TYLER MATHISEN, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR: Odd jobs. The March jobs
report was nothing if not confusing. Unemployment was down but job gains
were meager and the market shrugged it all off.
He said, Xi said. The president summit by the sea with China`s leader Xi
Jinping ends with soothing words put a little more. What the meeting
accomplished or didn`t on trade, investment and more.
Swift strike. U.S. cruise missiles hit Syria, sending a message to Assad
and Moscow about chemical weapons use. Safe havens rally. So, is the run
in so-called risk assets in jeopardy?
Those stories and more tonight on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for Friday, April
Good evening, everyone, and welcome. Sue Herera is off tonight.
Well, it was one of those days in the stock market. A lot of news to
possibly move prices sharply one way or the other.
There was, of course, the U.S. missile strike against Syria in retaliation
for this week`s chemical weapons attack that killed scores of Syrian
civilians. There was a head-scratcher of a us jobs report the economy
added just 98,000 positions in March, a little more than half what
economists expected. And there were those potentially contentious
discussions between President Trump and China`s President Xi at Mar-a-Lago
So, what did the market do on a day that could have gone either way? They
kind of went neither. By the close, the Dow fell about seven points the
NASDAQ was lower by one and the S&P fell nearly two.
But that lack of motion in stocks doesn`t tell the whole story. Oil was up
near a one-month high. Gold got a safe haven bid. It finished at $1,256
But perhaps the biggest moves were in U.S. treasury bonds. Safety-seeking
cash flooded in overnight, sending the 10-year notes yield below 2.3
percent. But by the end of the day, yields rose again and the ten-year
finished at 2.38 percent, the highest in a week.
More now on that curious jobs report. The headline number was ugly and
surprisingly so, hiring slowed in March. But as Hampton Pearson reports,
sometimes if you focus on the headline, you missed the real story.
HAMPTON PEARSON, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: There was good
news and bad news and the government`s March jobs report. The good news
headline unemployment dropped a 4.5 percent, the lowest in a decade. Some
472,000 persons found jobs last month and the number of unemployed persons
fell by 326,000. Signs, leading economists say, of a strong jobs market.
DAVID KELLY, J.P. MORGAN ASSET MANAGEMENT: What this tells me is the very
tight labor markets. The unemployment rate at 4.5 is already two tenths of
a percent below the Fed`s long-term targets.
PEARSON: The bad news just 98,000 new hires, the lowest in 10 months, with
the loss of some 30,000 retail jobs and bad weather the key factors, far
below the consensus forecast for 175,000 new jobs. Additional downward
revisions for January and February pulled the three-month average to just
178,000 jobs per month.
DIANE SWONK, DS ECONOMICS, FOUNDER & CEO: We can blame a lot of it on the
weather. At least 80,000 I think on the weather alone. So, that`s — the
good news is it`s wacky weather and we`re now sort of going to see a
PEARSON: Wage growth remains modest, just 2.7 percent during the last
months to about $26 an hour on average. Economists say right now, the
tight job market isn`t stopping employers from keeping the lid on wages.
PETER CHRISTOPHER, WELLS FARGO, GLOBAL MARKET STRATEGIST: The wage growth
is not great, but it certainly looks to be sustainable in it and as it
recovers more, we think that will be the one to watch.
PEARSON: So, now, there`s room for both wages and jobs to continue to grow
and economists say no reason for a one-month setback to upset the Fed`s
plan for maybe two more rate hikes this year.
Hampton Pearson, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT in Washington.
MATHISEN: One job that was filled today: Supreme Court justice. The
Senate confirmed Federal Judge Neil Gorsuch to the high court by a vote of
54-45. Gorsuch could have a decisive effect on several business and
financial cases, including one involving the regulation of debt collectors,
and another regarding religious institutions and government benefits.
Now to Syria where last night`s lightning strike by U.S. cruise missiles
against a Syrian air base sent shockwaves around the world, from Damascus
to Moscow to Tehran to presumably Pyongyang — but apparently not so much
to Wall Street.
Michelle Caruso-Cabrera reports.
MICHELLE CARUSO-CABRERA, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: The U.S.
government says it launched 59 Tomahawk missiles last night from two U.S.
warships in the eastern Mediterranean. The Pentagon released this video.
The target of the missiles: an airfield in western Syria that the Pentagon
says was used to conduct a chemical weapons attack earlier this week in the
6-year-old Syrian civil war.
That attack seen around the world killed more than 100 people.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There can be no dispute that
Syria used to banned chemical weapons, violated its obligations under the
Chemical Weapons Convention, and ignored the urging of the U.N. Security
CARUSO-CABRERA: Russia, which supports Bashar al-Assad, the leader of
Syria, called for an emergency meeting of the U.S. Security Council and
condemned the attacks. But U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Nikki Haley, said
the U.S. is ready to do even more and slammed Russia.
NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED STATES: It could be that Russia
is knowingly allowing chemical weapons to remain in Syria. It could be
that Russia has been incompetent in its efforts to remove the chemical
weapons. Or it could be that the Assad regime is playing the Russians for
CARUSO-CABRERA: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is still scheduled to
travel to Russia next week.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Michelle Caruso-Cabrera.
MATHISEN: The strike against Syria came, of course, as the president met
in Florida, face-to-face for the first time, with China`s President Xi
Jinping. So, what did the leaders of the world`s two largest economies
accomplished during their maiden discussions?
Kayla Tausche reports from Palm Beach.
KAYLA TAUSCHE, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: U.S. officials said
a one-day summit with Chinese leaders was direct, frank and constructive.
Secretaries Tillerson, Ross, and Mnuchin telling reporters at its
conclusions, the two nations had agreed to engage through a framework in
four parts: diplomacy, economy, cybersecurity and culture.
Additionally, they`re pursuing 100-day talks on trade. They are committed
to a denuclearized Korea. Commerce Secretary Ross cites a growing rapport
between the two countries.
The news coming after the United States Thursday launched 59 airstrikes on
a Syrian air base in response to a chemical attack there. Assisting the
president, a unique assembly of advisers, many in roles outside security
and military, hovering in a secure location at Trump`s Mar-a-Lago resort.
The president deflected press questions about Syria during a bilateral
meeting with President Xi. But President Trump says the meeting was
TRUMP: I think we have made tremendous progress in our relationship with
China. My representatives have been meeting one-on-one with their
counterparts from China. And it`s — I think, truly, progress has been
made. We`ll be making a lot of additional progress.
TAUSCHE: The airstrikes took place while the two world leaders dine
together. A White House spokesman says Trump informed China`s president
before the missiles made impact.
AMB. LINCOLN BLOOMFIELD, FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE: The
message at Mar-a-Lago, we don`t want to embarrass President Xi. We want to
save face. We wanted to be collegial. But there`s no doubt that if
President Trump can take decisive action in Syria, as he did, he can take
decisive action in North Korea. So, that sends a message to Asia and to
China as well.
TAUSCHE: The two leaders appeared congenial. But opinion pieces in China
called the strike both a show of force and also made in haste, referencing
Trump`s own criticism of the previous administration`s consideration of an
The administration stresses this is the beginning of what it calls a
constructive dialogue. President Xi extended an invitation for President
Trump to make a state visit to China, and Trump accepted, but no date has
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Kayla Tausche, Palm Beach, Florida.
MATHISEN: Let`s discuss the market`s reaction or lack of it to the
headlines that dominated the narrative today — jobs, geopolitics and the
future of the U.S.-China relationship.
Joining us now is Lara Rhame. She`s senior economist and director of fund
strategy at FS Investments.
Lara, welcome. Good to have you with us.
You know, this was one of the days we said earlier in the broadcast, it
could have gone either way big time. But it went neither. How do you
explain the lack of reaction?
LARA RHAME, FS INVESTMENTS SR. ECONOMIST & DIR. OF FUND STRATEGY: So, you
know, I think when you think about that, we have to look at stocks. As you
said, there clearly was a reaction. Some of the classic save haven
currencies. But the stock market just seemed to be very complacent, for
lack of a better word. We shrugged off events that I think historically
would have been seen as market negative. Every piece of good news is seen
as an excuse to rally and then news that is somewhat of a downsize surprise
is treated with a shrug.
So, I see the continued, low level volatility, and this really sort of
thorough uncertainty fatigue is something that concerns you.
MATHISEN: Yes. So, does that complacency encourage you or worry you?
RHAME: I mean, you know, I think we — it`s interesting, the last two
years have really seen, you know, Brexit, localized equity issues,
horrendous localized equity issues in China. You know, issue after issue
has just sort of been shrugged off.
So, when I look at markets, I really see that this lack of ability to
really see risk in the world as more balance. We have extremely positive
perception in customer sentiment, in business sentiment, but the actual
data haven`t been as strong. It hasn`t followed up. And markets just keep
going. They are further and further out in the ledge.
MATHISEN: Do you think that — let`s get to the — apart from the day`s
events, which were meaningful in their own — in their own right, do you
think that the fundamentals of corporate profits of the economy are strong
enough to justify prices where they are and keep them growing?
RHAME: You know, that`s a real — to me, that`s a real concern. Over the
long term, corporate profits really follow growth. When we look at the
U.S. economy, we see that it`s fine. It`s relatively healthy. It`s
cruising along around 2 percent.
The problem is corporate profits are also just sort of cruising along.
They`ve really flat-lined mostly since 2012, and equity markets have been,
have kept right on going.
I don`t know which way it`s going to correct. But it makes me concerned
the market has such a one-sided view of the world.
MATHISEN: Is it time then for me to play defense or offense? Take
advantage of pullbacks?
RHAME: You know, when I look out I am looking at some of the geopolitical
risks, some of the rhetoric we`ve got on out of the government that`s
talking about changing trade agreements, one thing that concerns me is that
the S&P 500 has a tremendous amount of international exposure. I`m saving
investments that are a little closer to home, investing in companies that
primarily get their growth and their revenues from the U.S.
RHAME: That`s where I see the most able opportunity right now.
MATHISEN: Lara, thanks very much. Lara Rhame is with FS Investments.
Have a great weekend.
Still ahead, a labor market bright spot in the sky.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KATE ROGERS, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: I`m Kate Rogers
(NYSE:ROG) in Dallas. And as more travelers take to the skies, carriers
like Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV) are hiring. We`re going to tell you
what they`re looking forward tonight on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATHISEN: Today`s jobs report was a bit of a let down. But if you look
beyond the headline numbers as we mentioned before, there are actually
pockets of real growth in the labor market. And there`s one industry, in
particular, that is expecting hiring to take off.
Kate Rogers (NYSE:ROG) reports on where the jobs are today from Dallas,
KATE ROGERS, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: The airline industry
employs some 700,000 people in the U.S. alone, and experts expect the need
for manpower to grow with the number of air travelers doubling by the year
NICHOLAS CALIO, AIRLINES FOR AMERICA CEO: Based on all trends, the next
few years, look to have more hiring in the airline industry. And that`s
important because the more we hire, the more actual jobs we create and have
a ripple effect throughout the economy.
ROGERS: The industry is also hoping that the new White House
administration will help boost growth with deregulation, lower taxes and
modernization of air traffic control systems.
CALIO: They`ve also shown a proclivity for looking at current regulations
that don`t make sense and eliminating those. Those savings, those
efficiencies, will make us better able to continue to invest in our
employees and in our product.
ROGERS: Carriers like Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV) are expanding in
nearly every part of their business to meet demands. The airline is
recruiting some 4,000 workers for ground operations positions this year,
like Sean Parker, a 20-year-old veteran ramp agent.
SEAN PARKER, SOUTHWEST AIRLINES RAMP AGENT: I`m responsible for making
sure the luggage gets transported to the proper destinations. I`m
responsible for making sure the aircraft gets turned on time and
responsible for the safety of me and fellow crew around me.
ROGERS: The job is competitive, as Southwest has hired only about 2.5
percent of applicants for ground ops positions in 2017.
JULIE WEBER, SOUTHWEST AIRLINES VP OF PEOPLE: We are picky. We hire for
attitude and train for skill. We are looking for employees who can live
the Southwest way. For us, that means having a warrior spirit, which means
a desire to work really hard and have a sense of urgency. Have a servant`s
heart, which means you put others first, and have a fun-loving attitude.
ROGERS: At Southwest, salaries start at around $13 an hour, but long-
tenured employees can make up to $30 an hour, other perks of the airline
include free travel for workers and their families, 401ks with matches and
But challengers for ramp agents like Parker include long days spent
outdoors rain or shine. For other ground ops workers like Catherine Mills,
a newly hired customer service agent, it also means dealing with travelers
at their very best and worse.
CATHERINE MILLS, SOUTHWEST CUSTOMER SERVICE AGENT: Just remembering not to
take it personally. It can be challenging. You never assume the reason
for someone`s travel is the same.
ROGERS: For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Kate Rogers (NYSE:ROG), Dallas.
MATHISEN: As we reported earlier in the program, the retail industry by
contrast is shedding jobs. The losses come as consumers change their
shopping habits, causing major brands to close up shops. Still, certain
stores have managed to avoid the pain while others are barely hanging on.
Courtney Reagan has more on the so-called retail wreck.
COURTNEY REAGAN, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: It`s a tough time
to be a retailer, but perhaps a tougher time to work for one. Twenty-two
thousand retail jobs at general merchandise stores were lost in March,
13,000 positions cut at department stores and 6,000 more at clothing and
Many of the job losses, the direct result of store closures. So far this
year, retailers plan to close almost 2,900 stores, more than double from
the same point last year, and it`s likely not over yet.
Critics at least estimate nearly 8,700 store closures could be announced by
the end of this year. That`s now looms more than during the Great
Recession. Some of those losing jobs will be transferred to nearby
locations staying opened. But many of those workers are hitting the
STEVE SADOVE, FORMER SAKS CEO: It`s not yet a clerking job, which is a
very important part of retail. But retail is about technology. It`s about
marketing. It`s about executives.
REAGAN: The number of store closings isn`t that much of a surprise as the
ever more connecting consumer shifts from in-store to online and buys less
CHARLIE O`SHEA, MOODY`S LEAD RETAIL ANALYST: The seeds of this were sown
at least five years ago, probably at the beginning of the decade. And
that`s when Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) really started to gain momentum. And many
retailers got caught off guard.
REAGAN: But don`t count retail out just yet. The sector which employs or
interacts with 25 percent of the jobs in this country could see this big
problem as an even bigger opportunity.
SADOVE: Stores have to transform themselves. Look at malls and
interesting places like Dubai where you have skating rinks or ski slopes,
what are you going to do in each of the stores to make it exciting and
REAGAN: Though it remains to be seen whether an industry that didn`t quite
recognize the looming threat Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) posts to be able to
quickly reshape itself for what might be coming next.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Courtney Reagan.
MATHISEN: A standout in the retail space is where we begin tonight`s
Telsey Advisory lifting its rating on Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) to outperform,
saying it sees the company picking up more market share and experiencing
stronger sales growth over the next few years. The brokerage firm also
citing Wal-Mart`s investment in e-commerce. Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) shares up
2 percent on the session at $72.90.
Shares of enterprise software company Okta spiked in the firm`s market
debut today, opening on the NASDAQ above $23 a share, and that was higher
than the company`s initial public offering price of just $17 a share.
Shares finished the day up 38 percent at $23.51.
Household products maker WD-40 (NASDAQ:WDFC) saw its shares slip, sliding
away today following the company`s disappointing results after the bell
yesterday. WD-40 (NASDAQ:WDFC) missed profit and revenue estimates, it is
cutting its year sales outlook as well. Shares well-lubricated to the
downside, falling more than 4.5 percent to $101.95.
And now to our market monitor who has three stock picks for us tonight.
One of which is a retailer despite that sector`s recent issues. The last
time he was on a little more than a year ago, he recommended stocks that
had been mixed as you see right there.
He is Michael Binger. He`s senior portfolio manager at Gradient
Michael, good to have with us.
MICHAEL BINGER, GRADIENT INVESTMENTS SR. PORTFOLIO MANAGER: Oh, thank you
for having me back.
MATHISEN: Happy to have you back.
Let`s talk first about your first pick, which I find a little bit curious
but you have good reasoning behind it. That is a mall operator or REIT,
Simon Property. What do they have that so many others in this business
BINGER: Well, the thing is they own the malls and they won premium malls
and premium outlets, discount outlets, where retailers are trying to get
into. So, yes, we have a retail — I don`t think it`s a retail wreck, but
a lot of people are calling for that. But we have a retail stock cycle
right now. But that doesn`t mean the retailers aren`t paying their rent to
the mall owners.
Simon Property stock has gotten crushed. It has gone from around $250 down
to $170 right now. I think they`re going to consistently continue to grow
those earnings above 5 percent or 6 percent. It has a 4 percent dividend
So, I think it`s a good way to earn about 10 percent on an annualized
basis, in a very conservative stock. So, it`s not a part of this retail
wreck, because they`re not a store. They don`t sell stores. They`re an
office space that houses retail stores there.
And if one store leaves, say a Penny`s or a Sears (NASDAQ:SHLD) leaves, a
restaurant or a movie theater is more than happy to take that space and
move in and pay rent. And probably a little more rent than J.C. Penny or
Sear`s were paying.
MATHISEN: Well, pretty much every one of us would love a nice 10 percent
Let`s move on to Schlumberger (NYSE:SLB) in the oil services business.
MATHISEN: Why do you like it?
BINGER: Well, as we all know, oil has recovered dramatically from below
$30 a little over a year ago, to today it`s sitting over $50. We think as
we exit 2017, that oil will probably be closer to $60 than the $50 range.
I think a great way to play that is you have seen the E&P or exploration
and production companies rally a lot already. You`ve seen drilling rigs
increase a lot from low levels.
BINGER: And now, I think the next cycle is going to be the people like
Schlumberger (NYSE:SLB) who sells services and equipment to those drilling
MATHISEN: And, finally, a very quick, 20 seconds on your third pick,
Granite Construction (NYSE:GVA).
BINGER: A great play. If you ought to look for a stock that has
potentially a 10 to 15-year tailwind behind it. They`re one of the largest
construction companies in the country. Think of roads and piers and docks
and things like that.
We have an infrastructure bill that`s going to come to us. California
today just passed a big construction bill. It`s a tailwind for this
company. I think it`s a long tail play. It`s a great entry point right
MATHISEN: Michael, thanks. Have a great weekend.
Michael Binger with Gradient Investments. Appreciate your time.
BINGER: Thank you.
MATHISEN: Still to come, how one man`s desire to help his customers quench
their thirst turns into a bright idea and a very tidy business.
MATHISEN: Back in the late 1990s, we weren`t yet shopping for every little
niche item we could think of on the Internet. That`s why one Buffalo
entrepreneur with suds got the bright idea to sell hard-to-find tools for
drinking on the World Wide Web.
MATHISEN: Are you ready for a cold one? How about an in-home bar setup?
David Rivers sells everything but the booze.
DAVID RIVERS, KEGWORKS FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT: Bar sinks, ice makers,
anything on the bar top, from jiggers and shakers and bar caddies.
MATHISEN: His company KegWorks is an online one-stop shop for bar
supplies. It started in the late 1990s, e-commerce was barely a thing.
But craft beer and home brewing were all the range. Rivers, a beer
salesmen by trade, was often ask where parts for in-home draft beer systems
could be had, usually using a refrigerator and a keg.
RIVERS: You know, it`s the kegerator, it`s kegulator, it`s keggerator
spelled with 2 Gs.
MATHISEN: Whatever the name, a good regulator is key. That`s the valve
and gauge system used to maintain pressure and keep beer fresh. Rivers
knew a wholesaler and asked if he could take orders on the Internet and fax
them over and have the wholesaler ship the equipment out.
RIVERS: He goes, sure, right. Let`s see what happens. Here`s a couple of
catalogues, have a nice day.
MATHISEN: Within two years, Rivers had so many orders for kegerator kits
and assorted other bar ware coming that the wholesaler asked him to keep
his own inventory and ship it himself. So, he did. First out of an
apartment, then, a garage, and warehouses in downtown Buffalo during the
RIVERS: That was pretty desolate down here, and at that time, there were
only about 250 people living in the core of downtown.
MATHISEN: Since then, a downtown renaissance is bringing in restaurants
and bars. In 2005, Rivers hired a CEO, Tom McManus, to help grow the
business. Together, they`re helping restaurant owners like James Roberts.
JAMES ROBERTS, RESTAURANT OWNER: So, this is basically the core of our
draft system, you know, individual regulators per line allow us to adjust
pressures for each beer.
MATHISEN: And bars need foot rails, right? Web orders quickly overwhelmed
another supplier, so Rivers began buying his own metal tubing and caps and
brackets. KegWorks can bend the rails to spec, and then powder-coat them,
paint them, basically. Sunset copper, anyone?
RIVERS: The secret to the sauce is making things available to people that
normally have a hard time finding them.
MATHISEN: A six-foot rail kit can be had for less than 200 bucks.
Kegerator kit started about $100, but the inventory, some 7,000 items now
housed in the Buffalo suburbs runs the gamut from glass soda siphons made
on to their own private label —
RIVER: It`s an older style that hadn`t been made for years.
MATHISEN: — to niche beverage like Cheerwine, a North Carolina made
cherry soda, popular down South, but hard to find elsewhere.
RIVERS: I got a phone call from a gentleman who was local, who said he
couldn`t believe that we had it.
MATHISEN: A bar in the office? You bet, but how about this bottle cap
wall? Two-and-a-half months to build out, using 50,000 to 60,000 bottle
KegWorks estimates 2017 revenues between $12 million and $13 million, and a
guy who says he left college, in part, because a roommate installed a
kegerator can thank the kegerator for never having to go back.
RIVERS: Getting into this, I never thought that this business would ever
be this big. I attribute that to our team. I`m not the smartest guy in
the world. Hire smarter people and get out of their way and let them do
what they do.
MATHISEN: KegWorks says it shipped out more than 285,000 discreet items in
2016 and Rivers says his company might be the world`s largest supplier of
bar foot rails. KegWorks sold nearly 10 miles worth last year alone.
That`s NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for tonight. I`m Tyler Mathisen. Thanks
Have a great evening. Have a great weekend, everybody. And we will see
you next week.
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