Transcript: Nightly Business Report – May 7, 2018


are near a four-year high. They could go potentially higher when the
president makes his decision on the Iran nuclear deal tomorrow.


WARREN BUFFETT, BILLIONAIRE INVESTOR: You don`t have to buy exactly the
right stock or buy at exactly the right time. The one thing have you to
avoid is buying a single wrong stock or the single wrong time.


there`s one that he`s particularly fond of.

GRIFFETH: Controlling costs. Health care officials are controlling drug
rebates, but will it help lower prices?

Those stories and more tonight on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for this Monday,
May 7th.

HERERA: Good evening, everyone, and welcome.

Stocks climbed to start the week with the help of a big rise in energy
stocks. But just as it appeared as if the bulls were in control, stocks
got the wind knocked out of them, in a day when the president tweeted that
he will announce his decision on the Iran nuclear deal tomorrow. That
added geopolitical risk into the stock market.

And when all was said and done, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 94
points to 24,357. It had been up as much as 200 points. The Nasdaq added
55 and the S&P 500 was up nine.

As for oil, domestic crude broke through $70 a barrel to settle at its
highest level since 2014.

So, how could the White House`s decision on the Iran deal impact the oil
market and the stock market?

John Kilduff joins us now. He`s founding partner of Again Capital.

Good to see you, John.


HERERA: So, we know we will get a decision tomorrow, but we don`t know
what that decision is going to be or whether it will be a full decision,
partial decision. How — handicap for us what you`re expecting from the

KILDUFF: Well, first of all, all I want to say is thank goodness because I
wasn`t looking forward to wait until next Saturday, for this to coming
Saturday for this to occur. The stakes are tremendously high, Sue. This
is a market that`s relatively tight in terms of overall global supplies
partly induced by Saudi Arabia and what`s going on in Venezuela.

But if the president goes full-throated on this, if he were to pull out of
the deal, the JCP away, the Iran nuclear deal and also announce an
aggressive pact towards re-imposing sanctions, the oil price will be off to
the races to the upside.

GRIFFETH: Because it cuts off Iranian oil out of the world market again?

KILDUFF: Our best guess on that initially, it will impact upwards 300,000
to 500,000 barrels a day of production, maybe more. And to the extent it
lasted, Bill, it would go down even more because they wouldn`t be able to
get the parts and necessary expertise that Iran needs to keep the oil

GRIFFETH: All right. Assuming that`s what happens, what do U.S. producers
do though? I mean, they`re still pumping. Couldn`t they make up the
difference there?

KILDUFF: Well, they are pumping full out. I mean, we are pumping more oil
right now in this country than ever before, 10.6 million barrels a day,
second only to Russia. Saudi Arabia is behind us. All of OPEC is behind
us now.

But it`s not enough. There`s other problems out there, and there`s also
willful holding back of oil to the global market by our friends, the

HERERA: What if the president says something along the lines of we`re not
going to pull out, but we are going to renegotiate? That`s kind of a limbo

KILDUFF: And that`s what I think is going to happen. Actually, I do think
the president`s going to announce a withdrawal by the U.S. from the
agreement, at least for now. But I don`t think he`s going to try to mess
up things for Iran beyond that or the other countries involved. The last
time we did this, the reason the Iran deal came together, there was unified
world opposition to their program. They are complying with the deal and
the rest of the world stands against us this time in terms of trying to
throw a monkey wrench into this deal.

President Trump pushes hard to begin with, and seems to have a pattern of
sort of falling back or working something out. I think that`s what we`ll
see ultimately tomorrow and that`s why actually oil prices fell —

GRIFFETH: Late in the day.

HERERA: Late in the day, yes.

KILDUFF: Back under $70 a barrel. That`s what the market expects.

GRIFFETH: Still, though, I don`t envy oil traders trying to handicap this

HERERA: No. This is what I call a cliff trade though. It`s either going
to go one way or the other in a big way.

HERERA: All right. John, thank you so much.

KILDUFF: Thank you very much.

HERERA: John Kilduff with Again Capital.

GRIFFETH: Elsewhere, stocks have been anything but predictable for the
past few months. The market as you know has rallied and it`s fallen back,
then it`s rallied again.

And as Mike Santoli reports for us tonight, it may be time for the bulls to
prove whether they are still in charge.


trading days since stocks hit their low point of the year in early
February, a loss of more than 11 percent from the January peak. And the
S&P 500 remains nearly 7 percent underwater. The typical pull back of
around 10 percent through history has taken fewer than 50 days to be fully

This extended period of choppy trading has created some frustration among
investors and it`s gone on long enough that new worries keep cropping up as
explanations for the weakness. First, it was concern of a rising interest
rates and inflation. Then, trade tensions. And now, a slowdown in global
growth and rising oil prices are offered as excuses for the stalled market.

If there are good reasons still to view this three-month retrenchment in
stock as indeed just an uncomfortable correction rather than the start of a
deeper market downturn. For one thing, stocks final surge to the January
peak up 7 percent in just four weeks made the market so stretched and
overheated that the payback phase is understandably taking longer. Also
encouraging, few signs of serious underlying economic problems have
surfaced in recent months.

Companies are reporting 20 percent profit growth compared to a year ago and
forecasts for the next few quarters are holding up fine. The unemployment
rate slid beneath 4 percent, yet without triggering a surge in wages that
might leave the Fed to push interest rates up much faster. And, finally,
despite the nervous sideways pattern of recent months in stocks, the
index`s longer term up-trend remains intact.

None of this means the market is in the clear and set to recover the lost
ground in a hurry. Geo politics, political drama, typical summer
volatility and the mid-term elections will remain in the news and on the
minds of investors. But so far, the prolonged pull back of 2018 that has
slowed down the bull market does not seem to represent its end.



GRIFFETH: Tens of thousands of Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.A)
shareholders were in Omaha over the weekend for the company`s annual
meeting. The gathering affectionately known as the “Woodstock of
capitalism” is an opportunity for shareholders to listen to Warren Buffett
speak on a number of issues — business, the market through his

And today, he talked to our Becky Quick about a number of issues including
stocks, and one that he really likes in particular.


people want to hear from Warren Buffett is what he thinks about the stock
market right now, so we asked him that this morning. Buffett overall says
that he`s had a very tough time in terms of finding deals for Berkshire
Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.A), says a lot of the deals brought their way, private
deals at least, he thinks have been over valued by about 15 to 20 percent.

However, when it comes to individual investors, he views things a little

BUFFETT: Almost always, equities have been a better buy. Certainly, if
you`re going to put away money over time when you`re younger, if you buy
stocks over a considerable period of time, you`re not going to get the lows
but you`re not just going to buy the highs. If you are cross sectioned,
well, like I say, it will turn $10,000 into $51 million, and you never have
the look at a financial page again or listen to a broker.

QUICK: And, of course, Buffett has found the stock that he does likes for
Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.A). He doubled down on shares of Apple
(NASDAQ:AAPL) in the first quarter, buying an additional 75 million shares.
That brings Berkshire`s total take in terms of Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) shares
to $43 billion.

Here`s why.

BUFFETT: We bought about 5 percent of the company and I`d love to own 100
percent of it. That`s the test. Would you like to own 100 percent of the
company if you`re going to buy 5 percent?

We`re not buying a stock when we buy Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) in our minds.
We`re buying 5 percent of a business. We buy 100 percent of some
businesses and when they`re publicly held, we buy 5 percent. We bring the
same thinking to it.

We like very much the economics of their activities and we like very much
the management and the way they think and the way they act.

QUICK: Buffett also spent some time defending another one of Berkshire`s
top holdings, Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC). That is one of the top ten holdings
for Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.A).

BUFFETT: I think if you look at the ten-year record of Wells Fargo
(NYSE:WFC) ten years from now, you`re very likely to find that it
outperforms most of its competitors.

QUICK: Would you be buying more shares now if you could? You can`t
because of the bank threshold?

BUFFETT: Yes. Yes. I don`t want to get recommendations on which stocks
to buy.

QUICK: In terms of Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC), Berkshire is the largest single
shareholder but they are a passive investor. And that`s another reason he
has not got involved with any issues that have come forward with Wells
Fargo (NYSE:WFC).

For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Becky Quick in Omaha, Nebraska.


GRIFFETH: By the way, Mr. Buffett was also very critical once again of
bitcoin. Over the weekend, he called it rat poison and he told Becky that
it`s an acid that creates nothing.

The vice chair of Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.A), Charlie Munger, said
similar things as did Mr. Buffett`s good friend Bill Gates.


artificial gold, which if it succeeded would facilitate a lot of illicit
activity. Now, that is not something I think the world needs.

BILL GATES, MICROSOFT CO-FOUNDER: Bitcoin and ICOs I agree completely,
it`s one of the crazier speculative things where it`s not as an asset
class, you`re not producing anything. I would short it if there was an
easy way to do it.


HERERA: There is a new first of its kind Warren Buffett archive available
to investors where you can search full Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.A)
annual meetings going back to 1994 and there`s hundreds of hours of video.
You can access it and learn more about it on our Website,

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

We begin with McDonald`s (NYSE:MCD) which was upgraded to conviction buy
from buy at Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS). The analysts there cited improving
sales of the fast food giant. Price target $185. Shares of McDonald`s
(NYSE:MCD) were off a fraction today to $165 even.

Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) was rated outperform in new coverage from Telsey
Advisory Group. The analyst cites Amazon`s customer-centric approach and
its relentless pursuit of efficiency in both new and existing businesses.
Price target to $1,900. Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) stock rose 1 percent in
trading today to close at $1,600.14.

HERERA: Shares of Celgene (NASDAQ:CELG) were downgraded to outperform from
top pick over at RBC Capital Markets. It`s not a bearish call, but it is
still a downgrade. The analyst cites higher spending and slippages in its
pipeline, but he calls the stock`s valuation compelling due to strong
expected cash flow. The price target is $118. The shares fell more than
2.5 percent to $84.57.

Deere`s rating was upgraded to outperform from inline over at Evercore ISI.
The analyst there says the peak cycle and machinery stocks won`t come until
2021. And the price target is $187. The stock was higher by 2 percent
today to $140.22.

GRIFFETH: Still ahead, the best way to ask for a raise and be successful.


HERERA: The activist investor ValueAct has reportedly built a billion
dollar stake in Citigroup (NYSE:C). According to ValueAct`s letter to
investors obtained by “The Wall Street Journal”, there are no calls for any
strategic changes though it does suggest the bank increase its plan to
return cash to shareholders. Shares of Citi moved initially higher in
after-hours trading.

GRIFFETH: And a different activist is targeting a health care software
company. Elliott Management wants to take Athena Health private in a deal
valuing that firm at about $6.5 billion. Elliott says that Athena should
be growing a lot faster than it is and it`s not providing the appropriate
returns to shareholders. Athena Health soared by 16 percent today in
today`s trade.

HERERA: The head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services made
critical comments today about the drug supply chain and in particular drug

And as Bertha Coombs explains, those rebates are becoming a focal point in
the battle over rising drug prices.


administration health officials are talking tough about tackling high drug
prices. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid administrator Seema Verma took
aim today at the confidential price agreements between drug makers and
pharmacy benefit managers or PBMs.

manufacturers` list price, the larger the rebate will be. And since
rebates are calculated as a percentage of list price and the higher the
rebate, the more money that plans and PBMs get. So the bottom line is that
all of the incentives are lined up for manufacturers to set higher and
higher prices. This is unacceptable.

COOMBS: Under current law, the government can`t negotiate drug prices for
traditional Medicare, but the administration is expected to unveil new
requirements that instead of keeping those rebates, Medicare Part D drug
plans would have to pass the savings directly on to the seniors at the
pharmacy counter to lower their out of pocket costs.

The CEO of CVS (NYSE:CVS) Health which has a PBM and Part D drug plans told
analysts last week that wouldn`t hurt his company`s profit but it could
actually raise costs for seniors.

LARRY MERLO, CEO, CVS (NYSE:CVS) HEALTH: You`ve heard us and quite frankly
others talk about, you know, the dynamic here that 100 percent of that
rebate value in Part D, you know, is passed through the plan design in the
form of a lower premium. I think the concern that exists there is, you
know, as you model, you know, that out, OK? What is the dynamic as it
relates to beneficiary premiums going up?

COOMBS: The director of health research at AARP says those rebates have
helped keep Part D premiums lower. She says it`s not clear just how big a
tradeoff there would be between lower pharmacy costs and higher premiums
under a new policy.

called for a more thorough analysis so we get a better idea of how many
people are going to be helped by this idea, how much they`re going to be
helped by this idea, and then to get a better idea of exactly how much
premiums are going to increase for everyone else, because, of course, our
concern is it could eventually put Part D coverage out of reach for a lot
of beneficiaries.

COOMBS: And she says consumer cost efforts alone don`t get at the root of
the problem — drug makers` abilities to set high drug prices. But
analysts don`t expect the administration to pursue price controls.

obviously, in market-based solutions to some of these problems, but history
has shown that market-based solutions can only get you so far and certainly
we have tons of real life examples where you need both market-based
solutions and regulatory solutions. And, again, the posture here has
generally been anti-regulation and so, I just don`t see the regulatory
hammer that they can use to change all of this.

COOMBS: President Trump is expected to unveil his new drug policy plan
later this week.

For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Bertha Coombs, New York.


GRIFFETH: All right. Let`s turn to Peter Pitts right now to talk about
all of this. Peter is the president of the Center for Medicine in the
Public Interest.

Peter, thanks for joining us tonight.


GRIFFETH: How likely, now that we`re focusing on these rebates, that, you
know, this flow through of funds that occurs in the industry, how likely is
it we`re going to roll those back and what would the impact be? Would it
be meaningful to lowering drug prices?

PITTS: You know, in the west, most people say their drugs are too
expensive. I go to the pharmacy and I`ve got this huge co-pay. So, the
co-pay costs is most Americans say when they think about drug prices. And
these PBMs as was mentioned earlier are getting 10, 20, 30, 40 percent
discounts from the manufacturer and those discounts and those rebates are
going in their pockets rather than lowering costs at the point of

So, I think when we think about lowering drug prices, what the voter wants
really is to make sure when they go to the pharmacy, they`re paying less
out of their pocket. When it comes to affording plans out of Part D, of
course, you want affordable premiums but having a cheap plan that gives you
high co-pays at the pharmacy is not a victory. It`s a political talking

So, I think what we`re recognizing now is that drug pricing is an
ecosystem. There`s the manufacturer`s price, there`s the discount and
rebate that it gives to PBMs.

And, of course, one person`s discount and rebate is somebody else`s
kickback. It depends on the verbiage.

HERERA: Right.

PITTS: But I think the transparency really is the word of the day here.
When people recognize the types of rebates and kickbacks that are
happening, they`re going to want to know what`s happening to that money and
why a person`s product isn`t less at the pharmacy.

HERERA: How do you see the gentleman that Bertha had in her report said it
might be part regulatory and it might be part market? Is that how you see
this being resolved?

PITTS: I`m a free market guy, and I think that, you know, PBMs, and people
within the ecosystem need to say, listen, what we need to do is create a
better system for access. That means lower costs at the pharmacy. And
that is a role for the pharmaceutical industry and for PBMs and I think
also for government.

But I always think good, solid self-regulation in doing the right thing
drives any type of federal regulatory process. I know that HHS, Health and
Human Services Under Secretary Azar is considering a role that would
mandate that people at pharmacies get a share of those discounts. I think
that`s great way to start and CMS is the biggest payer in this country and
I think it will drive the practice of private insurance companies as well,
or at least I hope so.

GRIFFETH: Well, we`ll see what the president says about this later this

Peter, thanks again for joining us tonight.

PITTS: My pleasure.

GRIFFETH: Peter Pitts with the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest.

HERERA: Walmart is tightening its opioid prescription policy. The world`s
largest retailer said it will only fill first-time acute opioid
prescriptions for seven days or less nationwide. It is also going to limit
the dosage and require e-prescriptions, which are harder to alter and
easier to track. The new restrictions follow recommendations from the
Centers for Disease Control.

GRIFFETH: Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) inks a deal with Nestle, and that is
where we begin tonight`s “Market Focus”.

Nestle is going to pay Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) more than $7 billion for the
rights to market and sell Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) coffees and teas on a
global scale. Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) said the licensing deal will broaden
the reach of its products. I mean, it helps that Nestle is the biggest
coffee company in the world.


KEVIN JOHNSON, STARBUCKS CEO: We`ve worked together to create what we
think of as the definitive global coffee alliance in the industry. This
particular partnership is all about taking what we`ve learned and built in
North America and taking it globally. It`s also about expanding the
addressable market to now bring Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) coffee to the
espresso and dolce gusto platforms.


GRIFFETH: Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) shares opened 3 percent higher on that
news this morning, but they did close off a fraction to $57.45. Nestle
shares trade on the Swiss exchange.

Elsewhere, print advertising and circulation revenues continue to be pain
points in the latest quarter for newspaper publisher Gwinnett. But a rise
in digital ad sales helped the owner of “The USA Today” topped earnings
expectations. Shares climbed by 12 percent today to $10.89.


HERERA: Bill, Hertz reported stronger than expected revenues but it missed
earnings estimates. The car rental company said while nearly all of its
financial measures improved, it still has work to do to achieve long-term
growth. Shares of Hertz initially plunged in the after-hours, erasing a
nearly 4 percent gain during the regular day when shares finished at

And also out after the bell, online real estate database company Zillow
delivered profits and revenues that were ahead of expectations. The
company said results were helped by an increase in active users and visits
and also higher revenues in Zillow`s premier agent feature.

But guidance for the quarter or the current quarter was a little bit light.
And so, investors sent shares initially lower in after hours. They ended
the regular day up nearly 6 percent to $55.91.

GRIFFETH: Turning from corporate earnings to your pay. Friday`s otherwise
strong jobs report showed one area of weakness, still wage growth. So, why
are workers still not getting raises in such a tight labor market? Could
be because we`re afraid to ask.

Senior personnel finance correspondent Sharon Epperson is back with us to
talk about how to successfully negotiate that tricky topic.

I guess timing being everything. It matters when we ask sometimes, right?

matters when you ask. And right now, is actually perhaps a great time to
ask. We have seen average earnings start ticking up. They`re not better
than inflation right now, but they could be better.

Part of the reason why may be that we`re not asking for what we want.
Glassdoor did a survey showing that 60 percent of folks who were — had a
new salary got it not from negotiation or anything, they just took what was
offered to them. Only 10 percent actually negotiated to get that salary in
their current job or a new job.

HERERA: OK. So, say you`ve mustered up the courage and you`re going to go
upstairs and talk to the boss. The boss is going to want you to justify
that, right?

EPPERSON: That`s exactly right.

HERERA: So, what kind of data.

EPPERSON: Career coach is at six-figure start. And they said one of the
key things you need to do is research where the company stands right now,
determine if they`re able to give you the raise, is your department doing
well so that you should be afforded a raise right now. And also, figure
out if the timing is right in terms of the time of the year. Do they
usually make those decisions at the beginning of the year, the middle of
the year, the end of the year.

An then also figure out what you have added in terms of value to the
company. What have your accomplishments been? Have you let your bosses
know what you`ve added in terms of value and then time your ways to those
accomplishments. You`re smiling.

GRIFFETH: Well, because you asked for more money, but what other perks
could you ask for? I`m curious to know this.

HERERA: We`re taking notes.


EPPERSON: Well, you can ask for a lot of other perks, but people —
sometimes, they don`t want the salary necessarily, they want the time.


EPPERSON: Maybe they want to have some paid time off. Maybe they want to
have tuition reimbursement so that they can go back to school, get that
master`s degree, or go get more education. And in terms of health and
fitness, getting that fitness club membership, that might be a perk.

The flexible schedule though — and I`ve heard this more and more,
particularly for women in the working place who say, I`d even go in there
and ask for the raise, I actually just wanted the three-day week. That I
found very interesting.

HERERA: Sharon, as always.

GRIFFETH: Not just women that want that.


GRIFFETH: Thank you, Sharon.


GRIFFETH: Good stuff.

HERERA: Coming up, mapping the road. Why one autonomous vehicle startup
in Texas thinks it`s different from all the other.


HERERA: Artificial intelligence was part of the focus of Microsoft`s
developer`s conference. The company announced a $25 million five-year
program to encourage software developers to use artificial intelligence to
help those with disabilities.

CEO Satya Nadella said it`s about using computing for social good. The
initiative will include seed grants for startups, nonprofits and academic

GRIFFETH: And artificial intelligence was also the center piece for a new
startup that is focused on make being the fast-growing autonomous car
industry safer.

Phil LeBeau is in Frisco, Texas, for us tonight.


vehicle ride hailing service starting this July here in Frisco, Texas, just
outside of Dallas, believes artificial intelligence and deep learning are
the keys to ensuring that self-driving vehicles can safely operate on the
streets picking up people, not hurting pedestrians or hitting other
vehicles. which started three years ago in the Silicon Valley believes deep
learning or the ability for a vehicle`s brain, the computers, the sensors
to constantly update what they are seeing, what they are learning about a
particular area will allow its minivans to service an area here in Frisco
that will be geo fenced, essentially a designated route where people will
be able to call up on an app, I want the van to pick me up. The CEO of believes despite the concerns about whether or not the computers
inside of autonomous vehicles are safe out on the street, he believes the
technology is improving.

SAMEEP TANDON, DRIVE.AI FOUNDER & CEO: The cool part about this entire AI
approach is as this vehicle gets more data and experience, it`s going to
continue and learn and get better.

LEBEAU: believes the autonomous vehicle ride hailing program that
starts in Frisco in July can quickly expand to other cities and other areas
where it will be on a designated route where people will gain confidence
using a self-driving vehicle.

Phil LeBeau, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, Frisco, Texas.


HERERA: All right. Before we go tonight, here`s another look at the day
on Wall Street. The Dow was up about 94 points to 24,357 but it had been
up as much as 200 points. The Nasdaq added 55 and the S&P 500 was up 9.
We will see what happens in tomorrow.

GRIFFETH: Especially with that price of oil.

HERERA: Absolutely.

GRIFFETH: We`ll see after the president announces at 2:00 Eastern Time

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

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


Nightly Business Report transcripts and video are available on-line post
broadcast at The program is transcribed by ASC Services II
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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