Transcript: Nightly Business Report – September 21, 2018

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

started, few would have guessed it would like this — at records.

are in search of workers for the holidays. And in this labor market they
could be hard to find.

HERERA: Up in vape. Teen use of e-cigarettes is on the rise. Sales are
soaring, creating a big challenge for public health officials.

Those stories and more tonight on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for finally a
Friday, September 21st.

GRIFFETH: And we do bid you good evening, everybody. And welcome.

What a week on Wall Street. Stocks did what few thought they would do
after the White House on Monday announced those tariffs on an additional
$200 billion of Chinese imports, most expected the market to decline.

But instead equities unexpectedly took off. And they kept going, reaching
new highs along the way. And it happened again today. The Dow finished
the gain — with gain of 86 points today to close at another record 26,743.
The Nasdaq fell 41 points as technology continued to lag. And the S&P fell
by 1 point.

The Dow and the S&P were higher for the week, especially the Dow which
added 2 percent.

Here is look back at an impressive week.


HERERA: Stocks fell into the close amid the increasing trade tensions.

GRIFFETH: The White House has released details of those new tariffs on
Chinese imports worth approximately $200 billion.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: China made good on the promise to hit the U.S. back
with tariffs.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The tug of war over tariffs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our impact in 2018 is going to be about $40 million
from tariff-related costs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Manufacturing is growing in the country. This trade
war has the potential to set us back.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Investors seem convinced both sides want a solution
and a deal here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People are making a mountain out of a mole hill.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Every time there is a new semi negative headline in
trade, everybody gets spooked, but I think investors tend to realize that
this is just noise.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The S&P and now the Dow hit some record highs.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was a historic run. S&P record close, 12th of the
year, 100th record close since the election.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The year to date gain in the S&P is pushing 10 percent.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You had a real risk on field this week.


HERERA: But is the rally moving too far and too fast?

Mike Santoli looks at the market that has defied expectations.


to the record high in nearly eight months has taken its gain this year of
up 8 percent, with all of that progress coming since late June. The market
has carried higher despite persistent trade friction with China and through
what historically has been a tough stretch for stocks in August and

The question now, are stocks running too hot perhaps burning the fuel set
aside for a potential fourth quarter rally? Or is the market suggesting
the environment is just right for now with a brisk U.S. economic pace and
extraordinary corporate profit growth carrying well into the second half of
this year?

The observable signals are mostly encouraging. History says an index
hitting a new high is a better indicator of a market strength than
vulnerability. Stock markets overseas have doubts with stress building in
the global economy. The rally has become a bit more inclusive in the past
week, comforting some strategists, they saw the market as too narrowly-
driven by big tech stocks.

And the advances also occurred as traders come to terms with the growing
likelihood that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates two more
times this year, once next week and perhaps again in December.

This is first the 10-year treasury yield above 3 percent helped financial
stocks and implies investors feel the economy is sturdy enough to absorb
somewhat higher interest rates.

Working against these constructive messages are some familiar concerns.
Stock valuations based on expected earnings have again moved for the upper
part of their range for this bull market, particularly when compared to
bond yields, also near a 7-year high. And both earnings and GDP growth
appear poised to decelerate into 2019, even as the Fed projects further
rate hikes through next year.

A year ago, the major indexes were up by a similar percentage on year to
date as they are now, and accelerated higher from there through this past
January. But, of course, a year ago, the market was ego early anticipating
the tax cut in December that has already provided business with a big boost
in 2018.

It all boils down to a fairly up beat picture with no clear signs of a U.S.
recession on the horizon, but just how much of the abundant good news this
market has already priced in remains an open question entering the year`s
final turn.



GRIFFETH: Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, Brexit talks between the United
Kingdom and the European Union had an impasse and frustrated U.K. Prime
Minister Theresa May, today challenge the E.U. to come up with its own plan
one day after her proposal was rejected.


THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: The E.U. should be clear: I will not
overturn the result of the referendum, nor will I break up my country. We
need serious engagement on resolving the two big problems in the
negotiations. And we stand ready.


GRIFFETH: And as the talks grow more tense, investors are becoming concern
that a deal won`t be reached. And that caused the British pound to fall
sharply against the dollar and the euro. The U.K. is schedule he had to
quit the bloc in March, and believe it or not that is less than 200 days
away now.

HERERA: Meanwhile, a top White House official today said that the U.S. and
Mexico were prepared to move ahead on a new trade deal without Canada.
Kevin Hassett, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, said that the
revised NAFTA agreement could end up being a bilateral rather than a
trilateral deal. He added the U.S. and Canada are still talking but that a
U.S. imposed deadline looms at the end of the month.

GRIFFETH: And Walmart is warning that additional tariffs on Chinese
imports may force it to raise prices. In a letter to the U.S. trade
representative, the world`s largest retailer says the cost could increase
hit essential items, everything from food and personal care products to
bicycles, pet products, cribs even backpacks.

The company says the results will be the considers either buy fewer items
or none at all, meaning that suppliers could receive less and retail
margins could shrink and rival Target (NYSE:TGT) said today it is also
deeply troubled by the escalating trade war which it says threatened to
undermine the economy.

HERERA: Time now to take a look at some of today`s upgrades and

AT&T (NYSE:T) was upgraded to buy from neutral at UBS. The analyst says
the stock is trading near all-time low valuations. The price target is
$38. The stock rose 1 percent to $33.78.

Under Armour (NYSE:UA) was upgraded to neutral from underweight over at
J.P. Morgan. The analyst cites the company`s turnaround and expects it to
meet earnings estimates for this fiscal year and next. The price target is
$20. The stock closed right around that level at $20.57.

GRIFFETH: Nike`s price target was increased to $100 from $85 at Barkley`s.
The price target is now the highest among Wall Street analysts. The firm
praised innovation at the company. Nike (NYSE:NKE) reports earnings next
week. In the meantime, the stock rose a fraction to $85.55. That is an
all-time high.

Homebuilder Pulte Home was downgraded to underweight from overweight at
J.P. Morgan. The analyst cited below average order growth at the company.
Price target now at $28. That stock fell a fracture to $26.26.

HERERA: The labor market is tightening and some even describe it as
booming. Yet despite the low rate of unemployment a curious thing is
taking place create a big of an economic puzzle.

Steve Liesman pieces it together.


low unemployment rate and somewhat higher wages, Americans who have dropped
out of the labor force are defying expectations and not coming back. At
3.9 percent, the unemployment rate is as low as it`s been in almost two

But the participation rate, that`s the percent of the population saying
they want to work, has been stuck for nearly three years at around 63
percent. That`s the level it was back in 1977 before women came streaming
into the workplace.

What`s happening is that the strong labor market brought some people in the
prime working age of 25 to 54 back into the workforce. But it`s not enough
to offset the baby boomer retirees, more and more of whom are picking up
golf clubs every day and retiring.

ALAN KRUEGER, PRINCETON UNIVERSITY: We`re not getting enough of a return
for the workforce to offset the forces that are going to be in play for the
next two decades.

LIESMAN: The question is, can the U.S. bring any of these workers off the
sidelines to staff the strong growth in the economy? There is no one size
fits all solution.

KRUEGER: For women, I think employers have to offer more flexible work.
Many of the women out of the labor force are taking care of families. They
have household responsibilities and they report that they are content with
lives. That`s not all women, but that`s many of the women.

And if you look where the U.S. lags behind other countries, labor force
participation of women is now relatively low and we used to be among the
highest in the world.

LIESMAN: For men, economists say there are issues about opioid addiction,
disability and training that need to be addressed. But there`s also the
big issue, why don`t employers just pay more?

MEGAN GREENE, MANULIFE ASSET MANAGEMENT: There`s been a real reticence to
raise wages. A lot of companies have told me, you know, we could raise
wages but then everybody else would do it, so what`s the point? So, it`s a
bit of a collective action problem. But I do think that there is some
solution to this. And that comes in the form of higher wages.

LIESMAN: One idea, the Federal Reserve should keep interest rates as low
as it can for as long as it can, even risking inflation. To help push up
wages and see if that gets people off the sidelines and into a job.



GRIFFETH: And in fact, getting those workers back into the labor force is
exactly what retailers would like to see because they plan to ramp up their
hiring in a big way this holiday season.

Courtney Reagan has more.


it would be a strong holiday season for retailers and hiring signs are out
at stores, websites and delivery companies. So far, the retail industry
has advertised more than 300,000 seasonal job openings, a number that`s
expected to more than double in come weeks. While the number of seasonal
jobs is expected to be close with past years with unemployment at historic
lows, it may be harder to fill the roles which could lead to a more
frustrating shopping experience.

lot of short falls. That means even more lines, a lot — you`ll also see
retailers that have broaden their search and bring in people they wouldn`t
have usually brought in. Usually, one of the best indicators of how good
the economy is, is how about the services is because they can`t staff up
enough during this tight labor markets and better economic times. And the
people that you get behind the counter have less skills.

That is the reality. It also means they have to pay out for people.

REAGAN: Since retailers often hire from the same labor pool as hotels,
restaurants and even construction, the hiring package needs to be
competitive. Target (NYSE:TGT) is starting pay at $12 an hour for seasonal
workers, the same as the rest of its year-round staff. Macy`s (NYSE:M)
seasonal employees will be eligible for bonuses, just like its full-time

The department store CEO Jeff Gennett is confident Macy`s will find the
80,000 holiday workers it needs. He says Macy is more of a consideration
than it used to be, partly because of its new companywide bonus program and
its current sales momentum.

Retailers have already started hiring for the holidays. Kohl`s began its
holiday hiring months ago to have the first crack at the best employees and
to have time to train them.

On job site ZipRecruiter, there were two times as many retail job openings
in August than last year, with openings far outpacing applicants.
Students, recent grads retired individuals and gig workers like Uber
drivers are among those that could fill the jobs at stores, websites and
delivery companies during the holidays. The gig economy is a big part of
an alternate workforce which job website Glassdoor estimates is made up of
about 16 million Americans retailers could potentially recruit.

The tight labor market may make it harder for retailers to fill seasonal
jobs, but for holiday workers, it also means a jollier opportunity with
better pay and incentives.



HERERA: Still ahead, flooding threatens a key North Carolina industry —
its crops.


GRIFFETH: Farmers in North Carolina are trying to salvage what they can in
Hurricane Florence`s aftermath. For some, the storm could not have come at
a worse time for this critical sector of the Tar Heel State`s economy.

Seema Mody is in the small farming of Lucama for us tonight.


clock for many farmers in North Carolina to salvage as much of their crop
in the wake of Hurricane Florence. Wind and rain damaged much of the
tobacco still left in the fields.

And Scott Farms, a family-run, 14-now acre operation, tells us it could
lose 25 percent of its tobacco crop.

SCOTT DEWEY, SCOTT FARMS VP: Obviously, it has been damaged. Fortunate a
lot of it has been gotten in so far. Where it goes from here, we don`t

MODY: The farm also grows sweet potatoes which makes up about 70 percent
of its revenue. They were still underground when Florence hit, halting the
harvest. Scott Farms says the crop could see losses of 20 percent or more.

DEWEY: Harvesting sweet potatoes, we have a narrow window of when to get
it harvested. We need to get things harvested before the frost hits and
gets cold. So, when an event like this comes and we`re out for a week and
can`t harvest, it narrows the amount of time that we have to get the crop
into the house. So, that`s — so it`s a problem that you deal with and up
front and it`s a problem you deal with down the road.

MODY: The impact of Florence`s heavy rains is being felt across the state
where agriculture is number one industry, employing one-sixth of the

Sanderson Farms (NASDAQ:SAFM), one of the country`s largest poultry
producers, warned in a statement this week that bird losses from Florence
will affect its fourth quarter. And so far, 5,500 hogs have died, nearly
double the number lost during Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

Due to excessive flooding, a number of lagoons are at risk of releasing pig
waste into the flood water, raising concerns about water contamination.
And if that wasn`t enough, tariffs are weighing on North Carolina`s $87
billion agricultural industry. China is the state`s top trading partner
for ag products and tariffs imposed in July hit key crops like soybeans,
tobacco and pork.

But most farmers across the state are reluctant to comment on tariffs.
Strickland Farm in nearby Mount Olive says it wants to see a level playing
field with China, though admits that the ongoing trade dispute has
inflicted pain on their business.

For now, farmers cross the state are focused on rescuing as much crop as

For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, Seema Mody, Lucama, North Carolina.


HERERA: Medtronic (NYSE:MDT) inks a deal to grow its medical device
portfolio. That`s where we begin tonight`s “Market Focus”.

Medtronic (NYSE:MDT) said it was buying the rest of Mazor Robotics that it
doesn`t already own for more than $1.5 billion. Medtronic (NYSE:MDT) said
that deal adds more robotic guided systems to its spinal surgery
technology. Shares of Medtronic (NYSE:MDT) rose a fraction to $97.85.
Meanwhile, shares of Mazor Robotics popped 10 percent to $58.15.

Royal Dutch Shell is reportedly in talks to sell its stake in an oil field
in the Gulf of Mexico to help pay for its $50 billion takeover of BP Group.
Bloomberg says that deal values Shell`s position in the field at nearly
$1.5 billion. Shares of Shell rose a fraction to $67.28.

GRIFFETH: British online fashion retailer Farfetch made its debut on the
New York Stock Exchange today. It priced its initial public offering at
$20 a share. That was a dollar above the high end of its expected range,
giving that company a market value of more than $6 billion. And it was an
impressive first day of trading. Shares gained more than 42 percent to

And McDonald`s (NYSE:MCD) says it`s hiking the quarterly dividend by 15
percent to $1.16 a share. The fast food chain has now raised the dividend
for 42 consecutive years. Mickey D shares rose nearly 3 percent today to

HERERA: It is time now for a weekly market monitor who says you can still
find value in this market even at these levels. The last time he was on in
October of 2017, he recommended Wynn Resorts (NASDAQ:WYNN), which is up 46
percent, Sonic (NASDAQ:SONC), up 40 percent, and Penske Automotive Group
(NYSE:PAG), which is 2 percent lower.

He is Trip Miller, managing partner at Gullane Capital Partners.

Good to see you, Trip.

Thank you.

HERERA: You are sticking with Wynn Resorts (NASDAQ:WYNN). The company did
have a rough patch earlier when Steve Wynn stepped down. But the overall
longer term performance of the stock is good.

GULLANE: Yes, we have been satisfied over the last year. Although in the
last six months, the stock pulled back meaningfully, and as long-term value
investors, we`re looking for businesses that qualify both qualitatively and
quantitatively and Wynn certainly does that. We feel like under new
management, new board leadership, under Matt Maddox`s lead with the
company, that we`ve got exceptional management in place that can execute
the long-term plan that Steve Wynn began.

On top of that, they have irreplaceable real estate assets and brands and
catalysts coming in both Boston and internationally in Macau that will
drive earnings even higher in the coming years.

GRIFFETH: Quickly, you`ve got the Spectrum Brands on your list.
Interesting company. Everything from plumbing supplies to shaving supplies
here, but the stock has suffered mightily the last couple of years. I
guess that`s why you like it?

MILLER: Yes, we have been buying into it recently on the pullback. We
have watched it pullback significantly over the last year. But they are
similar to Wynn. We have a management change in place under Dave Maura,
and we have a legendary investor Joe Steinberg on the board as well who did
an exceptional job over many decades at Leucadia.

They will be selling off their Ray-O-Vac brand this year to Energizer, and
that will generate about $2 billion in cash that they will use to pay down
debt. Also buyback roughly $1 billion of stock in the next couple years.


MILLER: And we believe that their free cash flow and earnings are growing.
So, we like that as well.

HERERA: All right. Let`s finish up in the last 30 seconds with FedEx
(NYSE:FDX). Also strong leadership.

MILLER: Yes, absolutely, under founder Fred Smith who owns about 7 percent
of the shares and his team we have been long-term shareholders and
believers in FedEx (NYSE:FDX). As you mentioned, the stock is down but we
believe that they are growing free cash flow and earnings at a high rate
and they`re in a duopoly in their space with their acquisition of TNT is
only going to make them stronger in Europe.

HERERA: On that note, Trip, thank you so much. Trip Miller with Gullane
Capital Partners.

MILLER: Thank you.

HERERA: You can read more about his stock picks on our Website,

GRIFFETH: Coming up, how Canada is taking the lead on cannabis.


HERERA: Marijuana stocks got a lot of buzz this week. That was partly due
to Tilray, which is as we have reported was up sharply midweek, halted
multiple times, only to end in dramatic fashion with a 30 percent fall

GRIFFETH: And just as investor interest around cannabis is growing,
wouldn`t you know Canada is getting ready to legalize recreational
marijuana next month.

Kate Rogers (NYSE:ROG) is in Cobourg, Ontario, for us tonight.


producers across Canada are gearing up for the end of marijuana
prohibition. The move implemented by the Trudeau government makes the
country the first G-7 nation to legalize recreational use of the plant,
while cannabis remains illegal at the federal level in the United States.

Longtime cannabis executive Chuck Rifici is hoping to cash in. The CEO of
Auxly has invested in 14 different operations from growth, to research and
retail. His one concern, there might not be enough product on store

CHUCK RIFICI, AUXLY CANNABIS GROUP CEO: I think we will see empty store
shelves, because we have seen it every other place that has legalization.
There will be a lack of products over the first year. Many of the
producers across the country are ramping up production but there is still a
bit of a lag for that to catch up.

ROGERS: Another unknown in this sea of green is the market size for the
Canadian industry. Analysts have said it could be anywhere from $4 billion
to $10 billion in the next few years.

Analysts expect those numbers to grow, as multinational companies from
Constellation to Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) make and explore deals, bringing the
product more mainstream.

And more investment is expected.

MATT KARNES, GREENWAVE ADVISORS: I don`t think there is anybody that`s not
eyeing an opportunity in cannabis. I do believe that there are many people
on the sidelines, many companies on the sidelines vying for an opportunity.

ROGERS: Another thing industry insiders are watching, what this means for
the U.S. market.

ANTHONY DURKACZ, FSD PHARMA: Hopefully, we can show America and the rest
of the world that legalization is the right thing to do. It`s very
important I think to, you know, put the money back into the people`s hands.
Government will generate a lot of revenue and a lot of taxes, it will add a
tremendous amount of jobs especially to small town America. And so, I
think it`s really important that the world gets to see this and hopefully
follows Canada`s lead as a G-7 country.

ROGERS: As Canada takes the lead on cannabis, the rest of the world is

For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Kate Rogers (NYSE:ROG) in Cobourg,


HERERA: But Phillip Morris says it has no plans to enter the cannabis
market. The CEO said the company already has enough on its plate, adding
it is tasked with the challenge of getting traditional smokers around the
world to switch to smoke-free tobacco devices, which are a growing part of
Phillip Morris`s business.

GRIFFETH: Elsewhere, a new report says electronic cigarette use is soaring
among teenagers. “The Wall Street Journal” says the number of high school
students using the e-cigarettes has risen by 75 percent in just the past

Betsy McKay co-wrote the story for the journal. She joins us tonight.

And the FDA is very much paying attention to this and they`re trying to
stop what Scott Gottlieb calls an epidemic, right?

the FDA said it was starting to — you know, considering banning flavoring
in these products, in e-cigarettes, because that`s a real draw for

HERERA: Yes. And it has ultimately addiction qualities to it. And that
can lead to very difficult health challenges and costs down the road,

MCKAY: That`s right. I mean, these products have a lot of nicotine in
them. They certainly aren`t cigarettes. You know, they don`t have the
toxins that tobacco has, but they have high levels of nicotine.

And, you know, public health officials and doctors worry a lot about
nicotine in developing brains. It definitely can have an effect on the
brain as it develops, and your brain is developing when you`re about in
your late 20s.

GRIFFETH: By far, the biggest company in this industry right now is Juul.
They make what teens love it`s a very hip looking kind of a vape device
with the flavors and everything.

But the industry itself is relying on the teen market. That`s where the
biggest growth is. So, if the FDA is able to stop that growth, what
happens to this industry, do you think?

MCKAY: Well, one of the big questions actually is where is all in growth
coming from? I mean, the e-cigarette business, you know across the board
has been growing a lot in the past year, led by Juul. I mean, Juul is a
real innovation and breakthrough in the market and others are copying it.

And so, one of the questions until, you know, this year is how much of that
growth is actually coming from teen use? But the data that we reported
starts to help answer that, because there hasn`t been any data out there in
2018 yet.

But, you know, it still is an open question. It`s hard to know with sales
how much of it is going to teens. They`re not necessarily the ones
actually buying the products.

HERERA: Right. How does a company like a Juul — did and there are others
in the space as well — walk the fine line being in compliance with the FDA
but still trying to sell its product and make a profit?

MCKAY: Yes, it`s tough. I mean, they say their target is adult smokers.
And when it comes to flavors, for example, which is what the FDA has its
eye on right now, they say that`s important for adult smokers. You know,
people who want to quit smoking want to get away from the tobacco flavor
they say.

But flavors are what are drawing teens. So, they are trying to reach out
more to adult smokers but they have a very active teen market right now.

GRIFFETH: That is for sure. Betsy McKay with the “Wall Street Journal” —
interesting story. Thanks for joining us tonight.

MCKAY: Thanks.

HERERA: Before we go, let`s look at the final numbers from Wall Street.
The Dow rose 86 points to a record 26,743. The Nasdaq dropped because of
technology. The S&P 500 fell one.

The Dow and S&P were higher for the week. And what a week it was, right?

GRIFFETH: Indeed. Yes.

HERERA: That will do it for us tonight. I`m Sue Herera. Thanks for
joining us.

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


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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