Transcript: Nightly Business Report – July 3, 2017

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

index sizzles and hits an all time high as the hottest sector of the year
cools off to start the second half.

sales slammed the brakes as buyers turn away from high prices.

HERERA:  Open house.  It`s a seller`s market with not much for the buyers
to choose from.  But could that change in the months ahead?

Those stories and more tonight on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for Monday, July

Good evening, everybody, and welcome.

Wall Street was turned inside out today.  The Dow, the world`s best known
market index, was in rally mode, hitting a record midday on this holiday
shortened trading session.  Leading the charge was the energy sector, which
was the worst performing group to the first half of the year.  The one
sector that did not participate in the rally today was the technology
sector — the best performing sector during the first six months of the

Here are the closing numbers for you.  The blue chip index advanced 129
points to 21479, the Nasdaq dropped 30, the S&P 500 added five.

Also helping the climb today, the transportation sector which hit a record,
that group is considered a key part of the market and the economy.

And Morgan Brennan tells us where it may be headed next.


recently reversed course to outperform the broader market.  Today was no
exception, as the Dow Jones Transportation Average hit a new high,
splashing a Dow Theory buying signal that means stocks could continue to
gain ground.

And analysts expect the strength of transports to continue, at least for
now.  Improving data, stronger economic growth, a weak dollar and the
unrelenting rise of e-commerce should bode well for companies hauling
goods.  UPS and FedEx (NYSE:FDX) who once again juggle a record number of
packages this holiday season, both are investing billions to do so.  And
UPS has announced a new charge with FedEx (NYSE:FDX) expected to follow
suit.  Trucking has begun to bounce and a big rule taking effect at year`s
end will force carriers to electronically track driver hours.  That should
help rates since it will take some capacity off the road.

But the big wild card could be rail stocks.  After CSX (NYSE:CSX), Norfolk
Southern (NYSE:SO), Kansas City Southern (NYSE:SO) (NYSE:KSU) and Union
Pacific (NYSE:UNP) all chugged higher in the first half of the year.
They`ll face tougher volume comparisons, especially since key growth areas
like autos have started to wane.  A big factor that could derail the group:
energy production, which is oil prices plunge could begin to decline,
putting pressure on demand for many of the industrial products and
material, the railroads move.



MATHISEN:  Corporate America also getting ready to report quarterly results
over the weeks ahead.  And as always, Bob Pisani says those earnings will
be a key driver of stock prices.


season starts in less than two weeks and the early sign that we might be in
for a positive surprise.  It`s early, I know, only 23 companies, about 5
percent of the S&P had reported earnings for the second quarter, but the
results in the early reporters like Nike (NYSE:NKE), Oracle (NASDAQ:ORCL)
and Darden have been surprisingly strong.  Earnings for those 23 companies
are up 12 percent from the second quarter last year, continuing a rebound
that began a year ago.

The big story is revenue.  It came up about 8 percent.  That`s important
because skeptics have argued for years that earnings growth is coming from
cost cutting and stock buybacks, rather than from real revenue growth.
That`s not the case any more, it takes away a major argument for the bears.

But 5 percent is a small sample.  What about the other 95 percent?  They
haven`t reported yet.

Analysts are traditionally optimistic, you know that.  And estimates
usually come down as we get close to the quarter.  But this time, estimates
for the other companies are not being reduced nearly as much as in the
prior quarter.

And more than 40 percent are seeing estimates increase for the third
quarter, not decrease, that`s unusual.  This applies to companies that are
comfortable with their earnings assets right now.  Otherwise, they`d be
cutting their numbers much more aggressively.

Now, earnings season doesn`t really start until July 14th, when JPMorgan
(NYSE:JPM) and Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) report.  And even though it`s a small
sample, we`re off to a strong start.

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


HERERA:  And as Bob just mentioned, the markets ended the first half of the
year on a strong note, with all three of the major indexes posting gains.
But can the run-up in stocks continue through the second half of 2017?

Here to discuss both sides is Peter Mallouk.  He is president and chief
investment officer of Creative Planning.  He`s bullish on the market.

And Eric Aanes who is the president of the Titus Wealth Management.  He is
a bit more cautious.

Gentlemen, welcome to both of you.  Nice to have you here.


HERERA:  Eric, I`m going to start with you.  What makes you a little bit
more cautious on this market?

acknowledge what — as we come up to July 4th, what a wonderful eight years
we`ve had in this bull market, in U.S. markets.  It`s really a — it`s
really a wonderful thing to see.

That being said, we`re watching a couple things, in particular some
tactical analysis and some fundamental.  We look on the technical side, we
look at the volatile index, which has been at all time lows.  Often times
when it hits lows like around 10, we see volatility spike up.

The other is on the fundamental side, the technology index, the stocks
index which is — mid-June it was 155, now it`s 138.  So, off about 10
percent.  So, we`re just a little more cautious because we`ve seen a little
bit of a pull back in technology, and a few other indicators.

MATHISEN:  So, Peter, Eric says that optimism is high, volatility is low,
that concerns him.  Does it worry you?

MALLOUK:  No, not at all.  And I really don`t look at those things and
really don`t factor in the technical component into our investment
decisions pretty much at all.  The way we look at it is, from a very big
picture level.  If you look at what drives markets, it`s like Pisani was
saying earlier, it`s future earnings.

And right now, investors are saying, hey, it looks like these companies are
going to make a lot of money.  And what drives earnings, one of the biggest
factors is unemployment being low, because people are working and they can
go buy things.  And we have unemployment at more than 10 year lows.

So, you have a lot of people going back to work.  You`re starting to see
wage inflation.  And, of course, that means people feel better about the
market, because companies` earnings are growing.  And so, I don`t see
anything that tells me that that`s going to change, especially an
environment where the 10-year treasury, you know, the alternative
investment options is less than 2 1/2 percent.

HERERA:  You know, Eric, a question about the pullback in the technology
sector that you mentioned — differentiate for me a pullback that you find
somewhat worrisome, versus simply a rotation out of those stocks, which
have had such a big first half.

AANES:  Glad to do that.  But first, let me kind of address the wage —
unemployment and wage growth.  What we`ve seen and the Fed chairman said
this a few weeks ago, that wage growth has been very sluggish.  So, the
question still remains as to what types of jobs are really being created
out there.  So, you really want kind of make sure you watch for that.

And markets are forward looking.  So, the question is, we`re coming into a
seasonally slower period of time, which is the summer.  Markets are forward
looking.  So, we do want to say and as I like to say, I`m not a complete
bear, but I`m cautiously optimistic from that perspective.

MATHISEN:  So, Peter, let me — push back just a little bit on a couple of
points there.  I take your point that you`re not worried about optimism or
necessarily about the lack of volatility.  But equity prices are at
somewhat extended levels.  That`s number one.

Number two, interest rates are likely to rise over the rest of the year, at
least the Fed has signaled that they intend to do that.  We`ll find out

And then, third, the economy is not exactly tearing it up, and the Trump
agenda seems to face a lot of head winds.

If some of those things materialize, what could happen?

MALLOUK:  Well, the thing, Tyler, about everything you said except for the
Trump part, we could have said, in 2008, `09, `10, `11, `12, all the way up
until this year, interest rates are likely to rise and earnings —

MATHISEN:  For a lot of that time, interest rates weren`t likely to rise.

MALLOUK:  Well, I think that if you look at what economists are predicting
each year, they were predicting they would rise.  I think the Fed is going
to increase rates and they have, if you look at the 10-year treasury, it
remains very low.  We have to look at the difference between the valuation
of the stock market and what the 10-year Treasury is offering.

To your point about slow growth, my answer would be great, yes, it would be
great to have unemployment drop quicker and wages rise faster and growth
grow faster, but we`ve been in a period of slow growth for 10 years.  And
that`s OK, it`s not optimal, but it`s heading in the right direction.

And so, to me, I`m looking at, hey, if unemployment is going to go down
slowly, if earnings are going to go up slowly, these to me are not things
that say, get out of the market quickly, or even take a defensive posture.
I mean, we`re looking at the market has an upward bias.  It`s up three out
of four years.  I don`t think a forward P/E ratio of 19 is a reason to go
running for the sidelights.

HERERA:  Very quickly, Eric, if you are somewhat defensive on this market,
where are you putting money to work?

AANES:  As I would like to say, toilet paper and toothpaste.  So, defensive
names along those fronts.  And, obviously, we feel a financials are
undervalued.  And they can definitely benefit from a rise in rates as we
kind of move into that next phase of rate increases.

HERERA:  All right.  Gentlemen, thank you very much.

AANES:  Thanks, Sue.

HERERA:  Eric Aanes of Titus Wealth Management and Peter Mallouk with
Creative Planning.

MATHISEN:  American manufacturers growing now at the fastest pace in almost
three years.  The Institute for Supply Management said its index rose more
than expected thanks to improved economic decisions, both domestically and
abroad.  New orders and production rose sharply, and employment plans hit
the second highest level since 2011.

HERERA:  Summer is traditionally the busiest season of the year for auto
sales.  But this year, dealerships are seeing fewer customers.  The pace of
sales is expected to be under 17 million vehicles for the fourth straight

Phil LeBeau has more on the slowdown in sales.


of the season are out at dealerships.  There`s plenty for sale but not as
many customers as dealers would like.  Compared to June of last year, sales
last month were not terribly impressive for the four largest automakers in
the U.S.

But the average price being paid for a new model, over $34,000, continues
to tick slightly higher.  So, consumers are still spending, especially on
trucks and SUVs.  But automakers have gradually seen inventories rise as
sales have eased.  As a result, some assembly lines are stopping production
for longer than usual this summer.

But not Tesla, where the electric automaker`s production of its new Model 3
will start later this week, with the first Model 3s being delivered later
this month.  It has an expected starting price of roughly $35,000.  The
Model 3 is targeted at the mass market and is critical to Tesla taking the
next step and becoming more than a niche automaker.

(on camera):  If initial reviews of the Model 3 are positive, don`t be
surprised if we see a surge in reservations, which already stand at well
over 300,000.



MATHISEN:  Iran signed a $5 billion agreement with France`s Total and a
Chinese oil company to develop an offshore natural gas field.  This is the
first such deal with foreign companies since the country`s 2015 nuclear
deal with world powers.  Iran shares that offshore field with Qatar, which
is now in the middle of a diplomatic roux with a number of other Arab

Total`s chairman said the project will be developed in strict compliance
with national and international law.

HERERA:  Oil prices rose for an eighth straight session, the longest rally
in more than five years.  This comes after new data pointed to moderating
U.S. output.  But according to a new survey, only a few see prices climbing
even further.

Jackie DeAngelis has more.


everyone in the first half, locking a near 15 percent decline.  That`s
after having touched bear market territory.

If the second half sees declines, crude could see its third down year out
of the last four.  So, where do we go from here?

CNBC`s exclusive oil survey pulled analysts, traders, hedge funds to get
their take.  Survey respondents largely agreed that there could be more
price pressure.  How low can we go in?  Most said the high 30s, but there
are others who see crude prices closing the year between $40 and $39 a

When asked about OPEC`s attempts to limit supply to increase prices, the
majority said the cartel will flex its muscles to try to support the
market, but that OPEC has lost control of prices.  Meantime, almost
everyone said supply is still the most important factor influencing prices
and 80 percent said that will continue going forward.

With respect to demand, about half said it`s trending stronger, but not
strong enough to absorb excess product.

Finally, 60 percent President Trump`s pro-energy policies were not having a
direct impact on price this time.  Overall, a bearish view on crude.



MATHISEN:  Still ahead, challenging market.  Home buyers are having a hard
time, prices up, inventories low.  Could market prices ease later in the


HERERA:  Big pharma is turning to artificial intelligence to find new
medicines.  Over the weekend, GlaxoSmithKline said it was investing more
than $40 million in a new tie up with a privately held company that would
use super computers to predict which drugs are likely to be effective,
saving time and money on unnecessary tests.  Merck (NYSE:MRK), Johnson &
Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) and Sanofi are also looking into artificial intelligence
to help streamline the drug discovery process.

MATHISEN:  Well, with the Senate health care bill now apparently in limbo,
lawmakers are back in their districts now or states talking to constituents
about where things stand and a lot of questions remain.

John Harwood is not off today.  He`s with us tonight.

Congress out, John, on that July 4th recess, what does it mean for repeal
and replace?

a lot of work to do, Tyler.

I spoke to a Republican strategist familiar with Mitch McConnell`s
thinking, he said there`s about a one in five chance they can ultimately
get the votes.  But when they decided not to vote before the July 4th
recess, it signaled how short they were of getting the 50 votes they need
in order to get Mike Pence to break a tie and pass this bill.

HERERA:  And to that point, Senate Leader McConnell faced objections from
both conservatives like Rand Paul and moderates like Susan Collins.  How
does he walk that line?

HARWOOD:  Not easily.  But it appears they`ve decided that the way to
victory is to try to go left.  They`re not going to go further right.  They
believe that Rand Paul, who is a libertarian, is simply not a getable vote.
They`re hoping that other conservatives like Ted Cruz and Mike Lee of Utah
are ultimately not going to shrink, even if they don`t like aspects of the
bill from taking their last best chance to substantially overhaul

On the left, what they`re trying to do is figure out ways to defer or
retain some of the Obama care taxes so that they`ll have more money to play
with to increase funding for things like opioid addiction treatment and
also for Medicaid, which is a big concern for people in states like Ohio,
and West Virginia and Alaska.

MATHISEN:  Let`s assume the Senate manages to pass the bill.  It tilts a
little lefter than it`s been.  What`s the reaction likely to be in the
House?  Will they just take it or what?

HARWOOD:  Well, that`s a very tough decision for the House, because I think
if you start to get a Senate bill that retains some of the Obamacare tax
increases, then it becomes much more difficult for the House to simply take
the Senate bill and send it to President Trump for his signature.  But Paul
Ryan has been talking about this for a long time.  Like Mitch McConnell, he
wants to get this off his plate and get the tax reform.  So, that would be
a hard decision for him.

If they pass the original version of the Senate bill, I think the House
within days would have passed it, put it on President Trump`s desk.  Much
dicer now.

HERERA:  Yes.  How long do you think they will let this debate go on?  And
do you think they come up with a bill?

HARWOOD:  Well, the source familiar with McConnell`s thinking told me that
no later than July 21st, after the Fourth of July break, they do not want
to come back after the August recess and have to deal with this.  They want
to be on tax reform, and if they pass it by July 21st, then you`ve got one
more week for the House to act before the break.

MATHISEN:  All right.  John, thanks very much.  Have a good Fourth of July.

John Harwood —

HARWOOD:  You, too.

MATHISEN:  — in Washington.

HERERA:  EQT`s proposed takeover of Rice Energy hits a snag, and that`s
where we begin tonight`s “Market Focus”.

“The Wall Street Journal” says activist hedge fund JANA Partners took a 5
percent stake in EQT (NYSE:EQT) in an attempt to block its nearly $7
billion merger with Rice.  JANA thinks the price of that deal is too high
and it would rather see EQT (NYSE:EQT) separate its pipeline operations.
Shares of EQT (NYSE:EQT) rose 2 percent to $59.75, while shares of Rice
Energy fell more than 3 percent to $25.66.

Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) reportedly did not submit the necessary paperwork to
the government in recent years, regarding that company`s exports.  It`s
part of an ongoing criminal investigation into suspected tax evasion at the
equipment giant.  “The Wall Street Journal” says federal investigators have
also uncovered discrepancies between Caterpillar`s regular filings and what
it previously gave to authorities.  The report adds that the findings are
preliminary.  Shares of Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) were off half a percent to

And NASCAR race track owner International Speedway (NASDAQ:ISCA) said it
expects dividends to increase by about 4 percent to 5 percent in 2018.  But
that news was overshadowed by the company`s lower than expected earnings
and revenue.  And investors put the brakes on sending shares down 5 percent
to $35.60.

MATHISEN:  The Canada-based oil producer Suncor Energy (NYSE:SU) reportedly
will not reinvest in its core business any time soon.  “The Wall Street
Journal” says the company which focuses on mining oil sands will instead
give investors the excess cash it makes in the coming years.  And shares
were up 2 1/2 percent today, they finished at $29.94.

The personal finance Web site Bankrate is being bought by the digital
marketing company Red Ventures for more than a billion.  Red Ventures will
pay $14 a share, and will use the deal to expand its presence in the
financial services industry.  Bankrate up 8 1/2 percent to $13.95.

General Electric (NYSE:GE) has officially completed its nearly $1/2 billion
deal to combine its energy unit with Baker Hughes (NYSE:BHI), creating one
of the world`s largest oilfields service providers.  The company will be
named Baker Hughes (NYSE:BHI), a GE company, and will trade on the New York
Stock Exchange under the ticker BHGE on Wednesday.

HERERA:  Well, if you`re a homeowner or looking to buy a home, you probably
know that prices continued to rise in the first half as the number of
houses on the market fell.  It was a simple supply/demand equation.  But
will the same story carry through for the rest of the year.  Diana Olick
takes a look.


listings has been the lead story in the first half of this year, keeping
home sales at a slower pace than expected, especially on the lower end of
the market.

Take a look.  Sales of homes priced below $100,000 are way down.  And those
below $250,000 are barely ahead.  The higher end of the market is seeing a
big jump in sales, but only because there are more listings, and buyers are
less cash strapped.

This is unlikely to change in the second half, even as seasonal demand
falls off.  But it`s a great opportunity for the nation`s home builders, if
they start putting cheaper homes, which they claimed they will do.
Builders are also hoping for deregulation under the Trump administration.

Tough regulation now accounts for one quarter of the cost of putting up
each home.  The possibility of deregulation this year, coupled with the
tight supply of existing homes for sale and low mortgage rates has have the
home builders stocks on a tear in the first half and could continue into
the second.

And don`t forget, the remodeling market, which is also getting a huge boost
from the lack of homes for sale.  Home Depot (NYSE:HD), Masco (NYSE:MAS),
all names benefiting from that.  When people can`t move, they remodel and
upgrade older systems.

As for the elephant in the room, mortgage rates, we keep predicting they`ll
go up, and no, they haven`t yet.  But with the Federal Reserve continuing
to pull money out of the mortgage bond market, there will be more
competition for cash, though rates will have to move higher.

For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Diana Olick in Washington.


HERERA:  Coming up, heading to the beach?  You first might want to see if
your state passed its budget.


HERERA:  The world`s biggest casino hub saw revenues rise sharply in June.
Macau said revenue rebounded after a more than two-year tumble as demand
from high roller VIPs accelerated, despite a corruption crackdown by the
Chinese government.  Macau is the only place in that country where gambling
is legal.

MATHISEN:  Well, you may have noticed a change to your credit score.  As of
July 1st, all civil judgments and some tax liens will be removed from
credit reports.  This is a result of changes in policy at the three major
credit bureaus that we told you about.  The changes are estimated to
benefit between 12 million to 20 million people, resulting in a credit
score of up to 20 points.

HERERA:  Tax changes in a number of states also went into effect on July
1st, the start of the fiscal years for many.  Here`s a look at a few of

According to the Tax Foundation, Indiana has the only corporate income tax
change with the rate decreasing to 6 percent.  Individuals in Kansas will
see their income tax rates rise.  Tennessee reducing its sales tax rate on
groceries, and six states Indiana, Montana, New Jersey, South Carolina,
Tennessee and West Virginia have increased their gas tax rates.

MATHISEN:  The Illinois House of Representatives passed a final budget bill
which approves $6 billion of bonds to pay prior bills.  It also approved a
$5 billion income tax increase and a spending bill over the weekend.  Now,
the budget implementation bill now goes — get sent to the Senate.  The
cash strapped state began an unprecedented third straight fiscal year on
Saturday, without a complete budget.

As we reported the inability of Illinois to approve a budget has put the
state on the verge of having its debt downgraded to junk.

HERERA:  And Illinois isn`t alone.  Eleven states did not have budgets in
place on July 1st, when the fiscal year started in most places.

Maine`s partial government shutdown entered its third day today.  But there
is some movement.  A budget panel reached a late agreement on Sunday.

In Wisconsin, the sticking point is over how to pay for needed road
repairs, and in Connecticut, the governor is funding the state by executive
order.  The good news there, public beaches in that state are open, but the
same is not true in New Jersey, where there are a number of places that are
now off limits to visitors even during this popular vacation time.

Kate Rogers (NYSE:ROG) is in Liberty State Park in Jersey City, New Jersey.


hit a state park or beach this holiday weekend in New Jersey, you`re out of
luck.  That`s because more than 50 beaches, parks, historical sites and
recreational areas like Liberty State Park are currently closed to the

This is due to the state government closing down at midnight this past
Friday.  Governor Chris Christie and the Democratic-led New Jersey State
Assembly failed to reach a budget agreement.

Despite parks and beaches being closed, the governor did find himself on a
beach at Island State Park.  Even though it`s closed to the public, the
governor`s office has a residence there.  Some agencies will remain open,
including New Jersey`s state police, state hospitals, New Jersey transit,
the lottery, casinos and racetracks.

New Jersey residents not pleased to hear about the state park and beach

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Outrageous.  I mean, anybody knew this was coming.
Everybody knew this is July 4th weekend, where people want to go to the
parks.  That`s what they`re there for, and not to have that available,
there`s just no excuse for it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I`m stunned, but the legislature coupled with our
governor can`t figure it out.  And that he can go to the beach and the rest
of us can`t.  That was one of our plans was to go to the beach, the park at
the north end, right?  And we can`t do that.  They ought to be able to get
to it.

ROGERS:  New Jersey is just one of many states facing a budget impasse, and
reduced services to start the fiscal year.  Residents are eager both sides
will work things out soon.

For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Kate Rogers (NYSE:ROG) in Jersey City, New


HERERA:  And that is NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for tonight.  I`m Sue Herera.
Thanks for joining us.

MATHISEN:  And thanks for me as well.  I`m Tyler Mathisen.  Have a great
evening, everyone.  Happy Fourth of July.  We`ll see you tomorrow for a
special edition of NBR.


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