SUE HERERA, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR: Climbing the food chain.
Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) buys Whole Foods, to become a major player in the
grocery business and a competitive threat to the entire industry.
Charting a new course. President Trump has a different vision for U.S.
relations with Cuba than his predecessor. And big business is taking
Market monitor. As more money flows into ETFs, our guest tonight has some
picks you might want to consider.
Those stories and more tonight on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for Friday, June
Good evening, everybody, and welcome. I`m Sue Herera. Tyler Mathisen is
Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) is on a mission to conquer new territory. Today, it
agreed to buy grocery chain Whole Foods. The price tag, more than $13.5
billion. The deal is Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN)`s biggest yet, and is an
ambitious plan to push into a business that`s been hard for online
retailers to crack. If the deal is successful, it could give Amazon
(NASDAQ:AMZN) a slice of the $800 billion grocery business.
The deep pocketed e-commerce business has already been testing a grocery
service, Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) Fresh. And it`s been experimenting with
brick and mortar stores like Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) Go that don`t need
cashiers. The announcement shares of Whole Foods soaring, rising 29
percent. And Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) was also higher.
And while those shares gained, the rest of the supermarket industry felt
pain, and a lot of it. Supervalu, Kroger (NYSE:KR), Sprouts and Weis
Markets (NYSE:WMK) all tumbled.
Sara Eisen takes a look at how this new competitive threat could shake up
the already hurting grocer industry.
SARA EISEN, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: The $800 billion
grocery industry in the U.S. may be forever different. Amazon
(NASDAQ:AMZN)`s deal to buy Whole Foods sent stocks of grocery stores, from
Kroger (NYSE:KR) to Walmart to Costco (NASDAQ:COST) tumbling. Why? Well,
Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) is one tough competitor and it has deep pockets. That
means it can lower prices of Whole Food`s natural and organic food
products, leaving other groceries no choice but to cut prices as well.
Lower prices might even make that organic food more accessible to a wider
customer base and actually steal customers. That maybe one reason why the
packaged food companies like Hershey`s to Kellogg (NYSE:K)`s to Mondelez
also saw their stocks fall on this news.
Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) also has a broad national reach through its Prime
program, Prime Go, Prime Fresh, Prime Pantry, and all sorts of other lines
that could help sell Whole Foods branded products all over the country, far
beyond the 400-plus stores that Whole Foods operates.
But the biggest question for the grocery industry: how does Amazon
(NASDAQ:AMZN) see the future of groceries? Is it online? Is it in-store
or some sort of hybrid? We don`t know that yet, but one thing is for sure,
the country`s biggest online retailer buying one of the biggest organic
groceries certainly provides a fertile testing ground for experimenting
with the future of the way we buy food.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Sara Eisen.
HERERA: And it`s not just food and grocers that find themselves in the
crosshairs of the Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN)/Whole Foods deal. Any store that
sells food saw their shares take a hit, and as Sara just mentioned, that
includes the country`s biggest retailer and the country`s biggest grocer,
Walmart, which generates more than half its annual revenue from food sales.
And Walmart could be the real target of Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN)`s deal, which
sent the stock falling more than 4.5 percent.
Courtney Reagan has more.
COURTNEY REAGAN, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: Amazon
(NASDAQ:AMZN) is buying Whole Foods but plans to keep its more than 450
stores and brand intact, along with Whole Foods` CEO and co-founder John
Mackey. The big worry though isn`t what will happen to Whole Foods, but
what it means for any other business that sells groceries, especially
Walmart, the country`s largest grocer.
Walmart says this in response. Quote: Our customers are looking for
shopping experiences that provide everyday low pricing and a mix of
physical and digital channels that work best for their needs. We feel
great about our position, with more than 4,500 stories around the country
and fast-growing e-commerce and online grocery businesses.
Walmart does have ten times the number of stores as Whole Foods, and has
online grocery pickup at nearly 700 locations and growing. It also has
increased its fresh and organic options. Whole Foods and Walmart do serve
very different shoppers. Whole Foods` customers tend to be more urban,
higher income, and Walmart serves a lower income, more rural or suburban
But investors aren`t so sure that Walmart won`t be hurt by Amazon
(NASDAQ:AMZN)`s purchase of Whole Foods. When Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) enters
a category, whether books, video streaming, or cloud computing, it plays to
win and it pushes prices lower. Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) cares less about
profit and more about pleasing customers.
Whole Foods has a reputation for high prices. So, if prices fall, it could
attract new shoppers.
Walmart has already been lowering its prices, in part to get back to its
lowest price roots, and in part to compete with Lidl, a German grocer with
rock bottom prices on its own label products that just opened its first
U.S. stores this week.
SONIA LAPINSKY, ALIXPARTNERS: This is one space that Walmart was
continuing to dominate. They hadn`t yet felt the threat from Amazon
(NASDAQ:AMZN). And now, we have a brand-new player in this very, very
challenging market, which is grocery.
The grocery space is challenging from a profitability perspective. Nobody
has really cracked the code of how to deliver groceries via e-commerce to
consumers. It hasn`t really passed that tipping point yet that other
subsectors of the industry have. And this could really be a big game
REAGAN: Perhaps the bigger concern for Walmart and other grocery retailers
is if Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) begins to use Whole Food stores as distribution
or pickup points. Buy online, pick up in store is something Walmart has
over Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) — at least right now.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Courtney Reagan.
HERERA: A.B. Mendez joins us now to talk more about the Amazon
(NASDAQ:AMZN)/Whole Foods deal. He`s portfolio manager with Frost
Good to see you, again, A.B. Welcome.
A.B. MENDEZ, FROST INVESTMENT ADVISORS PORTFOLIO MGR: Good to be here.
Thank you, Sue.
HERERA: Let me start, first of all, with what you think about this deal.
MENDEZ: On a high level, I think the criticism that you hear most often is
that it will be diluted or negative for Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN)`s margin.
While Whole Foods has lower margins, it will actually replace some capex,
some investments that Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) has already been making and
would continue to make, and also could be synergistic to revenues, that is
I think there are a number of different ways that we could talk about where
they could increase the revenues of the combined business.
HERERA: Let me turn you to the Walmart angle which Courtney Reagan just
left off on. Obviously, Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) Prime and Whole Foods, those
are kind of the same kinds of customers. So, that maybe is a parallel.
But if Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) is able to squeeze suppliers and lower prices
enough at Whole Foods, do you think they present a threat to a Walmart?
MENDEZ: You know, honestly, I don`t think they present a threat. But I
think we should talk about that. I think the threat they present to
Walmart is less on the grocery side, where I`m more concerned about the
But so — Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) has done a great job at electronics and
general merchandise, shipping those things to you, prime membership makes
that very easy. On the other end, now, they`re adding grocery. They`ve
been trying — experimenting with grocery for ten years now. So you get
fresh and organic produce from Whole Foods.
But the big space that Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) has not filled and has begun to
with dash buttons, ordering by voice through the Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) Echo,
you know, powered by Alexa, as well as subscribe and save, which they`ve
been promoting heavily, the generalized merchandise that you get from a
middle of a Kroger (NYSE:KR) or a Target (NYSE:TGT) or a Walmart, all those
things that I don`t really want to walked through the store and look for,
paper towels, soap, shampoo, if Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) can help you with
their algorithm to get the right frequency and just automatically deliver
those things when you need them, that`s a massive opportunity.
HERERA: You know, there was a lot of talk today that there might be a
bidding war, because although Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) has deep pockets, we saw
the prices of some of those competitors in the grocery space like a Kroger
(NYSE:KR)`s, like a SuperValu (NYSE:SVU), take a big tumble.
There`s a lot of speculation that they cannot afford not to try to make a
bid over this particular deal. What do you think?
MENDEZ: Agreed. It`s not going to be without its challenges, for Amazon
(NASDAQ:AMZN) to complete this deal. One of those challenges might be
competitive bids. One challenge that the competitive bidders such as a
Kroger (NYSE:KR) or any other traditional grocer would face potentially,
you know, people ask about antitrust. Well, if you already have a large
share of grocery and you`re buying somebody else who has a very large share
of grocery, you know, that might get more scrutiny, whereas Amazon
(NASDAQ:AMZN) is less than 1 percent of U.S. grocery sales as of today.
Something else to consider is that Whole Foods had already begun to roll
out this new slightly lower priced, smaller footprint Whole Foods 365
concept, which I think appeals more to millennials, more technology-
forward, more data-driven in terms of the selection of products that we
find in those stores, which potentially could be positive for Kroger
(NYSE:KR), but that also could fit very well with Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN)`s
HERERA: Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), yes. We will see. To be continued. A.B.
Mendez with Frost Advisers, thank you.
MENDEZ: Thank you, Sue.
HERERA: And to show just how wide-reaching the Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN)-Whole
Foods deal could be, shares of shopping center REITs also fell. The
reason? Well, Wall Street is concerned that traditional grocery stores
found its shopping centers are no longer safe assets. As a result, Kimco
Realty (NYSE:KIM), Brixmor Property, Regency Centers (NYSE:REG) and
Weingarten Realty all fell in trading today.
And the selloff among the big retail and grocery companies caused the
consumer staple sector to drop more than 1 percent and that weighed on the
broader market. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 24 points to 21,384.
But the NASDAQ fell 13. The S&P 500 was up fractionally.
And after a tough run for the tech stocks, the NASDAQ was the only major
index that was lower this week.
Consumers are feeling a bit less optimistic. A survey by the University of
Michigan showed the biggest drop in sentiment since October. That slide
reflects concerns about the president`s economic policies and whether
Congress will pass new legislation.
According to the survey, more respondents expect a recession in the next
five years than those who saw an uninterrupted expansion. In theory, the
more optimistic people feel, the more they spend. And spending is a key
component of economic activity.
The number of new housing projects started in May fell for the third
straight month. Given the lack of homes listed on the market, you would
think builders would be eager to break ground, but that wasn`t the case.
According to the Commerce Department, housing starts dropped 5.5 percent
last month and building permits also fell. Economists say this could be a
sign that the shortage of houses for sale might worsen.
President Trump today announced his new policy towards Cuba, rolling back
some of what President Obama did, but not all of it.
Michelle Caruso-Cabrera reports tonight from Miami.
MICHELLE CARUSO-CABRERA, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: In a
speech full of anti-Castro rhetoric, President Donald Trump promised a
largely Cuban-American audience a new attitude towards Cuba.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We will very strongly
restrict American dollars flowing to the military, security, and
intelligence services that are the core of the Castro regime. They will be
CARUSO-CABRERA: The new policy prohibits Americans from doing business
with companies owned by the Cuban military. That`s nearly everything on
the communist island, including hotels, restaurants, the airports, and the
ports. However, at the same time, any company already doing business in
Cuba is grandfathered in, meaning cruise lines like Norwegian and Carnival
(NYSE:CCL) and airlines such as Delta, United, American, JetBlue and
several others can continue operations.
Marriott can presumably still manage a military-owned hotel.
FERNAND AMANDI, BENDIXEN & AMANDI INTERNATIONAL: I wouldn`t call it a
policy change in any way, shape, or form, because you see much of the same
CARUSO-CABRERA: One change that will impact individuals, tighter travel
restrictions. Americans can no longer simply self-certify that they`re
going on a cultural exchange. It will have to be an officially licensed
exchange with a tour group.
At the iconic Cafe Versailles in little Havana, unofficial headquarters of
the Cuban exile community, President Trump was applauded.
FRANK GONZALEZ, CUBAN EXILE: Obama basically opened up the whole field for
them, go ahead. He gave and he didn`t get. Now this guy is going to
perhaps turn it around, saying you`ve got to give a little. We`ll see how
it works out.
CARUSO-CABRERA: Final details on the new policies won`t emerge for another
90 days as we await the Treasury Department to actually write the new
regulations. President Trump held open the possibility of better relations
with the Cuban government, but only if they improve their record on human
rights and also hold free and fair elections.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, Miami.
HERERA: Still ahead, why some airlines are telling passengers to say
HERERA: The health insurer startup Oscar is teaming with the Cleveland
Clinic to offer a new health plan in Ohio even as other insurers leave that
state. The deal will give residents who are both on and off Obamacare
exchanges access to one of the nation`s top health systems. For Oscar,
it`s the first co-branded plan with the system.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARIO SCHLOSSER, OSCAR HEALTH CO-FOUNDER & CEO: If you think about what
health care looks like to most people today, it`s a fractional experience.
You rarely know which physician to go best to which condition. You forget
about things they tell you when you are in the E.R. on your way out. By
going very deep technically and technologically speaking with a provider
system that is excellent as Cleveland is, we`re creating a much more
seamless experience for people`s health care.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HERERA: The Cleveland Clinic says it makes sense to try to collaborate
instead of replicating capabilities.
And in the push to get passengers through airports with few delays this
summer, the airlines are trying a new approach, using facial recognition
systems to identify travelers. As we reported, one airport where the high
tech system is already being used is Boston`s Logan Airport.
Phil LeBeau has more.
PHIL LEBEAU, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: Smile for the camera.
That`s all you need to board JetBlue`s flights to Aruba from Boston. No
more boarding passes or searching for your passport to prove your identity.
JOANNA GERAGHTY, JETBLUE EVP: Ultimately, I think we see a future where
your face is your passport for travel, where you can show up in an airport
and your face checks you in, your face allows you to drop your bags, your
face allows you to go through the TSA checkpoint and ultimately board a
LEBEAU: Delta agrees. It will soon use facial recognition to identify
passengers checking their luggage before boarding certain flights out of
GARETH JOYCE, DELTA AIR LINES: This is just another step towards giving a
customer something, if they`re happy to do their own bag drop, let them do
it, customers are willing to.
LEBEAU: Airlines are adding facial recognition to identify passengers for
two reasons. First, self service ticket kiosk and mobile in check apps
have become so popular, passengers are not only comfortable with the
technology, they use it to move quickly through the airports.
Second, facial recognition systems are tied into databases like the one
kept by the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol. So, carriers can let a machine
verify the identity of travelers, freeing up gate agents to concentrate on
those passengers needing extra attention.
What do travelers think?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s pretty cool. It worked really fast. I don`t
know, that was really interesting.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It seems like it`s going a little slow, I think. I
don`t know, in comparison. But it didn`t hurt.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Very easy, America.
LEBEAU: JetBlue says it takes less than five seconds for its facial
recognition system to verify the identity of each passenger, about the same
amount of time it takes for gate agents to physically look at a passport
and a boarding pass. Ready or not, airlines are using high tech selfies to
speed up how quickly they can get you on flights.
Phil LeBeau, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, Chicago.
HERERA: The tech startup Impinj may benefit from Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN)`s
bid to buy Whole Foods. That`s where we begin tonight`s “Market Focus”.
The company makes radiofrequency identification tags which are used in
retail to track inventory. Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) is reportedly part of a
group led by the company that encourages adoption of the technology. There
is speculation Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) could potentially use Impinj`s
technology at some point in Whole Foods` stores. Shares of Impinj jumped
19 percent to $55.71.
But on the flip side, shares of the payment processing company Vantiv were
lower following the news of the Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) deal. The deal raised
concerns that there will be softer demand for Vantiv`s services. Analysts
at the financial firm Baird call the merger a, quote, mild negative for
Vantiv as they expected to cut into the company`s revenue slightly. Vantiv
shares were off 3.5 percent to $60.60.
Activist hedge fund Trian reportedly filed a notice for a board seat at
Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG). Back in February, Trian disclosed a $3.5
billion stake in the consumer products company. P&G shares rose a fraction
And a former CenturyLink (NYSE:CTL) employee has filed a suit against the
telecom company, alleging she was fired after raising concerns about
fraudulent customer billings. According to Bloomberg, the complaint says
CenturyLink (NYSE:CTL) customers were charged millions of dollars for
accounts they never requested. Shares were off more than 4 percent to
Time now for our market monitor, who has names of stocks and ETFs he says
you`ll want to own over the next two years. Last time he was on, it was in
December, and his recommended stock picks were Anheuser-Busch InBev, Nike
(NYSE:NKE), and TJX. Their performances are mixed.
Joining us is Hank Smith, chief investment officer at Haverford Trust.
Welcome, Hank. Nice to have you here.
HANK SMITH, HAVERFORD TRUST CIO: It`s good to be with you. Good evening.
HERERA: Let`s get right to your pick. So, your first pick is DuPont. And,
basically, you say there`s significant cost reductions going on at that
HERERA: Eight over the last 18 months. And basically, there`s going to be
a split into separate companies. There are a lot of things going on at
this particular stock.
SMITH: Right. The first catalyst is near term in August, the merger with
Dow and DuPont occurred. And then over the next 18 months, they`re
estimating $3 billion of costs taken out, all in the context of an
improving underlying environment for their end markets.
The agriculture cycle has bottomed and is improving. Global economy has
picked up. That`s all very helpful.
Then they split into three companies. A material sciences company,
especially a products company, and an ag science company, agriculture
science company. And that should be the next catalyst to create
shareholder value. And from there, we might even get more breakups from
those individual three companies.
So, we think this is a very good two to three, four-year play for buyers of
HERERA: And you have a couple of ETFs that you want to share with us as
well. The first one is IJR, the S&P 600 small cap ETF, which was doing
pretty well, and then it has a bit of a setback.
SMITH: That`s right. It did very well at the beginning of the so-called
Trump trade from the elections to year end. But we`ve seen a reversal in
that Trump trade. And the sectors and areas like small stocks that did
well have given back some of those gains.
And we think that`s an opportunity today to take that relative weakness,
add to those positions, because you`re not paying much of a premium over
the valuation of the S&P 500 for the small cap representative index. And
you`re getting better earnings growth. So, we like that today.
HERERA: And again, maybe a two-year hold on that particular issue.
And let`s finish up —
HERERA: Let`s finish up with another ETF, the IEMGI shares, which is a
core MSCI (NYSE:MSCI) emerging markets ETF.
So, this is how you`re playing a global play.
SMITH: Correct. I think you get much better diversification attributes
investing in emerging markets as opposed to developed international
markets. Plus, emerging economies have bottomed and are starting to grow
again as commodity prices have come off of the bottom. And this is an area
that has been such a relative underperformer for a handful of years, and we
think is poised to do very well, because the valuations are quite
attractive compared to the developed markets.
HERERA: All right. Hank, we`ll leave it there. Have a great weekend.
Hank Smith with Haverford Trust.
SMITH: Same to you.
HERERA: Coming up, `tis the season to hit the links.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DOMINIC CHU, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: I`m Dominic Chu at the
U.S. Open in Erin Hills, Wisconsin. Later on, we`ll talk about why
Father`s Day and the U.S. Open made for a great pairing when it comes to
the retail industry for golf. That`s coming up on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HERERA: McDonald`s will no longer be a sponsor of the Olympic Games.
After supporting the event for 41 years, and contributing more than $1
billion every four-year cycle, the fast food giant pulled out of its
contract early. The company said the decision comes as it shifts its focus
to different priorities.
Well, it may be the middle of June but for golf equipment retailers, it
feels like Christmas.
Dominic Chu tells us why it`s the most wonderful time of the year for this
industry. He`s at the U.S. Open in Erin Hills, Wisconsin.
CHU: When it comes to the world of retail, it`s all about the holiday
shopping season. November and December are when stores sell the most
stuff. But in the world of golf, peak shopping season is right now. A
week with both Father`s Day and the U.S. Open Golf Championship being
played this year at Erin Hills in Wisconsin.
DICK SULLIVAN, PGA TOUR SUPERSTORE CEO: Father`s Day is like Christmas in
June. It is extremely important. In fact, this is the number one week of
the year, and Christmas is actually our number two week of the year in
CHU: Golf retailers like PGA Tour Superstores and others will be looking
to get as many customers in the door and shopping online as possible.
While much of the attention in the golf world revolves around big ticket
equipment, like drivers and irons, many of the bestsellers around the
summer season will be gifts with smaller price tags as well.
SULLIVAN: The bestselling items are always golf balls. And the Titleist
dozen golf balls is probably the best gift for dad. We`ve got tremendous
footwear out there. The new Under Armour (NYSE:UA) shoe. We`ve got all
the technology, the watches, the range finders, new drivers from Callaway,
the epic drivers. So, lots and lots to choose from.
CHU: Golf clothing and equipment company Cobra Puma says on average, sales
of its polo shirts soar by around 50 percent during the Father`s Day
season, along with its hats and caps, which rise by around 30 percent this
time of year.
This year could be critical when it comes to momentum for the game, which
is finally showing signs of stabilization after a down trend since the
financial crisis. And industry executives want to make sure that sales
continue to grow.
DAVID ABELES, TAYLORMADE PRESIDENT & CEO: I think if we continue to do the
right things, not just manufacturers but more importantly, the governing
bodies of the sport, and allow accessibility across all generations, all
ethnicities, all genders, to get into the game and enjoy it the way we do,
I`m very confident that golf will be just fine long term.
CHU: According to the National Golf Foundation, a record 2.5 million
newcomers entered the game in America last year. Now, the industry has to
figure out whether they can convert those newcomers into regular golfers.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Dominic Chu, Erin Hills, Wisconsin, at the
HERERA: Our big story tonight was the Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) acquisition of
Whole Foods, which could change the landscape of the $800 billion grocer
industry. But what do Whole Foods shoppers think of the deal? We decided
to find out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it`s exciting. You can buy everything on
Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN). So it just makes sense. It`s a brilliant strategy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Maybe I`m old school. I just like that experience of
actually going into the store to see what`s there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I`m curious as to how it will affect the Amazon
(NASDAQ:AMZN) grocery delivery as it stands now. Hopefully, it will give
us more options as Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) prime members.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hopefully, the prices can be a little more competitive.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have three very young kids. So, logistically, it`s
tricky to shop with all of them. So, I`m hoping it might make things
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: i kind of like Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN). But what do they
know about fresh food?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I will switch over, I love Whole Foods, I think it`s
better than fresh direct. And so, the stock went up a little bit. So they
absorbed it for nothing. It looked like a great deal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HERERA: The stock went up a lot, actually. Well, good luck. We`ll keep
you posted on how that works.
That`s NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for tonight. I`m Sue Herera. Thanks for
joining us. Have a great Father`s Day weekend, everybody out there. We`ll
see you Monday.
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