Transcript: Nightly Business Report – January 31, 2018

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

soar, then drop, then rise again as the Federal Reserve tees up an interest
rate hike for March.

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), two of the biggest names
in an influential sector report earnings. And the results could impact
stocks tomorrow.

HERERA: Take off. Boeing`s stock has more than doubled over the past
year. And today the company said it`s full throttle ahead.

Those stories and more tonight on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for Wednesday,
January 31st.

MATHISEN: Good evening, everyone, and welcome.

Does your neck hurt a little bit? Well, it very well could from all of the
ups and downs in the market today. Stocks leaped at the open, then dropped
after the Federal Reserve, leaving interest rates unchanged suggested that
inflation might move higher this year.

The gains disappeared then, for an hour or so. But then they were found.
And here are the day`s final numbers. The Dow Jones Industrial Average
rose 72 points to 26,149. The S&P 500 gained nine and the Nasdaq 500 was
up one.

Now, the choppy day closed out a very strong month. The Dow and S&P
extended their win streaks to 10 straight months and that`s something that
hasn`t happened since 1959. Those indexes also had their best January
outing in years as you can see there.

Not to be outdone, oil prices rose seven pull percent this month as
production topped 10 million barrels a day for the first time since 1970.

HERERA: And now to the Fed. As we mentioned, the Central Bank left rates
unchanged at Chair Janet Yellen`s last meeting but upgraded its view of the
economy and expressed greater confidence that inflation will move towards
its 2 percent target.

Steve Liesman is in Washington tonight.


the Fed pointed to market towards a March rate hike. I can give little
reason to change the view, that it`s on track for at least three rate hikes
this year. There`s even a one-in-five chance or a 22 percent chance of a
fourth rate hike this year.

The Fed said economic activity, business and household spending
unemployment were all solid. It added that it expects the economy to
warrant gradual rate hikes in the months ahead and that inflation will move
up this year. That`s the first time it`s been that confident about

Finally, the Fed took the formal step of electing Fed Governor Jerome
Powell as chairman of the rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee.
That`s effective February 3rd. It also said Powell will be formally sworn
in for his other role, that`s chairman of the Federal Reserve Board of
Governors on February 5th.

Yellen leaves her successor a solid economic record to build on. Here`s
Yellen, though, on that historic day in 2015 when she engineered that first
move off of zero interest rates.

JANET YELLEN, FEDERAL RESERVE CHAIR: This action marks the end of an
extraordinary seven-year period during which the federal funds rate was
held near zero. It also recognizes the considerable progress that has been
made toward restoring jobs, raising incomes, and easing the economic
hardship of millions of Americans.

LIESMAN: Yellen`s main failing and the challenge to Powell is how to get
inflation back up to the Fed`s 2 percent goal and how much rates should
rise if inflation remains low. Another challenge is how should Yellen
think about these lofty market levels to process the stimulus coming from
the tax cuts?

After 17 years of the Federal Reserve, Yellen will be remembered for her
dedication to keeping rates low to give Americans a chance to get back to
work. That was despite strong opposition from some Republicans in Congress
and even some members of her own Federal Open Market Committee.



MATHISEN: So, January is in the books. And for the most part for stocks,
it was a straight ride up until the past couple of days, down days to begin
the week. Choppiness today.

So, let`s talk about what may lie ahead with Art Hogan, managing director
and chief market strategist at B. Riley FBR.

Do you think perhaps, Art, that the beginning this week is a telltale of
what we might see more of later this year? That is more down days, more

if you look at some of the causes for this, I think it`s threefold.
Certainly, we`ve had a strong start. So, that gets ahead of itself a bit.
So, to come out of the gates and be up 7 percent as of Friday and 6 percent
at the end of the month certainly is a little too far too fast. And we
have to consolidate some of those gains.

I think the real considering here is are interest rates going much higher
the yield on the ten year broke out of a three-year range, close today at
about 2.72. People who follow closely are afraid it`s going to go to 3
percent in short order. That starts the conversation about does that draw
money out of equities and back into fixed income into the safety trade?

I think the third thing is this earnings season has been terrific but it`s
been noisy. And by that I mean it`s hard to figure out what the new
corporate tax rate means for every individual company in the S&P 500. And
that`s caused a lot of chop during the earnings season. We`ve got another
busy week next week.

HERERA: So, Art, is that 3 percent level the magic number that will make
people take a second look at the fixed income market and be viable
competition for stocks? Or does it have to be above 3 percent?

HOGAN: Sue, can you imagine if you asked me that question when we first
met and the yield on the ten-year was, you know, 5 or 6 percent.

HERERA: We have known each other for a long time. I think it was higher
than that.

HOGAN: I know. So, it feels funny to say that, but I will tell new the
current environment that we are in, and I think the equity risk premium
speaks to this, something in the threes. I think it`s closer to three and
a half would start that conversation in earnest.

The problem is directionally, when fixed income markets start moving like
this and yields start rising, the fixed income market prices this in in a
linear and makes the assumption that we`re going directly to 3 percent, and
perhaps 3.25 percent shortly. That probably doesn`t happen because we are
very much still anchored to what German sovereign debts are and the rest of
the European sovereign debts.

I think that keeps lid on it. We`ll certainly get to 3 percent. But I
don`t think we are going to get to something troublesome like 3.5 or 3.75.

MATHISEN: Like a lot of people, I`ve had a pretty nice year in my 401(k).
I had a pretty nice year in some other holdings of mine. Is now a good
time for me to maybe take my foot off the gas a little bit? And if so,
where and how?

HOGAN: But, Tyler, if you have had a pretty good year I think this is a
very good time to make sure your asset allocation model is what you thought
it was. If you`re 60/40 percent, meaning percent 60 percent equities and
40 percent in fixed income or bonds, you are out of whack already this
year, and you certainly are out of whack from last year.

So, getting back into where you think you are in asset allocation is always
smart to do and especially this time of year. I think that if you think
you are looking at the beginning of something very large in a correction
and we are going into a recession, I think that`s getting probably getting
ahead of itself. I think earnings for 2017 were about 12 percent. And
2018 is going to be about 19 percent. I have we have more good news than
bad news, just more volatility.

MATHISEN: Judicious trims, not slamming on the brakes.

Art Hogan with B. Riley FBR, thanks.

HERERA: Microsoft`s results late today could impact the market tomorrow.
The Dow component reported better than expected earnings of 96 cents a
share. Revenue climbed 11 percent to nearly $29 billion which was ahead of
expectations. But that may not have been enough for investors as the stock
fell in initial after-hours trading.

Josh Lipton has more on Microsoft`s quarter.


billion dollars, that`s the big number in Microsoft`s report. It refers to
the company`s commercial cloud revenue, which jumped nearly 60 percent.
Margins also moved higher year over year. Kirk Mattern of Evercore ISI
says that`s a key focus for investors. Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) has become
one of the largest cloud platforms and those cloud businesses that will be
Microsoft`s main drivers of growth over the next years. Mattern says these
are strong results though he acknowledges there are also great expectations
with the stock up strongly heading into this earnings report.

For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Josh Lipton, San Francisco.


MATHISEN: Fellow tech giants Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) also beat Wall Street
earnings expectations. The social media company pulled down $2.1 a share.
Revenue up 47 percent from a year ago to $13 billion, but a shift in
strategy, and a dip in user engagement sent the stock all over the place in
after-hours trading.

Julia Boorstin has the details on Facebook`s latest quarterly numbers.


(NASDAQ:FB) beating financial expectations. But the company announced a
nearly $2.3 billion impact from tax regulatory reform. And CEO Mark
Zuckerberg warned that the company is taking short-term pain for long term
gains, saying that after last quarter, Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) made changes to
show viewer viral videos to make sure people`s time is well-spent. That
reduced time spent on Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) by roughly 50 million hours
every day.

With Zuckerberg announcing earlier this year more changes to the timeline,
now prioritizing communication between friends over content, he says in
this earnings release, quote, by focusing on meaningful conversation
connections, our community and business will be stronger over the long

For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Julia Boorstin in Los Angeles.


HERERA: Boeing (NYSE:BA) helped lift the Dow today. The world`s largest
aerospace company reported both quarterly profit and revenue well above
expectations. That sent shares up nearly 5 percent to an all-time high,
making it the best performing stock in the blue chip index. That added to
Boeing`s hot run this year that has seen the stock more than double.

And as Phil LeBeau reports, the company`s outlook for the year is still
shining bright.


Boeing (NYSE:BA) is soaring. In 2018, it could climb even higher. In
fact, this year the company expects record operating cash flow. Why?

Look at the commercial airplane business, where Boeing (NYSE:BA) is
increasing production while driving down costs. Meanwhile, its defense
business has a record backlog of orders, and military spending is rising
around the world. Then there`s the benefit of the new tax law, which also
gives Boeing (NYSE:BA) more cash to spend on future products.

DENNIS MUILENBURG, BOEING CEO: We will be ramping up our investment in
innovation as a result of tax reform in a meaningful way.

LEBEAU: There are still some big questions facing Boeing (NYSE:BA) this
year, including whether it will succeed in buying Brazilian plane maker

Boeing (NYSE:BA) CEO Dennis Muilenburg says he still thinks the deal will
get done. But even if Boeing (NYSE:BA) does not buy Embraer, Muilenburg he
believes his company is positioned to fly even higher this year.



HERERA: So, let`s dig a little bit deeper into why Boeing`s stock has
taken off so much and what could be next for the aerospace giant.

Joining us to talk about is Josh Sullivan. He is the director and senior
industrials analyst at Seaport Global.

Josh, welcome. Nice to have you here.

having me.

HERERA: You say basically the market is in a phase where cash generation
is highly valued and Boeing (NYSE:BA) is right in the sweet spot, right?

SULLIVAN: Yes. And Boeing (NYSE:BA), they have $420 billion in backlog,
5,800 aircraft in backlog. They are executing on this delivery or order
cycle that has been a super cycle since the early 2010s. So, now, we are
seeing the benefit of that. As they deliver these aircraft, the cash is
just coming through the door.

So, this morning, they announced operating cash flow will be $15 billion in
2018. The street was looking for something like $13.5 billion. So, Boeing
(NYSE:BA) is being valued off of operating cash.

You know, we had a step function change in that again this morning. So,
that`s why the sock working. We are delivering on the backlogs, the market
is rewarding cash and Boeing (NYSE:BA) is right there pushing the metrics

MATHISEN: There are some stocks, Josh, I think of as must-owns, core
holdings in basically any portfolio. I think of Boeing (NYSE:BA) that way.
Am I right to?

SULLIVAN: I think you are absolutely right to. You look across the
industrial landscape, who has this kind of backlog? The cycle is also
extending. The air traffic growth metrics coming out of IATA continued to
be very strong.

You know, the cycle has pointed to 5.5 percent growth over the last 20
years. We are getting closer to 7 percent. And in November, it was up 8
percent. So, the passenger traffic growth, which is the ultimate demand
for aircraft, continues the elongate the cycle while Boeing (NYSE:BA) is
already delivering on these record backlogs.

So, the cash generation as they increase automation, as they increase their
throughput is very impressive. And then you have new types of aircraft
coming on line and moving through the production cycles with better price
points and better margins. So, you are right. There are few industrials
in the position that Boeing (NYSE:BA) is in.

HERERA: How much do you think is left in the stock? It has had such a
stellar performance. Do you think there is a lot more to go? Or maybe
just a little? What`s your valuation for it in terms of stock price?

SULLIVAN: Yes. I mean, there can be an argument that`s made that it`s
actually undervalued to the other aerospace industrial players like a
Honeywell, GE, UTX on a free cash flow basis. So there is actually some
room to be made up.

So, as they continue to deliver that cash, and that multiple is arguably
close between the other players in the group, we think there`s a lot more
room. As far as other levers left to pull, the 737 goes up in rate this
August. It goes up again in 2019. And Boeing (NYSE:BA) is talking about
even taking it above 60 at some point. So, there remain at lot of levers
for Boeing (NYSE:BA) yet to be pulled.

HERERA: All right. Josh, we`ll leave it there. Thank you so much. Josh
Sullivan with Seaport Global.

SULLIVAN: Sure. Thank you.

MATHISEN: And time now to take a look at some of today`s upgrades and
downgrades. Love this.

All right. We begin with a rare downgrade for Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), which
comes one day before it reports earnings. BMO lowering its rating to
market perform from out-perform. The firm says the average selling price
of its biggest money maker the iPhone will plateau. Price target cut to
$162 a share.

Despite the downgrade, though, the stock finished up a faction at $167.43.
Foot Locker upgraded by Oppenheimer to outperform. The firm says Foot
Locker will benefit from the innovation happening at Nike (NYSE:NKE) and
Adidas, Adidas` ongoing momentum. The price target there set at $70.
Shares of Foot Locker got a blister off 1.5 percent at $49.15.

HERERA: Fitbit is upgraded at Stifel to hold from sell. The firm cites
valuation given the recent fall in that stock price. But the analyst does
have concerns about the durability of the fitness tracker market and does
not see a path of profitability in 2018. The stock was lower by nearly 1
percent to $5.15.

Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) removed MetLife (NYSE:MET) from its conviction buy
list but maintains a buy rating on the stock. The firm sites uncertainty
around a review of its reserve. The price target was cut to $57 a share
from $61. Shares fell more than 3 percent to $48.07.

MATHISEN: Still ahead, the push to fix our nation`s infrastructure, and
how it might get paid for.


HERERA: Job creation got off to a strong start this year. According to
the payroll processer ADP, private businesses added 234,000 jobs in
January, which is more than expected. Trade, transportation and the
utility sector all showed solid gains at the jobs in education and also in
health services.

MATHISEN: Meantime, the country`s top public health official has resigned.
Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald stepped own as head of the Centers for Disease
Control amid questions about financial conflicts of interest. There have
been reports that she bought shares in a tobacco company one month into her
tenure. The CDC, of course, plays a lead role in preventing smoking and
tobacco related diseases.

HERERA: The treasury secretary called on Congress to lift the U.S. debt
limit as soon as possible so the government can pay its obligations. In a
letter to congressional leaders, Steven Mnuchin said Congress needs to
raise the nation`s debt ceiling soon to avoid a government default. It`s
estimated that the government could run out of funds to pay its bills by
late March if the lawmakers don`t act.

MATHISEN: And the president wants to rebuild the nation`s infrastructure.
In last night`s State of the Union speech, President Trump put it on the
congressional to-do list. But the price tag is prompting some questions.
And the Kayla Tausche now takes a look at what the White House may be
considering to pay for it.


passage of tax reform, President Trump renewed his call for Congress to
pass an infrastructure plan totaling $1.5 trillion.

road, bridges, highways, railways and waterways all across our land. And
we will do it with American heart, and American hands, and American grit.

TAUSCHE: A White House proposal has been in the works for a year. While
details are not yet public, sources say it will include at least $200
billion in federal infrastructure spending skimmed from other agencies and
will aim to streamline the permitting process. But private investment
isn`t mandatory. The president, sources say, has voiced concerns private
sector partnerships aren`t effective.

REP. MIKE KELLY (R), PENNSYLVANIA: He wants to make sure that would we are
asking people to invest, that we are giving them a return on that

TAUSCHE: Instead, the plan leans heavily on cities and states to create
dedicated funding for their own projects. The White House is setting aside
$100 billion in incentives for those ideas and $50 billion for rural
projects which the treasury secretary said won`t be attractive to

STEVEN MNUCHIN, TREASURY SECRETARY: It`s going to have to be a combination
of as I said, federal dollars, state dollars, and private dollars. There`s
many, many infrastructure projects that are not going to be privately

TAUSCHE: There is broad agreement that the nation`s bridges, roads, and
rails are in need of repair, but little agreement on how to pay for it.
The Chamber of Commerce and American Trucking Association want to raise the
gas tax, an idea Trump is considering but Republicans loathe.

SEN. JOHN BARRASSO (R), WYOMING: We are not going to turn around and raise
taxes for infrastructure, period.

TAUSCHE: On Capitol Hill, infrastructure will be a heavy lift. Unlike tax
reform, it requires bipartisan support and involvement from up to nine
congressional committees and seven federal agencies. On top of that, White
House official acknowledge any progress they made on infrastructure has to
happen in the next six months, before the August recess and before all eyes
turn to the midterm election season.

For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Kayla Tausche, Washington.


HERERA: AT&T (NYSE:T) tops expectations, thanks to a larger subscriber
base. That`s where we begin tonight`s “Market Focus”.

After the bell, the telecom giant reported profits in sales that exceeded
expectations as more customers signed up for wireless accounts and fewer
left the network. The company is also forecasting earnings for 2018 that
are significantly above estimates. AT&T (NYSE:T) shares initially rose
following the results and they finished the regular season up a penny to

Anthem reported quarterly profits that more than doubled and said it sees
earnings for the full year coming in above expectations. The health
insurer also raised its dividend a nickel to 75 cents a share and says it`s
actively engaged in its partnership with CVS (NYSE:CVS) to create a new
benefits manager. Anthem touched the 52-week high today and was up nearly
2 percent to $247.85.

And after reporting better than expected earnings, the drug maker Eli Lily
raised its full year guidance. The company said results were helped by
strong demand for new treatments.


DAVID RICKS, ELI LILLY CHAIRMAN & CEO: The beat and performance is driven
by top line growth from very new products. I think this is what patients
want. It`s what investors like to see. So, a strong quarter for the


HERERA: Lily did see some weakness in the its animal health division and
said it`s still considering selling that part of the business. The company
also says it`s experiencing pricing pressure on its diabetes medications.
That is what investors focused on. And as a result, sending shares down 5
percent to $81.45.

MATHISEN: The technology company Pitney Bowes (NYSE:PBI) said a recent
acquisition helped its latest quarterly numbers. The company which
provides businesses with postage meters and mailing gear topped
expectations, also give upbeat sales guidance. Shares of Pitney Bowes
(NYSE:PBI) up nearly 12 percent to $14.11.

Higher battery sales helped power profits at Energizer. The results beat
street estimates and the company hiked its earnings guidance for the full
year. Shares up nearly 10 percent to $58.22. The Energizer bunny powering

Tupperware (NYSE:TUP) said a charge tied to the new tax law erased all of
its quarterly profit, causing the storage products maker to report a loss.
Still, the results were ahead of estimates. The company did miss on sales
though, and warned that weakness in some of its markets, including the U.S.
is going to pressure revenue in the current quarter. And that kept the lid
on Tupperware (NYSE:TUP) shares.


MATHISEN: There you go. Which fell more than 9 percent to $57.76.

And Japan`s Fuji Film will take a majority stake in the iconic American
brand Xerox (NYSE:XRX) for about $6 billion in a complex transaction that
could face hurdles. Fuji Film will fold Xerox (NYSE:XRX) into the two
company`s existing joint venture. The move is intended to produce cost
savings, put the global business under one roof and quiet activist
shareholders, including Carl Icahn. Xerox (NYSE:XRX) shares up more than 4
percent to $34.13.

HERERA: Still ahead, how hard will the supply crisis hit the housing
market this spring?


HERERA: U.S. Foods and Sysco (NYSE:SYY), two large food suppliers, are
suing the country`s biggest chicken processors for allegedly conspiring to
inflate prices. In separate complaints, the companies sued Tyson Foods
(NYSE:TSN), Pilgrims Pride, Sanderson Farms (NASDAQ:SAFM), and Purdue
Farms. These companies dominate the chicken sector and have come under
increased scrutiny recently when it comes to pricing and product. News of
the lawsuit sent shares of all those chicken companies lower on the day.

MATHISEN: Well, the rate of home ownership is at a three-year high.
According to the Census Bureau, the percentage of people who own homes is
back above 64 percent. That number though still near historic lows, has
been rising steadily since 2016. Economists say much of the increase over
the past year has come from 18 to 44-year-olds.

HERERA: A number of new housing reports today show that the hot demand for
homes is being met with a cold reality. Prices are high. Supply is
scarce. And mortgage rates are rising. Now, the focus is shifting to

Diana Olick has our story.


braving the frigid cold hoping to beat the competition in a market where
supply is leaner than ever. The number of buyers signing contracts on
existing homes rose about half a percent in December compared to November
and compared to a year ago. The gain, though, should be bigger, given
strong demand. But the supply of homes for sale is now at a record low.

inventory level currently is about 1.5 million. And that is the lowest
level since 1999, since we began tracking the data. A normal condition
should be about double that number.

OLICK: That is only pushing home prices higher.

DOUG DUNCAN, FANNIE MAE CHIEF ECONOMIST: The reason house prices have been
growing as rapidly as they have, which is something like four or five times
the long term average has nothing to do with credit conditions, and very
little to do with interest rate. It has much more to do with the lack of
supply for entry-level borrowers.

OLICK: But mortgage rates are now surging. The average rate on the 30-
year fixed hit its highest level in four years this week. That will make
housing even less affordable and it will keep some borrowers on the margins
from qualifying for a home loan.

All eyes are now on the builders. DR Horton, which is one of the few big
builders to focus on the entry level part of the market, just reported
better than expected earnings. The hope is that corporate tax cuts will
help builders ramp up production.

DUNCAN: You may get benefit from the tax cut if builders expand on the
corporate side but it`s going to be offset by an increase in incomes for
entry level folks based on either the standard deduction or if the business
side picks up on real wages rise, that will touch the demand side of the
curve. So, we are not seeing a lot of shift in the supply-demand balance
for next year, making it tougher for entry level borrowers.

OLICK: No question this housing market is about to be tested. Spring will
bring new listing but will also bring higher home prices, higher mortgage
rates, and even higher demand than we are already seeing now.

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


HERERA: And that does it for us tonight. I`m Sue Herera. Thanks for
joining us.

MATHISEN: Thanks from me as well. I`m Tyler Mathisen. Have a great night
everybody. We`ll see you right back here tomorrow night.


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