Transcript: Nightly Business Report – April 16, 2018


took off today on optimism over earnings and an easing of tensions in

on a new type of cancer drug is paying off and extending the lives of lung
cancer patients.

GRIFFETH: Philly Fever. City of Brotherly Love is in love with its sports
teams and all the money that comes along with the winning.

Those stories and much more tonight on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for this
Monday, April 16th.

HERERA: Indeed, good evening everyone. Welcome.

A strong start to the week as investors shifted their attention to earnings
and corporate fundamentals in a way from geopolitics. The companies that
have reported earnings so far have, for the most part, topped expectations.
And this week is one of the busiest for quarterly results. Today, the Dow
Jones Industrial Average advanced 212 points to 24,573. The Nasdaq added
49. And the S&P 500 rose 21.

As we`ve been reporting, the bar is high this earning season. And now,
some investors want to know if this is maybe as good as it`s going to get.

Bob Pisani is at the New York Stock Exchange tonight.


market is having is this whole peak earnings story, the idea that this
year, earnings will be up 18 to 20 percent. But in 2019, that estimate
will go down to 10 percent. Keep in mind, earnings are still growing but
the rate of growth in 2019 will slow down.

Will that matter? My sense is that it will ultimately, but it`s too early
to have this fight. This seems to be like a debate for the third quarter.
Not now, and the market still has room to go up. The biggest problem is
everyone is expecting really strong earnings. We saw this on Friday when
banks delivered solid beats, but then they sold off.

Now, that reversed today. This tells me this is not a big worry about
earnings peaking but the bar is a lot higher right now. The good news is
that there`s clearly a floor under the market with these trade issues and
perhaps Syria calming down.

What about the Fed? That`s a real wildcard. They may be raising rates.
But if things go bad, I think they will definitely slow the pace of

So, it`s not a Fed put, but there`s some limit on the downside. I think
the big issue is interest rates. With volatility backing down, we`ll see
if rates start to move up.

We`ve seem to be one or two nasty inflation reports from making this a
worry. The bottom line is a good earnings season will help the market
passed the high end of the range, but there`s a lot of things that may be
keeping a lid on the market`s gains.

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


GRIFFETH: And speaking of earnings, late today, Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX)
reported a strong quarter, adding more subscribers than expected, thanks to
a slate of original programming. The video streaming company earned 64
cents a share which was in line with estimates. Total revenue rose by 40
percent to $3.7 billion.

Investors obviously like the results, sending the stock higher in the
initial after hours trading session tonight.

Julia Boorstin has more on Netflix`s quarter.


the company continues to grow its subscriber base faster than expected,
adding nearly 7.5 million new subscribers in the quarter, a million more
than ant list projections. The stronger than expected both is happening
both in the international market, which accounts for half of revenue and 55
percent of memberships, as well as in the U.S., where the company`s
investment in original content is paying off despite a more saturated

Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) attributing that growth not to single hit show but to
a portfolio, serving its subscribers` advance tastes, and the advantage of
being included in bundles, one with Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) (NYSE:CCS) in
the U.S. currently rolling out, and then another package with Sky beginning
later this year. Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) projecting user growth will
continue, looking at the addition of over 6 million subscribers in Q2,
that`s a million more than expected.

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


HERERA: First quarter earnings season is fuelling stocks so far, but what
are some of the potential red lights and green lights that are facing the
market that you should know about?

Kevin Caron joins us, portfolio manager with Washington Crossings Advisors,
and he`s here to give us some of those guidelines.

Good to see you again, Kevin.

be here.

HERERA: Once again, you`re the only guy in the trading room. You work way
too hard. But we`re glad that you`re on the show tonight with us.

So, let`s start with some of the green lights for this market, primarily
because we have seen such strong rallies in this market. You cite the
consumer is pretty much holding on, confidence surveys are hanging in
there, at least for now. And global inflation needs to stabilize. So,
tell us about some of these.

CARON: Yes. So, we`ll start with the consumer because it`s 70 percent of
the economy. And we`ve seen some very good stability coming out of that
area of the economy the last few years. We did see some real strong
numbers towards the end of last year, consumer spending was growing at
around a half a percent each month, which was very strong. But as we
shifted into this year, that`s downshifted to about two-tents of one

So, a big dip, not enough to be concerned about, but we do need to watch
that, because the rest of the economy tends to key off what the consumer

GRIFFETH: Let me get to some of the — I`ll add another metaphor here.
Some of the bricks in the wall of worry, these are the red lights that we
think about here. You cite the investors suddenly turning risk averse,
global capital spending faltering and those trade negotiations going awry.
Those are all of the things we worry about every day, right?

CARON: Yes, it sure is. Consumer confidence, investor confidence kind of
tied together. We see consumer sentiment essentially at cycle highs, which
is a blessing and a curse. If consumers are not confident, they`re not
going to spend. If investors are not confident, they`re not going to
invest. But we don`t want that to go too far.

So, we`re at the high end of the range as far as both of these sentiment
indicators are concerned looking back throughout the cycle. And if any of
those two things were to roll over, it could become problematic. It could
feed into capital investment, business plans for spending which provide a
tonic to the economy.

So, we need to look at how confidence interacts with business — planned
business investment, because it means a lot for both the economy and
obviously the markets.

HERERA: You know, one of the things you focused on under our green light
section was inflation. And we did get some data in the last week or so
that really spoke to the fact that inflation is building a little bit. And
that brought in the whole Fed discussion. Is the market pretty much inline
with what the Fed has told us they intend to do?

CARON: Yes. This is — we all know that the Fed is set to raise interest
rates, maybe two or three times this year. And that`s fine as long as —
because the market is pricing that in. But if inflation were to ramp from
here unexpectedly and we started to see a pop in inflation here, around the
world, in Europe, Japan, for example, really start to see some true signs
of real inflation coming back, that might force the Fed to get more
aggressive than what the market is currently looking for, not priced in.

And that could be a problem for the market heading into maybe the second or
third quarter. So, that`s something we have to keep an eye on. Right now,
fine. But we have to watch that trajectory.

HERERA: All right. Thank you as always, Kevin. We appreciate.

CARON: Thank you.

HERERA: Kevin Caron with Washington Crossings Advisors.


GRIFFETH: Now, while stocks rose today, the price of oil fell. Domestic
crude was off by more than 1 percent following its biggest weekly gain in
months last week. Now, it seems counter intuitive that oil prices would
drop after the weekend`s allied airstrikes on Syria, but there`s a reason

And Jackie DeAngelis tells us what it is.


lower after the airstrikes in Syria over the weekend. Oil traders are
calling this the classic case of buy the rumor, sell the facts.

The rumor: last week the markets didn`t know what to expect. The
president`s tweets intentionally vague on timing.

The fact: airstrike this weekend appear to be a one-time action. So, there
isn`t more anticipated strife at this moment.

That could change, however, if Russia gets more aggressive. Syria is not a
major oil producer, but chaos in the region is always a concern because of
the oil producers surrounding that country. Russia is a big producer. If
things escalate over the issue, there`s always a worry that supplies will
be at risk.

Russia has warned of consequences for this weekend`s airstrikes.



HERERA: As we just discussed, the central bank remains on track to raise
interest rates three or four times this year, so says the head of the New
York Fed. Bill Dudley added that any more than that would be unlikely.


exactly how many more rate hikes we`re going to do this year. If you look
at the summary of economy projections, which represents the FOMC
participants, expectation at the last meeting, the meeting was three hikes
this is year, but there were a number of people that were expecting four.
So, three or four seemed like a reasonable expectation this year. As long
as inflation is relatively low, the Fed is going to be gradual.


HERERA: Mr. Dudley also said that current stock market violations looked
reasonable, and the volatility is back to more normal levels. Dudley is
leaving his post in mid-June. The current head of the San Francisco Fed,
John Williams will be his successor.

GRIFFETH: Meanwhile, the president is making two more nominations to the
board of the Federal Reserve. PIMCO executive Richard Clarida has been
nominated to be vice chair. That`s the second highest position of the
Central Bank, and Kansas regulator Michelle Bowman has been named to fill a
vacant Fed governor position.

HERERA: In economic news, retail sales rebounded in March following three
months of declines. The Commerce Department reported a 0.6 percent rise in
sales last month. That`s the largest increase since November. Consumers
purchased more cars, furniture and appliances. And economists say the
report underscores the improved financial condition of American households.

GRIFFETH: Home builder confidence has fallen for a fourth straight month
and it comes at a time when more construction is needed to increase the
supply of homes in the market. The closely watched index cited a lack of
buildable lots, increasing material costs and rising prices for that
decline in confidence.

HERERA: Merck (NYSE:MRK) was one of the best performing stocks on the blue
chip Dow index today, after the drug company`s new type of lung cancer drug
performed better than expected in a highly anticipated clinical trial. The
stock rose about 2.5 percent, providing hope for patients, physicians and

Meg Tirrell has the details.


approved in 2014, drugs that stimulate the immune system have been giving
new hope to patients with melanoma, kidney cancer, lymphoma and other
cancers, including famously to President Jimmy Carter, who credited the
drug called Keytruda with shrinking tumors that had spread to his brain.
That medicine made by drug giant Merck (NYSE:MRK) showed some new results
today in lung cancer that are being called unprecedented.

LES FUNTLEYDER, E SQUARED CAPITAL: Very good news for people with lung
cancer who desperately need some good news.

TIRRELL: Lung cancer causes the most cancer related deaths than any form
of the disease. So, better treatment options are greatly needed. The
American Cancer Society estimates lung cancer will cause more than 234,000
new cases this year in the U.S. and more than 154,000 deaths. The size of
the problem also means it`s big business. Evercore ISI analysts say the
market for lung cancer drugs is estimated at $10 billion to $15 billion a

So, the results today presented at the American Association for Cancer
Research Conference in Chicago were closely watched, both by medicine and
on Wall Street. The data on Merck`s Keytruda were from a clinical trial in
newly diagnosed lung patients, whose disease had already spread. Keytruda
was tested on top of standard chemotherapy. The results showed patients
taking Merck`s drug were half as likely to die from lung cancer than those
on chemotherapy alone. Wall Street analysts have been expecting a
reduction of about 30 percent. Merck`s stock rose on the news.

FUNTLEYDER: I would say the advantage goes to Merck (NYSE:MRK) because
they`re going to be able to put all of this on their label.

TIRRELL: It was a different story for competitor Bristol-Myers Squibb
(NYSE:BMY), which also presented new clinical trial results for its
immunotherapies Opdivo and Yervoy. Those drugs in combination reduce
patients` risk of death or their cancer progressing by 42 percent versus
chemotherapy, still beating Wall Street`s estimates.

But it wasn`t enough to satisfy Wall Street in the face of Merck`s data,
even though the results aren`t directly comparable as the trials were run
in different sets of patients. Still, Bristol shares fell.

Merck`s drug is already approved to treat advanced lung cancer patients who
haven`t yet tried other options. And today`s clinical trial results are
expected to boost prescribing among physicians. A continuing question
though will be the medicines` cost. Both Keytruda and Opdivo have price
tags of around $150,000 a year without being combined with other therapies.

Even as the field of medicine applauds better results, the side effect of
financial toxicity is an increasing concern.



HERERA: And to read more about the new milestone in lung cancer
treatments, head to our Website,

GRIFFETH: Time to take a look at some of today`s upgrades and downgrades.

Dow component McDonald`s (NYSE:MCD) saw it rating lowered to equal weight
from overweight at Stevens. The analyst there says that this year`s sales
growth will not be as strong as last years. Price target was cut to $170.
Shares of McDonald`s were off fractionally to $161.63.

Costco (NASDAQ:COST) saw its rating raised to outperform from market
perform at Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC). The analysts cited benefits from the
new tax law and he predicted a special dividend will be declared soon.
Price target was lifted to $220. Shares of Costco (NASDAQ:COST) were up 3
percent to $194.58.

HERERA: Kraft (NYSE:KFT) Heinz is one of three packaged food companies
downgraded to underperform by Credit Suisse. The analyst cites an
increasingly competitive environment and has serious doubts about
management`s ability to innovate. The price target was cut to $55 per
share. Shares of Kraft (NYSE:KFT) Heinz rose fractionally to $61.19.

Crocs (NASDAQ:CROX) saw its rating downgraded to negative at Susquehanna.
The analyst there cites the stocks valuation, saying investors are paying
for much more future progress than is realistic. That`s a quote. The
price target is $12. Shares of Crocs (NASDAQ:CROX) were off 1 percent to

GRIFFETH: Still ahead, a “60 Minute” report raised a safety questions
about Allegiant Air. But what will the financial impact be on the carrier?


HERERA: Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) has reportedly shelved plans to become a
wholesale distributor of prescription drugs. As first reported by CNBC,
the complex nature of the business and the lack of interests among
hospitals and changing who they purchase their drugs from is what prompted
that decision. The report lifted shares of the major drug distributors
like McKesson (NYSE:MCK), Cardinal Health (NYSE:CAH) and AmerisourceBergen

Drugstore chains like CVS (NYSE:CVS) and Walgreens also saw their shares

GRIFFETH: The Supreme Court is hearing a case to decide whether states
should have the power to tax all online sales. Now, in this particular
case that the court will be hearing, South Dakota is looking to overturn a
decades-old precedent where states cannot require online retailers to
collect sales taxes unless that retailer has a physical presence in the
state. Justices will hear arguments on that tomorrow.

HERERA: Shares of Allegiant came under pressure today following a
blistering report by “60 Minutes”, which raised serious questions about the
carrier`s safety record. The stock finished the day lower by just about 3
percent. While the report was troubling, some believe its impact on the
airline`s earnings could be limited.

Phil LeBeau has more.


under pressure after a scathing report by “60 Minutes”. The news magazine
says that the Allegiant`s safety record is worse than its competitors,
including more than 100 serious mechanical incidents. “60 Minutes” also
accused Allegiant of pressuring its pilots to down play safety concerns and
it criticized the FAA`s enforcement of safety rules.

One analyst called it a half hour of horrible publicity.

JOE DENARDI, STIFEL AIRLINE ANALYST: There are going to be some people who
saw that and cancel flights, or changed the way they think about traveling
on Allegiant in the future. You know, it certainly could be, but it`s very
hard to estimate how that could look.

LEBEAU: Allegiant CEO didn`t talk with “60 Minutes”, but the airline
blasted the report, saying this unoriginal and outdated story bears no
resemblance to Allegiant`s operations today and shows a fundamental
misunderstanding of FAA compliance, practice and history.

The FAA did do an audit in 2016 and it defends its record saying: The FAA`s
oversight has produced results and the rate of incidents reported by
Allegiant to the FAA`s air traffic organization trended downward in recent

As for Allegiant`s management and CEO, industry watchers believe they will
survive the negative publicity.

DENARDI: I think the likelihood that there is any sort of management
change as a result of this is zero. You know, again, the challenges that
that report highlights were known and I think the company has taken steps
to address them.

LEBEAU: Many of the problems highlighted by “60 Minutes” are linked to
Allegiant`s old McDonald Douglas MD-80 planes. Those planes are being
phased out and should be out of Allegiant`s fleet by the end of the year.



GRIFFETH: Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) posts a solid quarter and that is
where we begin tonight`s “Market Focus”.

The bank issued more loans and said that clients were more engaged during
the period. And that helped overall earnings rise and top expectations.
Cost cuts and the new tax law also helped those results. Shares were up a
fraction to $29.93 as a result.

Charles Schwab said it saw results benefit from the increased trading
activity. The broker topped estimates and said that new account openings
were the highest they`ve seen on a quarterly basis in nearly 20 years.
Shares finished higher by 4 percent to $53.08.

Meanwhile, Japan`s Softbank reportedly is interested in buying media
publisher Tronc. A report by “Axios” said that the Japanese investment
conglomerate has joined a list of several potential bidders that are eyeing
the owner of “The New York Daily News”, “Chicago Tribune”, and “Baltimore
Sun”, among many other publications. The report said that Tronc is also
considering offers from private equity firm Apollo Global Management and
from Pierre Gwinnett. Tronc shares rose more than 10 percent today to $19

HERERA: Volkswagen`s truck unit said it is considering making an offer for
trucking giant Navistar. The VW division already owns about 20 percent of
Navistar and said a potential deal could be valued at about $3 billion or
$4 billion. Navistar shares popped nearly 10 percent to $40.71.

Higher cost cut into the profit at transportation company JB Hunt. But the
results still matched street estimates. Overall revenue was stronger than
expected as the company shipped more packages. Shares of JB Hunt climbed 6
percent to $119.75.

And a regulatory filing has shown that the hedge fund Point 72 Asset
Management has taken a 5 percent stake in video streaming company Roku.
Shares of Roku initially popped after the bill news and finished the
regular session up 1 percent to $33.02.

GRIFFETH: The head of the world`s largest advertising company abruptly
stepped down over the weekend. Sir Martin Sorrell`s departure from WPP
(NASDAQ:WPPGY) follows rather vague allegations of misconduct. The company
stock fell hard today as investors tried to assess its future without the
long time leader who has helped build that company into an ad agency power

Julia Boorstin is back with us tonight.


BOORSTI: A dramatic departure of the high profile chief, the world`s
largest advertising group. Sir Martin Sorrell has resigned from WPP
(NASDAQ:WPPGY) following the conclusion of an investigation started earlier
this month into alleged personal misconduct. The details of what happened
have not been revealed. Sorrel rejecting to allegation unreservedly.

Over 33 years, Sorrell turned a stake in a shopping basket company into a
global ad giant through a series acquisitions of Madison Avenue companies,
including J. Walter Thompson and Ogilvy and Mather, expanding its focus on
digital ads.

KARA SWISHER, RECODE EXECUTIVE EDITOR: The firm was him. So, it`s kind of
interesting. I mean, he really was a very strong leader. He was WPP
(NASDAQ:WPPGY). He`s the one that spends time in Silicon Valley. He`s the
one who`s been competing with Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and Google
(NASDAQ:GOOG). So, it will be interesting to see what happens.

BOORSTIN: Sorrell was known for his massive compensation. He brought in
about $100 million in 2015 which is one of the biggest pay deals in U.K.
corporate history, which drew some backlash from shareholders. But he owns
a relatively small piece of WPP (NASDAQ:WPPGY), only about 1-1/2 percent.

And Sorrell will continue to get paid. The 73-year-old`s resignation is
being treated as a retirement, qualifying him for as much as $27 million
depending on the performance of the company. As the board conducts a CEO
search, it`s promoted its chairman to executive chairman and has named two

And the pressure is on. The company`s stock has declined about 35 percent
over the past 12 months, and disappointing quarterly result in a forecast
of zero revenue growth for 2018. With growing pressure on costs and Google
(NASDAQ:GOOG) and Facebook`s increasing dominance in digital advertising,
Sorrell`s departure raises questions about whether the conglomerate needs
to be run differently or split up.

SCOTT GALLOWAY, NYU STERN: If you look at conglomerates versus single
brand name focused, the latter has vastly outperformed the conglomerate
structure. So, this is about to be the `70s and the `80s where the bankers
make a lot of money, spinning and breaking apart.

BOORSTIN: Now, we`ll see what Sorrell does next. A source tells us he
does not have a non-compete clause and he`s not ready to retire just yet.

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


HERERA: Coming up, how years of losing in sports is turning into a
financial win for the City of Brotherly Love.


GRIFFETH: The Sixers, the Eagles, Villanova basketball, Philadelphia
sports teams are definitely on a hot streak right now. And that means a
lot of money pouring into the region. Eric Chemi reports tonight for us
from the City of Brotherly Love.


Philadelphia, the 76ers blew out the Miami Heat, taking a 1-0 lead in the
NBA playoffs. Game two is tonight in the stadium along with the entire
city promises to be rocking.

It`s possibly the most surprising turnaround in all of sports. Two years
ago, the team won just 10 out of 82 games and had the worst four-year
stretch in league history. Now, the Sixers are on a 17-game win streak and
true championship contenders.

It`s meant a huge uptick in business. Fans and sponsors are excited and
willing to spend a lot more money on the upstart Sixers.

SCOTT O`NEIL, HBSE CEO: Our ratings, local ratings are up 70 percent. We
have a 10,000 person waiting list. We`ve sold out of season tickets for
next year already, and we`re number one in the NBA in merchandise sale.
So, we, of course, are seeing an incredible uptick.

CHEMI: For the Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) arena, each additional playoff game
means an extra half million dollars in revenue.

It`s not just the Sixers, though. All of Philadelphia sports seems to be
on fire. The Eagles won their first ever Super Bowl in February. Earlier
this month, local college Villanova won its second NCAA title in the last
three years.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, Villanova.

O`NEIL: I don`t know if there`s any fatigue with winning. So, we`ve
clearly enjoyed the Eagles` run. A former Eagles employee, I went to
Villanova. So, hopefully, there`s a trifecta coming.

J.J. REDICK, PHILADELPHIA 76ERS GUARD: You know, the E-A-G-L-E-S chants
break out almost every home game. It creates just an electric atmosphere
for us, for our home crowd.

obviously when you step on the arena, you know, when you see all those
people behind you, it`s going to give you extra motivation.

BRYAN COLANGELO, PHILADELPHIA 76ERS GM: It`s a great time to be a sports
fan in Philadelphia. It`s a great time to be part of this momentum. You
feel it. I think the players feed off of that energy.

Our building has been full all year. We`ve been virtually sold out.

It is a process. I`ve always said it`s an ongoing process. It never ends.

CHEMI: Here at the Philadelphia 76ers training complex in Camden, New
Jersey, the many years of losing has finally paid off this season. It`s a
Wall Street ownership group and they`ve got that long-term investing
patience to running their team. And you`re seeing it with these playoff
wins now.

REDICK: I think they`ve done a great job creating sort of a synergy in
terms of what the coaching staff is after, what the front office is after
and what the ownership group is after.

CHEMI: The next question now, is how far can the team go and what the
final return on investment will be.

For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Eric Chemi in Camden, New Jersey.


HERERA: And before we go tonight, here`s another look at the day on Wall
Street. And it was an upside one. The Dow advanced 212 points to finish
at 24,573. The Nasdaq added 49 and the S&P 500 rose 21.

You`re going to be watching that game tonight, right?

GRIFFETH: Oh, sure. Love the NBA playoffs.

HERERA: All right. That does it for us tonight. Thanks for joining us.

GRIFFETH: I`m Bill Griffeth. Have a great evening. See you tomorrow.


Nightly Business Report transcripts and video are available on-line post
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Media, LLC. Updates may be posted at a later date. The views of our guests
and commentators are their own and do not necessarily represent the views
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Business Report is not and should not be considered as investment advice.
(c) 2018 CNBC, Inc.


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