CONTESSA BREWER, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR: Big business gathers.
CEOs get more facetime with the president, while small business feels left
TYLER MATHISEN, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR: United`s shares slide.
Why the airline`s public relations debacle is sending investors to the exit
BREWER: And, innovation in Iceland. A tiny country may hold the cure to
some of the world`s most dangerous diseases.
Those stories and more tonight on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for Tuesday,
And good evening, everyone. I`m Contessa Brewer, in tonight for Sue
MATHISEN: And welcome, Contessa.
Welcome, everyone. I`m Tyler Mathisen.
In recent days, President Trump has changed his tune on international
politics and now, it seems he may be moderating some of his views on the
economy. He met against today with some of the nation`s top big company
CEOs, something he`s been doing just about every week since taking office.
So, is the president listening to his former big company peers on such
topics as trade agreements, tariffs, taxes, and more? And what`s he
getting out of these get-togethers?
Kayla Tausche reports from Washington.
KAYLA TAUSCHE, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: For the 13th time in
12 weeks, President Trump summoned executives to the White House today from
a variety of industries, including IBM`s Ginni Rometty, Pepsi`s Indra
Nooyi, former GE chief Jack Welch. The strategic and policy forum
reconvening to hold more detailed discussions on tax reform,
infrastructure, and the president`s agenda.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: At the top of our agenda is
the creation of great high paying jobs for American workers.
TAUSCHE: The assembled CEO at this idea forum represented companies that
had less than half their employees in the United States.
TOBY COSGROVE, CLEVELAND CLINIC CEO: I thought the emphasis was around
creating jobs and stimulating the economy. A tremendous number of
interesting, innovative ideas that came out of this. And I think everyone
left with the idea that it was a very productive meeting, and totally
unscripted and totally capable of bringing original, innovative things to
TAUSCHE: Some of the executives were looking past the problems with the
health care package and the slow nature of tax reform and were optimistic
about the prospect for a bipartisan approach to an infrastructure deal.
STEPHEN SCHWARZMAN, BLACKSTONE GROUP CHAIRMAN & CEO: I think people want
that to happy, Republicans and Democrats. And if we can work out the front
end, there`s lots of money.
TAUSCHE: Critics say the talk of pro-business policies evidence by CEO
visits to the White House drove equity markets higher for months after the
election. That momentum has stalled as Trump`s agenda hits legislative
JARED BERNSTEIN, CENTER ON BUDGET AND POLICY PRIORITIES: If you go for
there as Trump has consistently done and said, I`m going to do taxes, I`m
going to do health care, I`m going to get rid of Dodd/Frank, if that starts
to lack credibility, the dynamics play out very differently and I really
think that that`s what we`re starting to see.
TAUSCHE: Schwarzman acknowledged considerable political risks in the
market. That`s part of the reason why CEOs keep coming back to the White
House to get an audience with the president and get as much certainty as
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Kayla Tausche, Washington.
BREWER: While the president met with big business, Secretary of State Rex
Tillerson made his way to Russia. And tensions are rising today after
White House officials accused Russia of trying to cover up that Syrian
chemical weapons attack, the one that spurred last week`s U.S. military
And separately, North Korea threatened a nuclear strike if provoked by the
United States following the CEO gathering at the White House. Blackstone`s
CEO Steve Schwarzman said those hot spot issues are top of mind for to
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCHWARZMAN: The biggest risks to business generally are political risks.
When I started as a younger person, that was not the issue. So, you
actually sit around and try and game this stuff out, and not someone just
like me but it`s almost the head of every company.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATHISEN: Meantime, a new survey from the National Federation of
Independent Business indicates that small company owners have turned less
certain and less optimistic about what the future holds.
Kate Rogers (NYSE:ROG) explains.
KATE ROGERS, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: For the second month
in a row, small business optimistic has taken a hit. The National
Federation of Independent Businesses` monthly read on Main Street sentiment
showed a 0.6 point decline in March to 104.7. but the index is still
holding at record levels, well above the historical average of 98.
Plans to create jobs and make capital outlays and earnings trends all show
gains in this month`s reading, underscoring the idea that optimism is
slowly translating into more hiring and spending.
But uncertainty among the small businesses is also on the rise. The
index`s uncertainty level is at its second highest reading ever. Partly to
blame: gridlock in Washington.
The group`s chief economist Bill Dunkelberg said this could be driven in
part by government policy and lack of ability to plan that small business
owners have, given the current state of affairs in D.C.
President Trump did mention small business today when taking executive
action on Dodd/Frank, saying the move would make it easier for small
companies to borrow.
TRUMP: We`re going to put many millions of people back to work. The banks
will be able to lend again. So many people come to see me, I see them all
the time, small businesses, they`re unable to borrow from banks.
They never had a problem five, seven, ten years ago. They had great
bankers. They had great relationships. Now, they can`t borrow.
ROGERS: The latest NFIB report shows that may not be the case. In fact,
only 4 percent of owners reported that all of their borrowing needs weren`t
met, a historically low number. More than half said they didn`t need a
loan at all.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Kate Rogers (NYSE:ROG).
BREWER: On Wall Street, stocks closed lower as those geopolitical concerns
lingered with investors. Today, the blue chip Dow index fell six points.
The NASDAQ slipped by 14 points, as tech stocks fell for the eighth
straight session. And the S&P 500 was off by three points.
During the trading day, the so-called VIX or Wall Street`s fear gauge that
measures volatility, hit its highest level of the year. So, how should
investors position themselves in an increasingly volatile trading
Joining us now to discuss is Michael Farr, president of Farr, Miller and
Michael, good to see you today.
MICHAEL FARR, PRESIDENT, FARR, MILLER AND WASHINGTON: Thank you. Nice to
be with you.
BREWER: So, when we`re talking about these geopolitical concerns, what
happens with North Korea, what happens with Syria, what`s the real concern
for our investments here in the United States?
FARR: Well, you know, when we have a destabilized world, business kind of
stops. And we`re worried about our trade relationship with China. We`re
worried about whether the euro is going to fall apart. We`re worry about –
– we`re worried about these military conflicts around the world with North
Korea or Syria or whatever. Certainly that can stop business in lots of
places around the world.
And we are a globally intertwined economic fabric, of course, in 2017. So,
we do have to worry about what else is going on and the precious that can
come to bear on our markets.
MATHISEN: So, what`s going to happen, daddy?
MATHISEN: Am I going to make money this year or not?
FARR: And I think, yes, you will, or not. I think that`s the right
Look, we`ve seen this top call for a long time. It`s just a top that won`t
happen. But where we are right now is the trend remains intact, the market
still seems to be biased towards the upside. And I think fear is
continuing to triumph over greed, OK? I`m sorry, the other way around.
Greed is continuing to triumph over fear.
Greed is winning. People are discounting all of the sort of bad news and
risk. So, you know, they kind of dismissed me as saying, oh, he`s one of
these old guy curmudgeons who just wants to be negative. I`m not. I want
to make sure I have money when this thing drops, because it will drop
sooner or later.
But you`ve got to stay invested. You`ve got to know what you own and why
you own it. You`ve got to have good balance sheets. Markets always
correct. This could continue to go up.
Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) said yesterday this could go up another 30
percent. Maybe it will, nobody will be happier than I will be.
BREWER: A lot of investors are taking an eye too politically and wondering
whether Trump`s agenda can be accomplished, whether deregulation happens,
whether tax reform happens. If you`re trying to gain this out, are there
specific stocks or specific sectors that you like and are there those that
you would like to stay away from?
FARR: Yes, certainly. I think that certainly — you have to take a look
at the very expensive high fliers and say we probably ought to give them a
bit of a wider berth. If the president`s agenda goes forward, certainly
energy stocks, we`ve seen the financial stocks do very well. They`ve run
up a lot. Certainly, the banks.
I think defense stocks, probably, and basic materials, if we get into a
deregulated world. You could take a look, of course, at some of the
candidates for more M&A. In a less, highly regulated world, you see more
mergers and acquisitions.
I like consumer staples and I like energy. I own a couple of stocks in the
consumer staples space. I continue to like CVS (NYSE:CVS), for instance.
I like sprouts farmers market. I`ve mentioned that on your air, I think,
before, certainly on CNBC. They`ve done okay.
But consumer staples certainly haven`t done well so far this year. So, I
like to hit them where they ain`t.
MATHISEN: I think I may have misunderstood you. Do you think defense
stocks have run up too far and you ought to lighten, or that do they have
more room to run? Very quick.
FARR: I think they have more room to run. I would continue to be
opportunistic and add.
MATHISEN: All right. Michael Farr, thanks. Michael Farr with Farr,
Miller and Washington.
FARR: Thank you.
MATHISEN: And still ahead, why Iceland may be the land of opportunity for
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MEG TIRRELL, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: Iceland is known for
its extreme environment, some pockets of geothermal activity like this,
through its lava fields and volcanoes, to dramatic waterfalls. But maybe
less well-known are its contributions to medical research. We`ll tell you
how, coming up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATHISEN: Now, an update on the PR debacle at United Airlines. Shares of
the company took a hit in today`s session. This new development surfaced
regarding this video. This footage, as we reported last night, shows a man
being dragged down the aisle of his flight by security because he refused
to give up his seat.
Originally, the airline said the flight was overbooked but since has
backtracked, saying the flight was not technically overbooked. United said
it needed the passenger`s seat to accommodate crew members who needed to be
in Louisville the next day for their flights.
United CEO Oscar Munoz has issued a few apologies. In the first one, he
sent a letter to the airlines employees, saying the passenger was
disruptive and belligerent. Later he issued another statement saying no
one should ever be mistreated this way.
The incident has led many consumers to wonder what their rights are. What
does owning an airline ticket really mean? How often are passengers,
quote, re-accommodated, to use Oscar Munoz`s soothing term? And how many
are denied travel involuntarily?
Eric Chemi explains.
ERIC CHEMI, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: Dragging someone off a
plane might be rare. But involuntary boarding denials happened everyday.
In 2016, more than 40,000 people out of 650 million passengers were denied
boarding against their wishes on all 12 major U.S. airlines, according to
the Department of Transportation.
Those are people who refused compensation offers in advance and got kicked
off anyway. That`s one out of every 16,000 fliers. A small percentage,
but it happens to more than 100 people every day.
Airhealth.com says the average compensation for these passengers is about
$800. Compare that to the 400,000 people who voluntarily gave up their
seats last year. That`s almost 1,200 per day.
The 12 major U.S. airlines flew 86 million passengers last year. United
ranked fifth in involuntary boarding denials.
The airlines that were the best at avoiding the problem were Hawaiian
(NASDAQ:HA), Delta and Virgin America. The worst, SkyWest (NASDAQ:SKYW),
Southwest and Express (NYSE:EXPR) Jet.
Delta recognizing the problem even lets passengers named their bumping
price in advance when they check in online, lowering the odds a passenger
will be told not to board. It gives Delta an opportunity to bump those
asking for less money instead of wasting time in negotiations at the gate.
Overall in the industry, one positive trend has emerged. Compared to 15
years ago, the percentage of people being denied boarding has actually been
dropping steadily. But the percentage of involuntarily denied boardings is
exactly the same.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Eric Chemi.
BREWER: So, will the debacle at United lead to change for the entire
Let`s get some answers from Julie Ragatz. She`s the director for the
Center for Ethics at the American College of Financial Services.
Ethically speaking, I think there`s a general public consensus that United
did not do the right thing here. We heard the CEO own up to that today.
Julie, what was the responsibility for United and what do you think will
happen for the entire industry because of what we`ve seen happen on that
JULIE RAGATZ, AMERICAN COLLEGE OF FINANCIAL SERVICES: Well, it`s good to
be with you tonight.
I mean, I think that the overall issue is that what we have in this
situation is where the passenger has a contract with the airlines. All
airlines, that they don`t really fully understand until something like that
happened. And so, whether it was a matter of it being overbooked or
whether it was a matter of flight crew necessity or must-need seats, as we
found out later, I think the terms of that contract are being made
increasingly clear to the American consuming public. It also seems the
public doesn`t like those terms very much.
So, I think what we`re probably going to see is a good conversation about
whether or not these terms are acceptable to the American public and
whether or not the regulators should get involved.
MATHISEN: So, how does that play out? In other words, you know, a
contract — when I sign my insurance contract, there is a lot of fine print
in there that I will never read and I could probably end up getting bitten
by my failure to read it.
How much of this really is the problem of the airlines not communicating
what these contracts truly say and perhaps a little sort of willful
laziness on the part of travelers?
RAGATZ: Well, I think — I think the majority of the responsibility lies
with the airlines. I mean, again, most people don`t think that this can
happen to them. And what this incident did was raise enough consciousness
to the American public that this can happen to you. You think you`re
buying a ticket to go to Florida to go see your family, you may or may not
be able to get there.
Like your report said, the numbers are low, but people can easily picture
themselves in this situation. So — like most long, detailed contracts
that people don`t read, that is in the interests of the companies, to not
have them read them and not have them look at them too closely.
But I think, again, what we`re going to see is now that the terms of the
contract have been made more obvious, we`re going to see some more
discussions about whether that`s appropriate or not.
BREWER: Can that happen voluntarily, or will it take a rules change like
we saw a number of years ago with the rules changing for airlines to say,
no, you can`t keep passengers on the tarmac for eight hours without a
bathroom, without water and food?
RAGATZ: Yes, it — well, I hope it happens voluntarily. I think what`s
happening now, and we`ve watched this play out over the last couple of
days, especially in terms of their stock price going down today, and as
your reporter mentioned, a series of apologize, increasingly more contrite,
from the CEO as they recognize the extent of the public`s response to this,
you know, I think there will be a voluntary acceptance of the changes that
will likely be imposed on them by various regulatory agencies.
I think that this will be now an industry-wide problem and not just a
United problem. And the industry is going to have to respond to it.
BREWER: Julie Ragatz, with the American College of Financial Services —
Julie, thank you so much for your time.
RAGATZ: Thank you.
BREWER: And to Iceland now, a small country with a population of little
more than 300,000 people. But its size is one of the things that makes the
land of the Vikings a gold mine for genetic research.
Meg Tirrell has the first part of her series, “Modern Medicine,” from
TIRRELL: Iceland is a land of extremes, from waterfalls to volcanoes and
lava fields, to pockets of geothermal activities. But what is less well-
known for is that it`s a world hub of genetic research.
DR. KARI STEFANSSON, DECODE GENETICS FOUNDER & CEO: This population
happens to be a population where there`s a founder effect, which means that
there is a relatively few ancestors who account for a large percentage of
the current population.
TIRRELL: Kari Stefansson founded Decode Genetics to mine the unique set of
DNA of his countrymen. The founder effect here means that rare genetic
variance, important in disease, show themselves more readily than in more
STEFANSSON: We have made a large number of discoveries, all kinds of
variance, DNA associated with all kinds of diseases, such as schizophrenia,
autism, ADHD, the heart attack, and the list goes on.
TIRRELL: It`s not just Iceland`s genetics that make it such a gold mine
for this kind of work. The country also has pristine genealogy records.
EIRIKUR GUDMUNDSSON, ICELAND NATIONAL ARCHIVIST: We have 44 kilometers of
paper documents. And the oldest document is from 1185 or thereabouts.
TIRRELL: Eirikur Gudmundsson is director of the National Archives of
Iceland, which has a treasure trove of family records going back centuries.
GUDMUNDSSON: They have the memory of the nation and without that, we
wouldn`t know who we are.
TIRRELL: Decode worked with the archives and other collections to compile
a massive online database of genealogy which it called the Book of
Icelanders. Some, like Gudmundsson, can trace their families back to the
From that database, Decode can study how people with disease are related to
one another, and then mine their genetics for what could have caused the
illness. And its collection of data is massive.
Inside this giant subzero freezer, about 15 degrees below zero to be exact,
are stored half a million blood samples from half the population of
Iceland, about 160,000 people. It represents the past, present, and future
It`s a collection of data that appeals to pharmaceutical companies looking
for new targets for drug developments. In 2012, biotech giant Amgen
(NASDAQ:AMGN) purchased Decode for more than $400 million. CEO Bob Bradway
says the Icelandic company is helping accelerate its work.
ROBERT BRADWAY, AMGEN CHAIRMAN & CEO: One of the things that we know about
science and the discovery of new medicine is that it`s hard. It`s hard.
It takes a long time, and it`s expensive.
One of the things that we find exciting about using human genetics and the
clues that provides us is the idea that we can move more quickly and have
higher conviction around the new targets that we`re exploring.
TIRRELL: Already, the company has announced a new finding, a genetic
variant found in Icelanders that appears to protect against heart attack.
Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN) is now at work developing a medicine that can mimic
this genetic gift.
From this tiny Nordic island country, genetic insights that may help us
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Meg Tirrell in Reykjavik.
BREWER: And tomorrow night, in part two of “Modern Medicine”, Meg explains
how companies are capitalizing on the unique properties Iceland has to
MATHISEN: Well, the word “manufacturing” evokes images of welding and
hands-on labor. Think again. There`s a technology that`s changing all of
that, and it`s known as additive manufacturing or 3D printing. It`s
cutting costs and time out of the equation.
Morgan Brennan has that story from Whitehall, Michigan.
MORGAN BRENNAN, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: It`s called
additive manufacturing. But you probably already know it as 3D printing.
Decades in the making, this technology is on the cusp of revolutionizing
the way things get made.
DON LARSEN, ARCONIC RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT: For thousands of years, we`ve
been manufacturing components in a very similar way.
BRENNAN: Don Larsen oversees some 3D printing applications for Arconic,
the metal manufacturer formerly known as Alcoa (NYSE:AA).
LARSEN: This would be made by conventional means. The advantage of 3D
printing is we start with nothing and build the part out of a bed of metal
powder. It really opens up the design flexibility of manufacturing a part.
BRENNAN: Aerospace is where 3D printing has right now the biggest
application. It`s the reason Technavio forecasts that 3D printing within
the sector will grow by more than 50 percent each year through 2020.
Aerospace is Arconic`s biggest business and it`s using this process to make
plane parts for customers like Airbus. Using traditional methods, making a
jet engine airfoil would take up to 14 weeks. Using a 3D printing machine,
it takes nine hours.
But Arconic is also printing resin pieces for R&D use for traditional
manufacturing, cutting the lead time for new products from 52 weeks down to
MIKE PEPPPER, ARCONIC ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY: What`s wonderful about
Arconic`s commitment to digital and 3D printing is, we`ve been doing this
for 20 years.
BRENNAN: Mike Pepper, special advisor of advanced technology at Arconic
says the tech is finally becoming reality thanks in part to the
digitization of factory floors.
And Arconic isn`t alone. Additive manufacturing is a focus of every major
industrial company right now, from Boeing (NYSE:BA) to GE, Siemens, 3M
(NYSE:MMM), Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT) and Ford are all using 3D, too.
Analysts say manufacturers are doubling down.
JOSH SULLIVAN, SEAPORT GLOBAL SR. ANALYST: They see the cost savings. The
products are improving in quality and quantity. So, it`s really a matter
BRENNAN: And that time is fast approaching.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Morgan Brennan in Whitehall, Michigan.
BREWER: That is just astonishing.
Coming up, business behind bars. How one prison program is changing life
on the inside.
MATHISEN: Last night, we told you about a program that teaches prison
inmates at San Quentin computer coding skills, even though there`s no
Internet on the inside. Is it just a bunch of Silicon Valley do-gooders
trying to help or has the program really changed lives?
Jane Wells followed one graduate in part two of her series.
JANE WELLS, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: It`s after 5:00 p.m.
and Kenyatta Leal is still at work inside a San Francisco tech incubator
called Rocket Space.
KENYATTA LEAL, “THE LAST MILE” GRADUATE: My title is manager of campus
services at Rocket Space.
WELLS: He`s also an ex-con, who spent 19 years in some of California`s
most notorious prisons after drug dealing and armed robbery.
The weird thing is he sometimes goes back to prison voluntarily.
LEAL: I never thought I would be saying this, but man, it feels good to be
back in prison!
WELLS: Leal is a graduate of a bold experiment started inside San Quentin
called “The Last Mile” created by a venture capitalist Chris Redlitz and
his wife Beverly Parenti. They teach entrepreneurship and coding to
inmates to give them job skills which might reduce recidivism and save
BEVERLY PARENTI, “THE LAST MILE” CO-FOUNDER: And the truth is that 95
percent of the people who are incarcerated in our facilities in the United
States are coming home. So, I ask, who do you want them to be?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is probably over 5,000 lines.
WELLS: “The Last Mile” built a fake Internet inside the prison for
training because no real Internet is allowed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right, and those are actual metrics.
WELLS: The program costs taxpayers nothing. It`s a joint venture funded
by private money and sales of prison products like license plates.
Kenyatta Leal was one of the first graduates. He was facing 25 to life but
had earned a college degree behind bars and was taking every prison program
LEAL: I had always had an entrepreneurial spirit. It just seemed like
something perfectly suited for me, because it gave me an opportunity to
guide that entrepreneurial spirit the right way.
WELLS: At the same time, his life sentence was shortened when the three
strikes law changed.
Then there was that day in July 2013 when Kenyatta Leal finally walked out
of the gates here at San Quentin with two things: 200 bucks, and hope.
LEAL: There`s nothing I`ve ever felt in life that felt better or feels
better than being released from prison after a life sentence. I started at
Rocket Space. I started off as a paid intern. And I was just doing a
bunch of dirty work, grunt work, whatever it took.
I mean, I was just game to do whatever, you know, to be successful. And
with that mindset, I`ve been able to work my way up in the company to a
And today, I`m the manager of campus services and I actually hire other
formerly incarcerated people to, you know, to work at Rocket Space.
But the most important thing that I`ve learned is if you treat a man as he
is, he will remain as he is. If you treat a man as he can and should be,
he will become as he can and should be.
WELLS: Last month, Leal spoke to the latest class of graduates of “The
Last Mile” inside San Quentin. This is a tough but popular program.
TODD WILLIAMS: I tried three times, I applied before I was accepted into
WELLS: Of the 20 graduates who have left prison, all of them like Kenyatta
Leal have found jobs and zero have returned, except voluntarily.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, Jane Wells, San Quentin.
MATHISEN: And tomorrow night in part three of Jane`s series, we`ll meet
the Warren Buffett of San Quentin.
BREWER: And that`s NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for tonight. I`m Contessa
Brewer. Thanks for watching.
MATHISEN: I`m Tyler Mathisen. See you tomorrow.
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