BILL GRIFFETH, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR: Tug of war. Stocks reverse
course and make a comeback, but the bears may still have the upper hand
over the bulls.
SUE HERERA, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR: High-stakes trade talks. The
U.S. trade delegation arrives in China but can a grand bargain be reached?
GRIFFETH: Breaking new ground. A high-tech solution to the construction
industry`s labor shortage.
Those stories and much more tonight on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for this
Thursday, May the 3rd.
HERERA: Good evening, everyone, and welcome.
Is your head spinning? Because that`s the kind of day it was on Wall
Street. The Dow was down nearly 400 points midday, and just when it looked
like the bears were in control, stocks erased most of their losses.
When all was said and done, here`s how the market closed. The Dow Jones
Industrial Average rose five points to 23,930, the Nasdaq was off 12, and
the S&P 500 fell nearly six.
Bob Pisani has more on this whirlwind day on Wall Street and where stocks
may go from here.
BOB PISANI, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: These days, you can go
through an entire investment cycle in just one afternoon. Just look at
what happened today, we opened down but when the S&P broke below a key
technical level, the market swooned with the S&P falling more than 20
points over the next half hour.
But then around lunchtime, the market just turned around and investors
appeared to be trying to buy beaten up sectors. So, sectors that have had
the worst price momentum in the past two weeks, consumer staples stocks,
industrials, semiconductors, even gold, it all rallied into the green in
the middle of the afternoon.
Now, that`s good news. It suggests there are attempts by some traders at
finding at least some short-term bottom. It`s about the only good news the
bulls have had in many days. Earnings have been way better than expected
but the market has yawned. Bears are claiming the market should sell off
because the Fed is raising rates and we`re entering a seasonally weak time
of the year.
Now, all of that might be surmountable, but the bears have recently made
two claims that global growth is slowing and that inflation will pick up
more than expected. Now, that would be a big problem for stocks. Bulls
insist global growth remains strong, but for the moment, the bears seem to
have the upper hand.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Bob Pisani at the New York Stock Exchange.
GRIFFETH: So, will the bears continue to have the upper hand?
Joining us tonight to try and make sense of all of this, lucky him, Kevin
Caron is portfolio manager and co-founder of Washington Crossing Advisors.
Good to see you again, Kevin. Welcome back.
KEVIN CARON, WASHINGTON CROSSING ADVISORS PORTFOLIO MANAGER: Thank you for
GRIFFETH: This is a great environment you would think for the stock
market. With earnings as strong as they are, rates are still relatively
low, even though they have been rising a bit and we`ve got unemployment at
record lows as well. So, what do you think is going on here? What`s the
market trying to tell us?
CARON: Well, I think the market is actually doing the investors a favor in
a sense because put it in context we came into the year with tremendous
momentum with the market surging and as we came through the spring, we have
seen some choppiness, but that`s a reversal from a really strange 2017 when
volatility was extraordinary low, extraordinary low, and asset prices were
moving very rapidly as earnings were coming up underneath it.
But I think that where we are now with the market moving sideways and
earnings surging, valuations on stocks are actually looking more healthy
than they were just a couple months ago. So, that could be a good thing
HERERA: So, it sounds like longer-term you`re bullish but we probably
still have a little headline risk?
CARON: Yes, I think that ultimately if as long as we avoid having a
further slowdown in the economy just mentioned some slowing in the global
economy the last couple months, if as long as that hole as the economy
holds up and earnings continue to advance as expected, analysts are looking
for 7 percent growth this year, I think that we can get through this very
nicely with stocks outperforming bonds, even though bond yields have been
backing up here.
GRIFFETH: Sector wise, where do you see the best opportunities right now
in the equity market, Kevin?
CARON: I would go and look for very steady companies and I like the fact
that consumer staples are just that and they`ve underperformed faster
growing segments like technology the last couple of years. So, when you
look at relative valuations I think that tech — that consumer staples are
actually one of the more interesting places to go these days, even though
the growth rate is lower than what you would find in, let`s say,
GRIFFETH: Kevin Caron with Washington Crossing Advisors, always good to
see you. Thanks again for joining us tonight.
CARON: Thank you very much.
HERERA: And to the economy now, the trade deficit narrowed sharply in
March. Exports increased to a record helped by a rise in deliveries of
commercial aircraft and soybeans. According to the Commerce Department,
the trade gap dropped more than 15 percent to $49 billion. That decline
ends six straight monthly increases.
GRIFFETH: And that same report showed the U.S. trade deficit with China
also declined, just as the president`s top advisors arrived in Beijing for
their high-stakes talks on how to avoid a trade war between the two
Eunice Yoon is covering the story for us tonight from Beijing.
EUNICE YOON, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: Treasury Secretary
Mnuchin and his team have wrapped up their first day of meetings with the
Chinese. They were greeted by Vice Premier Liu He. Liu is a trusted
adviser of President Xi Jinping, with sweeping powers over the economy.
There is a lot at stake since a trade war would be costly for both
countries. However, there`s a feeling that it will be challenging to get a
grand resolution. Secretary Mnuchin and other U.S. officials said before
they left that they wanted to talk about and make progress on a range of
issues, like cutting the trade deficit, force technology transfers and
China`s industrial policies.
However, China`s industrial policies for one are core to Beijing`s national
economic agenda and getting the Chinese to agree to change their practices
will be very difficult. The Chinese through official statements and the
state media have been sending two conflicting messages. On the one hand,
they want to appear conciliatory. “The China Daily”, a state paper, today
ran an editorial with a headline, the art of a deal is when all parties are
happy with it.
On the other hand, they want to show that China has leverage and won`t back
down. Chinese state TV highlighted today that importers here completely
stopped buying American soybeans in the past two weeks.
Also my sources in the Chinese government have told me that unlike in past
trade negotiations, there wasn`t a lot of preliminary work this time round
the standard has been that working-level folks get together they hash out
all the details before the senior officials arrived. So, there`s a big
question as to just how much they can accomplish in the short period of
time that they`re here.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Eunice Yoon in Beijing.
HERERA: So, what is expected to develop from these talks and what should
the U.S. focus on accomplishing?
Here to talk about that is Ed Mills, Washington policy analyst and managing
director at Raymond James.
Welcome back, Ed. Nice to see you again.
ED MILLS, WASHINGTON POLICY ANALYST & MANAGING EDITOR, RAYMOND JAMES:
Great to be here.
HERERA: We always have you on when we have these high-stakes situations
come up and this certainly is one of them. Eunice just pointed out
something interesting that they haven`t had the pre-meeting working groups
in China. So, given that and given the expectations, will we see this
grand bargain or not?
MILLS: I`m skeptical of a grand bargain. I think that the best case
scenario for right now what we would hope for is to kind of lay the ground,
making sure we actually have some of the first meetings between kind of our
— kind of leaders of the economy and China`s leaders of the economy. I
continue to believe that the headline risk here is going to get much worse
before it gets better. I still think there`s a lot of distrust on both
sides. I think Trump really feels that he has to keep on hitting back and
hitting back hard.
And so, that`s going to be really difficult to get a deal near-term. And
don`t forget that sooner rather than later, Congress is getting involved
here and it`s starting to look at legislation that could be anti-China,
which could blow up these deals. It`s a hard thing to keep that fragile
flower of consensus together. Lots of reasons why a grand bargain can`t
happen just yet.
GRIFFETH: We all know China is a hybrid. They are a communist government.
They are a capitalist economy, sort of. They don`t worry about subsidies
to industries like steel, but we do and we feel that`s unfair.
Secretary Mnuchin has said he doesn`t want to change the Chinese structure
as it is. But if you don`t do that, how do you come to an agreement of
MILLS: Yes, I think it`s very hard. I think what we`re actually waiting
to see from treasury the most is they are as part of the executive memo
that the president signed treasury has to come up with a list of investment
restrictions on China in specific technologies in different industries and
China has this list of things that they want to be the worldwide leader of
And so, that`s the Chinese subsidies that are going to go to those
domestic, you know, industries and what I think treasury`s going to say is
does the U.S. have technology that they need to meet those goals? And why
are we gonna give that to them and so that`s real leverage from Secretary
HERERA: Right. You just mentioned the fact that Congress is getting
involved and Treasury. Does that mean that there`s market headline risk if
things are going to get worse before they get better?
MILLS: Yes. I mean, this is the number one thing I`m talking to clients
about what right now. One of the things that we`re concerned with is that
too often, we don`t know exactly when the next shoe to drop is, and what we
look at, you know, kind of the required things that are coming out of
Treasury. Treasury could use something known as IEEPA, which is wartime
powers to restrict commerce and we`re going to say, you know, are there
things that China`s trying to be a global leader of — semiconductors, AI,
looking at kind of the build-out of telecommunications technology to get
And if they came out with a list and saying, no U.S. company can do
business with this, the market is not going to like that at all.
MILLS: And if Congress follows up, that`s a bad one too thing.
HERERA: Ed, thank you so much —
HERERA: — I think, given what we`ve laid out. Ed Mills with Raymond
GRIFFETH: More economic news now. New applications for jobless benefits
inched higher last week, but the rise was less than expected. According to
the Labor Department, initial claims for unemployment benefits rose 2,000
to a seasonally adjusted 211,000, and despite the increased, claims remain
near historic lows pointing, of course, to a robust job market.
HERERA: And the monthly jobs report is due out tomorrow. The unemployment
rate is expected to tick even lower to about 4 percent. But a persistent
problem lies behind those national employment numbers. Many young people
who could work are not and they`re not attending school either. But now, a
coalition of corporations is trying to help get them hired.
Kate Rogers (NYSE:ROG) reports tonight from Atlanta.
KATE ROGERS, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: Thousands of young
people packed the Georgia World Congress Center eager to join the work
force. Big companies from Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) to FedEx (NYSE:FDX) and
Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) are banding together to give them an
ELIJAH RELAFORD, JOB SEEKER: If they do give me the time of day when I do
interview and I`m pretty much going to knock it out the park.
ROGERS: Across the United States, more than four and a half million people
ages 16 to 24 are currently not in school or working. The 100,000
Opportunities Initiative Hiring Fair wants to change that with the help of
company recruiters and executives like former Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) CEO
Fairs have been held across the country and this band of companies is
committed to 1 million hires by the year 2021.
At FedEx (NYSE:FDX), executive Shannon Brown says he knows the value of
opportunity, having been given one himself at the company some 40 years
SHANNON BROWN, FEDEX CHIEF HR & DIVERSITY OFFICER: We know these are the
leaders of organizations tomorrow and the best we can do to mentor them and
help them grow within an organization it`s going to be better for FedEx
(NYSE:FDX) for the long run.
ROGERS: Jobseekers here will get advice on what to wear at interviews, a
look and some help with their resume, and even some on-the-job training for
would-be baristas. All right, like this.
Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) chief operating officer Rosalind Brewer says when
the company hires young, workers tend to stay and rise through the ranks.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I drink coffee every day.
ROSALIND BREWER, STARBUCKS COO: It begins our conversation about who do we
want to employ in our stores, and we want to give everyone that first
chance and they need these opportunities. This is the part of our country
and our nation that usually gets forgotten about.
ROGERS: And for some attendees, the day has a happy ending leaving with a
job offer in hand.
DARYA BOBB, JOB SEEKER: He`s like I like your smile. I think you`d be
great for the company. So really nice.
ROGERS: For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Kate Rogers (NYSE:ROG), Atlanta.
GRIFFETH: Time to take a look at some of today`s upgrades and downgrades
Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT)`s rating was cut to neutral from overweight over at
Bank of America (NYSE:BAC). The analysts there cited a slowdown in monthly
retail sales. Price target was $156. Shares of the Dow component fell a
fraction to $143.78.
Fellow Dow component 3M (NYSE:MMM) saw its rating raised to outperform from
sector perform at RBC Capital. The analyst cited an attractive valuation
after a four-month swoon for that stock. Price target now: $238. The
stock closed today at $195.68.
HERERA: Nvidia`s rating was raised to overweight from equal weight by
Barclays. The firm cites increased demand for semiconductors over the next
several years. But the analyst admits that he`s behind the curve on this
call. The price target is $280. The stock rose nearly three percent to
Salesforce was upgraded to market perform from underperform over at
Bernstein. The analyst cites the company`s ability to generate better
revenue growth. The price target there is $125. And that`s right about
where the stock closed today at $124.41.
GRIFFETH: Still ahead, why Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) — the most storied
name on Wall Street — may soon start trading the controversial
HERERA: The former CEO of Volkswagen has been charged by U.S. prosecutors
with conspiring to defraud the U.S. The charges against Martin Winterkorn
are related to the automaker`s diesel emissions testing scandal. The
indictment was unsealed today. Winterkorn stepped down as CEO in 2015. He
is in Germany right now and he is not at this point in custody.
GRIFFETH: Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ:ATVI) reported double-digit growth
in both revenue and profit for the most recent quarter, fending off
competition from that hot new rival game called Fortnite. We`ll talk about
that in a moment.
Activision earned 38 cents a share. That was 3 cents better than
estimates. Revenue rose by 15 percent to more than $1.3 billion. And the
stock closed the regular session lower despite an early release of that
better than expected report.
Julia Boorstin has more for us.
JULIA BOORSTIN, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: Activision Blizzard
(NASDAQ:ATVI) reporting better than expected results, showing that the
growth of Fortnite from rival Epic Games is having no impact. In fact,
Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ:ATVI)`s own digital businesses are thriving.
The company hitting record first quarter revenue from digital, mobile and
CEO Bobby Kotick saying, quote: As we look ahead our innovative core gaming
pipeline, as well as initiatives like mobile esports and advertising, will
continue to drive growth for our business.
The company just launched its inaugural regular-season Overwatch in
January, but says it`s reaching millions of viewers every week, which has
led to increased hours playing the game.
And more growth is expected ahead with the playoffs coming this summer.
HERERA: Some expected rival game Fortnite to pose a big threat to
companies like Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ:ATVI) and others. It`s a game
that just a few months ago few had heard of, but it quickly became one of
the most popular games out there.
Julia is back with a look at Fortnite`s fast rise.
BOORSTIN: Fortnite is free-to-play and accessible across consoles, PCs and
iOS mobile devices. You can play with your friends, as many as 100 players
can participate in the battle royale mode, plus an addition to traditional
first-person shooter game features, players can pay for fun add-ons like
costumes and dance moves for their avatars.
Fortnite`s success benefits private game maker Epic Games, of which Chinese
Tencent owns 40 percent.
Disney (NYSE:DIS) also owns a percent of epic, acquired by hosting Epic in
its startup accelerator last year. And Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN)`s Twitch saw
its March traffic surge 40 percent, thanks to Fortnite, the most watched
game in Twitch history.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Julia Boorstin in Los Angeles.
GRIFFETH: Cardinal Health (NYSE:CAH) shares turned sickly and that`s where
we begin tonight`s “Market Focus”.
The drug and medical supplies wholesaler reported a sharp decline in profit
and it lowered its full-year outlook. Company cited inventory that could
not be sold and drug price deflation. That sent the stock down more than
21 percent, its largest percentage decrease since 2004. It closed at
Health insurer Cigna reported better than expected quarterly profit and
raised its full-year outlook, but the results were overshadowed by
regulatory concerns related to its $52 billion acquisition of Express
(NYSE:EXPR) Scripts. The CEO though says there`s no need to worry.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID CORDANI, CIGNA (NYSE:CI) HEALTHCARE COO: Our two companies are truly
complimentary of one another and don`t have material overlap.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRIFFETH: Cigna shares finished up a fraction at $172.88.
And Teva Pharmaceuticals raised its 2018 outlook, citing progress in its
restructuring plan. The world`s largest generic drug maker reported a
smaller than expected decline in its first quarter profit and revenue, and
said it expects its new migraine drug to be approved by the end of this
year. Still, Teva shares finished down more than 4 percent at $17.78.
HERERA: And after the bell, CBS (NYSE:CBS) reported better than expected
profit and as quarterly revenue hit a record. The media company which is
in merger talks with Viacom (NYSE:VIA) was helped by strong ad sales and
affiliate subscription fees. That sent shares up initially in after-hours
trading. Shares finished the regular session slightly lower to $48.74.
GRIFFETH: Let`s turn now to the topic of bitcoin. While many large banks
have been keeping their distance from that cryptocurrency, Goldman Sachs
(NYSE:GS) just a few months ago said it was at least open to it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LLOYD BLANKFEIN, GOLDMAN SACHS CHAIRMAN & CEO: I will tell you. I have
not — it hasn`t crossed my desk to set up a bitcoin trading desk, but
maybe. But I wouldn`t preclude it. I get asked questions, is this that —
you know, is bitcoin the worst thing in the history of the world? And I
got to say, I don`t know. I mean, I don`t — I have more open mind about
these things because there`s a lot of things that work really, really well
today that I thought was stupid and wrong. And, I mean — I have a much
more open mind about this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRIFFETH: Well, now, the investment bank is embracing bitcoin. It has
announced it`s going to launch a trading desk dedicated to it. The
question is, does such a move by a large highly respected bank begin to
legitimize a largely unregulated virtual currency, one that has been called
everything from the future of money to a fraud? And will other banks
Joining us tonight, Campbell Harvey is a professor of finance at Duke
University`s Fuqua School of Business.
Good to see, Professor. Thanks for joining us tonight.
PROF. CAMPBELL HARVEY, DUKE UNIVERSITY FUQUA SCHOOL OF BUSINESS: Great to
be on the show.
GRIFFETH: What a crazy trend this is. You know, you have so many
proponents on one side who are highly respected and people on the other
side who are also highly respected. What do you make of Goldman Sachs
(NYSE:GS) move to open a trading desk and what impact will that have on all
HARVEY: So, it is no surprise to me whatsoever, and what is under the
radar screen is that this is part of a longer-term plan that Goldman had.
They were an early major investor in a crypto startup called Circle in
2015. And Circles got an exchange, so they`ve been in this game under the
radar screen for three years, and this is the culmination of that strategy.
They cannot ignore a market that is like a half a trillion dollar market.
They got to be there and I think they cannot wait for the fin tech firms to
eat their lunch.
HERERA: You know, there are those who say that if anybody is going to do
it, it should be Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) because of their history with risk
management and their reach. Do you agree with that?
HARVEY: Yes, absolutely. Again, they`ve got this longer-term vision.
They are known for innovation. They see the threat of fin tech. They see
this is a major market. They see that a firm like Coinbase, it`s got
nearly 20 million customers and probably making $50 million a day just in
fees in trading cryptocurrencies. So, how can they not be in this market?
GRIFFETH: Right. But what`s the message this sends to individual
investors out there who may be intrigued by all of this and now, they see
Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) getting involved.
HARVEY: Yes. So, one of the problems, it`s not just individual investors
but it`s institutional investors. We have some futures contracts that are
available on bitcoin, but they`re very small in terms of volume and
problematic for institutional investors. They`ve been waiting for an A
level investment bank to pull the trigger. Obviously, JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM)
wasn`t going to pull the trigger, but Goldman was there to step in.
This makes it a lot easier to trade this market and I think we`ll see much
more participation and kind of validation that this is a real thing.
GRIFFETH: Something to keep an eye on, that`s for sure.
Campbell Harvey at Duke University, thanks again for joining us tonight. I
HARVEY: Thank you.
HERERA: And coming up, we`ll show you a new way to build homes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DIANA OLICK, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: A new startup is
taking real estate construction out of the job site and into the factory,
saving on costs, labor and increasing productivity. We`ll tell you about
it coming up on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HERERA: Mortgage rates pulled back just a bit after hitting multi-year
highs. According to Freddie Mac, the average rate on the 30-year fixed-
rate mortgage dropped to about 4-1/2 percent. Analysts believe this is
likely a temporary reversal in a year that will bring steady increases.
GRIFFETH: Well, the construction industry as we know is facing a severe
labor shortage and it couldn`t come at a worse time. Workers are needed to
build homes to help alleviate the severe housing shortage we have seen.
But what if there was a high tech solution to build more with less?
That`s just what one company is doing and it`s getting the attention of
both developers and investors.
Diana Olick is in Phoenix for us tonight.
OLICK: In an unassuming Phoenix factory, a team of techies is upending the
way buildings go up.
MATTHEW RYAN, KATERRA HEAD OF MANUFACTURING: Further to the right, we have
our cabinet shop.
OLICK: Using high-tech to build efficiencies for design, material supply,
manufacturing, logistics and assembly. The goal: removed time, cost and
especially labor from construction.
RYAN: In my past, we built electronics components we built telecom
Today, we`re taking the very same principles and really applying that to
the components that go into building, and we`re building inside of a
factory instead of out in the field.
OLICK: Katerra is barely three years old but already changing the face of
construction, seeing building components as Legos, simple but filled with
creative opportunity, especially when designed using virtual animation.
They put large sections of a house or building together in the factory,
windows, doors sheetrock, a full kitchen all done, and then send those
parts to the job site for assembly. Managers on-site follow instructions
on an iPad.
LYNN KOLIOPOULOS, KATERRA SHOWROOM MANAGER: Because we have sourced
product and an amazing catalog here, we`re able to select the finishes for
a project very quickly, so we can do a full multifamily project within
about an hour.
OLICK: Katerra`s founder and CEO Michael Marks used to head up Flextronics
and spent some time at Tesla. He claims it was not a difficult transition
MICHAEL MARKS, KATERRA CO-FOUNDER & CEO: It`s not like a visionary
breakthrough. It`s just applying manufacturing techniques, if you will, to
the construction industry, which just doesn`t happen.
OLICK: The company recently got an infusion of nearly $1 billion from
Softbank, bringing its total value to about $3 billion, and they just
announced they`re acquiring a construction company in the Northeast
building on a model that is clearly working.
MARKS: We need to add some more because we`re winning business everywhere.
We needed actually the people to build them. So, we`re just growing at a
OLICK: Katerra has over a billion dollars in projects in the pipeline all
of them unique. Unlike prefab housing of the past, technology takes the
cookie cutter out of the mix.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Diana Olick in Phoenix.
HERERA: And before we go, a final look at the numbers today on Wall
Street. The Dow rose five points to 23,930, the Nasdaq was off 12, and the
S&P 500 fell nearly six.
And that will do it for NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT tonight. I`m Sue Herera.
Thanks for joining us.
GRIFFETH: And I`m Bill Griffeth. Have a wonderful evening. We`ll see you
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