TYLER MATHISEN, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR: High stakes. Stocks
dropped to start the second quarter as investors recalibrate ahead of a
flood of market-moving events.
SUE HERERA, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR: Tapping the brakes. Auto
sales low in March, leading some to wonder if the recent boom is coming to
MATHISEN: And factory of the future. What some of the biggest companies
in the world are doing to bring their workers into the 21st century.
Those stories and more tonight on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for Monday, April
HERERA: Good evening, everyone, and welcome.
Investors were not in a buying mood on this first day of the second
quarter. Stocks were slipping and sliding, as some economic data came in
weaker than expected. As one Wall Street watcher put it, investors want to
see an evidence of an improving economy in order to rely less on government
Today, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was off 13 points to 20,650, the
NASDAQ dropped 17 and the S&P 500 lost 3.
And another of key events over the next few days and weeks could determine
direction of stocks.
Dominic Chu explains.
DOMINIC CHU, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: One quarter down,
three more to go in 2017. And one of the biggest questions for investors
now is whether the market rally since the election can keep going.
While there is a general optimism on Wall Street, many experts feel as
though there are reasons to be at least a little bit cautious in the coming
weeks and months.
BLAIR EFFRON, CENTERVIEW PARTNERS: To the extent we did not have some sort
of corporate tax reform, that certainly would be a difficulty of the
markets. There`s anything on the political situation, with the elections,
whether it`s upcoming in France or Germany later in the year, that delivers
a surprise, that could be an issue. And finally, I`d say the markets, S&P
at 20 times earnings, that`s the kind of environment that any modest nick
can have an outsize impact of where the market goes and where valuations
CHU: You can`t really blame people for being a little more conservative
with their investments. There`s a lot on the agenda to pay attention to
this month. On the international front, you`ve got concerns over the train
bombing in Russia, as well as meetings President Trump has with the leaders
of Egypt and China this week. Here at home, there`s the coming showdown in
Congress over the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, as
well as concerns over a possible government shutdown later on this month.
And, of course, there`s a lot of economic data, including a big jobs report
and a lot of Fed speak.
Now, that being said, some are advising a more disciplined investing
approach for individual investors.
AEISHA MASTAGNI, CALSTRS: Well, I think for the individual investors out
there, one, you know, pay attention to your 401(k) statements. I also
think that it`s really important to, you know, stay the course. You know,
most folks cannot be traders. It`s better to be investors and focused on
the long term, and continue to contribute to your retirement savings.
CHU: According to Bespoke Investment Group, over the past half century,
April has been the strongest month for the stock market. But there`s a lot
on the horizon that could put a dent in that rally.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Dominic Chu.
MATHISEN: Let`s turn now to Michael Jones for more on what the market will
focus on and how it all might impact stocks in the days and weeks ahead.
He`s chairman and chief investment officer at Riverfront Investment Group.
Mr. Jones, welcome. Good to have you with us.
You say there are sort of three pillars in this rally in stocks that we`ve
seen, higher earnings, the accelerating global economy and the progress of
the Trump agenda. What happens if one of those three things gets stymied?
MICHAEL JONES, RIVERFRONT INVESTMENT GROUP, CHAIRMAN AND CIO: Well, I
think we`re looking in April at probably the last point on the tripod,
coming under some severe pressure. We should remember that one thing that
Trump is doing doesn`t need congressional approval, and that`s the
We saw that with the EPA pronouncements last week. And deregulation is
going to continue. The market loves that.
But we are going to have a very important series of legislative events.
The one that not enough people are talking about is the budget situation,
the need for continuing resolutions to avoid a government shutdown, and the
need for a debt ceiling increase. All of it is going to be controversial.
All of it`s going to be hard to pass. And the market`s not going to like
HERERA: Yes. And so, if you are a longer term investor, do you just put
that, for lack of a better word, noise aside? Or do you try and maneuver
JONES: Well, I think that there are a lot of investors who have been
caught on the sideline with this rally since the election. It just feels
that way. Even look at today`s trading action. You know, we had a big
down draft early in the day, and sure enough, buyers came in. That
suggests to us a market that`s technically in good shape. There`s a lot of
people waiting to buy.
So I think some of the disappointment that we may see on the political
front might create a little bit more of a pullback than we`ve seen thus
far. Right now, if we go down 2 percent, buyers come running in. We
should get a more normal 5 percent pullback this month, and if I`m an
investor that`s been frustrated and waiting to buy, I think it`s going to
be a very good opportunity.
MATHISEN: So, of these events, that`s interesting you point to the sort of
end of month debt ceiling matter, and those are the folks he`s going to
need in the Freedom Caucus who did not negotiate terribly successfully with
and then went on to insult later on after that health care vote.
Let`s turn to trade for just a moment. There was some talk last week that
it sounds like some of the rhetoric is softening just a bit there. Is that
how you see it?
JONES: Absolutely. I think maybe this is Wilbur Ross` influence. Maybe
it`s some of the other people that Trump has surrounded himself with since
But there`s no question that the NAFTA proposals were much more moderate,
much more incremental than the campaign rhetoric might have suggested. And
the market really likes that.
We want to see NAFTA improved, not discarded. And that seems to be the
direction the Trump administration is going. That sets us up well for Xi`s
visit this week.
You know, really harsh rhetoric is typically going to prompt a backlash
from China, just as much as from the Freedom Caucus. And so, what we want
to see is the president take a more moderate tone, and the NAFTA proposal
seemed to be setting the stage for just that kind of successful summit with
MATHISEN: And, of course, President Xi and the president will be talking
about North Korea, a really potential flash point.
Thank you very much, Michael Jones, with Riverfront Investment Group.
HERERA: To the economy now, where construction spending was not as strong
as expected, though it did rebound from the prior months. According to the
Commerce Department, construction spending rose 0.8 percent, thanks to the
warmer weather in February.
MATHISEN: Manufacturing activity cooled a bit in march but still remains
on an upward track. The sector saw a modest decline in new orders and
production, but the gauge of employment in the manufacturing industry hit
its highest level since 2011.
HERERA: Auto sales were weaker than expected in March. It may be the
latest sign that America`s seven-year auto boom could be coming to an end.
Fiat Chrysler, General Motors (NYSE:GM) and Ford were all lower in trading
Phil LeBeau has more on the auto industry`s disappointing months.
PHIL LEBEAU, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: Make no mistake:
Americans are still buying plenty of new vehicles, especially trucks and
SUVs. But March shows U.S. auto sales overall continue to slow down. Last
month, business was much lower than expected for GM, Toyota (NYSE:TM), and
Fiat Chrysler, while Ford did slightly better than forecasted, but still
had negative sales last month.
So, is the auto market that`s been in overdrive finally stalling? Well,
it`s too early to tell. But the warning lights are definitely flashing.
For starters, inventories are rising. So, new models are sitting on lots
longer. And when they do sell, dealers are spending more to close the
Also, there`s a glut of used cars and trucks hitting the market, pushing
those prices down, and making some used models more attractive than some
new cars and trucks.
With the March sales pace falling under 17 million for the first time since
last June, this could be an indication auto sales will not rise for the
first time in seven years. But how much sales slow down depends in part on
how automakers handle the drop in business.
DAVE WHISTON, MORNINGSTAR: It gets kind of tricky now at this point in the
cycle, how aggressive do automakers want to be on incentives, because you
could easily use volume and it looks great on sales every month. By the
end of the day, it`s about profits, not market share.
LEBEAU: That`s the challenge. Can automakers remain disciplined and avoid
an incentive war that cuts into profit margins? This is a cyclical
industry, and historically, automakers have not done well when sales slow
Phil LeBeau, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, Chicago.
HERERA: And here`s a first. Tesla is speeding past Ford in terms of
market cap, after delivering a record number of cars for the quarter. In
the first three months of the year, Tesla delivered 25,000 cars, while Ford
sales dropped 7 percent in March. Tesla now has a market cap of roughly
$48 billion. Ford`s market cap stands at $45 billion.
MATHISEN: Well, the Federal Reserve fattened up its balance sheet during
the recession, and embarked on a bond-buying program in an effort to juice
the economy and lower interest rates. As we reported Friday, the president
of the New York Fed hinted that it might be time for the Central Bank to
slim down just a bit.
But as Steve Liesman reports, it`s a tricky thing to do. Not a lot of
precedence here. And it could lead investors vulnerable.
STEVE LIESMAN, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: For sale, trillions
of dollars of treasuries and mortgages on the books of the Fed`s balance
sheet that it doesn`t seem to need anymore. Now that the economy seems to
be recovered, so much so that the Fed is now raising interest rates, Fed
officials are starting to talk gently about reducing the size of its $4.5
trillion balance sheet.
NEEL KASHKARI, MINNEAPOLIS FED PRESIDENT: There is interest among FOMC
members to shrink that balance sheet in a gradual and predictable way.
LIESMAN: Increasing the size of the balance sheet during the financial
crisis was an answer to a problem. The Fed had already cut raise to zero,
but the economy was still weak. So, the Fed purchased trillions of dollars
of government bonds and mortgages to drive down interest rates and try to
drive up the stock market. Now, four times the size of what`s normal, the
balance sheet is a potential problem in itself. It was creating more
inflation if not right size for a stronger economy.
JOHN RYDING, RDQ ECONOMICS CHIEF ECONOMIST: Let`s say they have a five-
year plan. They need to get the balance sheet down to about $1.8 trillion.
So, they need to get about $2.5 trillion off the balance sheet.
LIESMAN: The plan is fraught with risk. The reason the Fed is raising
interest rates before reducing the balance sheet size is it admits it
doesn`t know how to calibrate a decline in its balance sheet with the
effects on interest rates and the economy.
JANET YELLEN, FEDERAL RESERVE CHAIR: We think it`s much easier in using
that tool to communicate the stance of policy. We have much more
experience with it. And have a better idea of its impact on the economy.
LIESMAN: Investors are going to be listening closely. Too aggressive a
plan could be a major selling event so the best guess, the Fed announces a
plan this year to gradually reduce the size of the balance sheet and
doesn`t actually do anything until later this year, or early in 2018.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Steve Liesman.
HERERA: Still ahead, check your EpiPens. The recall of the life-saving
allergy shot has been extended to the United States.
HERERA: There`s an expanded recall of EpiPens, the life-saving allergy
medicine. The initial recall was issued last week. It did not include the
U.S., but that has changed. And certain EpiPens sold in the United States
are also affected.
Meg Tirrell has details.
MEG TIRRELL, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: If you keep an EpiPen
on hand for allergy emergencies, check the package for its lot number.
Late Friday, the manufacturer of EpiPen expanded a recall of the product to
include 13 lots in the United States. This comes after a recall earlier in
March of 81,000 units in other countries.
The initial recall was due to two reports of the EpiPen failing to
activate. In both cases, patients were able to use a backup device on
hand, according to Mylan (NASDAQ:MYL), which sells the EpiPen. The device
is manufactured for Mylan (NASDAQ:MYL) by Pfizer (NYSE:PFE).
Now, Mylan (NASDAQ:MYL) says testing has turned up no further cases of the
potential defect and that the recall is being extended voluntarily out of
an abundance of caution. Mylan (NASDAQ:MYL) says it will replace recalled
devices at no cost.
As for the financial impact, Evercore ISI estimates it may amount to about
3 percent of U.S. EpiPen sales or about $21 million. Now, the effect of
lots include both EpiPen and EpiPen Junior, with expiration dates between
April and October of this year. Mylan (NASDAQ:MYL) says the recall doesn`t
include the authorized generic version of the EpiPen, an identical product
it recently introduced in response to an outcry over the price of the
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Meg Tirrell.
HERERA: And for more information and to check which lot numbers are
involved in that recall, you can visit our website at NBR.com.
MATHISEN: Panera might be for sale, and that is where we begin tonight`s
“Bloomberg News” says the restaurant chain has received takeover interest
and is looking into so-called strategic options. Although a deal may not
happen, potential buyers are said to may include Domino`s Pizza (NYSE:DPZ).
A deal between Domino`s and Panera would involve a lot of dough. Panera
shares rose nearly 8 percent on the news to $282.63. I had to.
Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE:BMY) said two of its cancer drugs when used
together extended the lives of patients with advanced melanoma. The
biotech company said a trial showed the combination of treatments proved to
be more effective and when a patient just took one of the medicines.
Shares were off a fraction at $54.21.
HERERA: Novocure posted positive trial results from its experimental
cancer treatment. The company said its treatment, which uses electrical
fields to kill cancer cells, improved the overall survival rate in patients
newly diagnosed with a common form of brain cancer when the treatment was
used in conjunction with chemotherapy. Novocure shares surged 37 percent
And biotech company United Therapeutic said regulatory delays caused it to
postpone the launch of its implantable device to treat high blood pressure
affecting the lungs and heart. The company now expects the product to
launch in 2018. Shares were punished following that news, falling about 8
percent to $123.96.
MATHISEN: The government is issuing new guidelines on visas used heavily
by tech companies to hire foreign engineering workers. The visa program is
called H-1B. The Justice Department and the Department of Homeland
Security say they want to make sure the visas are not being misused at the
expense of U.S. workers.
And as Aditi Roy reports from San Francisco, the filing period starts
ADITI ROY, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: Purva Gupta came to the
U.S. from India in 2013. She arrived on a spouse visa with her husband who
was on an H-1B visa. But Purva had her own dream of starting a company.
For that, she, too, needed an H-1B. That was easier said than done.
PURVA GUPTA, ENTREPRENEUR: The more difficult part is that it`s a lottery
that you — it`s a gamble.
ROY: Last year, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services received more
than 236,000 H-1B applications for 85,000 spots. The government has a
lottery to select the visa holders.
Critics of the system, which include President Trump, argue it favors
outsourcing companies that flood the program with applicants to clinch the
majority of these visas for cheaper workers.
RON HIRA, HOWARD UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR: Unfortunately, over time, what
happens is that there are loopholes in the program, that actually allow
employers to bring in workers at much lower wage rates than Americans.
ROY: Howard University Professor Ron Hira is an expert on the issue and
has testified to Congress about the need for reform. He says another
problem with the current system is that there`s no requirement for
companies to recruit American workers first.
HIRA: And so, what`s happened is the program is being dominated by
employers who are really making profits over replacing or substituting for
American works with these H-1B workers.
ROY: While the Trump administration has signaled it will reform the
system, so far, no changes have been issued. Tech companies like Google
(NASDAQ:GOOG), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) rely
heavily on immigrant workers. And many in Silicon Valley say these
companies could be hurt by changes to the program. Still, some believe
some changes are necessary.
MANAN MEHTA, UNSHACKLED FOUNDING PARTNER: I`m not convinced that the
current policy is not only serving the American person, it`s also not
serving the best immigrant talent either.
ROY: Manan Mehta is the founder of Unshackled, a venture capital firm that
invests in startups by immigrant founders to help them navigate the
immigration process. He hopes those who would benefit under a reformed H-
1B process would be entrepreneurs, not outsourcing companies.
MEHTA: Imagine if the 35,000 of the 85,000 a year that go to IT
outsourcing companies, went to entrepreneurs instead and they created ten
jobs each, we wouldn`t be having this discussion today. I don`t know if we
ROY: Purva, who sponsored by Unshackled says she didn`t make the lottery
the first time she tried but she was able to remain in the country through
her spouse visa and received her H-1B on her second try.
Regi Fu, another Unshackled entrepreneur, just submitted his H-1B
application and worries about what will happen if he doesn`t win this
REGI FU, ENTREPRENEUR: If that happens, I couldn`t continue my business
ROY: I talked to some immigration attorneys, while they were preparing
applications last week. They say they`re handling fewer applications this
year, partly because the fees have been getting higher, even under the
Obama administration, and also because of uneasiness over the current
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Aditi Roy, San Francisco.
HERERA: Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is trying to figure out how to solve a big
issue of its own — monitoring its content. As we`ve been reporting, some
very big advertisers have pulled out of Google`s YouTube because they don`t
want their brand next to objectionable videos.
Tonight, Julia Boorstin hears from the advertising industry at a conference
in Los Angeles.
JULIA BOORSTIN, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: Chief marketing
officers and ad agencies here are talking about what Google (NASDAQ:GOOG)
has to do for their brands to feel safe on YouTube.
NANCY HILL, 4A`S PRESIDENT & CEO: What we`re hearing from the members is
it`s time for a lot of these platforms to grow up. They`re still fairly
young platforms. And unlike the other platforms that we`ve had,
television, radio, print that`s been around forever, they haven`t really
grown up into a place where you can measure and understand what`s really
BOORSTIN: Taco Bell`s chief marketing officer Marisa Thalberg tells us
that while she considers Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) an important partner, they`re
taking a break until Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) makes more changes.
MARISA THALBERG, TACO BELL`S CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER: We are on pause,
however. That`s how we see it, because at the end of the day, context
BOORSTIN: Mobile ad company Kargo which only serves ads with premium
content is benefiting from the Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) boycott, as companies
such as AT&T (NYSE:T) looks to move their digital ad dollars to what`s seen
as safer content.
HARRY KARGMAN, KARGO CEO: The world of advertising in gem is at this point
of change. What we`re seeing finally is the marketers are waking up and
they`re saying, just doing audience targeting at mass scale is not enough
for us. We need to be guaranteed that we`re going to be running in great
brand safe places.
BOORSTIN: The timing of the boycott is powerful. The head of the up-front
and new front ad sales period when brands commit a big chunk of their
annual ad dollars.
The head of marketing giant IPG Michael Roth tells us, brands and agencies
are using this to push for more transparency.
MICHAEL ROTH, INTERPUBLIC CHAIRMAN & CEO: The best way to keep
organizations accountable is to do it with your pocketbook. So I think
that part of it, frankly, works.
BOORSTIN: Roth tells us that some of IPG`s clients are starting to come
back to Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), because Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is pulling out
all the stops to show brands it`s taking steps to fix this problem. Google
(NASDAQ:GOOG) tells us, quote, “Many advertisers never left and many have
decided to come back. While they know that no system can be perfect, they
appreciate the actions we`ve taken and know we are taking this seriously,
and are committed to getting better and better.”
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Julia Boorstin in Los Angeles.
MATHISEN: Coming up, school`s in session, training workers for the
manufacturing jobs of the future.
HERERA: UPS is expanding its operations. The world`s largest package
delivery company will add Saturday ground deliveries to keep up with the
increasing online shopping. The expansion will eventually add 6,000 jobs.
Rival FedEx (NYSE:FDX) already delivers items on that day. And the postal
service also makes Sunday deliveries in some markets for Amazon
MATHISEN: The tech industry is expanding, along with the number of jobs
it`s creating. According to a new report, employment in the field grew
about 3 percent last year to 7 million workers. Now, most of the gains
came from the software cybersecurity and cloud computing industries, and
the pay in the tech sector, more than doubled the national average, at
nearly 109,000 a year.
HERERA: And according to the same report, it`s not just California and New
York that are seeing high rates of tech sector employment. Michigan and
Pennsylvania are in the top ten. And that`s partly because factory floors
are going high-tech. That modernization means new skills are required to
operate that machinery.
Morgan Brennan looks at how companies are training workers for the
factories of the future. She`s in Grove City, Pennsylvania.
MORGAN BRENNAN, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: Technology, the
adoption of automation, 3D printing and digitization, is fundamentally
transforming factory floors. And with them, job descriptions.
Take General Electric (NYSE:GE), GE`s been on the forefront of this trend
as it begins to roll out its brilliant factory format, which harnesses
sensors, big data, software and robotics.
GE workers at this Grove City, Pennsylvania facility, use data to access
locomotive engines like this one that are coming in for repair. That`s a
process that allows them to target specific parts, rather than do full
teardowns, which is what used to happen.
This shift involves transitioning from paper to the cloud, as employees
scan bar codes to create a digital thread of a machine, get acquainted with
algorithms and use devices to complete tasks once done by hand.
Jamie Miller, GE`s transportation chief and architect behind this new
factory model, says it`s creating a demand for skills that you may least
associate with all this tech.
JAMIE MILLER, GE TRANSPORTATION SVP & CEO: Traditionally, where it may
have been, you know, how people can do the actual work, that`s really been
supplemented by, you know, deeper look at the soft skills, deeper look at
kind of, you know, how they work in a bigger environment.
BRENNAN: As productivity increases and the manual labor part of the job
decreases, workers must become more predictive and interactive, especially
since long time machinists and technicians are being teamed with data
analytic experts. To do all of this, GE now plans to retrain 150,000
employees, and it`s revised its recruitment protocol as well.
Of 100 Grove City applicants, less than ten passed the screening to make
the cut. And GE certainly isn`t alone. More companies including Siemens,
Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT) and John Deere are investing in their
workforces. To retrain longtime employees, but also to develop and attract
the next generation who tend to be more comfortable with tech already.
Experts say these opportunities are crucial to bridging skills gap.
KEN LOUIE: Public policy or other employer policies that stimulate that
kind of ongoing learning is ultimately going to help this adaptation to the
change in the manufacturing sector.
BRENNAN: Deloitte has estimated 3.5 million new manufacturing jobs are
likely to be created by 2025, as many as 2 million could go unfilled due to
the skills mismatch. Making training a necessary component for the
factories of the future.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Morgan Brennan in Grove City,
MATHISEN: And finally tonight, Ronco Brands, famous for its late-night and
the round-the-clock commercials, selling things like the Veg-O-Matic —
well, it`s filed to go public. They`re looking to raise $30 million
through a mini IPO by selling 5 million shares. But wait, there`s more!
On Ronco`s website, the company is offering discounts, for example, buy
more than $5,000 in shares, then get a one time discount of 20 percent off
Ronco products, plus a rotisserie worth hundreds of dollars if sold
separately, for you, $19.99 plus shipping and handling.
HERERA: I think there`s a second career in there for you.
MATHISEN: I`m going for it.
HERERA: You could be the Veg-O-Matic guy.
MATHISEN: There you go.
HERERA: Excellent. Well, wait, there`s no more.
We`ve got to say good night.
MATHISEN: We`ve got to say good-bye.
HERERA: That`s NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for tonight. I`m Sue Herera.
Thanks for joining us.
MATHISEN: I`m Tyler Mathisen, plus shipping and handling. Have a great
night, everybody. We`ll see you tomorrow.
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