi, Porsche, BMW and Lexus, with Audi repeating as number one for a
second straight year.

JAKE FISHER, CONSUMER REPORTS:  Some of these brands, I mean, they just
make unbelievable cars in terms of the way they perform.  They drive very
nice.  They offer a lot of luxury quietness but also performance.

LEBEAU:  Where are the American autos?  Well, Tesla has the highest rating
at number eight, right ahead of Buick at number ten.  GM was also the only
American automaker to have two models, the Chevy Cruze and Impala, singled
out by “Consumer Reports” as the best of the best.

On the other hand, Jeep, along with Dodge and Fiat, are cited as three of
the worst auto brands, in part because “Consumer Reports” does not
recommend a single Fiat Chrysler model.

The automaker says, “We respect Consumer Reports` opinions as they`re one
of many third party evaluators we`ve received comments from.  At the same
time, we continue to encourage customers to experience our vehicles for

FISHER:  People want to be in a Jeep.  And they do offer something that`s a
little bit non-tangible.  That people do enjoy.  And that`s OK.

But as time goes on and more of these people drive these later these
products, and they have the reliability problems and they realize they
don`t drive very well, it will hurt them.

LEBEAU:  But so far, Jeep has not been hurt by “Consumer Reports`”
criticism.  In fact over the last several years, regime sales have far
outpaced the rest of the industry.  Proof the brand and its SUVs are still
attracting Americans, even as others give it a poor report card.



GRIFFETH:  The highest rated U.S. automaker, Tesla.


GRIFFETH:  That is unbelievable.

HERERA:  It`s unbelievable, right?

That will do it for us tonight on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT.  I`m Sue Herera.
Thanks for joining us.

GRIFFETH:  I`m Bill Griffeth.  Have a great evening, everybody.  We`ll see
you tomorrow.


Nightly Business Report transcripts and video are available on-line post
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