Transcript: Nightly Business Report – August 6, 2018


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

America is expected to buy back more shares than ever. A trillion dollars
worth this year. What are the ramifications for the market and investors?

PepsiCo`s longtime CEO Indra Nooyi is stepping down. What next for the
company, the industry, and now for women in the C-suite?

HERERA: And take a break. Why more and more big-name companies are adding
sabbaticals as a major perk.

All that and more tonight on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for Monday, August

GRIFFETH: And we bid you good evening, everybody. Welcome for this

Stocks started the week in the black, thanks to strength in technology,
especially Facebook (NASDAQ:FB). Shares of the social media company rose 4
percent today on reports it`s in talks with banks to allow Facebook
(NASDAQ:FB) users to use its messenger platform for financial transactions.
That in turn helped push the Nasdaq higher for the fifth straight day.
First time the Nasdaq has done that since May.

Here are the numbers when all was said and done. The Dow rose 39 points to
25,502. The Nasdaq climbed by 47. The S&P added ten points today.

HERERA: And while Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) did have a big say in the Nasdaq`s
move today, Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) says investors should focus on
something that might have a key influence on the market overall. Goldman
says this year will be a record for stock buybacks. Ready for it? The
firm estimates buybacks will hit $1 trillion.

Bob Pisani has more.


year for earnings. It`s also turning out to be a big year for buybacks.
Now, buybacks are expected to rise 46 percent from last year to a
staggering $1 trillion.

Why the buyback binge? Well, partly because of tax reform, but also
because of revenue growth, which has been a very big contributor.

Here`s the good news: while this is the most popular month for repurchase
execution. It accounts for about 13 percent of annual activity. It`s even
possible that this recent rally is partly fueled by buybacks. The buyback
blackout period has ended for most companies, so companies can resume
buying again.

Not surprisingly, the tech sector in particular will benefit from surge in
buybacks. Tech has accounted for 40 percent of the year to date repurchase

Now, here`s the bad news, we have to point this out every time. Not all
buybacks are created equal. It`s share count reduction that you want. And
while some companies are indeed reducing their shares outstanding by
buybacks, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is a good example, they have been reducing
their shares outstanding by about 5 percent each year since 2013. That`s a

But many others are increasing their share count by offering new options to
management. They`re increasing. At the same time, they announced the

So in the long run, it`s all a wash, and the share count does not go down
for the stock. Well, that`s a waste. Indeed while the S&P found overall
reduction in 2016 and 2017, the total number of shares outstanding in the
S&P dropped. So far this year, the total share count of all the companies
of the S&P has increased a half percent this year. Well, that doesn`t

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


GRIFFETH: Joe Duran joins us now to talk more about these stock buybacks,
what it means for the market. Joe is CEO and founding partner at United

Joe, welcome back.

great to be back.

GRIFFETH: You know, companies get criticized for these buybacks in some
cases. Couldn`t they find better use for this money? You know — and is
it financial engineering to some degree? What about the impact it has on
the market and investors?

DURAN: Well, it`s obviously great for investors when this happens, because
you`re increasing the number of buyers and reducing the amount of stock.
As Bob pointed out accurately, a lot of companies simply do it as a way to
transfer wealth to management. Those are the times where it doesn`t work
out so well, because what you`re doing is reducing the share count and then
transferring options to management.

However, there are two places where it works really well. One, where you
have a company with a very big war chest in Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), which has
brought in the money from offshore, with the tax repatriation and now can
use the money as a dividend or to buy back stock. That`s great for
investors. It increases the amount of earnings for each share which
actually reduces P/Es. That`s fantastic for everyone.

The cases where it doesn`t work so well again when it is financial
engineering. And typically, it`s the companies with the highest earnings,
the highest cash flow and the most balance sheet they can do it. It is
negative in one sense that if that`s the most efficient use of their money,
it suggests that maybe it`s not a high growth company and doesn`t have the
ability to put the money to give you a return on equity.

But it`s still better that they return the money to shareholders than hold
on to it on a balance sheet and make 2 or 3 percent on their cash.

HERERA: Is there a significance to the Goldman estimate that we might see
$1 trillion worth of buybacks? You know, we try not to focus on those big
round numbers all of the time. But that`s a pretty sizeable number.

DURAN: Again, you should think of it more like noise. You know,
temporarily, it can offset the underpinnings of the economy, so it can look
like when a stock declines, it can create a floor, because the company can
buy back its stock. And that can be good. It buffers the volatility.

However, over the long term, what drives stock prices are earnings and GDP.
And those things are insurmountable for any company, no matter how big its
war chest. Ultimately, if the company isn`t growing its earnings, if it
doesn`t have a return on equity, its valuations will end up — the stock
will end up going down.

So, again, it`s kind of like when countries try to support their currency –


DURAN: — they can do it for a while, but it`s not a lasting legacy.

GRIFFETH: Indeed. Joe Duran with United Capital, thanks again for joining
us tonight.

DURAN: You bet.

HERERA: Well, it certainly seems like Wall Street has been hitting a lot
of milestones lately, whether it`s the trillion dollars in buybacks or
Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) hitting $1 trillion in market value. They are signs
that the bull market is a mature one.

But as Mike Santoli tells us, that might not be a bad thing.


commemorating several market milestones this summer. In less than three
weeks` time, the bull market is due to become the longest of all-time.
About a month later, the anniversary of the failure of Lehman Brothers will
mark a decade since the great financial crisis.

And, of course, last week, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) was celebrated for becoming
the first U.S. company to reach $1 trillion in market value. All of these
moments reflect how long markets have been climbing, and they prompt the
natural question of how much longer the good times can last. The bull
market`s rank is the longest ever date to start to march of 2009. And
rests on an assumption that the January 2018 record high in the S&P 500 is
ultimately surpassed before the index declines at least 20 percent.

This simple definition of a bull market is continuing unless the S&P falls
20 percent or more is widely used, but sometimes disputed. Some
strategists look back at two severe broad down terms in 2011 and in 2015
when broader market gauges other than the S&P 500 lost 20 percent of their
value as important setbacks that reset the clock on this bull market. And
perhaps makes it a bit younger than its technical age.

The 10-year anniversary of the Lehman implosion is instructed for
investors, as well. The average annual return over the past ten years for
U.S. stocks is a bit more than 10 percent. It`s just about the historical
long-term rate of appreciation for equities.

Keep in mind, ten years ago today was right before the market was to lose
nearly half its value over the next eight months. So that 10 percent
annual return since then represents quite a revival. Still, when major
bull markets do end, the average yearly gain over the prior decade has
typically been above 15 percent, so there`s nothing about how far stocks
have come since 2008 to suggest any painful pay back is necessarily due.

As for Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) hitting $1 trillion, that`s almost entirely a
matter of normal inflation, the general rise in equity market value and the
enormous economic power in Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL). For the largest stock in
the market, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) does not have a particularly outsized
weighting in the S&P 500. It`s around 4 percent.

And its valuation is supported by its quarter trillion dollars in annual
revenue and profit total that`s unmatched in corporate history and is not
notably inflated by speculative excess among investors. Now, none of this
means stocks can get to a tail spin if, let`s say, the economy slows
dramatically or trade wars hit corporate profits and we now have a market
that no doubt has more gains in the rear-view mirror than it has waiting up
ahead of it. But passing these landmarks doesn`t suggest the market is
heading for the end of that road all that soon.



GRIFFETH: Now, as Mike mentioned, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) makes up about 4
percent of the S&P 500. But how influential does that make it to the rest
of the market?

Dom Chu takes a look.


huge, and that characterization was solidified with its now trillion-
dollar-plus valuation. That pinnacle of market capitalization also means
that for market cap weighted indexes like the S&P 500 and Nasdaq composite
Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is the most influential stock.

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) currently makes up over 4 percent of the S&P 500, and
by comparison, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) carries a 3.5 percent weighting.
Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) parent company Alphabet is a little over 3 percent,
and as is Internet retail and cloud computing giant Amazon
(NASDAQ:AMZN).com. And then social media company Facebook (NASDAQ:FB)
comes in a distant fifth with a nearly 2 percent weight.

So, is Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) the most influential stock of all-time? Not
quite. According to S&P Dow Jones indices analyst Howard Silverblatt,
other titans of American business have had more of a weighting in the S&P
500. In data going back to 1980, he looked at year-end weightings for the
biggest companies out there.

It turns out that Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) was nearly a 5 percent weight in
the dot-com era of 1999. ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM) was worth 5 percent during
the financial crisis in 2008. AT&T (NYSE:T) was a 5-1/2 percent weight
back in 1981. And it`s Big Blue, IBM, that was a nearly 6.5 percent weight
of the S&P back at the end of 1985.

Now, just for some perspective, the S&P 500 market value at the end of July
was right around $25.8 trillion. Hypothetically, if Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL)
were to become worth 6.4 percent of the index, it would be worth,
hypothetically, over $1.6 trillion. Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) still has a lot of
work to do to reach that kind of valuation.



HERERA: It is time to take a look at some of today`s “Upgrades and
Downgrades”. Barclays is downgrading shares of Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) from
overweight to equal weight. The firm saying the best is behind Intel
(NASDAQ:INTC) and its server business and that margin pressures could
intensify next year. Barclays also shaved the price target 15 percent to
$53. Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) closed today at $49.30, down 3 cents.

Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) is being raised at Cowen from market perform to
outperform. The analysts citing lower spending, it`s abandoned bid for the
chipmaker NXP and Qualcomm`s $30 billion buyback. Cowen also raised the
price target to $80 from $64. Today, Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) closed at
$65.73, up half a percent.

GRIFFETH: Cowen is also upping chip equipment maker, Applied Materials
(NASDAQ:AMAT), from market perform to outperform, citing attractive
valuation and a rebound on spending on its waiver fabrication equipment.
The price target was raised slightly to $62 a share. Shares finished at
$49.48. That was up more than 1 percent today.

Atlantic Equities is upgrading Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) (NYSE:CCS) from
neutral to overweight on fewer concerns about Comcast`s future, now that it
has dropped that bid for 21st Century Fox assets. The price target was
raised from $34 to $42, and we need to point out Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA)
(NYSE:CCS) is the parent company of CNBC, which produces this program.
Shares of the company closed down 9 cents at $35.32.

Toys “R” Us is gone, but not forgotten. The now defunct retailer is
leaving quite an impression, even though its doors are closed. First,
overall toy sales were up 7 percent in the first half of this year and the
research adviser for the research firm NPD Group thinks some of that sales
growth is because of empathy that people felt towards losing Toys “R” Us.

Then there`s last week`s jobs report in which economists blamed the
company`s closing for the report`s weak headline number. And now the laid
off workers are taking aim at private equity.

Leslie Picker has more.


Toys “R” Us closed for good. But the controversy surrounding its 33,000
displaced workers has only amplified. The July jobs report was a bleak
reminder of the retail casualty belying the otherwise healthy employment

Some of the toy stores` laid-off workers have been seeking redemption.
They`re taking aim at the private equity firms that acquired Toys “R” Us in
a leveraged buyout in 2005. The workers argued that the PE firm paid
themselves hundreds of millions of dollars, even as they let Toys “R” Us
slip into bankruptcy. The workers have garnered support from members of
Congress who wrote a letter to the three firms, Bain, KKR (NYSE:KKR) and
Vornado, urging them to do something to help.

Both New Jersey`s U.S. senators and one congressman have rallied with
former Toys “R” Us employees, demanding severance.

SEN. BOB MENENDEZ (D), NEW JERSEY: This storied New Jersey company was run
into the ground by a bunch of corporate raiders, looking to turn a profit.
These companies drained Toys “R” Us of its resources and its ability to
adapt in the marketplace. And they treated its workers, employees like
Robert and Shaquema (ph), as expendable, as after thoughts, as collateral

PICKER: Last week, the toys employees were on Capitol Hill, asking for
legislation that includes more worker protections in PE investments. For
their part, the PE firms appear to be willing to provide some aid for the
former Toys “R” Us employees outside of the bankruptcy process. In a
letter backed to Congress, KKR (NYSE:KKR) said they did not want Toys “R”
Us to be liquidated, but it was forced by creditors.

equity, it`s not their — it wasn`t their goal to dismantle this company.
It was their goal to buy it and make the company more profitable and then
come out of it. But things changed.

PICKER: KKR (NYSE:KKR) said they did not profit from the investment.



GRIFFETH: Coming up, Dow component and widely held company Disney
(NYSE:DIS), is scheduled to release its latest earnings tomorrow. What are
the expectations for the magic kingdom?


GRIFFETH: Shares of Sprint and T-Mobile got a lift today, following a
report in the “New York Post,” saying that the Justice Department now
believes that just three national 5G carriers are needed to provide
sufficient competition in the telecom industry. Investors seem to take
that as meaning that the prospects of the $26 billion merger between these
two wireless carriers is being approved, may have improved as a result.
Both companies were sharply higher on the day.

HERERA: Tomorrow after the bell, Disney (NYSE:DIS) is expected to release
its third quarter earnings. The shares rose nearly 2 percent, ahead of
those numbers.

Julia Boorstin takes a look at what investors should expect.


is expected to have a strong quarter, thanks to strength of the theme parks
and the success of “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Incredible 2” bolstering
the studio and overcoming a disappointing performance of “Star Wars”
spinoff “Solo”.

Analysts project earnings will grow over 23 percent, while revenue is
expected to grow nearly 8 percent. The division facing the most scrutiny,
media networks, which includes ESPN, as investors watch the trend of cord
cutting and examine subscriber losses. After last quarter, Disney
(NYSE:DIS) said its subscriber base fell by about 3 percent. On the flip
side, we`ll see how much digital initiatives, such as ESPN plus and revenue
from skinny over the top bundles are compensating for traditional declines.

Investors are also be looking for details of Disney (NYSE:DIS) streaming
service in the works set to launch next fall. We don`t know how much
Disney (NYSE:DIS) will charge for the app, which will include a live action
“Star Wars” series, plus other original TV series and movies, as well as
hundreds of films and thousands of TV episodes from Disney`s library.

Whether you`re cutting the cord or skinning the bundle, unless you have
content, people will quit staring at a blank screen and they are the king
of content.

BOORSTIN: We`re also watching to see if CEO Bob Iger gives any update on
international regulatory approval for Disney`s acquisition of Fox or
whether he wants Fox to make a higher bids bid for Sky to top Comcast`s
current offer. And any insight into how the company will change as a
result of its mega merger could impact investor`s outlook.

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


GRIFFETH: Visitor turnout impresses at SeaWorld, and that`s where we begin
tonight`s “Market Focus”.

The theme park operator said the new attractions and promotions which, by
the way, included free beer, caused attendance to rise in all of its parks.
Both earnings and total revenue saw gains as a result. Attendance famously
suffered at SeaWorld after that 2013 documentary called “Black Fish,”
alleged the company mistreated the killer whales in some of its shows.
Shares today rose almost 17 percent to $24.69.

Newell Brands cut its earnings forecast for the fourth time this year after
it reported weaker quarterly sales and profits. The maker of Elmer`s Glue
and Sharpie markers said the bankruptcy of Babies R Us, which sold many of
Newell`s products and the retailer`s cutting inventory, put a dent in its
own results. Shares of Newell Brands were off 14 percent to $22.76.

Meanwhile, Rite Aid (NYSE:RAD) is also cutting its full year outlook. The
drugstore chain revised its guidance for fiscal year 2019, saying that it
overestimated the cost of generic drugs when it initially made that
forecast. The news comes just three days before Rite Aid (NYSE:RAD)
shareholders are set to vote on the company`s proposed merger with the
Albertson`s grocery chain. Rite Aid (NYSE:RAD) shares tell nearly 10
percent today to $1.66.

HERERA: After the bell, Zillow said it was buying a national mortgage
lender. Up until now, the company has remained focused on providing
listings and quotes. It said the deal with Mortgage Lenders of America
will allow it to create new partnership opportunities and potentially
originate mortgages. Separately, the company reported a rise in revenue.
But the shares plunged in after hours trading. They ended the regular day
up 1 percent to $59 even.

After the bell, Hertz said each of its divisions saw growth this quarter,
helping the car rental company narrow its losses. Revenue also inched
higher and it topped estimates. Shares, though, were volatile in the
extended sessions. They ended the regular day down 1.5 percent to $15.67.

Also out after the bell, Weight Watchers raised its full year earnings
outlook after improved margins. Those results were overshadowed by weaker
subscriber growth. Shares initially were lower in afterhours, but finished
the regular day up a fraction to $92.21.

GRIFFETH: PepsiCo`s CEO is stepping down after 12 years at the helm. The
company said the chief executive Indra Nooyi, one of the nation`s few
female CEOs will leave her role this October and stay on as chairman until
early next year. She`ll be replaced by PepsiCo`s current president.

Under Nooyi`s leadership, PepsiCo`s stock climbed 80 percent.

HERERA: Joining us is Erik Gordon, professor at the University of
Michigan`s Ross School of Business, to talk more, not just about Ms.
Nooyi`s legacy at PepsiCo, but the future of female CEOs in the C-suite.

Good to see you again, Erik. Welcome back.

Hello, sue.

HERERA: Let`s start first of all with Indra Nooyi. She was part of a
relatively small and very elite group of female CEOs. Is — do you think
she`s going out because she`s achieved what she wanted to achieve?

GORDON: I think she`s achieved a lot of what she`s wanted to achieve. She
was CEO for 12 years. That`s a long time for any CEO, and she was a CEO in
a tough business, and I think she navigated the waters very well.

GRIFFETH: You know, she`s part of a generation, though, of women CEOs that
came up together about the same time. Meg Whitman and others, Mary Barra
now at General Motors (NYSE:GM). But there aren`t a lot of younger women
coming up through the ranks these days. We still don`t have enough women
on boards these days.

Why isn`t more progress being made at this point, Erik, do you think?

GORDON: You know, that`s a hard question to answer, and I think the boards
had better start answering it, because if you look at Meg Whitman and Mary
Barra, Indra, these are CEOs who have done a very good job. In Meg`s case,
at a couple of companies.

So if we are not putting younger women in the slot that are preparing them
to step up, that`s a big mistake. We need that talent.

HERERA: You know, I found it interesting that — the S&P 500, there were
only 25, if you include Indra Nooyi, CEOs. You mentioned the board
component. But what else do you think it is going to take to encourage
more women to achieve the CEO position of a publicly traded company? We
have a lot of women in privately held companies that are CEOs, or founders
of their own companies, but not necessarily in publicly traded companies.

GORDON: Yes, I think the women have to be given training and mentoring and
opportunities in how you deal with being in a public company, being in the
scrutiny of equity analysts, being under the gun from activists, and as
Indra was, you know, with Trian. Nelson Peltz was after her. So, I think
they need a special kind of training to be able to run a public company and
I think we`re not doing enough of that yet.

HERERA: On that note, Erik Gordon, thank you so much for joining us.

GORDON: My pleasure.

HERERA: From the University of Michigan`s Ross School of Business.

GRIFFETH: And up next, why some of the nation`s biggest companies are
giving employees more time off the job.


GRIFFETH: The Trump administration says it will reimpose economic
sanctions on Iran that were lifted under a 2015 agreement to curb Iran`s
nuclear program. The sanctions would target Iran`s purchases of U.S.
dollars, metal trading, coal, industrial-related software and its
automotive sector. The administration says the goal is to get Iran to stop
its nuclear enrichment and to curb its weapons program.

HERERA: In an increasingly tight labor market, companies are getting
creative when it comes to offering employee perks. They have to be
competitive to attract and retain top talent.

And as Eric Chemi tells us, that trend is growing.


vacationing in the Caribbean, there is no off season when you work for the
NBA league office. With the WNBA, the NBA 2K League, the draft, Oolympic
basketball, it`s become a 24/7 operation all year long.

For Kerry Tatlock, senior vice president of global marketing partnerships,
that means constant travel, meetings, late nights. For other employees, it
could mean burnout.

That`s why in 2015, the league created a new benefit, offering employees
with ten years of service a fully paid four-week sabbatical. At 20 years,
they get eight weeks off.

ERIC HUTCHERSON, NBA SVP, CHIEF HR OFFICER: I call working at the league a
way of life. You have to love it, you have to be part of it. You`ve got
to accept it. That`s a way of life. But at a 10-year point, it`s good to

CHEMI: For some employees, a sabbatical has meant quality family time.
For others, it means travel. But for everyone, it`s a rare chance to turn
off their phones and unwind, knowing their job will be waiting for them
upon return.

weeks, and to Germany and to Italy. We did the quick turnaround, and ended
up going to western Massachusetts for a week. And I indulged in camp drop-
off and pickup, making lunches, cooking dinners, being there every night
for bedtime for the kids. And it was as extraordinary as the first part.

CHEMI: Nike (NYSE:NKE), McDonald`s (NYSE:MCD) and Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) also
offer similar programs. But the NBA is the first professional sports
organization to offer this benefit. Experts say it`s being increasingly
used across all industries to retain highly valued employees in
increasingly tight job market.

DAWN FAY, ROBERT HEAD DISTRICT PRESIDENT: Sabbatical is certainly a way to
do that, to reward people for their long-term standing with an
organization. So we`ve seen it, not a ton, but certainly seeing it come
out more and more.

CHEMI: For the company, it can mean finding future leaders.

HUTCHERSON: To be a little bit blunt, I said to most people, when we first
started, if this place can`t survive without you for four weeks, we`re in a
world of hurt.



GRIFFETH: And before we go, a quick look at what happened on Wall Street
today. Modest gains. The Dow climbed by 39 points. Nasdaq was the big
gainer, up 47. And the S&P added 10.

And that is NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for tonight. I`m Bill Griffeth.
Thanks for watching.

HERERA: I`m Sue Herera. Have a great evening. We will see you right back
here 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.
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