Transcript: Nightly Business Report – August 31, 2018


was good to investors. But when the calendar turns, history says things
could get a bit rocky.

of trade negotiations between the U.S. and Canada leaves a critical
economic relationship in limbo.

MATHISEN: And location, location, location — not anymore. Why real
estate millennials is all about the pets.

Those stories and more on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for Friday, August 31st.

And good evening, everyone. I`m Tyler Mathisen in tonight for Bill

HERERA: And I`m Sue Herera. Welcome, everybody.

Well, stocks sizzled in August avoiding the summer doldrums. This month,
we saw the bull market become the longest in history. The S&P 500 and the
Nasdaq hit records and in fact, this was the Nasdaq`s best August in 18

But the final trading day of the month saw a flat finish for the major
averages. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 22 points to 25,964. The
Nasdaq was up 21 and the S&P 500 rose a fraction. For the month, the
Nasdaq was the big winner.

But now we enter September, a month that`s not always friendly to

Mike Santoli has more.


earned reputation as a tough time for the stock market, but the month
doesn`t live up to its threatening profile every year for under all
conditions. Since 1950, September is the weakest month for stock returns
for the slight loss on average and more years down than up, counting just
midterm election years, the history is similarly skewed to the downside.

The cause of this turbulence of summer`s end is not entirely clear, but
some of the causes are worth considering. In decades past, the blame
centered on mutual fund managers aggressively selling the losing stocks
ahead of their October fiscal year end, but this factor has diminished with
the significance of mutual funds in the markets and the move of many fiscal
years to December. Another more recent culprit, a tendency for analyst to
slash corporate profit forecast for the coming year in September after
summer slowdowns and revised growth expectations.

Yet, this factor is far more relevant when companies are struggling than in
an earnings boom like the one we`ve seen this year, and it`s worth noting
that September`s downside bias for stocks is also most pronounced when
stocks have been weaker through the summer. In fact, when the S&P 500
index has been up from April through August as is the case this year,
September has averaged a healthy gain.

In stronger years, too, even a wobbly September has tended not to touch off
a slide through the fourth quarter. Over the past 20 years, when the S&P
has been up 5 percent for the year to date by Labor Day, the final four
months of the year have been higher every time by more than an additional 5
percent on average.

Given that the index is headed into Labor Day 2018, up by more than 8
percent. The onset of September this year might seem a bit less fearsome
for investors.



MATHISEN: Let`s talk more about what may be ahead for stocks with Brian
Nick. He is the chief investment strategist at Nuveen.

Brian, welcome. Good to have you with us.

You point out that throughout the summer, whenever there`s been bad news or
worrisome things for the market, it has been counteracted by good news —
good earnings, good news about the economy and GDP growing 4.2 percent. In
September, there may be a little bit of a vacuum of good news to offset
whatever bad news we get.

That`s your point, right?

having me.

Yes, if you look back at March and June as comparable periods, those were
months when we weren`t getting corporate earnings data because corporate
earnings data comes in in the first couple of months in the quarter, not in
the last month of the quarter. So, now that we`re not going to have the
good news about what we think are going to be pretty healthy rises in
corporate profits, something else is going to fill that vacuum, whether
it`s news about trade, whether it`s something geopolitically that`s
occurring, and that tends to be much less friendly for equity markets.

HERERA: Also, the Fed is widely expected to make its next move on interest
rates as we go into this fall. What impact might that have on the market
if any at all because it`s been pretty telegraphed by the Fed that they
will continue to raise rates?

NICK: Yes, we think if the Fed wasn`t going to raise rates in September,
we thought they would say that to the markets already. So, we — in all
likelihood — will get a rate hike in September. So, that won`t be that
disruptive. But the question is, what is the Fed going to say around that
rate hike. Are they going to revise their expectations for growth or
inflation, higher or lower, that can certainly factor in for the markets.

And now, the Fed also tells us something about what they think the next
couple of quarters are going to hold for what they might do with rate
hikes. So, if they change that outlook at all, if they saying, we`re going
to be hiking rates more than we said last quarter, that could certainly be
pretty a market impact, as well.

MATHISEN: Are you bracing for a sell-off in September or just for more
volatility in September?

NICK: I think just more volatility rather than a more market sell-off. We
still think economic fundamentals are quite strong in the United States.
They`re solid outside the United States.

But you still have the prospect of an election in Brazil in October. That
could certainly create volatility in Latin America and emerging markets.
The Turkey situation is unresolved. Argentina just raised their interest
rates overnight to 60 percent to fight inflation and the perceptions that
they have following currency themselves.

So, there are lots of other sources of risk and without a lot of reliable,
steady good news coming in on the corporate profits front, it`s likely that
that bad news will start to impact markets on a day-to-day basis, but we
don`t think that`s the start of a larger or a longer term sell-off.

HERERA: So where is a long-term investor trying to take cover to weather
the volatility that you`re expecting?

NICK: We still think secular growth stocks are the number one place to be
in the United States. We`re looking at the health care sector, technology
sector, consumer discretionary stocks. We still believe that that story
has room to run although the valuations have crept up, those stocks have
become a bit more expensive. And we`re looking for room to buy emerging
markets. We`ve been constructive on emerging markets. There`s been a
pullback especially in their currencies, and we`re looking for ways to take
risks that`s — in a prudent way that isn`t taking too much additional EM
risk in the portfolio.

But when something falls this much without a drop in fundamentals,
typically, it`s a buying opportunity for investors who have a long-term

MATHISEN: Brian, have a great long weekend. Brian Nick is with Nuveen —
thanks again.

NICK: Thanks very much. You too.

HERERA: Well, there was nothing straightforward about today`s trade talks
between the U.S. and Canada. The negotiations were tense, there were
surprises, and in the end, no agreement was reached between the U.S. and
its biggest trading partner. The negotiations broke off midday seemingly
abruptly and then came word that the discussions will pick up again next

Eamon Javers is covering the story for us.

Eamon, it`s like a professional ping-pong game. Run through the events of


Well, it was a wild one today. We had all kinds of intrigue in the
afternoon. But ultimately, we landed at the end of the day Friday with no
deal, but they do have an agreement to continue talking between the
Canadian and the U.S. side here in Washington, starting, we are told, on
Wednesday of next week.

We also have this bizarre moment where some off-the-record comments that
the president had made in the Oval Office to Bloomberg news were leaked to
a Canadian newspaper. Those comments apparently embarrassing to the U.S.
side. The president having said in those off-the-record comments that he
wasn`t going to make concessions at all to the Canadians, but he didn`t
want to say that publicly because he wanted them to come to the table and
agree to a deal and didn`t want to, in effect, embarrass the Canadian side.

So, at the end of the day, we heard from Chrystia Freeland, she`s a top
Canadian negotiator working in Washington, that she was asked about the big
personalities involved in all of this. Here`s what she said.


REPORTER: How can you possibly negotiate with a guy like Donald Trump who
says he`s not going to give any ground? That`s not a negotiation, is it?
Like how can you possibly negotiate with somebody like that?

is Ambassador Lighthizer, and as I said, he has brought good faith and
goodwill to the table. As I also said, it is going to take flexibility on
all sides to get to a deal in the end.


JAVERS: And as for the president today, he was in North Carolina. He laid
out some of the consequences potentially for Canada if we don`t get a deal.
Here`s what he said.


Canada, that`s just fine, but we`ll see how it all works out. I say
affectionately, we`ll just have to tariff those cars coming in. That`s a
lot of money coming into the coffers of the United States.


JAVERS: So, Sue, the president laying down a tariff threat to Canadian
automobiles. That`s a big one, a big, important sector in Canada and the
negotiators are sensitive about the fate of their autoworkers in all of
this. Now the question is what happens.

The U.S. said the administration has officially notified Congress that
they`re beginning this so-called 90-day clock here to renegotiate NAFTA,
but they`ve said that they`re not sure whether Canada will be in that deal
or out of that deal when the time comes for something to be signed here in
Washington, D.C., Sue.

MATHISEN: It was very interesting. Chrystia Freeland is an
extraordinarily adroit parrier of journalists having been a journalist.

JAVERS: That`s right.

MATHISEN: At one point, she was asked does she think the U.S. was
negotiating in good faith and there was an unmistakably long pause there.
Later in the day, she seemed to go out of her way to say yes, the U.S. was
negotiating in good faith.

JAVERS: Yes, that`s right. That might indicate some of the tensions
throughout the day. You know, everything was disrupted this afternoon when
we saw that leak of those off-the-record comments that the president made
privately to “Bloomberg News” reporters. Not clear who leaked it, whether
it came from administration, from that news organization, or from some
other mechanism, but it ended up in a Canadian newspaper and it caused a
lot of attention to be paid to what was going on here in Washington today.

A real hiccup at the end of this tense negotiation and now we`re told
they`re simply going to punt it until next week.

HERERA: Eamon Javers, Eamon, thank you so much.

JAVERS: You bet.

HERERA: Reporting from the White House tonight.

MATHISEN: Well, Ford has canceled plans to import a new crossover vehicle
from its plant in China. The automaker cites import tariffs that were put
into effect last month. The vehicle was expected to replace the Ford Focus
in the U.S. late next year, but the company now says the economics no
longer make sense following a 25 percent tariff.

HERERA: The Trump administration is considering linking capital gains
taxes to inflation. Now that means the taxpayers could adjust the initial
value of an asset for inflation when selling it, potentially reducing the
amount of capital gains tax they would need to pay. Critics say such a
move is tantamount to a tax cut for the rich. A similar measure was
considered by George H.W. Bush, but it was ultimately dropped.

The president wants to ease retirement account rules. He signed an
executive order that would require how minimum distributions from 401(k)
plans and IRAs are calculated for people older than 70-1/2. He also wants
to make it easier for small business owners to group together to provide
workers with retirement plans. The White House says high costs currently
discourage employers from offering the 401(k) accounts.

HERERA: Coke is after a coffee fix. The Dow component is buying the
British coffee chain Costa for about $5 billion, making this Coke`s biggest
brands acquisition in its history, but the deal is raising questions and
shares of Coke fell in trading today.

Sara Eisen has more on Coke`s push into cappuccino.


growing faster than most drinks, 6 percent globally, and that growth is
what Coke is after.

But it`s the retail side of this field that`s raising something questions.
Costa has 4,000 stores across 30 countries. It`s number one in the U.K.
So I asked Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) CEO James Quincey why retail? It`s not
Coca-Cola`s business or expertise.

He said: Clearly part of the coffee strategy is having stores because they
build business and the brand. We are buying a great management team that
knows what it`s doing in retail and clearly not our core competence, he
admits, along with roasting coffee, that`s what they`re bringing. We are
bringing global scale, according to Quincey. We can introduce different
formats of the total beverage provider.

In some places, you might see stores, beans, machines. In the U.S., he
says they don`t want to go toe to toe with Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) opening
coffee shops. It would be more of a focus on Coca-Cola`s relationship with
food service, big restaurants and big business.

Costa also has vending machines and, of course, beans and pods that they
sell in grocery stores.

ALI DIBADJ, BERNSTEIN ANALYST: It makes sense in terms of them having to
get into coffee. The hot beverages are growing much, much faster than
their Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) franchises, and their cold beverages. So, I get
why they`re trying to diversify into this.

I don`t understand why they had to buy something. I don`t understand why
they had to spend $5 million to do it.

EISEN: Here`s a reality for Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO). According to Jefferies,
almost 70 percent of Coke`s volumes are in sparkling beverages. That`s
brand Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite, lower growth beverages, and that`s why Coke
is ramping up the portfolio in higher growth area, sparkling water, tea,
coffee, sports drink.

Remember, it took a big stake in Body Armor just a few weeks ago. That was
also the logic behind PepsiCo`s recent $3 billion deal for SodaStream less
than two weeks ago. In fact, these are the biggest deals for both beverage
companies in years showing they`re getting aggressive when it comes to
pursuing growth and following where the consumer is going.

For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Sara Eisen in New York.


MATHISEN: Time now to take a look at some of today`s upgrades and
downgrades. Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:ERTS) was downgraded to neutral from
buy at Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) Merrill Lynch. The analyst cites the
crowded holiday slate of games expected to be released. The price target
now $126, the stock fell 2 percent to $113.41.

And the same analyst at Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) Merrill Lynch, busy day
for him or her, also cut the rating on Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ:ATVI) to
neutral from buy. The analyst cites increased competition from the popular
video game “Fortnite”. Very popular in my house. The price target now
$77. The stock fell 2 percent to $72.10.

HERERA: Lululemon`s price target was raised to $175 a share at Cowen. The
analyst cites the company`s sales momentum and international expansion
following its earnings report yesterday. The firm`s rating on the stock is
outperform. The stock rose 13 percent to $154.93.

VMware was added to the top picks list over at Oppenheimer. The analyst is
upbeat on the company`s ability to execute on its cloud strategy. The
price target is $180, and stock fell just a fraction today to $153.26.

MATHISEN: Ready, set, hike. The NFL doubles down on its digital strategy,
but is it enough to offset the persistent decline in TV ratings.


MATHISEN: Consumer sentiment edged higher this month. According to the
latest report from the University of Michigan, consumers upbeat about their
job prospects and future incomes though there is growing concern about
rising prices and higher interest rates.

HERERA: It is time now for our weekly market monitor who has a list of
stocks that he says are a bargain and may also benefit from inflation.

Joining us is Barry James, president and portfolio manager with James
Investment Research.

Always good to see you, Barry. Welcome.

Hi. Great to be with you.

HERERA: Let`s get right to your picks. You`re going basic materials for
the first one and you like Louisiana Pacific. Why?

JAMES: Well, just from the inflation standpoint, we finally hit the Fed`s
target of 2 percent and we`re seeing lots of businesses and the producers
saying that prices are rising. So that should help out in timber prices.
They have a specialty product called Oriented Strand and it`s used in all
kinds of construction and furniture.

The company is cheap and it`s a stock that like even in our mutual fund,
the Golden Rainbow, because it`s cheap, it has very good and growing
earnings and the price has been in an uptrend. A little bit of a pullback
recently, so that makes it a little more attractive and hopefully, it can
hold up well if we do get this inflation.

MATHISEN: I love it when you say oriented strand, Barry. It just really
tickles me.


MATHISEN: Let`s go to basic materials, sticking to bake materials, Alex,
for $20.

Let`s go to Steel Dynamics (NASDAQ:STLD) tiptoeing into the steel area.

JAMES: That`s right. I know it may sound a little dull compared to all of
the technology world, but it`s really, really cheap and really making money
and all these negotiations on tariffs kind of has the price to press just a
little bit. It has been helped, I think, but 95 percent of its sales are
in the United States, so it`s not affected as much by exports or anything
of that nature. So it`s doing real well, and I think it`s got a good

HERERA: OK, precious metals. Next on the list, you have a couple of picks
here for us. First, the IAU, and second, the GLD.

JAMES: Right, the two exchange-traded funds that buy the underlying gold.
And as we look at that, gold has done nothing this year.

HERERA: Right.

JAMES: It`s been buried in the bins of ignorance and that`s generally the
case when the dollar is very strong. However, when we see the dollar, if
it does start to get a little bit weaker then that should be good for gold
and the fact that it`s ignored, it provides a good safety net.

MATHISEN: How are you getting ready for the fall, Barry, in terms of
portfolio management? Very quickly.

JAMES: Yes. We see that there are near-term potential risks, but the long
term flow of the market is so strong. I think there`s a song investors are
singing. You know, if loving you is wrong, I don`t want to be right. And
so, they keep putting money back in and you even see that with Warren

HERERA: Right.

JAMES: His indicator says the market is really expensive, but he`s in
there buying. So, I think that`s kind of where everybody`s at.

HERERA: Barry, have a great, long weekend. Good to see you as always.

JAMES: All right. Good to be with you.

HERERA: Barry James with James Investment Research.

To read more of Barry`s picks, head to our website,

MATHISEN: Big Lots (NYSE:BIG) shares take a slide and a big one, and
that`s where we begin tonight`s “Market Focus”.

The discount retailer missed earnings and revenue estimates. The company
cited higher transportation and fuel costs, which offset stronger same-
store sales. Also gave weak guidance for the full year. Shares fell 10
percent to $43.05.

The hospital operator HCA Healthcare said it would buy non-profit hospital
system Mission Health for about $1.5 billion. The deal puts additional
hospitals under the HCA corporate umbrella. Shares of HCA healthcare up 2
percent on the section to $134.11.

HERERA: United Continental is raising baggage fees on a number of flights
in response to higher fuel costs. The airline said customers can expect to
see an increase in bag fees on routes to and from North America, the
Caribbean and Central America. United will now charge $30 for the first
checked bag. That`s up from 25 bucks, and this follows a similar move by
JetBlue. Shares of United rose a fraction to $87.42.

And investors had their first chance to react to American Outdoor brands,
stronger than expected quarterly report which was out after the bell
yesterday. The parent company of Smith & Wesson said increased promotions
and stronger demand for its new products helped its results. The company
also gave an upbeat outlook for the current quarter. Shares took off,
rising more than 43 percent to $14.03.


Football season kicks off next week, the pro season that is, after a tough
2017 season when viewership fell nearly 10 percent. Now, the NFL has come
up with a new strategy it hopes will give a much-needed boost to ratings.

Julia Boorstin has the details.


as the cornerstone of its strategy, the NFL is doubling down on digital,
enabling football fans to live stream all in-market and prime time games
from any mobile device. The NFL streaming deals Verizon (NYSE:VZ) in the
U.S. will enable 400 million phones and for the first time tablets to watch
for free. This up from the 100 million Verizon (NYSE:VZ) phone subscribers
who could watch live last year.

The games will be available on Verizon`s properties such as AOL (NYSE:AOL)
and Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO), plus, the NFL app and Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and its
Twitch service will stream 11 Thursday night games.

digital distribution is just reach, is to get to people who may not be in
front of a television. I think it remains to be seen if it will drive
people back to television. When we do know is that when people watch NFL
games on smaller screens, it`s usually a stopgap to get to a bigger screen.
I mean, they want to watch on a bigger screen possible.

BOORSTIN: And the NFL hoping to reach a generation of mobile first
millennials to get them excited and to transition some of the additional
viewers to watch on TV. The question is whether the strategy helps turn
around ratings. After last season, NFL rating declined 12 percent and the
2016, ratings fell 8 percent from the prior year.

The focus here is not to compensate for a decrease in ad revenue. In fact,
I think the volume of ad revenue and NFL football is up this year. It`s
more about continuing to increase the reach of NFL football for anyone who
is almost living exclusively in a digital world.

BOORSTIN: To boost engagement amongst all its viewers, the NFL is working
to make ads less intrusive, expanding formats it tested last year,
including fewer breaks, showing ads on a split screen and showing more six-
second spots. We`ll see how these changes impact next Thursday`s ratings.

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


HERERA: Coming up, real estate`s new best friend.


MATHISEN: Remember Jeff Skilling? Let me remind you. The former Enron
CEO today released from prison. Skilling originally sentenced to 24 years
for his role in one of the biggest corporate fraud cases in history. Enron
went bankrupt in 2001, and its collapse at the time was the largest in U.S.

Skilling`s sentence was reduced to 14 years and today, he relocated to a
halfway house.

HERERA: Well, there are many things to consider when buying a home. Price
and location often top the list, but more millennials are making decisions
based on the needs of their pets. Yep, you heard that right.

Diana Olick explains.


Jessica Evans lives in Washington, D.C. with Lucy and Casper. She calls
them her fur children.

JESSICA EVANS, MILLENNIAL PET OWNER: I want to have kids one day I`m not
at that point in my life and I think a lot of millennials here in D.C. are
kind of in that same boat, but you still enjoy having something to take
care of.

OLICK: And taking care of Lucy and Casper meant buying this house.

EVANS: I love living in the downtown area in a condo. It was great. It
was very convenient and I didn`t have house work. But the one thing that
was missing was my dog`s happiness.

OLICK: And she is far from alone. Seventy-three percent of millennials
currently own a pet according to the American Pet Products Association.
That`s more than any other demographic and a whopping 89 percent of
millennials who bought homes so far this year own a pet according to That has millennials putting their pets` needs front and
center in real estate decisions. Seventy-nine percent of pet-owning
homebuyers who closed this year said they would pass up an otherwise
perfect home if it didn`t meet the needs of their pets according to`s survey.

Jessica knows this firsthand because she`s also a real estate agent.

EVANS: They basically want a yard. They really want some outdoor space
and that does sometimes mean people moving out of the city even though
they`d love to stay in the city. The challenge of having a lot of stairs
can be difficult for people with older pets.

Having a place to wash your pet is a big deal — the proximity to dog-
friendly places like if you don`t have a car and you have a dog, being able
to walk to your Petco, or PetSmart (NASDAQ:PETM) or pet store, like that`s
a big deal.

OLICK: And once they buy a home, millennials will put a lot of money into
it to upgrade it for their pets. Jessica did.

EVANS: Probably $12,000 on it.

OLICK: That $12,000 paid for a higher fence, a pet door and even a
renovated basement bathroom.

EVANS: I wanted to have — I wanted her to have her own shower so I
wouldn`t have to clean mine after washing her in it.

OLICK: Because after all, pets are people, too.

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


HERERA: My dogs do not have their own shower. There`s no way.

To read more about Diana`s story on our website, you can go to


MATHISEN: And before we go, let`s take a final look at the day on Wall
Street. The Dow was down 22 points, Nasdaq was up 21, that will buy some
pet food, and the S&P 500 rose a fraction. For the month, there you see
it, the big winner, look at Nasdaq, up nearly 6 percent.

HERERA: I hope my dogs weren`t watching that report.

MATHISEN: They`re going to want that upgraded bathroom downstairs.

HERERA: Unbelievable.

MATHISEN: Have a great weekend, will you?

HERERA: Yes, you too. And you as well out there.

Thanks for joining us. I`m Sue Herera.

MATHISEN: I`m Tyler Mathisen. Do have a great weekend, and we`ll see you
Monday for a special Labor Day edition of NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT.


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
of Nightly Business Report, or CNBC, Inc. Information presented on Nightly
Business Report is not and should not be considered as investment advice.
(c) 2018 CNBC, Inc.


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