Transcript: Nightly Business Report – August 8, 2018

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

retaliates by slapping a 25 percent tariff on billions of dollars worth of
U.S. goods just hours after we did the same. And those trade jitters were
felt on Wall Street.

(NYSE:CVS) defends its business model and its bid for Aetna (NYSE:AET)
could transform the health care industry. What that means for companies
and consumers.

GRIFFETH: And all in. How Massachusetts casinos are making a push to
close the gender gap.

All that and much more tonight on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for this
Wednesday, August the 8th.

And we do bid you good evening, everybody, and welcome. China has fired
the latest salvo in the month-long trade tiff with the United States. The
Chinese ministry of commerce this morning announced a 25 percent tariff on
$16 billion worth of U.S. goods. Some of those items this time being
targeted include cars and motorcycles, various types of fuels and fiber
optic cables.

Just yesterday, the U.S. trade representative`s office released a finalized
list of $16 billion worth of Chinese goods and it will be put into effect
starting on August 23rd. Now, that brings the total value of Chinese goods
facing a 25 percent tariff so far to $50 billion.


HERERA: And, Bill, that China retaliation put a firm lid on gains today on
Wall Street. But a rise in shares of Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and Amazon
(NASDAQ:AMZN) helped the Nasdaq to its seventh straight day of gains. That
index`s longest since March.

But the trade worries clearly took center stage. The Dow fell about 45
points to 25,583. The Nasdaq scratched out a gain of four and the S&P 500

GRIFFETH: Now, even as U.S. farmers find themselves in the crosshairs of
this tariff wars, most of them are still standing by President Trump and
his policies for now.

Kayla Tausche reports for us tonight from Washington.


trade war for the Indiana farmer Mike Beard is already $15,000, thanks to
falling corn prices.

MIKE BEARD, INDIANA FARMER: We`re feeling a lot of pain right now in the
farm sector. We were not — you know, we weren`t expecting this when we
put crop in the ground.

TAUSCHE: For Beard, it means he won`t invest in new machinery.

For difference soybean farmer Brent Bible, it`s the difference between
profit and loss this year.

ability to stay way undervalued because of the tariff talks, longer than a
farmer can stay liquid.

TAUSCHE: Bible says tariffs are not the right way to open up trade, but it
doesn`t cancel out overall support for the president.

BIBLE: You don`t forfeit your right to disagree simply because you`re a

TAUSCHE: So far, that`s been true. Despite tariffs taking effect, the
president`s approval among rural voters since the spring has remained
steady or increased in the vast majority of farm states according to
research firm Morning Consul. That support is held up by tax reform and
looser regulation, especially environmental rules for livestock.

Iowa farmer Eric Nelson will earn less selling soybeans this year but likes
the president`s long-term trade goals.

ERIC NELSON, CATTLE AND SOYBEAN FARMER: Trade is always good for someone,
but it hasn`t always been good for those of us out here in the country. I
think some of the corporations that actually do the selling of these
commodities overseas, they do quite well, and it doesn`t always get
transferred back to those of us out here in the country.

TAUSCHE: But with harvest season approaching, farmers may change their
mind if they don`t see new deals.

BEARD: Our attitude could be changed by the actions of the trade
negotiators as we go along here in the next 60 days.

TAUSCHE: Rural voters say trade is just one issue among many on their
minds as they head to the polls this November, but it`s increasingly an
issue where they`re betting the farm.

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


HERERA: Retail and pharmacy benefits giant CVS (NYSE:CVS) Health reported
adjusted earnings results that beat analyst expectations. The shares rose
4 percent.

And as Bertha Coombs reports, the pharmacy firm is reassuring investors
that its merger with Aetna (NYSE:AET) is on track and that its business
model, though under assault, still benefits employers and consumers.


executives are upbeat about the antitrust review of their $69 billion deal
by Aetna (NYSE:AET). On the company`s earnings call, CEO Larry Merlo said
he`s still confident the deal will close this year.

provide details on our interactions, I can tell you that we are having
productive discussions with regulators.

COOMBS: But Merlo pushed back at some of the regulatory pressure coming
from the Trump administration over drug rebates. Those confidential price
discounts pharmacy benefits firms like CVS (NYSE:CVS) and Express
(NYSE:EXPR) Scripts extract from drugmakers.

MERLO: Drug manufacturers want you to believe that increasing drug prices
are a result of them having to pay rebates and that PBMs are retaining
these rebates and this is simply not true. Our data show that with price,
it`s increasing faster for drugs with small rebates than it is from
medications with substantial rebates.

COOMBS: The administration has yet to finalize rules on rebates, but Merlo
said those discounts will now count for just 3 percent of CVS (NYSE:CVS)
2018 revenues. The PBM unit is passing on 98 percent of rebate dollars to
insurance plans and employers who pay for drug benefits, while urging them
to pass on the savings to consumers.

MERLO: We`re encouraging our clients that have, you know, high-deductible
plans to, you know, take a portion of those rebate dollars and pass them
back to, you know, their members at the pharmacy counter while they`re in
that deductible phase, where they`re in the out of pocket cost, you know,
dramatically go down.

COOMBS: But not everyone is convinced. As CVS (NYSE:CVS) looks to become
a bigger health care player in insurance with the Aetna (NYSE:AET)
acquisition and in care delivery through its pharmacy clinics, the American
Medical Association is now coming out against the merger, arguing that the
combined firm will result in too high concentration in the Medicare Part D
drug plan market and higher prices for consumers.

The AMA is urging the administration to block the deal.

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


GRIFFETH: Vishnu Lekraj is the health care analyst and joins us now more
to talk about this changing landscape, especially as we look at CVS

Vishnu, thanks for joining us tonight.


GRIFFETH: I`m fascinated by this transformation that we`re witnessing in
the beginning stages here of the health care industry. And I want to add
one more element, CVS (NYSE:CVS) also announcing today an increasing
partnership with a company called Teladoc, where they will provide video
doctor visits for doctors nationwide as well when they come to the stores.
In other words, customers will become patients and I guess patients will
become customers, as well.

When you add that to the fact that their pharmacy benefit managers and
buying an insurance company, is that the business model of the future in
health care, do you think?

LEKRAJ: For CVS (NYSE:CVS) in particular, yes, but there are not many
firms out there that can match CVS (NYSE:CVS) in terms of scale, the reach,
the kind of vertical integration that`s going to happen if it closes on
Aetna (NYSE:AET). What it will have is a company that can reach almost
every consumer in the U.S. with the retail network and be able to treat
these members or treat these individuals at a lower cost in terms of
medical care, more so than almost any other company could be able to do if
they`re able to cause a transaction, and close this deal, and people can
execute on their strategy flawlessly.

HERERA: You know, it seems as though the company has really morphed into a
health care company rather than just a pharmacy or a drugstore. How much
pricing power do you think they are going to have with this Aetna
(NYSE:AET) deal if indeed it does go through?

LEKRAJ: It`s a great deal of pricing power they`re going to have in terms
of using the PBM, using their muscle to gain discounts from providers, from
doctors. But where the real value is for this whole deal is the ability
for them to utilize those retail networks, those retail outlets and be able
to treat their numbers at a lower cost within those retail outlets through
their own medical clinics. That`s where the real value lies and that`s
where they`re going to be able to treat Medicare patients, for example, at
a lower cost, treat Medicaid patients at a lower cost.

And ultimately, this should pull back to the consumer in terms of lower
premiums or at least premiums that will grow as much as they have in over
the last several decades.

HERERA: But you`re going to need competition to make that all happen so
that you don`t see this over concentration in one company and you feel like
you need to see a Walgreen`s or even a Walmart participate in this
consolidation, right?

LEKRAJ: Yes. No — I mean, not necessarily in terms of having had
competition with CVS (NYSE:CVS). I mean, if someone were to partner or
buy, let`s say a Walgreen`s or partner with a Walmart, then they could have
a service that`s going to be comparable to what CVS (NYSE:CVS) that will
bring to the table.

But ultimately, at the end of the day, if CVS (NYSE:CVS) and Aetna
(NYSE:AET) can have lower premiums and be able to market their products at
a better competitive pricing level, they`re going to gain more membership.
In order to do that, in order to accomplish that goal, they`ll have to
treat their members at a lower cost. And again, the key here, the crown
jewel of this whole acquisition is going to be the utilization of leverage
of the retail stores and being able to drive traffic and drive their own
members into their stores at a lower cost.

GRIFFETH: We will see if they can pull that off.

Vishnu Lekraj from Morningstar (NASDAQ:MORN), again, thanks for joining us

LEKRAJ: Thank you.

HERERA: It is time to take a look at some of today`s upgrades and

Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE:BMY) was upgraded at Atlantic Equities from
underweight to neutral. The firm cites potential in Bristol`s drug
pipeline and an improved risk reward for the stock. The price target was
raised $55 a share and today shares closed $50.17, up 2 percent.

Mallinckrodt was downgraded at Raymond James from outperform to market
perform following the pharmaceutical`s company second-quarter earnings.
The firm cited the stocks valuation and seeks limited possibilities for
outperformance because of long-term risk to key products. The shares fell
a fraction to $29.33.

GRIFFETH: Spark Therapeutics was cut at BMO Capital to market perform from
outperform. The analyst there citing disappointing trial results for
Spark`s drug treating hemophilia. The price target was lowered to $60 from
$98. Spark rose 3 percent today to $57.70.

Hostess Brands was lowered at RBC Capital from outperform to sector perform
following weak earnings in which it was revealed on the conference call
that Walmart cut back on promotional displays of Hostess products. The
analyst also cited higher freight, labor and packaging costs as well.
Price target now $14. The shares finished at $11.49, down 17.5 percent

HERERA: Now back to California where fires continue to rage, including the
largest wildfire ever in the Golden State. Aditi Roy is in Ukiah,


the Mendocino Complex Fire are tall and fierce, destroying 116 homes,
scorching more than 300,000 acres and forcing more than 23,000 people to
flee their homes.

roar. It sounded basically like a jet taking off.

ROY: Two fires, the Ranch and the River, make up the Mendocino Complex,
the largest wildfire in California history.

The Ranch is the more challenging one. Its flames burning deep inside a
remote forest and the ridge of a mountain, but today weather conditions,
lower temperature, calmer winds and higher humidity helped firefighters
make progress.

fire activity than we`ve seen in the previous days. The fire didn`t make
huge runs or any growth, huge growth in the evening time like we saw over
the weekend.

ROY: More than 10,000 structures are still threatened by the fire. There
are more than a dozen wildfires burning throughout the state including one
that shut down Yosemite National Park where an average of more than 6,000
visitors go every August, according to the National Park Service.

Annually, tourists spend more than $520 million at the park. This year
could also turn out to be a costly wildfire season. It`s too soon to
estimate the monetary damage from these fire, but an example of how
devastating these can be, some estimate last year`s fire that destroyed
some of the wine country could end up topping $2.5 billion in claims.

Officials say the effects of this state`s drought, along with searing
temperatures, have made conditions right for wildfires to erupt.

KAUFMANN: The fires are hotter. The fires are moving faster, the fire
behavior and the firefighters are seeing is very unpredictable and more so
than we`ve ever seen before.

ROY: While fire officials say they`re making good progress on the
Mendocino Complex, that`s little solace for Bree Harles who had to postpone
her wedding because of the destruction.

BREE HARLES, BRIDE TO BE: We were planning on going forward with it, but
then the smoke was just really bad and we had a lot of family coming from
out of town with hotel rooms that we didn`t want to take from the people

ROY: Firefighters are in a bit of a race against the clock as they battle
these flames. It`s supposed to get hotter, dryer and windier tomorrow, so
they`re hoping to make as much progress as possible against the fire before
conditions change.

For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Aditi Roy, Ukiah, California.


GRIFFETH: Coming up, a setback for the likes of Uber.


York City, where the city council today putting first in the nation
regulations on the ride share companies like Uber and Lyft, later on


HERERA: New York Congressman Chris Collins was indicted on federal insider
trading charges today. The Republican representative was accused of
providing non-public information about an Australian biotech company to his
son and future father-in-law. Collins sat on that company`s board of
directors. According to the indictment, Collins and his family avoided
more than $700,000 worth of losses after the biotech saw disappointing
results from a drug study.

GRIFFETH: Well, the popular ride hailing service that many of us use like
Lyft and Uber suffered a potentially significant setback today that could
have global implications. The New York City`s City Council approved
measures essentially aimed at curbing the growth of these companies
following outcries from taxi drivers over the plummeting value of their

Eric, as you saw, has our story for us tonight.


CHEMI: New York City taxi drivers are rallying today as the city dealt a
major blow to their competitors from ride hailing apps like Uber, Lyft and

The New York City Council passed new restrictions on for-hire drivers which
would cap the issuance of new licenses for one year while the city studies
the impact of these companies and set a minimum wage for drivers. It`s the
first time a minimum wage has been set for gig economy workers anywhere in
the country.

There`s been an explosion in the number of for-hire licenses in New York,
which was at 65,000 just three years ago, and it`s now well over 100,000,
dwarfing the 13,000 taxi medallions on the road.

COREY JOHNSON, NYC COUNCIL SPEAKER: We are positing the issuance of new
licenses in an industry that`s been allowed to proliferate without any
appropriate check or regulation.

CHEMI: Uber, for its part, says the new laws will restrict riders in
underserved areas and the company is promising to fight back.

The company releasing a statement saying in the meantime we will do
whatever it takes to keep up with growing demand and will not stop working
with city and state leaders.

Financial experts warned that today`s rule could put a big dent on Uber`s
market valuation as the company`s expected to go public next year. Of
course, this isn`t the first run-in with authorities. Uber has had several
problems around the globe, including places like England and France. So,
the news will reverberate around the globe.

For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Eric Chemi in New York City.


HERERA: Michael Kors gets a lift from its Jimmy Choo heels, and that`s
where we begin tonight`s “Market Focus”.

The apparel retailer grew sales in its Jimmy Choo business at a quicker
than expected pace and that helped overall earnings surpass expectations.
The company also raised its financial outlook for the full year. Shares
rose 7 percent to $70.01.

A rise in subscription revenue helped “The New York Times (NYSE:NYT)”
report earnings that edged past expectations, but the focus was on the
newspaper publisher`s digital business which added fewer paid subscribers
and saw a drop in ad sales. Shares were off more than 6 percent to $22.70.

GRIFFETH: And then after the bell, video streaming platform Roku said that
its sales grew as it made more money from licensing fees and advertising.
Analysts were expecting a loss, but Roku actually surprised the street with
break even results. And as you can imagine, shares initially traded higher
in the extended hours` session. They finished the regular day down
marginally at $47.25.

And 21st Century Fox also delivered better than expected earnings after the
bell. The media conglomerate said the success of the motion picture “Dead
Pool 2” and strong performance in its cable network programming helped
results. Separately under British rules, Fox has until September 22nd now
to top Comcast`s $34 billion offer for TV giant Sky. Shares of 21st
Century Fox were volatile in the after-hours, ended the day down a tick at

HERERA: Sending your child off to college and figuring out how to pay for
it can be overwhelming. Trust me.

Americans now owe over $1.5 trillion in student loan debt and many
borrowers are parents who may take on larger loans than their children.

So, our senior personal finance correspondent Sharon Epperson is here with
more on that and some tips for you and your college-bound kid.

I am taking notes.

GRIFFETH: I`m done with that.


HERERA: I`m going to have three in college at once so I`m taking notes.
So, when it comes to student debt, Sharon, you know, a lot of parents and
student apply for financial aid. When you get the financial aid package,
how else can you kind of negotiate that debt?

EPPERSON: Well, the thing to know about the financial aid package is the
majority of the package is likely going to be loans and according to Sallie
Mae, 40 percent of families borrow money to pay for college and I say
families because these loans are being taken out not just by the student,
but also by the parent, and in fact, the average loan balance for the
student is less than that of the parent in many cases.

There is a limit to what student federal loan balances can be and what you
can take out and so parents want to make up the difference. They`re taking
on more and that balance is getting on more rapidly than the average loan
balance for students.

GRIFFETH: The student needs the budget when they`re in college, right?

EPPERSON: They do need the budget in college. They need to figure out,
first of all, what they`re going to owe and not just the first year, but
look at all four years, and figure out what your loan projection is going
to be to make sure the return on investment makes sense. That is kind of
reviewing the student loans and that`s the really — the first step to

And then you also want to make sure that as you`re looking at subsequent
years, you do it as soon as possible and October 1st, I know it seems
early. You can submit your application for financial aid, the FAFSA form
to find out what you`re able to get for the next school year. So, you get
the financial aid package for the first year, and the second year, October
1st, is when you need to start looking into that.

HERERA: The other costs that are there are the textbook, supplies, you
know, all of those things that they absolutely need, but cost a lot of
money. Is there a way around that?

EPPERSON: Look for discounts everywhere. You can rent textbooks which I
never did, but now everyone does., that`s the great place to go
for that.

You also want to look at Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Dell (NASDAQ:DELL), Best Buy
(NYSE:BBY) have great discounts on laptops. Now is the time to really look
for those. Local restaurant, get the discounts on food. And this is what
I really didn`t realize, 15 — 10 percent, 15 percent, 20 percent off on
clothing just for being a student. So, Nike (NYSE:NKE), American Eagle —

HERERA: Really?

EPPERSON: Yes. Banana Republic. Those are places to look, and thank you,
CNBC interns for telling us that.


HERERA: Thank you, Sharon.

GRIFFETH: That`s just for t-shirts and shorts? What do you want, Sharon?

HERERA: There you go. You`re going to have to hold my hand, honey.
Thanks, Sharon.

EPPERSON: Well, we`ll hold each other`s hands.

HERERA: There you go.

EPPERSON: All right.

GRIFFETH: Thanks, Sharon.

Up next, closing the gap.


are rising out of the state of Massachusetts. But to get their gaming
license, they had to commit to women in hard hats.

I`m Contessa Brewer. I`ll have more details coming up on NIGHTLY BUSINESS



HERERA: And finally tonight, we`ve been telling you about the shortage of
skilled construction workers across the country. Well, now, one project in
Massachusetts has set out to address the skills gap and also the gender

Contessa Brewer is in the Bay State for us tonight.


BREWER: Rising across from the Boston skyline, a new casino takes shape,
thanks to thousands of construction workers.

cooling, HVAC for the building.

BREWER: Savy Man-Doherty is one of 328 women working construction at
Encore Boston Harbor, but its taken her 10 years to reach her goal —
journeyman pipe fitter.

MAN-DOHERTY: I always let them know that it`s a great opportunity. It`s
great benefits. It`s not as — it`s not hard as people view it as. Women,
we`re just as hard workers as men on the job site as well. We lace our
boots time just the same way they do.

BREWER: Now, she`s the face of statewide initiative to recruit women into

you have to have a kick ass champion and you`ve got to kick these doors

BREWER: The Massachusetts gaming commission has been instrumental,
following a mandate by the legislature to increase workforce diversity. It
requires these casinos to put women in 6.9 percent of the construction
jobs. That`s more than double the national average and the commission is
tough about enforcing it.

CROSBY: We go union by union, contractor by contractor. Do you have —
have you met the target? And if you`re an outlier, somebody else is doing
8 percent women, and you`re doing zero percent women, we call you out.

BREWER: But they soon realize, there simply weren`t enough skilled
tradeswomen to meet those goals. So, the commission partnered with union,
casinos and non-profit to get more women in the pipeline.

a concerted effort and it really takes a partnership with a local trade
union as well as the contractors and they have to push their requirements
down to the self-contractors and it can be in many cases more expensive
because you`re taking inexperienced labor and you`re putting them on the
site and making sure that you trade them up. But we`ve made that
investment as our partners.

BREWER: In the western part of the state, MGM Springfield will open its
casino doors in mid-August. Its construction workforce exceeded the
diversity requirement, employing 7-1/2 percent women, including an all-
female demolition team.

woman`s perspective on every aspect of the job, whether it`s the office or
it`s out here on the construction site.

BREWER: Encore Boston Harbor just hit a 7 percent mark last month. A
milestone achievement for the newly renamed project, struggling to emerge
from the shadow of a #MeToo scandal engulfing its former CEO Steve Wynn and
threatening the status of its gaming license.

But its president expects a high return on investment made in the diversity

DESALVIO: I think we`ll wind up with a better work environment and a
better place for our guests to enjoy because they`ll look around and see
that we are really reflective of today`s society.

BREWER: The recruitment effort also focused on hiring workers of color and

once they reach that level, they can make $90,000 a year. So, it can be a
life-changing experience. Not only for the individual, but the community
in which they leave. It actually leads to economic stability and security
for everybody.

BREWER: Ten years ago, Savy was making minimum wage and living with her
father. Today —

MAN-DOHERTY: I just bought a house.

BREWER: Would you have ever been able to do that on what you were earning?

MAN-DOHERTY: Not at all. No.

BREWER: The statewide campaign aims to see 20 percent women employed in
construction by 2020, a lofty goal, but the winds of change are blowing in

In Everett, Contessa Brewer, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT.


GRIFFETH: And before we go, a final look at the day on Wall Street. It`s
a mixed day. The Dow fell by 45 points, finished at 25,583, the Nasdaq
added just four, and the S&P was down a fraction for this Wednesday.

That`s my turn. That`s NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for tonight. That makes me
Bill Griffeth. Thanks for watching.

HERERA: I`m Sue Herera. Have a great evening. See you tomorrow.


Nightly Business Report transcripts and video are available on-line post
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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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