Transcript: Nightly Business Report – June 14, 2018

ANNOUNCER: This is NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT with Bill Griffeth and Sue

bolstering expectations for much stronger growth. But is activity
accelerating too quickly?

are being made right now to the economy and stock market of the late `90s,
but should you listen?

HERERA: Power up. Why college kids are mining bitcoin in their college

Those stories and more tonight on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for Thursday,
June 14th.

GRIFFETH: And we do bid you good evening, everybody.

On Wall Street, the Nasdaq closed at a record today. We`ll have more that
in a moment.

But we begin tonight with the economy. Amid more evidence that it is
heating up and firing on all cylinders, as they say.

First, there`s the consumer. A report out today on retail sales showed
that spending in May was stronger than expected. Retailers reported their
biggest sales gain in six months. That`s important because spending makes
up the bulk of our economic activity.

And consumers may be shopping a lot, because the job market continue toss
tighten. Another report out today said the number of Americans filing for
unemployment benefits fell to a 44-1/2-year low last week. All of this is
leading to a rise in forecast for economic growth.

I mean, listen to this, the Atlanta Fed`s latest model right now sees a 4.8
percent annualized growth rate for the economy in the second quarter.

HERERA: But the risks to the economy are also increasing, at least
according to the International Monetary Fund. The organization says
growing fiscal deficits will cause a considerable slowdown in both the U.S.
and overseas. The IMF adds that the tax cuts, while providing a short-term
boost, came during a period of growth potential setting off a chain
reaction, which include higher interest rates and financial market

GRIFFETH: So, clearly, the economy is strong right now, but is the
strength sustainable and for how long?

Joining us to talk about that, Diane Swonk, who`s chief economist at Grant

Always good to see you, Diane. Thanks for joining us tonight.


GRIFFETH: I`m tempted to say it doesn`t get any better than this, but does

SWONK: Well, that`s an interesting question, as we are going to see well
over 4 percent growth I think in the second quarter, and I think that will
be the peak of growth for this expansion. So, the good news is growth is
accelerating, and I think we`ll have the strongest year in 2018 of the
expansion, which is 3 percent. That`s the strongest year since the housing
market peaked back in 2005. So, that`s good as well.

The problem is, it does set us up for a bit of overheating and a bit of a
sugar high. We`re pulling growth from the future. And the question is,
how much growth are we pulling from the future and how long is it

HERERA: OK. So, what about the inflation scenario? Because that`s what
the IMF is worried about. And the Fed has mentioned it as well. Is it
kind of in the sweet spot? Or given what oil prices have been doing
lately, are we going to accelerate too fast on inflation?

SWONK: Well, in fact, Jay Powell did note oil prices, and said we`ll see
higher than the target rate of inflation that the Fed would like over the
summer, in part because of the higher oil prices. I do think we`re going
to see — my own view is that we`re going to see some overheating. The Fed
has already ratcheted up what we thought we would see this year, four rate
hikes, instead of three. And I think that`s going to be necessary.

The problem is we`re ratcheting up inflation as well due to tariffs. So,
you add all these factors together, we see pipeline inflation picking up.
The U.S. economy is a little hotter.

We like a warming trend. We just don`t want an overall hot flash that`s
really, really bad for the U.S. economy. We don`t want to fry here.

GRIFFETH: Before we let you go, I know you`re a economist not a stock
market forecaster, but is this the kin of environment where profitability
can continue to grow for corporate America? Meaning that stock prices
could continue higher.

SWONK: Well, we`re really running off the tax cuts this year that will
support profit growth along with strong revenue growth. We do have margins
narrowing a bit as we move into 2019. And that`s because wages — we are
expecting them to pick up, but also costs are picking up in the pipeline,
everything from energy prices to some of those tariff costs and the costs
of materials in general. Those are all things that happen later in a

So, it means this year is probably going to be the biggest in profit growth
over the next several years as well.

GRIFFETH: All right. There we have it. Diane Swonk with Grant Thornton,
thanks again for joining us tonight.

HERERA: Well, the economy of today is all drawing some comparisons to the
commit of the late 1990s, a period best known for the rapid rise in tech
stocks. Today as we mentioned, the Nasdaq hit a record, even as the blue
chip Dow index pulled back. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 25
points to 25,175, the Nasdaq was up 65 points, and the S&P 500 rose six.

So, should investors compare today to the late 1990s?

Mike Santoli takes a look.


1990s are appearing all over Wall Street these days. The economic and
financial markets conditions are drawing comparisons to that period when
good economic times and a technology boom culminated in a powerful bull
market that went to stunning extremes before collapsing in early 2000.

No two historical moments match up perfectly of course, but there are
plenty of echoes. An usually long economic expansion that began with tepid
growth rates finally starts to hum and nears full employment. Consumer and
business confidence readings today are near the historic highs reached in
the late `90s. The Federal Reserve is tightening, but not in a phase that
is noticeably restraining risk-taking.

A stock market dominated by big tech shares writing promises of a
glittering digital future hovers near record levels. We even have a media
merger frenzy featuring an acquisition of Time Warner (NYSE:TWX) as its
signature bold stroke, reminiscent of AOL`s bid for Time Warner (NYSE:TWX)
in early 2000.

VOICE PROMPT: You`ve got mail.

SANTOLI: With all these parallels getting some attention, it`s important
to point out several crucial differences, which together make the current
market seem less overheated and hazardous than say 1999.

For one, stocks just aren`t up as much as they were back then, and
investors` speculative energy is not as wild today. The average annual
return of the S&P 500 over the past five years is 14 percent. And over the
past 10 years, it`s 10 percent. From 1997 to 1999, the comparable gains
were twice as strong.

In 1999, there were more than 500 initials stock offerings and their
average first-day price gain was almost 70 percent. Nothing approaching
that level of speculation is evident now. And valuations today are high,
but not nearly as high as back then. The dominance affects stocks today
arguably better reflects the pervasive role in the most powerful tech
platforms in the economy and daily life.

Back then most Internet companies were flimsier operations with unproven
business models. As an example, when AOL (NYSE:AOL) reached a $200 billion
valuation in early 2000, as it agreed to merge with Time Warner (NYSE:TWX),
it had a mere 20 million subscribers, and no real earnings. Facebook
(NASDAQ:FB) at a $550 billion market value today has 2 billion users, and
last year earned $16 billion on $40 billion in revenue.

Even though the way the stock market backed off early this year after a
relatively brief phase of exuberance upside shows this to be a more
orderly, less heedless market than the very end of the 1990s. All of which
is to say if this market cycle is eventually going to become a true rerun
of the late `90s, and there`s a good chance it never will, it would have a
long way to go before getting there.



HERERA: So, although there are certainly similarities between the late
1990s and now, Mike just pointed out some stark differences.

Joining us to talk about them is Jim Paulsen, chief investment officer at
the Leuthold Group.

Good to see you, Jim. Welcome as always.


HERERA: One of the things that you point out that there are quite a few
differences, you point to productivity. Why?

PAULSEN: Well, I think that was the center of the 1990s boom, was just a
remarkable productivity boom on par with maybe what we hadn`t seen, you
know, since the post-war of `50s, `60s sort of era, driven by new era
investments at the time.

You know, we`re not seeing virtually any productivity growth. We`re
suffering in this recovery and continue to for almost report-low
productivity. And if you don`t have productivity, Sue, what that allows
you to do is it holds down those overheat pressures. If you`re closing in
on full employment, it stretches the existing labor force to be able to
produce more without causing cost to go up, and thereby without having to
raise interest rates.


PAULSEN: Without productivity, we`re starting to see some of those
inflation and interesting rate precious, which we didn`t until really late
in the 1990s.

GRIFFETH: But is there an area right now, Jim, where you see excessive
risks being taken. Back in the `90s, clearly, it was the stock market.
Before the financial collapse, it was the housing market.

What about now? Is it bitcoin or what is it?

PAULSEN: You know, Bill, that`s one of the issues today I think, is I
don`t really see the excess that would bring a recession right now. As you
say, it`s hard to see that. You also don`t have the policy, you don`t have
an inverted yield curve, or, you know, we`ve only had excessive confidence
for maybe a year.

But there are some that could be problematic. I think private on equity is
in a bigger bubble than the public equity market. There`s been a lot of
investment in that over this entire cycle, a lot more companies have gone
private. And we don`t really know much about that market. It`s sort of
less disclosure, which makes it riskier overall.

So, I do wonder a little bit about that possibility as a growing risk. We
do have, you know, still sluggish growths in many parts of the world.
Europe, for example, even emerging world slowing down that could maybe
rather than the U.S., you know, dying and (INAUDIBLE) rest of the world,
maybe this time is the other way around to some extent.

So, there is risk whenever you have a recovery approaching 10 years, but
I`ve got to admit, I don`t really see it. I think the recovery continues
for a few more years.

HERERA: On an optimistic note, we`ll leave it there, Jim. Thanks so much
for joining us.

PAULSEN: Thank you.

HERERA: Jim Paulsen with the Leuthold Group.

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

And we begin tonight with Oracle (NASDAQ:ORCL), which was downgraded to
neutral from overweight at J.P. Morgan, the analyst there cites lost
business and says companies are moving from Oracle (NASDAQ:ORCL) to —
Oracle (NASDAQ:ORCL) software to Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Microsoft
(NASDAQ:MSFT) platforms. So the price target is now $53. That stock fell
nearly 5 percent today to $45.90.

Kohl`s was downgraded to neutral from buy at Citi. The analyst there cites
concerns over weak traffic, says the stock has gotten ahead of itself after
a recent run higher. That price target is now $75. Shares fell 3 percent
to $73.28.

HERERA: Nike`s price target was raise to $82 at Wedbush Securities. And
that`s the second highest target price. The analyst cites accelerating
growth in North America. The firm maintains its outperform rating. Shares
of Nike (NYSE:NKE) rose a fraction to $74.70.

Amazon`s price target was raised as well to $2,100 by D.A. Davidson, which
implies a $1 trillion valuation for that company. The analyst cites the
potential for increased revenue from Amazon`s private label products. The
firm has a buy rating. And the stock was up 1 percent to $1,723.86.

GRIFFETH: Twenty-one hundred dollars, you`re getting into Berkshire
Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.A) territory now.

Still ahead, will the trade tensions with China come to a head tomorrow?


GRIFFETH: Late today, the Justice Department said it will not appeal that
judge`s decision to approve the $85 billion merger between AT&T (NYSE:T)
and Time Warner (NYSE:TWX). The deal could not be completed as early as

HERERA: The trade truce with China appears to be unraveling as the White
House prepares a revised list of tariffs aimed at that country.

Kayla Tausche reports for us from Washington.


with his trade advisers at the White House today to finalize the list of
Chinese products the U.S. could hit with new tariffs as soon as tomorrow.
The list is expected to include between 800 to 900 products, a fraction of
the 1,300 products originally targeted in April.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is in China to discuss next steps on North
Korea, but with a Friday deadline looming, trade is on the agenda, too.

MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: We discussed trade today. Our deficit
with China is still too high. I stress how important it is for President
Trump to rectify that situation. So, the trade becomes more balanced, more
reciprocal and more fair.

TAUSCHE: Without being asked, China`s foreign minister said he saw two
outcomes on trade, one is cooperation and win-win, the other is
confrontation and lose-lose. China will choose the first and we hope that
the U.S. will make the same sensible choice. Of course, we are well-
prepared in case America chooses the second option.

China plans to retaliate if the U.S. puts tariffs in place.

Former White House economic adviser Gary Cohn said that would hurt the

tariff battle, you will end up with price inflation. You could end up with
more consumer debt. Those are all historic ingredients for an economic
slowdown. So, I would not like to see that happen.

TAUSCHE: The two countries have been discussing a deal. Both would stand
down on tariffs, China would buy more goods to narrow the deficit and the
White House would replace a on doing business with China`s ZTE with a fine
and stricter oversight.

But the ZTE portion has hit a snag on Capitol Hill. Republican senators
moving to limit the president`s ability to offer a reprieve.

The implementation of tariffs would effectively end a one-month trade truce
that had calmed financial markets going into this week`s Singapore summit.

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


GRIFFETH: So, is there a way for investor toss protect their portfolios if
trade tensions do escalate?

Joining us tonight with his insights, David Lebovitz is global market
strategist at JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) Asset Management.

David, thanks for joining us again tonight.

thanks for having me.

GRIFFETH: Let me cut to the chase on this. We`ll look at sectors that I
guess you feel you would need to avoid if there is an escalation of trade
tensions. Those are the most sensitive for the export/import market like
the basic materials industries, right?

LEBOVITZ: Yes, exactly. So, I think that if we end up with that lose-lose
situation, what I would consider a — you know, the evolution of a trade
war, to be for both countries, we definitely want to focus more on those
domestically-oriented industries, you know, things like financials, smaller
companies as opposed to larger companies and to your point, avoid things
like basic materials, and even technology.

I mean, let`s not forget that a couple weeks ago, we were talking about the
potentially impact on tech from a rise in tariffs between the U.S. and
China. So, I think we need to be cognizant that if trade tensions begin to
escalate, you know, we could find ourselves in an environment where these
big global growth stories that have worked so well for investors over the
course of the cycle may begin to come under pressure.

HERERA: So, financials and small caps you could use, but you also say stay
away from bond proxies. Why?

LEBOVITZ: Exactly. So, when we think about the high dividend-paying parts
of the market, the bond processes, the utilities, the telecoms, the
consumer staples, you know, we do think that rates are going to keep rising
here. We obviously got some information from the Federal Reserve earlier
this week, alongside another increase in the Fed funds rate, and as was
just mentioned, you know, if we get into a trade war, the potential to pick
up is very real. Higher inflation is simply going to lead to interest
rates moving at a faster pace than we`re expecting, putting downward on
those interest rate-sensitive sectors of the equity market.

GRIFFETH: Slight pushback on technology. You know, certainly the market
is cognizant of what`s going on in trade, but yet the Nasdaq today hit
another all-time high, a pretty good rally as a matter of fact. They don`t
seem to be too worried about this.

LEBOVITZ: No, you know, investors don`t seem to be too worried about it.
I think that investors have developed a bit of a thicker skin to this trade
rhetoric over the past couple months. So, you know, I think the baseline
expectation is a more diluted set of tariffs to come out tomorrow, but I do
think that there is a bit of risk in technology, where if we do find
ourselves in a full-on trade war, that could be one of the sectors that
comes under pressure.

Again not our base case, but a risk that I think investors need to be
cognizant off, after such a strong run for those names and that sector.

GRIFFETH: David Lebovitz with JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) Asset Management, again,
thank you for joining us tonight.

LEBOVITZ: Thanks for having me.

HERERA: Crafts retailer Michael`s has one of the its worst days since its
IPO. That`s where we begin tonight`s “Market Focus”.

Investors shrugged off solid first quarter results. They focused on the
company`s lackluster sales and disappointing outlook for the current
quarter. The stock dropped 14 percent to $18.86.

A different story for to Etsy. It`s an online crafts marketplace, which
raise its full-year revenue forecast. The retailer also increased
transaction fees, angering some of the merchants, but the investors
cheered. The stocks soared 26 percent to $41.65.

Royal Caribbean is making a bet on luxury and expedition cruises by taking
a controlling stake in Silver Sea Cruise Line. The deal is valued at $1
billion. The CEO says it fills a gap in its product line. The stock was
up 5 percent to $13.50.

GRIFFETH: Elsewhere, steel producer Nucor (NYSE:NUE) said that it sees
earnings this quarter more than doubling from a year ago. The company
cited higher selling prices and stronger profits across all of its
products. Nucor (NYSE:NUE) shares rose more than 2.5 percent to $68.53

Pandora is partnering with Snapchat to give users the ability to share
songs between platforms so Pandora users will be able to send songs to
Snapchat friends and in turn those friends will be able to listen directly
on the Pandora platform. Pandora said it`s obvious it made the deal to
reach Snapchat`s massive audience. Pandora shares rose nearly 4 percent
today to $8.05. While shares of Snap were up more than 1 percent to

And after the bell tonight, PhotoShop maker Adobe reported stronger than
expected earnings, thanks to a strong performance in its digital media
business. The company also said it expects demand to remain strong in the
second half of this year as well, but shares still fell in extended
sessions and it ended the regular day down more than 2 percent to $251.50.

HERERA: Kentucky`s attorney general sued Walgreens over the opioid
epidemic. The lawsuit alleges that Walgreens played a dual role in the
crisis as both pharmacy chain and wholesale drug distributor. The Kentucky
AG says Walgreens filled massive opioid orders and it failed to report
suspicious orders to authorities. Kentucky had the third highest overdose
rate in 2015, behind West Virginia and New Hampshire.

GRIFFETH: Health care CEOs and policy makers are meeting to discuss some
of the biggest breakthroughs in their industry right now, and it`s also
trying to overcome some of the thorniest challenges.

Meg Tirrell is there in Minneapolis for us tonight.


topics of discussion among the leaders of the country`s biggest health care
companies, the Piper Jaffray Heartland Summit in Minneapolis. New
innovations in treating disease, how to contain costs and how technology is
changing the industry.

For Eli Lilly (NYSE:LLY), a major push has been Alzheimer`s disease, but
the company suffered a setback this week for one of its experimental drugs,
the latest in a long line of failures. But CEO Dave Ricks says it remains
committed to finding new Alzheimer`s medicine.

DAVE RICKS, ELI LILLY CEO: It is disappointing for patients. You know,
our heart goes out to all the partisans in these studies. They are looking
for some hope. We do have a phase 2 study going on, which is a combination
of the same type of medicine, a base inhibitor, with a plaque-specific
antibody, which will be as close as we can get to eliminating all amyloid
in the brain.

TIRRELL: Another major question about medicine is how much they cost once
they`re on the market. We spoke with Ricks about the rising costs of
insulin and how to insure every patient can access the medicine they need.

RICKS: Our net pricing is basically flat since 2009. Where is all that
money going in the middle? It`s going to negotiators in the middle, but
not to patients who are increasingly subjected to the list price and they
have to make choices like that that they shouldn`t have to make.

TIRRELL: Technology was also a key topic of discussion, from wearables to
apps-changing healthcare to the way we experience simple blood testing.

It`s something the CEO of Quest Diagnostic is focused on.

STEVE RUSCKOWSK, QUEST DIAGNOSITCS CEO: The workflow in that digital
experience is going to be in the future more likely you come to expect in
consumer space. You no longer see the clipboards, you no longer see the
paper. You just see a kiosk, and oh, by the way, you can engage with Quest
through a smart app on your phone.

TIRRELL: And, of course, many hope that new technologies will both drive
advances in medicine and help lower its cost.

For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Meg Tirrell in Minneapolis.


HERERA: Coming up, college kids are mining bitcoin and they`re doing it in
their dorm rooms.


GRIFFETH: Chicago has picked Elon Musk`s Boring Company to build a high-
speed transportation that were connecting downtown to O`Hare Airport. The
system will carry passengers through tunnels at speeds up to 150 miles per
hour and Musk, speaking alongside Chicago`s mayor said that he`s ready for
this challenge.


ELON MUSK, THE BORING COMPANY FOUNDER: One of the hardest things to do
with any new technology is not to demonstrate that technology and show that
it works, but to show people that can be indeed be useful. It`s one of the
hardest things in the world to make something useful, where the revenue
exceeds the costs of the thing that was done. This is an outstandingly
different and unappreciated thing. And that`s what we intend to do here in


GRIFFETH: That new link is expected to cut travel time down to 12 minutes.


The SEC`s point man on cryptocurrency says bitcoin is not a security, the
key to determining whether something is a security is the expectation of a
return by a third party. Under that definition, the SEC says bitcoin is
not a security, because it is decentralize and that sent bitcoin prices

GRIFFETH: So, when you think of bitcoin mining, you probably do not think
of college dorm rooms. But that`s exactly where it`s happening these days,
in large part because electricity is free, and bitcoin mining uses a lot of

Andrea Day has our story.


running. I had the window open.

in State College, and Patrick Cines had a cryptocurrency mining operation
up and running in his dorm room.

CINES: It felt like passive income because when you`re at school, it`s
still back in your dorm room making money for you.

DAY: But there was one big problem.

CINES: It was producing a ton of electricity, a ton of heat.

DAY: How hot was it?

CINES: It was unbearable.

DAY: So, he rigged this together with a few dryer tubes.

Who was footing the electricity bill?

CINES: Penn State was footing the electricity bill. I mean, I`m paying
tuition, right? Why shouldn`t I have the ability to mine in my dorm room?

DAY: Cines admits he had no idea what Penn State`s policy was. We called
the university to find out, but did not hear back.

CINES: I was like, all right, I`m going to do this. Didn`t really ask any

DAY: But some universities like Worcester Polytechnic Institute are now
making the rules very clear.

institutional resources for personal gain or for cryptocurrency.

DAY: Patricia Patria is WPI`s chief information officer, and says new
technology is making it easier to rid out miners.

Are you able to pinpoint where it`s coming from exactly?

PATRIA: Yes, we are. We can show the students their IP address, what time
they were doing it, what they were doing, and work with them.

DAY: She says most will shut down operations, if not they can lose access
to the school`s network.

What`s the potential cost if you allow this to happen?

PATRIA: It`s the electricity consumption. On average, you hear that they
cost to mine one bitcoin is about $4,000 in electricity.

DAY: And that`s not all.

PATRIA: Some of the cryptocurrency bit miners have malware installed in
them and then that could install malware on your networks.

DAY: It`s impossible to know how many dorm room crypto miners exist, but
according to Vectra`s Mike Banic, the numbers are growing, even as bitcoin
gets harder to mine. The cyber security company makes software to spot
mining, and just completed a study of schools across the U.S.

participate in our opt-in study. A hundred percent of them had crypto
mining detection.

DAY: One hundred percent with at least one case of crypto mining every

BANIC: It`s the Wild West. You`re in an environment that encouraging open
behavior, and creative thinking, entrepreneurial behavior.

DAY: And it`s not just schools. He says some offices are secret havens
for mining, tapping into company networks.

BANIC: They`re basically stealing.

DAY: Cines now works for a major tech company, and says mining at school
made him who he is today.

CINES: I think students are going to continue to be the engine that`s
fueling a lot of this growth in this space.

DAY: And he says he brought in about 10 grand during his college career.
That`s the low end for typical miners. But he says he kept his operation
to one rig to keep the noise down for his roommate.



HERERA: Before we go, here`s one more look at the day on Wall Street. The
Dow fell 25 points, the Nasdaq was up 65, and the S&P rose six.

GRIFFETH: What we said at the beginning of this week, it was going to be a
busy week in the world of business and economy. Tomorrow, it finishes it
off to AT&T (NYSE:T)/Time Warner (NYSE:TWX) closes possibly, and we get
those China`s tariffs announced. So, we should have a very busy night
tomorrow night as well.

HERERA: We are going to have a very busy show and you won`t want to miss
it. So please join us, because that`s does it for tonight. I`m Sue
Herera. Thanks for joining us.

GRIFFETH: I`m Bill Griffeth. Have a wonderful evening in the meantime.
We will see you tomorrow.


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