Transcript: Nightly Business Report – May 1, 2018


BILL GRIFFETH, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR: Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) of your eye. The world`s most valuable publicly traded company tops profit and revenue estimates. Common concerns about its flagship product, the iPhone.

cholesterol drug is being made more affordable, but is it being done to
boost sales or improve access?

GRIFFETH: Sticker shock. Why gasoline prices are set to sizzle this

Those stories and much more tonight on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT. It`s
Tuesday, May the 1st.

HERERA: Yes, indeed.

Good evening, everyone, and welcome.

Apple`s results were solid. The Dow component reported better than
expected earnings and revenue in the most recent quarter and projected
continued sales momentum. There had been some concern about Apple`s iPhone
which accounts for most of the company`s sales and profit. But smartphone
revenue met estimates and investors cheered. And to top it all off, Apple
(NASDAQ:AAPL) will buy back up to $100 billion worth of shares and it is
increasing its dividend.

Here are the numbers for you. Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) earned $2.70 a share, 6
cents better than estimates. Revenue was up 16 percent to more than $61
billion. That is the fastest growth in more than two years.

And as a result the stock rose an initial after-hours trading.

Josh Lipton has more from Cupertino, California.


latest earnings report, investors have been concerned about the health of
the iPhone franchise, specifically the iPhone X. Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL)
reporting that iPhone units this quarter of 3 percent to 52.2 million
versus expectations of 52.5 million; iPhone revenue up 14 percent. Average
selling price for iPhone, $728.

Apple`s Tim Cook though making it clear to me in a conversation that the
iPhone X was his bestseller. So, that was true of the March quarter, just
as it was in the December quarter. He gave a forecast for Q3 revenue of
between $51.5 billion and $53.5 billion at the midpoint, stronger than what
the street had modeled.

For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Josh Lipton, Cupertino, California.


GRIFFETH: All right. Let`s turn to Angelo Zino right now for more on
Apple`s earnings results. He is senior industry analyst at CFR Research.

Angelo, good to see you. Thanks for joining us tonight.


GRIFFETH: So what are we to make — we kept hearing rumors about decline
in demand for iPhone, that they were cutting back on component orders. You
know, all these things and then we get this kind of a report, what are we
to make of the iPhone right now?

ZINO: Yes, no, I think at the end of the day the way we`ve hit we have to
look at this is, hey, listen, iPhones are probably not going to be a growth
story for this company going forward, but that being said, I think the fear
that had been built into the stock in the sense that, hey, you know, we`re
going to look for the you know significant declines are the iPhone business
is also not going to happen. I think this is a more mature business.
You`ll probably see steady sales here going forward, but I think Apples
shift towards higher priced devices is something that we think will
continue to succeed in future cycles.

HERERA: Angelo, you were looking for a buyback and an increase in the
dividend. We got that, a 16 percent increase in the dividend. Some are
saying, though, that the buyback number was too small. Are you happy with

ZINO: So, I`d say both the buyback as well as the dividend increase was
less than we expected. You know, we were personally looking for a dividend
increase by about 50 percent. But that being said, you know, I think a
hundred billion where they could potentially do that over the next year is
still a good number and I think at the other day, the overall figures
should kind of more than offset the lower than expected cash return.

GRIFFETH: What are you expecting in their future in terms of new products?
But if they`ve taken a lot of knocks recently for more evolution than
revolution, are you looking for anything revolutionary from Apple
(NASDAQ:AAPL) in the near term?

ZINO: Well, I think in the interim term, what we have to look at in terms
of Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is what can they sell within that services business,
you know, via the ecosystem that Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has and when we look
at the quarter here, growth of about 38 percent. That`s north of 30

That`s something to be excited about when you look at those other hardware
devices, specifically wearables, we think that is an opportunity for Apple
(NASDAQ:AAPL) also growing north of 30 percent for the quarter. So, you
know, nothing that`s going to go crazy in terms of you know being a
blockbuster hit for Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), but we think it`s going to be
incremental growth for the company.

GRIFFETH: Angelo Zino from CFRA Research — thanks again for joining us

ZINO: All right. Thanks for having me.

HERERA: On Wall Street, stocks fell sharply but then recovered most of
those losses and wobbled their way through the day to kind of a mixed
finish. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 64 points to 24,099. It had
been down about 300 points midday. The Nasdaq advanced by 64, and the S&P
gained six.

But some market watchers say it`s an odd moment for stocks which are facing
a number of obstacles.

Bob Pisani explains.


a trifecta of issues, higher earnings that could already be priced into the
market slower global growth and finally higher rates. Now, exactly how
much global growth is really slowing if it`s slowing at all, it`s very
hotly debated. But the bears had the upper hand for the moment and that`s
the key point. Today`s below consensus manufacturing and construction
spending reports played perfectly into this bear narrative of slower growth
and higher inflation.

The bulls are worried now that they`re losing control of the primary
narrative. That narrative has been stronger earnings, synchronous global
growth and tame inflation.

All right. So what exactly could the bulls do to regain control of the
story? They`re hoping for three things this week.

First, they`re hoping that the S&P 500 again holds its 200-day moving
average. That`s a key technical level that served as critical support in
February and early April.

Secondly, they`re hoping that the Federal Reserve sounds passive enough to
reduce the odds of a fourth rate hike this year. They`ll be reporting on

And finally, they`re hoping that Friday`s jobs report will hit right at or
near the consensus of 195,000 jobs created. Now, if it`s too strong, the
bears will say it reinforces the Fed will hike aggressively. If it`s too
weak, the bears will seize on the slower growth story.

Same with wage growth, they`re expected to be up 0.2 percent month-over-
month. That would be just fine.

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


GRIFFETH: And Merck (NYSE:MRK) and Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) were two of the
biggest losers among those Dow components today after reporting earnings.
Merck`s cancer drug Keytruda powered the company`s quarter. The results
helped it raise its full-year profit forecast, but investors apparently
focused on disappointing revenue results. Revenue also disappointed over
at rival Pfizer (NYSE:PFE). That company said it expects though sales
growth to rise at a faster pace as more drugs under development get to
market. Shares of both Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) and Merck (NYSE:MRK) we`re down
in today`s trade.

HERERA: Well. You just heard Bob Pisani mentioned that construction
spending unexpectedly fell in March. According to the Commerce Department,
spending was down 1.7 percent, way down by a drop in private sector
spending. Some attribute that decline to the difficult weather and if that
is the case, they say it could bounce back in the spring.

GRIFFETH: And factory activities slowed for a second straight month in
April. That according to the supply — Institute for Supply Management.
Manufacturers are facing a shortage of skilled workers and rising commodity
prices. Higher raw material costs are the latest indication of inflation
pressures building in our economy.

HERERA: And, Bill, those rising costs are likely catching the attention of
those Federal Reserve policymakers as they began their two-day meeting on
interest rates.

Ahead of the Fed`s decisions, Steve Liesman surveyed some of the nation`s
top economists and money managers about their expectations for the Central
Bank, the economy and the stock market.


survey finds expectations for interest rates and inflation both rising,
while the outlook for the stock market has been reduced yet again. The
Federal Reserve is not expected to raise rates at the conclusion of its
two-day meeting tomorrow, but 86 percent see a rate hike in June, with 37
respondents to include fund managers, economists, and strategists, see at
least one more hike after that. And about half of them say there`s going
to be yet another hike and that would make for a total of four rate hikes
from the Fed this year.

Part of the reason is that most see inflation rising. In fact, respondents
have raised their consumer price index or CPI (NYSE:CPY) inflation forecast
for in four of the past five surveys. Year-over-year inflation is now
forecast to hit 2.45 percent this year and remain there for 2019.

The concern over higher rates has led to the downgrade of the outlook for
equities for the second survey in a row. This follows a string of eight
straight increases earlier this year where the bullishness peaked in
January. The current outlook for the S&P 500 at 2,787 for the end of 2018
is now 150 points or 5 percent below the outlook in January.

Despite a weak first quarter, respondents raised their 2018 economic GDP
forecast at 2.8 percent. They shave their outlook just a bit for next year
to 2.7. The probability of recession in next 12 months remains low at and
a half percent. But the biggest threats of the expansion, protectionist
trade policies and rising interest rates.

Concern over an exit from the North American Free Trade Agreement have
risen and 58 percent say President Trump`s trade policies are bad for
growth. What`s interesting is this comes from a group where 57 percent
approve of the president`s stewardship of the economy overall.



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

Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) is being added to Wedbush`s best ideas list with an
outperform rating. The analyst there believes that the company will
weather the controversy surrounding the Cambridge Analytica data scandal.
Price target $275. Shares rose 1 percent today to $173.86.

U.S. Foods was downgraded to sector perform from outperform at RBC Capital.
The analyst points to overall stagnation in the food distribution industry
right now. Price target: $36. The stock rose a fraction today to $34.19.

HERERA: KeyBanc rates Roku, the maker of streaming video devices, a buy in
new coverage. The analysts their sights the potential for long-term growth
over many years. The price target is $42. The stock was up 1 percent to

And Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) started coverage of Spotify with an overweight
rating. The analyst believes Spotify will lead a music renaissance in
consumer spending. The price target is $190. The stock was up 2 percent
to $164.88.

GRIFFETH: Still ahead, a pricey cholesterol drug is getting less
expensive. But there`s a lot more to that story.


GRIFFETH: More now on Facebook (NASDAQ:FB). It turns out it wants to get
into the online dating business. The social media company today announced
that users will be able to set up a profile that will not be visible to
friends, will not appear in news feeds. CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the new
platform was designed with privacy and safety in mind. And that news sent
shares of matchmaking company and its owner IAC Interactive
sharply lower today.

HERERA: An expensive cholesterol drug is getting a price cut and while
that may sound like a good thing the lower price won`t necessarily be
available to everyone who wants the medicine.

Meg Tirrell has the details.


American adults has high cholesterol. So, new medicines that drastically
lower cholesterol levels even beyond statins like Lipitor we`re expected to
be huge blockbusters when they were approved in 2015. But the two drugs
made by Regeneron and partner Sanofi as well as by Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN) have
been commercial flops. A major reason for that many say is their price
tags, both more than $14,000 a year.

Many insurers the company said were tying doctors up and red tape, refusing
to pay for the drugs or hitting customers with high co-pays at the pharmacy

these high co-pays you walk into this to the drugstore, you get you notice
from Express (NYSE:EXPR) Scripts, you say, oh my god, $500 for my two
shots? How do I afford that?

TIRRELL: So, Regeneron and its partner Sanofi struck a deal with pharmacy
benefits manager express scripts, agreeing to lower the cost of the drug
called Praluent to a range of $4,500 to $8,000 a year, a 70 percent
discount at the lower end. In exchange, Express (NYSE:EXPR) Scripts will
simplify the process for doctors to prescribe Praluent, seek to lower co-
pays for patients and exclude the competing drug from Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN)
from its largest plan, which covers about 25 million members.

exclude the Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN) product is while both of them work in a
very similar manner, the data is really good for Praluent. This drug can
allow people to live longer and better lives.

Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN) said it was disappointed in the agreement which will
affect about 2,000 patients taking its drug called Repatha when the
agreement takes effect July 1st. But Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN) also said it`s in
discussions with insurers to dramatically lower the price of its medicine
as well.

Wall Street`s reaction to the deal was mixed, with some fearing a price war
means the drug makers have lost ground to the insurers, while others
suggested it might be just what`s needed to turn sales of the medicine



GRIFFETH: Under Armour (NYSE:UA) warns about its profits and that`s where
we begin tonight`s “Market Focus”.

The athletic apparel maker said that it expects to report a steeper than
expected loss for the current quarter as inventories remain high and sales
here in the U.S. remain under pressure. That disappointing guidance
overshadowed an otherwise solid report for the previous quarter with
results beating expectations. And those results, by the way, were largely
helped by strength in the company`s international business. Shares
finished up 5 percent to $16.15.

And bag maker Tapestry said softer demand for its Kate Spade and Stuart
Weitzman brands hurt margins and revenue growth but stronger sales for the
company`s Coach (NYSE:COH) products helped offset some of that weakness,
leading to an overall earnings beat. Still, shares fell nearly 12 percent
today to $47.46.

And an increase in investments cut earnings growth at AutoNation (NYSE:AN).
But the company still delivered results in line with estimates. Company
said that its focus on used cars and it`s one price strategy are working.


MIKE JACKSON, AUTONATION CEO: That $1.01 one is our best first quarter
ever, driven by revenue of $5.3 billion, up 2 percent. On the same store
sales basis, we improve gross profits by 3 percent, driven primarily by our
brand extensions, where our one price and pre-owned resulted an increase in
gross profit of 9 percent.


GRIFFETH: Shares finished up nearly 1 percent to $46.52.

HERERA: Aetna (NYSE:AET) topped both profit and sales expectations as
results were helped by a drop in the amount it spent on health insurance
claims. The company also said its merger with CVS (NYSE:CVS) is to close
in the second half of this year the shares felt just a fraction to $178.71.

Vista Outdoor will stop making firearms after retailers pressured the
company following the deadly school shooting in Florida earlier this year.
Vista will continue to sell ammunition but it does say that it plans to
sell its firearms manufacturing business. In the latest quarter, the
company said an increase in promotions caused profits and sales to weaken.
The shares fell 13 percent to $14.56.

And after the bell, Snap reported weaker than expected revenue as it added
fewer users. The social media company also warned of slowing year-over-
year revenue growth due to a drop in ad prices. Shares initially fell in
the extended session. They finished the regular day down more than 1
percent to $14.13.

GRIFFETH: Steel stocks fell today, responding to President Trump`s
decision late yesterday to postpone imposing tariffs on certain U.S.
imports of steel and aluminum for another 30 days. As you can see, shares
of AK Steel, U.S. Steel and Steel Dynamics (NASDAQ:STLD) came under

Kayla Tausche has more details for us tonight.


March excluded seven allies from steel and aluminum tariffs imposed on
Russia, China, Japan and others. The White House extending that reprieve
just hours before it was set to expire. In an interview Tuesday, Commerce
Secretary Wilbur Ross said the delays come as trade talks with these U.S.
allies are ongoing, but not to expect more.

WILBUR ROSS, COMMERCE SECRETARY: I don`t think we have any intention of
protracted extensions. That defeats the whole purpose.

TAUSCHE: The one month delay applies to the European Union, as well as
Canada and Mexico, which are closing in on a new NAFTA agreement with the
U.S. Brazil, Argentina and Australia also got a delay in order to finalize
the details of an agreement on quotas.

Australia`s prime minister welcomed the move, saying in a statement the
exemption reflects the fair and reciprocal trade relationship Australia
shares with the U.S. But the E.U., Mexico and Canada have all insisted
they will not accept quotas to gain permanent exemptions, arguing that as
allies, they cannot be a national security threat to the U.S.

certainly a step forward. Canada will continue to work for a full and
permanent exemption.

TAUSCHE: While the delay of the tariffs is a sigh of relief for the
markets, it brings added uncertainty to the end of the month, with this new
deadline now on a collision course with another potential set of tariffs —
this one on high-tech imports from China. A team from the Trump
administration including Ross, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, economic
advisors Larry Kudlow and Peter Navarro and Trade Representative Robert
Lighthizer is heading to China tonight for talks.

But speaking to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Lighthizer didn`t sound

always hopeful. So, it`s a big, big challenge, all right? There`s a —
there`s a very different system over there and it`s a system that has in
all honesty probably worked pretty well for the Chinese, and it has not
worked well for us.

TAUSCHE: Business leaders are hopeful the administration can settle the
varied trade disputes without setting off a trade war.

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


HERERA: Coming up, why this could be the most expensive summer for drivers
in years.


GRIFFETH: United Airlines has a new pet policy. Under the new rules
announced this afternoon, the airline will now only transport dogs and cats
in the cargo hold, no more rabbits or geckos or other animals, for example.
And it`s banning more than breeds of dogs, including pit bulls and
mastiffs, which generally don`t tolerate flights very well.

The Department of Transportation has said that 24 animals died on U.S.-
based flights last year and 18 of those were on United flights. United
said it is also reviewing its in-cabin pet policy.

HERERA: Seventeen states have sued the White House over its efforts to
loosen car emission rules. The EPA recently said that standards on
vehicles model years 2022 to 2025 should be revised, reversing the move by
the Obama administration to put tighter standards in place. The states
called the EPA`s action illegal.

GRIFFETH: Wellspring is not exactly sprung at car lots around the country.
April sales were lackluster when compared with earlier this year, with the
exception, of course, of trucks and SUVs.

Phil LeBeau explains.


the auto market is hitting the brakes, but much like April`s weather, sales
last month definitely cooled off. Among the largest automakers, only Fiat
Chrysler posted better sales in April with Ford and Toyota (NYSE:TM)
dropping 4.7 percent. GM is no longer telling the public how sales went
each month.

As has been the case for the past couple of years, SUVs and trucks are
still in demand. In fact, Jeep helped power Fiat Chrysler past Ford when
it comes to retail sales. Meanwhile, Ford`s F-series had its best April
sales since the year 2000.

Ford`s car business is stuck in reverse, with sales plunging almost 14
percent last month. It is yet another example of why Ford is throwing in
the towel and planning to stop offering all but a few cars starting next

While April was lackluster for many brands, it was sensational for Porsche,
which had its best monthly sales ever in the United States.

Even though the average price for a gallon of gas climbed by 20 cents last
month and is about 50 cents higher than it was a year ago. Americans are
still clamoring for less fuel-efficient trucks and SUVs, and most believe
that`s unlikely to change as long as gas remains well below $3 a gallon.



HERERA: And as Phil just reported, gas prices are indeed going up. In
fact, this summer is expected to be the most expensive for driving in four
years and drivers are taking notice.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It has affected my driving habits because I have an
SUV. So, I no longer drive that and I instead use my Honda Civic to get
better gas mileage.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s made me drive a lot less than I usually do, which
is annoying. I need to drive a lot to do what I do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m on the roads for sales, so I have to do the job no
matter what. So, I really can`t not go to work. You`re kind of forced to

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It affects me on my pocket, of course, but not. I
mean, we have responsibilities. People have things to do, so we still have
to continue our day to day. But yes, it does cut into our extracurricular
activities, things for our kids.


HERERA: And joining us now is Patrick DeHaan. He is the senior petroleum
analyst at

Patrick, good to have you here, even if the news isn`t all that good.


HERERA: What`s driving prices so much higher this time around?

DEHAAN: Well, it`s a lack of the typical spring characters which refinery
maintenance in the switch to summer gasoline are usually what dominate our
discussion this time of year. But this year is a bit different. Of
course, OPEC now is entering month number 16 of their crude oil production
cuts and that certainly has a big hand in what we`re seeing at the pump.

Now, global supply and demand has been better balanced and that`s pushing
up the price of oil to the highest levels that we`ve seen since 2014, and
that`s largely the culprit.

GRIFFETH: But I`m confused. Yes, OPEC and Russia are cutting back on
their production, but U.S. producers more and more are playing a greater
role in the world economy when it comes to oil production. Why doesn`t
that stabilize prices more? Why are we still going up then?

DEHAAN: That`s right. You`re making a good point that OPEC and Russia are
kind of opening the door, at least a little bit for U.S. producers.

But it takes a long time for the U.S. to continue increasing production.
We`re certainly doing that in terms of monthly production in the U.S.
We`re about to $10.5 million barrels a day.

But that really pales in comparison to the production cuts that we`ve seen
from OPEC and now Russia.

HERERA: So, as we go into later spring and early summer, how much higher
do you anticipate prices will go? And will we get a reprieve in parts of
the summer as sometimes we do?

DEHAAN: I think we`re probably in the eighth inning if this was a baseball
game in terms of how prices will go. I think we have a couple more weeks
left that we could see prices tiptoe higher. Now, there are some
developments to keep in mind of course. The situation with Iran seems to
be flooring up.

But look for a little bit of relief into the month of June. That`s what we
normally see, a small respite. But then July and August — well, hurricane
season opens us up for that. But I think the national average will stay
just under $3 a gallon, and we`ll settle in somewhere between $2.65 to
$2.80 for much of the summer.

GRIFFETH: Quickly, do you think our suddenly becoming enamored with SUVs
and bigger cars is going to come back to haunt us?

DEHAAN: I think it eventually will. I think it will take quite a bit of
time though.

HERERA: Patrick, thank you so much. Patrick DeHaan with

GRIFFETH: Elsewhere, mounting debt is forcing the company behind the
iconic Gibson Guitars to file for Chapter 11. The company however will
stay in business during bankruptcy, thanks in part to a new loan for up to
$135 million.

Gibson Guitars are legendary, made famous by Lenny Kravitz, Keith Richards,
Elvis Presley and BB King and so many others. Gibson was founded back in
1894. Executives described its current state though as a devastating
financial fall.

HERERA: And before we go a final look at the numbers on Wall Street today.
The Dow fell 64, the Nasdaq rose 64, the S&P 500 added six.

And that will do it for NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT tonight. I`m Sue Herera.
Thanks for joining us.

GRIFFETH: I`m Bill Griffeth. Have a wonderful evening. We`ll see you


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