Transcript: Nightly Business Report – July 27, 2018

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

at its fastest pace in four years. And some say it can expand even faster.

shares tumbled on reports of alleged misconduct by CEO Les Moonves, a man
considered a titan in the broadcast business.

HERERA: Open house. One of the most visible marketing tools in real
estate is getting its first makeover in more than a century.

Those stories and more tonight on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for Friday, July

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

In case you haven`t noticed, the economy is firing on all cylinders right
now. A new report out today said that second quarter growth came in at 4.1
percent. That`s nearly doubled the first quarter`s rate and the strongest
pace we`ve seen since 2014. Consumer spending bounced back during the
quarter, business investment picked up.

So, now, investors are wondering if the economy has entered a new era of
faster growth.

Steve Liesman takes a look for us.


came in at a strong 4.1 percent for the second quarter, the best number in
four years and barely an hour after it was released, President Trump took a
victory lap on the South Lawn.

sustainable. This isn`t a one-time shot. I happen to think we`re going to
do extraordinarily well in our next report next quarter. I think it`s
going to be outstanding.

LIESMAN: Some observers concur that these strong numbers can keep growing.
The GDP report showed strong growth in consumer spending and business
investment, along with government spending driven especially by defense
outlays. But there`s also a bump from trade that some economists think
came from foreign buyers purchasing U.S. products before tariffs drove up
their price.

how that of this number was going to be sort of, you know, soybeans is
going to be the trade stuff, how much is going to be sort of a kind of
sugary stimulus stuff. I think we saw that in the consumer numbers.

LIESMAN: There`s little doubt that growth is strong, but few economists
think the economy has the stamina to keep doing laps at 4 percent annual



HERERA: Let`s turn now to Joe Bruselas for more on the economy. He is
chief economist with RSM.

Good to see you, Joe. Welcome back.

JOE BRUSELAS, RSM CHIEF ECONOMIST: Good to see you. Thank you.

HERERA: I guess that is the question. Is this type of growth sustainable?

BRUSELAS: Well, not at 4.1 percent, it`s not. You`re going to see the
economy continue to grow just under 3 percent probably for at least the
next quarter or two. We`ll pick up in the last quarter of the year and
finish just above 3 percent for the entire year of 2018. You know what the
best news was about this, was the way consumption picked up.

It`s very clear that individuals at the lower end of the income ladder are
beginning to spend. We`re starting to see classic late cycle business
dynamics and this is good news. It`s been a long time since the economy
has grown like this. Everybody should enjoy it.

HERERA: Yes, the tight labor market certainly helps in that area. But we
are — just this week, we heard from a number of companies that talked
about higher costs related to the tariffs that we`re seeing being imposed
right now. That`s going to take a toll at some point in consumption.
Don`t you think?

BRUSELAS: Well, that`s right. So later this year, early 2019, you`re
going to see the impact of a trade conflict. In fact you saw sort of a
counter-intuitive impact in today`s number. One of the reasons why the
growth was so strong was a full 1 percentage point. Contribution was via
the export channel, primarily the Chinese mopping up every single commodity
they could before the trade conflict commenced.

HERERA: So where does this put the Fed at this point? Because we do have
another Fed meeting coming up next week. If growth is that hot, do they
have to be more aggressive? Or if it`s going to cool down, can they stand
pat? What do you think?

BRUSELAS: Well, I think that, A, they have to watch what going on in
policy world especially around the trade conflict. There`s no need to pick
up the pace.

I think two rate hikes and 25 basis points this year is entirely
appropriate, and three next year. When we get to the middle of next year,
in June, that`s when the Fed is going to have to make a very difficult
decision on just how long do they want to keep the rate hike campaign in

GRIFFETH: And inflation, what do you see there?

BRUSELAS: Well, so, the consumer price index is sitting around 2.9
percent. I expect it to rise a little bit and then ease back to just
around 2.7 to 2.8. Inflation is going to be quiescent. But if the trade
conflict accelerates, we want to revisit that forecast. And you`re going
to be looking at much higher inflation in 2019.

HERERA: And a lot of people are pointing to the tariff situation, and if
it goes on for a long time, that that might be one of the tipping points
that brings that recession word back into play. Would you agree with that
or not?

BRUSELAS: Well, quoting the R-word is a bit premature from my point of

But the steel and aluminum tariffs in place right now, for every one job
that it creates in the steel and aluminum industry, you lose five in other
industries. This is something that we`ll want to watch with respect to
growth because, you know, it`s been over seven decades since we`ve had a
true trade war. And given the integration of what are called global supply
and value change, it`s difficult to accurately measure how this particular
trade conflict is going to impact our new globalized economy.

HERERA: Joe, thank you so much.

BRUSELAS: Thank you.

HERERA: Joe Bruselas with RSM.


GRIFFETH: So, on Wall Street, the strong report on the economy was not
enough to offset a decline in technology shares. Dow component Intel
(NASDAQ:INTC) fell sharply today, down more than 8 percent following that
disappointing earnings report we told you about last night. And Twitter
shares fell even more, down more than 20 percent today after it reported a
decline in active users. We`ll have more about that later.

The Dow fell 76 points to 25,451, the Nasdaq down 114 today, the S&P lost
18. For the week the Dow is the big winner, up about 1-1/2 percent, while
the Nasdaq was down 1 percent.

HERERA: A climb in the price of oil in the second quarter wasn`t enough to
drive earnings at two of the world`s largest oil producers. Dow components
Exxon and Chevron (NYSE:CVX) both reported disappointing profits but for
different reasons. Jackie DeAngelis explains.


energy companies reported this morning and the results were mixed leaving a
murky picture for Wall Street on what to expect next. Exxon and Chevron
(NYSE:CVX) missed this morning. The bar was high and it wasn`t met.

Exxon blamed its miss on refinery maintenance cost, the downstream
business. Its capital expenditure surged but those costs were not offset.
The company said that oil prices alone would have helped to boost earnings
by a billion dollars.

maintenance. It goes in peaks and troughs. We take these turnarounds on
these refineries different times. They come every several years. And we
just had a peak in the second quarter.

So, it was a large amount, we had several refineries down. And, of course,
you get double impact when refineries are down. First of all, you lose the
volume at these strong margins. That`s the big in earnings and these are
big maintenance activities. And so, you spend a lot of operating expense.

DEANGELIS: Meantime, Chevron (NYSE:CVX) said profits doubled from a year
ago, but it also saw weakness in refining. Interest expenses had a higher
impact than previous quarters. And even though the country said it would
start returning cash to shareholders and buying back stock, its shares saw
a drop as well.

PATRICIA YARRINGTON, CHEVRON: For an apples to apples comparison,
underlying cash generation improved between the first and second quarter by
about $500 million. This improvement reflects at higher Brent prices of
about $7.50 per barrel, and higher WTI prices of about $5 per barrel. And
our upstream realizations did not fully capture increase in global oil
prices largely due to portfolio mixed effects surrounding the brand WTI

DEANGELIS: Oil giant ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) led the pack earlier in the
week. Profits beat expectations. Higher oil and natural gas prices were
helpful during the quarter as oil was hovering close to $70 a barrel.

Conoco`s guidance was also upbeat. The company bumped its capital
expenditures, a sign that its business and the market are strong, it also
raised production expectation. But when Exxon and Chevron (NYSE:CVX) are
down, they take the sector with them.

The issue going forward if higher oil prices weren`t the answer for big oil
this quarter, what will happen after August when seasonally prices dip and
the environment isn`t as favorable? Analysts are bracing for big oil to
continue to struggle.

And even more questions as BP agreed to buy $10.5 billion in shale assets
from BHP Billiton (NYSE:BHP), a good time to sell at a high price but will
that investment pay off in the near term for BP?



GRIFFETH: Meanwhile, fellow Dow component Merck (NYSE:MRK) topped earnings
forecast and raised its guidance, and it was one product in particular that
helped power that drug giant`s profits.

Meg Tirrell has that story for us.


Merck`s strong quarter, the cancer drug Keytruda, whose sales rose almost
90 percent to $1.7 billion. First approved in 2014, the medicine is now
FDA cleared to treat nine different kinds of cancer from lungs to lymphoma
to melanoma. It was for that type of cancer that Keytruda was famously
used to treat former President Jimmy Carter and credited in late 2015 with
helping to shrink the tumors in his brain.

JIMMY CARTER, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: This week, they didn`t find any
cancer at all. So —

TIRRELL: Keytruda is part of the new wave of cancer treatment known as
immunotherapy. Some cancer cells have the ability to hide from the body`s
immune system, but drugs like Keytruda and others like Bristol-Myers`
Opdivo unveiled cancer cells so that our natural immune defenses can

Merck (NYSE:MRK) and Bristol-Myers have been locked in head-to-head battle
for immunotherapy dominance. And today, for the first time, Merck`s
Keytruda posted higher quarterly sales.

DAMIEN CONOVER, MORNINGSTAR: We think Opdivo and Keytruda are very
similar. However, Keytruda was able to show very strong efficacy in lung
cancer. Again, one of the largest indications in oncology and that`s
really pushed Keytruda ahead.

TIRRELL: And while Keytruda has improved outcomes in many different kinds
of cancer, it hasn`t worked in any clinical trial. And it doesn`t work for
every patient.

In a trial of about 300 patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer,
45 percent of those taking Keytruda saw their tumors shrink compared to 28
percent on chemotherapy. And like any medicine, it doesn`t come without
side effects. In this case, the concern immune system may attack other
parts of the body such as organs. And Keytruda carries a price tag of more
than $12,000 a month or as much as $150,000 a year.

For Merck (NYSE:MRK), the drug has been such a success Wall Street wonders
if the pharmaceutical giant could be too dependent on it for growth.

Morningstar (NASDAQ:MORN) analyst Damien Conover though sees Keytruda going
to sales of $15 billion a year by 2022.



HERERA: As you know by now, it was a very busy week for earnings. And as
Bob Pisani reports, a few key issues have emerged.


point for second quarter earnings. And there`s several trends that are
already coming into focus. Even with high-profile misses from the likes of
Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), earnings and revenues for the second quarter are
higher than expected and estimates for the third quarter are holding up and
that is good news. Earnings growth is running above 22 percent and
revenues up almost 9 percent.

There`s several sub-trends that are apparent so far. First, companies that
are missing the numbers largely because of higher cost are mostly those
companies exposed to the steel and aluminum tariffs like General Motors
(NYSE:GM) or Whirlpool (NYSE:WHR). Second, there`s a split between those
who can afford to raise prices due to the higher cost and those who can`t,
like Colgate and Palmolive who reported this morning. Those who can`t face
margin erosion, that`s a problem.

Third, not all the raised guidance is the same. Some companies provided
higher guidance. That`s a good thing, but often, it was not enough to
impress investors. Just look at Boeing (NYSE:BA) and Northrop Grumman
(NYSE:NOC). Next, the dollar is becoming more of an issue. Many companies
with large operations overseas, like Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO), General Motors
(NYSE:GM), they mention the dollar strength as a potential headwind.

Finally, there`s growing concerns that tech and social media profits might
take a hit from higher regulatory cost, particularly in Europe where
there`s new data protection regulations that are now in effect. This is an
issue for Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), was an issue for Alphabet, an issue for
Spotify and for Twitter.

And while everybody is focused on tariffs, it`s the tax cuts that really
matter. That`s one of the things powering the markets.

The bottom line is the overall market is holding up well because of revenue
growth, tax cuts, and no cuts to earnings in the third and fourth quarter.

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


GRIFFETH: And it`s time to take a look at some of today`s upgrades and
downgrades right now.

Analysts at just about every major Wall Street bank and brokerage issued a
report on Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) today. Many hiked their price targets
including JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) which upped its target to $2,200 on that
stock. The analyst there cited Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) significant profit
growth that we saw in the second quarter following that earnings report
last night. The rating remains at overweight. And today`s shares closed
at $1,817.20, up half a percent.

Meanwhile, Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) was downgraded by a couple firms including
Citi, which cut its rating to neutral from buy. The analyst there cited a
host of margin headwinds after Intel`s disappointing earnings report.
Price target: $50. Today, Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) finished at $46.68, down
more than 8 percent in today`s trade.

HERERA: Juniper Networks (NYSE:JNPR) downgraded to market perform from
outperform at BMO Capital markets. The analyst cites problems with
Juniper`s cloud business following the company`s disappointing revenue and
margin guidance. Price target is $27. Today, Juniper dropped $2 to

Mattel (NASDAQ:MAT) was upgraded to neutral from underperform at D.A.
Davidson. The analyst cites possibility of takeover of Mattel
(NASDAQ:MAT). The price target is $14. Mattel (NASDAQ:MAT) lost a couple
of pennies today to close at $15.58.

GRIFFETH: Still ahead, CBS`s board investigates the CEO and the stock


HERERA: CBS (NYSE:CBS) shareholders got a surprise today, a report
released by “New Yorker” alleges sexual misconduct by CEO Les Moonves, who
was credited with helping make CBS (NYSE:CBS) a TV juggernaut.

CBS (NYSE:CBS) put out a statement saying, quote: All allegations of
personal misconduct are to be taken seriously. The independent directors
of CBS (NYSE:CBS) have committed to investigating claims that violate the
company`s clear policies in that regard, end quote. And the shares

Julia Boorstin with a look at why the reaction was sharp and steep.


investigation into CEO Les Moonves comes as the company is in the midst
with legal battle with its and Viacom`s controlling shareholder Shari
Redstone`s National Amusements. After she advocated for combination of the
two companies, CBS (NYSE:CBS) led by Moonves sued to issue a special
dividend, additional shares, to dramatically dilute Redstone`s controlling
stake to prevent a forced merger.

Redstone sued back, saying the company has no right to eliminate National
Amusements of voting control. On today`s news of investigation into
Moonves, which could threaten his leadership, Viacom (NYSE:VIA) shares
moved higher and CBS (NYSE:CBS) shares moved lower, on the perception that
CBS`s board investigation could threaten Moonves`s leadership of CBS
(NYSE:CBS), making it more likely that a merger between CBS (NYSE:CBS) and
Viacom (NYSE:VIA) happened.

Moonves has been lauded for his leadership of CBS (NYSE:CBS) since it split
from Viacom (NYSE:VIA) back on January 1st, 2006. In that 12-1/2 years,
Moonves bucked expectations that CBS (NYSE:CBS) would be the slower growing
of the companies, diversifying the company away from reliance on
advertising and growing feeds from cable providers and digital revenues.
CBS (NYSE:CBS) shares have surged since then.

In contrast, Viacom (NYSE:VIA) shares are in the red over that same period,
as its networks struggled with declining ratings and ad revenue. The
studio suffered a number of years without massive breakout hits.

MATT BELLONI, THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER: Not only is Les Moonves one of the
last old school Hollywood moguls. He is perhaps the most closely
identified CEO with his company of all media companies. He is CBS
(NYSE:CBS) and CBS (NYSE:CBS) is Les Moonves. So, for there to be any
change at that company, if he leaves or demoted or whatever happens, that
would be gigantic for CBS (NYSE:CBS).

BOORSTIN: And Cowen analyst saying that if the claims turn out to have
merit, they would expect Moonves to be forced to step down, increasing the
likelihood that Redstones prevail in combining CBS (NYSE:CBS) and Viacom
(NYSE:VIA), warming that Viacom (NYSE:VIA) shareholders would not reap a
substantial premium and that, quote, the effect on CBS (NYSE:CBS) as a
business would be somewhat shattering with several other key executives
likely leaving.

Now, it`s not just Les Moonves`s future that hangs in the balance, but that
of CBS (NYSE:CBS) and Viacom (NYSE:VIA) shareholders as well.

For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Julia Boorstin in Los Angeles.


GRIFFETH: Disney (NYSE:DIS) gets green light from shareholders to buy 21st
Century Fox assets. And that`s where we begin tonight`s “Market Focus”.

Shareholders of both companies voted to approve the more than $71 billion
deal that gives Disney (NYSE:DIS) control over Fox`s entertainment
properties and a minority stake in Sky. The approval comes after months of
uncertainty with Disney (NYSE:DIS) and Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) (NYSE:CCS),
at one point engaging in a bidding war which ended when Comcast
(NASDAQ:CMCSA) (NYSE:CCS) declined to top Disney`s last offer. Shares of
Disney (NYSE:DIS) were off a fraction to $112.62. Twenty-First Century Fox
off slightly to $45.15.

Meanwhile, Charter Communications (NASDAQ:CHTR) may be in jeopardy having
it`s merger agreement with Time-Warner Cable pulled. The New York State
Public Service Commission has voted to revoke its approval of that 2016
deal alleging that charter did not make good on its promise to expand high-
speed broadband network access in New York. Charter also risks losing its
authorization to operate in the state. Shares of Charter fell fractionally
today to $286.29.

And Twitter`s earnings may have matched estimates and revenue was a beat,
but all the focus was on that decline in monthly active users. The social
media platform lost 1 million users in the quarter and said that it expects
additional declines as well. The company attributed the drop to new
privacy regulations in Europe and to its efforts to clean up the platform.
It`s also forecasting a weaker than expected profit for the current
quarter. Twitter shares plunging 20 percent today to $34.12.

HERERA: Goodyear Tire topped earnings expectations and said it gained
market share this past quarter. The tire maker also said higher material
cost and strong dollar would cost operating income for the year to come in
lower than initially thought. But investors didn`t seem to care. They
sent the shares up more than 9 percent to $23.15.

And AbbVie said a rise in sales for its drugs helped earnings top
expectations. The company also raised its full year guidance, but that
news was overshadowed by concerns that the company`s key arthritis
treatment is experiencing slower sales growth. Shares of AbbVie were off 3
percent to $90.56.

GRIFFETH: Now to our weekly market monitor who is looking at stocks that
he says are the nuts and bolts of the economic recovery that also provides
stability in this current market. This is his first time as a market
monitor. He`s been with us before for us.

He`s Quint Tatro, president and portfolio manager at Joule Financial.

Quint, welcome back. Thanks for joining us.

It`s great to be here.

GRIFFETH: And we begin with a company that literally makes nuts and bolts
for this economy, Fastenal (NASDAQ:FAST). Why do you like that?

TATRO: Well, it`s exactly right. You opened with a great phrase. If you
want to own the nuts and bolts of economy that`s growing at 4.1 percent,
which is incredible, you own the company that makes the nuts and bolts.

This is a company that is what we would call a growth at a reasonable
price. So, they are growing the business and the market is not yet pricing
it at a level that is really out of reach. In addition, the company had
some very unique ways of increasing their sales, they`re moving to on site
locations. Actually, get this, operating vending machines that disburse
these nuts and bolts for many of their customers.

In addition, the stock yields about 2.75 percent in a healthy dividend,
attractive balance sheet, it`s a great company.

HERERA: Steel Dynamics (NASDAQ:STLD) is your next pick. You say it also
has a healthy balance sheet, strong top and bottom line growth. But we`ve
heard a lot about steel and tariffs. Are they susceptible or vulnerable to
any of that?

TATRO: They are. There`s no question about that. I don`t think that
should scare our audience. The rising steel prices are obviously going to
impact those that buy steel for their material — for their products and
then have to pass that on. Steel Dynamics (NASDAQ:STLD) is the seller of
that steel. So, they are benefactor of a rise in steel price, whether that
comes from tariffs and trade disagreements or it comes from economic

The company doubled its earnings per share and won`t get too crazy in fancy
numbers here, but they are only selling it 10 times forward earnings.
That`s very, very cheap for a company that has just recently doubled their
earnings per share this year.

GRIFFETH: And then, finally, to your stability play we mentioned, that`s
Pfizer (NYSE:PFE). Why that company?

TATRO: Well, you`ve got to have some sleeping well at night stocks in your
portfolio. As you know, we`re very actually concerned about this market in
the short to intermediate term. So, I think defense is key. And Pfizer
(NYSE:PFE) is a great defensive play.

As with all of our stocks tonight, the stock is not expensive. As far as
the valuation, which is very important, it`s irregardless of price, we want
to look at valuation. But here`s what`s key about Pfizer (NYSE:PFE). With
a very, very attractive balance sheet, the company is yielding 3.65 percent
in a dividend and has a very stocked pipeline for future growth.

So, this is a great defensive name to get good income and probably upside
appreciation over time.

GRIFFETH: Very good. Clint, always good to see you. Thank you. Have a
great weekend.

TATRO: You, too.

GRIFFETH: Quint Tatro with Joule Financials.

And to read more about his picks, you can head to our Website at

HERERA: Coming up, connecting the “for sale” sign to the digital world.


HERERA: One of the oldest staples selling real estate is about to get a
major makeover to bring it into the digital age.

Diana Olick has the story tonight from Washington.


visible, most effective and most mundane marketing tool in all of real
estate, the “for sale” sign. It hasn`t changed in over a century until

sign it`s connected, intelligent, illuminating.

OLICK: Yes, it`s a new sign, it lights up. Compass Brokerage, a new kid
on the real estate block is disrupting the old sign with high-tech,
interactive smart model soon to be available to all of its approximately
5,000 agents.

SPANGLER: We wanted to really consider creating the ecosystem that makes
Compass so powerful, which is a combination of data and software and
hardware that can help really deliver something of value for our agents and
their clients.

OLICK: The sign will light up when anything comes within a 20 foot radius.
If you have the Compass app on your phone it will send you a notification
about the property and will, of course, connect you with the compass agent.
The sign can also direct potential buyers to the house through the Waze
navigation app.

SPANGLER: We got beacon technology, Bluetooth technology and also motion
sensors. We see the sign as a part of a connected ecosystem of devices
managing the sale of homes in the future. And, you know, everything from
open house management to digital lockboxes.

OLICK: The sign is definitely disrupting the industry but will it disrupt
neighbors especially if it starts lighting up at 3:00 a.m. And given all
the expensive technology in the sign, it could be more likely to get

SPANGLER: We don`t believe that the signs will be stolen. You can
customize these various boards.

OLICK: But he did add that agents who will pay about 500 bucks for each
one will also have insurance on them. The risk is perhaps a small price to
pay for a big upgrade that is clearly a sign of the times.

For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Diana Olick in Washington.


HERERA: And to read more about that real estate sign makeover, head to our

GRIFFETH: Before we go, one last look at the day on Wall Street. Capping
off a very busy week of earnings, Dow fell 76. The Nasdaq was the biggest
hit today, down 114 with some of the technology stocks down sharply. S&P
dropped 18.

For the week though, the Dow was the bigger winner, up 1-1/2 percent, while
the Nasdaq was down more 1 percent.

HERERA: Well, we did it. We got through the week.

That`s NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for tonight. I`m Sue Herera. Thanks for
joining us.

GRIFFETH: I`m Bill Griffeth. Have a wonderful weekend. We`ll see you
again on Monday.


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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