BILL GRIFFETH, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR: All-time high. The Nasdaq
closes at levels never seen before as key tech stocks power higher. But
what happens when those leaders start to falter?
Full steam ahead. The Fed chief says the economy is on solid footing and
investors should expect more rate hikes at least for now.
Laying the groundwork. As lumber prices rise, producers are scrambling to
hire workers and expand their business.
Those stories and much more tonight on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for this
Tuesday, July the 17th.
And we bid you good evening, everybody. Sue is off again tonight.
The hottest part of the market got a little hotter again today. Technology
stocks led the Nasdaq to yet another record close, its 24th of this year.
Among the tech giants, Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) hit another new all-time high,
Alphabet and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) also rose, but shares of Netflix
(NASDAQ:NFLX) went the other direction today down more than 5 percent after
reporting disappointing subscriber growth numbers which we told you about
When all was said and done, the Dow rose by about 55 points to 25,119. The
Nasdaq was up 49 in that record. The S&P added 11.
Now, despite the Nasdaq`s all-time high and the continued rise of the other
major averages, there are some troubling issues that threaten this bull
Mike Santoli takes a look now at the storm clouds hanging over the market.
MIKE SANTOLI, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: The stock market`s
condition is always in the eye of the beholder, while many investors have
been heartened by the recent climb to within a few percent of the record
high, the growling of market bears has only grown louder in the last six
months since the market has gone mostly sideways.
So what exactly are the bears saying to argue the market is looking shaky?
And do they have a good case?
Well, the bear`s argument on stocks often starts with bonds. The stubborn
refusal of long-term treasury yields that climb convincingly above 3
percent, even as the Federal Reserve pushes up a short-term rate and it`s a
classic leading indicator of a recession.
The fact that this economic expansion is nearly the longest in history and
trade war fears are flaring adds a bit of urgency to this observation.
Then there was the chart of the stock market`s 2018 gain of a bit more than
4 percent has been driven almost exclusively by a handful of huge tech
stocks such as Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX). There`s
also peak activity everywhere. It`s the economic momentum and corporate
profit growth is peaking as the initial tax cut boosts fade they say, even
heavy readings on corporate and small business confidence are set to
represent peak optimism.
So, do the bears have a point? While it`s true, the narrowing of yields
between short and long-term bonds is a common pattern toward the latter
part of an economic cycle, the current setup is one typically seen well
over a year ahead of a recession and some argued that long-term yields are
being pulled artificially lower by rock bottom rates in Europe and Japan
which weakens their economic signal.
As for the supposed narrowness of the stock rally, it`s true that dominant
tech leaders have accounted for more their share of this year`s gains, but
it`s not as if the rest of the market is outright weak. Small cap indexers
are up more than 10 percent and more than half of all stocks in S&P 500 are
positive on the year. As for peak growth concerns, there`s little doubt
that momentum will slip in the latter part of the year and into 2019, but
this is not unusual as the bull market matures and typically stock indexes
can avoid deeper, lasting losses so long as the economy avoids an outright
recession and companies can post even modest profit growth.
Bottom line, most of the bears are talking about are simply the typical
conditions that surfaced as an economic cycle and bull market get into a
later face. But many of these indicators have very long and uncertain lead
times when foretelling tougher times and none has a perfect record, even
then. So, even if it`s no longer early in the game, it doesn`t mean the
bull market is about to end.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Mike Santoli.
GRIFFETH: Now, Mike just mentioned the tech stocks have been pulling this
market higher. Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX), of course, has been the cornerstone
of that group, one of the best-performing stocks this year. But it was one
of the worst performers today following those disappointing subscriber
numbers. The pullback in that stock got us thinking about its importance
to the broader market and what might be next for that streaming video
Julia Boorstin picks up that part of the story for us now.
JULIA BOORSTIN, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: Netflix
(NASDAQ:NFLX) CEO Reed Hastings attributing the streaming giant`s
disappointing subscriber growth and outlook for the third quarter not to
any internal issues or to competition, but to the challenges of forecasting
and typical dips in the second quarter.
Analysts are now looking at what Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) needs to do to
justify its valuation.
BARTON CROCKETT, FBR ANALYST: The key is can they get their mojo back in
gear in the quarter that we`re in right now, the third quarter, and create
content that people care about a lot more than they did last year? You
know, last year in the second quarter, they had this show, “13 Reasons
Why”, which was hugely impactful and tons of buzz. Nothing in this quarter
came close to matching that.
BOORSTIN: But analysts are still optimistic about the potential for
expansion especially internationally. The second quarter was the first
time that international streaming revenue surpassed the revenue from
domestic subscribers, and the company says that trend will only continue.
ED LEE, NEW YORK TIMES: The growth is going to come internationally. I
think with Netflix`s numbers from yesterday, their international growth was
a little off, not off that much, so it`s not that bad.
BOORSTIN: The big question for Netflix`s future, the impact of growing
competition. Looking forward, Hastings says he expects the combined AT&T
(NYSE:T) and Warner Media and Fox and its eventual buyer, either Disney
(NYSE:DIS) or Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) (NYSE:CCS), to be more formidable
rivals, also pointing to Disney (NYSE:DIS) launching its branded streaming
service next year.
The other issue, Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) will lose some Disney (NYSE:DIS)
movies currently on the site when Disney (NYSE:DIS) launches its own
HEATH TERRY, GOLDMAN SACHS: I think they feel they`ve got to have it all,
and especially with the Disney (NYSE:DIS) relationship rolling off next
year, which has been a source of movie content for them. That`s got to
create a hole that they`ve got to fill, which is why you`re seeing them
focus on that maybe a little bit more than they have in the past.
BOORSTIN: Hasting says Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) is still growing viewing
hours among their 130 million subscribers and investing some $8 billion in
content this year to keep those subscribers hooked.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Julia Boorstin in Los Angeles.
GRIFFEN: So what does Netflix`s bump in the road mean for the high-flying
tech stocks and the broader market?
Mike Bailey is director of research at FBB Capital Partners. He joins us
tonight to talk about this.
Mike, thanks for joining us.
MIKE BAILEY, FBB CAPITAL PARTNER`S DIRECTOR OF RESEARCH: Thanks for having
GRIFFETH: The so-called FANG stocks, Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), Amazon
(NASDAQ:AMZN), Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX), Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) or what we call
Alphabet now, and maybe a couple of others, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and
Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), they`ve seen the lion share of the gains in the
market in the last several months.
Is that a good thing or a bad thing?
BAILEY: Well, I suppose that depends on your perspective. You`ve owned
some of them or all of them, that certainly has helped. If you take a
broader perspective, I think you`re always going to have a bell curve.
You`re going to have some winners and losers.
These, you know, five or six companies have been winners for a number of
years now. You know, I think we can talk about possible sort of rising
risk, if you will. You`re seeing more sort of market value get
concentrated in a few names.
BAILEY: That`s the fear side. The flipside is look at the fundamentals.
I mean, the earnings are growing like crazy. They`re really sort of
backing up investor excitement with dollars and cents. So, as long as that
continues, we do think that these names will continue to grow nicely.
GRIFFETH: But, clearly, these — it`s not lost on anybody that these
stocks are seeing good fundamentals. I mean, a lot of people feel many of
them are very expensive right now. So when you start to see maybe a little
peak in growth like where you`re maybe hinting at Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX)
here with this disappointing subscriber growth number, the question
becomes, do they go sharply lower? And when that happens, what happens to
the rest of the market?
BAILEY: Great point.
So, to kind of connect those dots, you know, we try to kind of keep it
simple and we essentially think that stocks chase earnings. So, we really
keep an eye on earnings for these companies. So, we take a look at Netflix
(NASDAQ:NFLX), for example. They`ve got a history of sort of one or two
quarters off and then five or six on.
So the question is they have one tough quarter and maybe they have another
one or so, but I think they still have a pretty good runway. So, I think
the fundamentals probably continue for them. The question is, you know,
sort of broaden that up to the rest of the market and the other FANG
The drivers are actually fairly different, I`d argue. So I think probably
maybe a slightly more bullish view would be thinking that, OK, you`ve got
fiver six FANG stocks, maybe there`s some risk in the market, but
fortunately, those risks are really divided out across different areas.
So, you`ve got media with Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX). You`ve got advertising
with the Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) or Facebook (NASDAQ:FB). You`ve got
smartphones in one hand. You got e-commerce with the Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN)
and sort of cloud computing. So, you know, a lot of different things
I do think that does help to diversify that risk out from concentrating
into the five or six names.
GRIFFETH: Are you among those who feel that eventually when the FANG
stocks kind of, you know, have peaked to some degree, that you get
leadership from other groups, the financials, the energy, the industrials.
You know, some of other usual suspects, if you will?
BAILEY: Absolutely. So, I think the key question here is what`s the rest
of the economy doing? So, if we`re — if the economy is running a little
hot right now we, that might slow down over the last year or so, and if the
economy is still running let`s say two-ish percent, you can see some nice
growth, energy and financials, industrials, some other areas. However,
you`re just probably not going to see another group of mega-cap companies
doing what the FANGs are doing.
I can`t think of any other sort of traditional, either blue chip or sort of
high growth, industrial or financial companies that`s got really the kind
of upside that the FANGs do. But you could have a company, you know, for
example, with health care sort of boring staples, defensive health care.
UnitedHealth, it`s the second largest health care company in the world,
they`re growing pretty nicely.
So, you could certainly have some growth, call it 20, 25 percent. You
might not have the 80 percent or 90 percent growth like Netflix
(NASDAQ:NFLX) and Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN). It`s still pretty compelling.
GRIFFETH: Indeed. Mike, I enjoyed the conversation. Mike Bailey with FBB
Capital, thanks for joining us tonight.
BAILEY: Thanks for having me.
GRIFFETH: A lot of earnings out. Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) was the
best-performing stock in the Dow today after we reported better than
expected results fueled by the company`s pharmaceutical and medical device
businesses and results from J&J`s consumer unit were weak, but that`s not
worrying the company`s CFO.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSEPH WOLK, JOHNSON & JOHNSON CFO: It`s a business that we have strong
plans for in the second half with the re-launch of not only the baby
brands, but also a number of new product introductions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRIFFETH: Overall, the investors like the report and the stock is up 3.5
percent in today`s trading.
Shares of UnitedHealth that Mike just mentioned, they moved in the opposite
direction. The nation`s largest health insurer fell more than 2 percent,
making it the worst performer in the Dow today. This despite a double-
digit rise in profit and an upbeat outlook.
As Bertha Coombs explains, it all comes down to costs.
BERTHA COOMBS, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: UnitedHealth saw
membership growth across its Medicare, Medicaid and commercial insurance
plans, as well as its awesome data, medical care and pharmacy benefit
But some unit revenues during the quarter were not as strong as analyst
estimates while medical costs were a little higher than expected.
That doesn`t worry United investor Les Funtleyder.
LES FUNTLEYDER, E SQUARED ASSET MANAGEMENT: It was negligible, but we`re
so used to United beating numbers that when they didn`t quite beat numbers,
I think people got nervous.
COOMBS: But CEO David Wichmann assured investors on the company`s earnings
call he feels United should be doing better especially when it comes to
technology to make life easier for members.
DAVID WICHMANN, UNITEDHEALTH GROUP CEO: By most measures, you know,
there`s nothing wrong. I don`t want to leave you with that point of view,
but by most measures, the company of a capacity that this one has, I just
believe we should be able to move faster with greater speed and agility to
respond to emerging market demand for these kinds of services.
COOMBS: He pointed to the growth of United`s rally help digital platform
which helps members find cost savings and earn rewards for maintaining
wellness, all via mobile.
WICHMANN: My view is we need to get these into the hands of consumers
faster and make a bigger difference on health — the effectiveness of
health systems and the health of people.
COOMBS: As consumer tech giants like Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) moved on to
health care through accusations like PillPack, health plans are
increasingly feeling the pressure.
FUNTLEYDER: That`s because health care is becoming consumer-oriented,
either because of Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) or in spite of Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN).
And so, to the extent that it helps all of these businesses become more
consumer-friendly, I`m all for it.
COOMBS: Notably, one potential challenge United did not mention was the
Trump administration`s proposed drug price reforms, with proposals still in
the common period. Analysts say new rules that might impact the pharmacy
benefit`s business are still likely several months away.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Bertha Coombs.
GRIFFETH: And yet another Dow component, Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), had
another blowout quarter. Profit surged by 40 percent, exceeding analysts`
estimates. Revenue was better than expected in every major business unit
except trading, but the stock slipped slightly after Goldman said that the
legal and regulatory costs rose during the quarter.
Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) also made it official what we have been reporting,
namely that David Solomon would take over as CEO on October 1st. One of
his challenges would be to continue to focus Goldman`s most famous
business, deal-making, while also expanding the firm`s newest business, its
Time to take a look at today`s upgrades and downgrades with Dow component
Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) leading the way. It was downgraded to in line from
outperform at Evercore ISI and the analyst cited rising competition from
Nvidia and AMD. The price target is now $54 with the stock down a fraction
today at $51.75.
Goodyear Tire was given a rare sell rating by Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS). The
analyst cited an increase in raw material prices and price target now $18
and shares fell more than 1 percent to $22 even today.
Tribune was upgraded to overweight from equal weight at Stephens. The
analyst there is dismissing those new FCC concerns about Tribune`s proposed
merger with Sinclair broadcasting. This analyst feels the deal will still
close in its current form. Price target: $45. The stock rose more than 3
percent to $33.32.
Still ahead, an industry that is breaking new ground as it builds upon new
GRIFFETH: Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell told lawmakers that
strong economic growth should keep the Central Bank on track to gradually
raise short-term interest rates. He made those comments before the Senate
Banking Committee as part of his semiannual report to Congress.
And our Steve Liesman was there.
STEVE LIESMAN, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: Fed Chairman Jerome
Powell telling Congress that the best way to keep the U.S. economy growing
is to continue raising interest rates. In his semiannual testimony before
the Senate, Powell gave a solid outlook for the U.S. economy saying the job
market is strong, unemployment will fall further in the months ahead and
inflation has more or less hit the Fed`s 2 percent target.
JEROME POWELL, FED CHAIRMAN: I think gradually raising rates is the way
for us to extend this expansion. Nothing hurts working families and people
at the margin of the labor markets more than a recession.
LIESMAN: And Powell said wages were not rising fast enough yet to cause an
inflation concern. That was something of a dovish comment. He added there
is room for wages to growth without sparking inflation. Powell said it was
too soon for the tax cuts from last year to be helping wages right now and
the ultimate effects of all of the fiscal policy, the tax cuts and
additional spending will be hard to gauge. Overall, he said though, the
tax cuts have had a positive impact on the economy.
Though Powell tried to steer clear of direct comments on the trade
controversy because he likes to stay away from politics, he did offer
something of a generic warning.
POWELL: In general, countries that have remained open to trade that
haven`t erected barriers, including tariffs, have grown faster. They have
higher incomes, higher productivity and countries that have — you know,
going into a more protectionist direction have done worse. I think that`s
the empirical result.
LIESMAN: Powell said there have already been some reports of businesses
canceling or delaying capital spending plans because of the tariffs. But
he held out hope that better trade agreements can ultimately come from the
process. He`ll sit before the House tomorrow in day two of his testimony.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Steve Liesman in Washington.
GRIFFETH: By the way, the Fed chair also made the case for housing finance
reform. Mr. Powell said he thinks it`s important in the long run that the
housing finance system get off the government`s balance sheet. As you may
remember, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were taken into conservatorship during
the financial crisis a decade ago.
Speaking of housing, home builder sentiment remains steady, even as the
cost of materials rise. Lumber prices for one have risen sharply after the
U.S. imposed those duties on Canadian lumber last year and that has spurred
domestic lumber producers to expand production.
Diana Olick is in Dover (NYSE:DOV)-Foxcroft, Maine for us tonight.
DIANA OLICK, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: In the woods of
Central Maine, pleasant river lumber is moving a lot of logs. Cutting
lumber day and night as the company`s co-president, Jason Brochu, lays the
groundwork for big expansion.
JASON BROCHU, PLEASANT VALLEY LUMBER CO-PRESIDENT: We`re more confident
our industry and in the economy and in the housing market.
OLICK: And in the value of his commodity. Framing lumber shot up 50
percent in the first half of this year to a record high. As a perfect
storm swirled around Canadian supply, forest fire, a transportation
shortage and new duties imposed on the U.S. on Canadian lumber.
ROBERT DIETZ, NAHB CHIEF ECONOMIST: In 2017, we expect the tariffs to
increase by about 1,300, 1,400. It`s gone way beyond that. Right now, the
current impact is about $7,500.
OLICK: A blow to the bottom line of home builders and buyers, but a boon
to U.S. lumber producers.
BROCHU: The duties that are in place, that`s given us a level of
confidence that we didn`t have before that we have a level playing field.
OLICK: Brochu said he`s putting $20 million into his business, planning to
expand production by 50 percent in the next two years and adding about 40
more workers to the 300 he already employs.
The Canadian lumber duties are giving U.S. producers both the capital and
the confidence to increase production, but there is one thing they cannot
grow in these forests and that is steel.
The U.S. just slapped new tariffs on Chinese steel, aluminum and machine
parts, increasing the cost to expand mills like this one. Brochu claims
he`s not worried.
BROCHU: It`s not a factor in our decision making. You know, we`re not
looking ahead saying oh, gee, stuff might be more expensive. We better
hold back. You know, we feel that — you know, confident that we`ll be
able to put in the equipment we need at the price we need to put it in and
expand and grow and we`re going to do that.
OLICK: Lumber prices have been rising for a year, but so far, saw mill
employment and production are both flat.
DIETZ: We`ve seen a couple of percent increase in the volume of lumber
production in the United States, but it`s not keeping up with the demand,
particularly the growth in single family construction.
OLICK: Which means American homebuilders won`t see much relief in the
short term even as U.S. lumber producers take “made in America” to a whole
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Diana Olick in Dover (NYSE:DOV)-Foxcroft,
GRIFFETH: United Continental raises its full-year earnings forecast and
that is where we begin tonight`s “Market Focus”.
After the bell, the airline reported better-than-expected results thanks to
adding more flights and in turn, that was raising its profit outlook, but
United also said that rising fuel costs would cause it to trim its capacity
growth estimates for 2018. Shares were initially higher in the after
hours. They finished the regular day up a fraction at $72.62.
Also out after the bell tonight, railroad operator CSX (NYSE:CSX) delivered
earnings and revenue that topped expectations. CSX (NYSE:CSX) said the
cost cuts helped it bring its operating ratio down to a level it had hoped
to reach by 2020, so it`s early. CSX (NYSE:CSX) shares initially took off
in the extended session. They ended the regular day up a fraction to
Higher inflows and a rise in trading revenue helped Charles Schwab`s
profits rise at a faster than expected clip. Total revenue at the
brokerage also picked up and topped estimates. Shares rose more than 3.5
percent to $52.88.
Omnicom Group (NYSE:OMC) said that strength in Europe wasn`t enough to
offset a loss of several clients in its domestic business. As a result,
the ad agency reported weaker than expected sales growth and warned that
revenue could still be pressured in the coming months. Shares were off
more than 9 percent to $70.69 today.
Also late today, Texas Instruments (NYSE:TXN) saying CEO and president
Brian Crutcher has resigned after it was revealed that he had violated the
company`s code of conduct. That`s all we know about it. The technology
company said the current chairman will take over as chief executive and
president and will continue to serve as chairman as well. Shares were
lower after hours on that news, but they did end the regular session higher
by 1 percent to $115.80.
Coming up, it`s fast, it`s furious, it`s one of the rarest cars around.
GRIFFETH: Four states sued the federal government today to avoid the new
cap on the federal deduction for state and local taxes. The states are New
York, Connecticut, Maryland and New Jersey. They say the $10,000 cap
disproportionately harms high-tax states and depresses home prices,
spending and job economic growth. The lawsuit comes seven months after the
president signed into law that $1.5 trillion tax overhaul that included the
It is the most expensive car in the world and the first one to come off the
assembly line was delivered today to a man who bought it sight unseen.
Robert Frank was there.
ROBERT FRANK, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: Well, imagine buying
a car without ever driving it or seeing it and imagine that car cost $1.3
million. Sound nuts?
Well, Michael Fux admits he`s more than a little car crazy.
MICHAEL FUX, COMFORT REVOLUTION FOUNDER: Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Congratulations.
FUX: Thank you.
FRANK: Today, Michael was the first in the world to receive the new
million dollar super car from McLaren. It`s called the Senna and it sold
out before it was even launched. They`re only making 500 and we were there
as it rolled off the truck and Michael got his first look at his new ride.
FUX: Seeing the car. Wow! That`s all I can say is wow.
FRANK: The ceremonial car delivery has become a new battleground for the
world`s ultra luxury car company. Most of us just get a key and free
rubber mats from the dealership, but super car companies are staging
elaborate events with celebrity, social media campaigns and top executives
there for the handoff.
Michael is one of the top car collectors in the country with over 140 cars,
and he has the ultimate American dream story. He emigrated from Cuba at
15, started selling used tires in Newark, New Jersey, and eventually
launched and sold more than half a dozen company, earning the title as the
Mattress King from founding Sleep Innovation and the Comfort Revolution.
Now, he said buying cars is not about status but about creating one of a
kind colors and interiors that he considers works of art that will
appreciate in value. The color for his new green machine came from a pair
of emerald green shoes.
FUX: I love to create my own colors. I love to create my own combination
and I get great satisfaction when I see the end result.
You know, many times people say to me, you`re nuts. It`s not going to look
right in that color and then they see the car and they flip out.
FRANK: The super car market remains super strong especially in the U.S.
But producers from Ferrari to Bugatti and McLaren are all concerned about
the potential impact of auto tariffs.
TONY JOSEPH, MCLAREN NORTH AMERICAN PRESIDENT: We`re kind of in a wait and
see position right now, so we can`t really comment on that until we
actually understand more what`s going to happen. And we`re hopeful that it
doesn`t transition into something.
FRANK: Of course, for Michael Fux another $200,000 isn`t likely to slow
his car habit.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Robert Frank.
GRIFFETH: And finally tonight, the richest person in modern history is now
Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) CEO Jeff Bezos. His net worth topped $150 billion for
the first time yesterday. That`s about $55 billion more than what
Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) co-founder Bill Gates is currently worth.
According to Bloomberg, that makes Bezos richer than anyone else since at
least 1982 when those figures were first collected.
And today, as we mentioned, Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) closed at yet another
record, so his wealth continues to go higher.
Before we go, another look at the day on Wall Street. Gains across the
board with the Dow up 55, the Nasdaq had a new record, the S&P up 11.
That is NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT. I`m Bill Griffeth. Enjoy the rest of the
evening. We`ll see you tomorrow.
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