Transcript: Nightly Business Report – October 2, 2018

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

one of the country`s biggest employers, is raising the minimum wage for
workers and it`s encouraging others to do the same.

hits an all-time high as investors cheer the strong economy.

HERERA: Mortgage fraud. Rising home prices are making it harder to afford
a house. So, some buyers have decided to fudge the numbers.

Those stories and more tonight on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for Tuesday,
October 2nd.

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

Now, ordinarily, the Dow closing at an all-time high would be the top
story. But that`s not the case today. We will have more on Wall Street`s
record-breaking day in just a moment.

But we begin tonight with one thing that has been helping to fuel the stock
market higher, that is the job market, which is coming into sharp focus
this week. Tomorrow, we get ADP`s private payroll report. Thursday, the
weekly jobless claims. And Friday, the government`s monthly employment
numbers will be released.

But today, the job story was about Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN). The company which
is one of the country`s biggest private employers raised the minimum wage
for its workers to $15 an hour. That`s more than double the federal
minimum wage and it includes all of its full-time, part time, temporary and
seasonal employees in the U.S.

It is a change that could have a wide-reaching economic impact, especially
when you consider that Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) has added more American jobs in
the past decade than any other company. And it`s yet to be announced
second headquarters is expected to employ an additional 50,000 people.

As Courtney Reagan reports now, Amazon`s wage increase could inspire other
companies to follow.


big company just in time for the holidays.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The minimum wage of $15 an hour.


REAGAN: Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) is increasing its minimum wage in the U.S. to
$15 an hour, from an average $11 an hour currently. Two hundred and fifty
thousand part time, full-time and seasonal workers will benefit from higher
pay starting November 1st.

At the same time, Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) is phasing out its restricted stock
program, saying employees prefer, quote, predictability and immediacy of
cash. The company says the net effect is significantly more total
compensation but hasn`t detailed how much it will cost.

BRENT HILL, JEFFERIES ANALYST: We think it`s a modest impact. We don`t
think it`s having a material impact on the bottom line. Remember Amazon
(NASDAQ:AMZN) has so many initiatives. So, we think this is a great move.

REAGAN: Senator Bernie Sanders has been a vocal critic of Amazon
(NASDAQ:AMZN), pointing the pay disparity between hourly employees and
founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, who`s now the riches person in the world.
Sanders had said Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) doesn`t pay employees enough,
pointing to those on food stamps and Medicaid.

we listened to our critics. We thought long and hard about what we wanted
to do. We really evaluated our approach to compensation and decided that
we wanted to lead. We wanted to come out. We wanted to do this now.

REAGAN: The senator now giving Bezos and Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) credit for
the pay increase.

now leading the way. But there is absolutely now no reason by other
profitable corporations like Walmart, like the fast food industry, like
retail in general, and other employer — other employees — no reason now
why they also should not be paying their employees at least $15 an hour.

REAGAN: Bezos responding in a tweet: Thank you @SenatorSanders. We`re
about this and hope others will join in.

HILL: Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) is cheering this move. Other retailers are
crying right now over this.

REAGAN: Three years ago, Walmart made a multibillion-dollar investment to
increase worker`s pay, now at $11 an hour. Target (NYSE:TGT) is at $12
with a goal of $15 by the year 2020.

JERRY STORCH, FORMER TOYS “R” US CEO: If you want to succeed in the
future, you have to match this. Otherwise, you know, you end one a
demotivated workforce or all the good ones leave and go somewhere where
they make more money.

REAGAN: In a tight labor market, a high wage is the best recruiting tool
just in time to fill Amazon`s 100,000 seasonal jobs.



HERERA: Even with the tight labor market the chair of the Federal Reserve
does not expect inflation to rise sharply. In a speech today on the
economy, Jerome Powell called the broader pick up in wages a welcome
development and said he is not concerned about overheating.


JEROME POWELL, FEDERAL RESERVE CHAIRMAN: What is more likely, in my view,
is that many factors, including better conduct of monetary policy over the
last few decades have greatly reduced but not eliminated the effects that
tight labor markets have on inflation.


HERERA: Chairman Powell said he expects to stick with the central bank`s
current path of gradual interest rate hikes.

GRIFFETH: Michael Feroli talks more about the impact of the Amazon
(NASDAQ:AMZN) move here. He is chief U.S. economist at J.P. Morgan.

Michael, good to see you again. Welcome back.


GRIFFETH: So, I guess this is what a tight labor market does. Wages start
to go up, don`t they?

FEROLI: Exactly. And I think we — I think Amazon`s move rather than a
big direct effect on the economy is more reflective of an economy starting
to operate at full employment — at or beyond full employment. So, I think
the fact that we have the unemployment rate below 4 percent has generated
or helped to contribute Amazon`s move. And I think it has been a factor in
some of the other large retailers that have also announced a big move.

HERERA: What about the fact that, you know, Senator Sanders who was
featured in Courtney`s piece is calling on all the major retailers to raise
wages? Today alone, we had thousands of employees of McDonald`s (NYSE:MCD)
in Detroit rallying, asking for $15 an hour.

At what point does that start to trickle down if at all to the economy?

FEROLI: Right. So, you know, you can`t totally discount that there may be
some PR benefit some social responsibility aspect here. But it`s
interesting that all the announcements are coming at a time when the labor
market is tight and not five years ago.

So, I think it is — you know, it`s reflective the fact that like I said we
have a tight labor market. I think it is starting to gradually show up in
the aggregate numbers. We are seeing average hourly earnings creep higher.
We get another look at that this Friday for the September numbers.

But it is starting to gradually show up in average Americans paychecks.
And we think given current trends, that will probably continue on into next

GRIFFETH: So, you so think other companies will be forced to follow
Amazon`s lead here. Is that the idea?

FEROLI: I think they will, not necessarily because Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) is
bidding away so many workers. I mean, even Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), a huge
company like they are employing 250,000 in an economy employing about 150
million, that`s about 0.2 percent of overall employment. So, I think
instead of Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) being a directive impact on itself, the
fact that they are doing this is reflective of a broader economic
environment that other companies are also feeling and they probably will
feel the need to raise wages to retain workers.

We are actually interestingly seeing the number of workers quitting jobs
recently near all-time highs. And I think that is a reflection of, you
know, workers voting with their feet, that if they don`t get a raise, they
can go somewhere else and try their luck elsewhere. So, I think you are
going to see other companies follow, not because necessarily they are being
exported by Jeff Bezos to do so, because it`s in their own best interests
to do so.

HERERA: You know, Mr. Powell said that he does not see it as inflationary.
At what point might it become inflationary? Would we have to see yet
another jump in hourly wages?

FEROLI: I think — I think so. We are still, you know, we`re coming off a
period where wages have been running quite a bit below what we thought they
should over the past couple years. So, that means there is some scope here
for wages to run a little hot, maybe that pressure is corporate margins a
little bit.

But profit margins are starting at a high point. So, that process can run
for perhaps several quarters if not a few years before you necessarily see
inflation get really out of hand. So, I think there is some scope for
wages to continue to grind higher without necessarily inflation moving up.

Now, obviously, it`s Powell`s job to watch the inflation numbers very
careful for any hint that`s happening. I think so far, he can probably
rest easy that we are probably still, you know, several — several months
or quarters away from that being a really big concern.

GRIFFETH: Michael Feroli with J.P. Morgan — again, thanks for joining us

FEROLI: Thank you.

HERERA: As we mentioned earlier in the broadcast, the Dow closed at an
all-time high, rallying for a second straight day to start the fourth
quarter. But the other indexes moved in the opposite direction. The Dow
Jones Industrial Average rose 122 points to 26,773, the Nasdaq fell 37 and
the S&P 500 was down one point.

Bob Pisani looks at what drove the blue chips to new highs.


bulk of the gains in the blue chip index with trade related names like
Boeing (NYSE:BA), Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT), United Technologies (NYSE:UTX)
leading the charge and having outsized impact on the Dow versus the other
major averages. In fact, Boeing (NYSE:BA) hit a new all time high today.

Now, tech also helped fueled the rally with Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Intel
(NASDAQ:INTC) and other chip stocks bouncing back despite some worries over
memory pricing and demand.

Now, on the flipside, there were two key groups that were left out of
today`s rally. The bank stocks again, and retail names. The banks have
been lagging because loan growth has been lackluster. The yield curve has
been flat and because they had to pay more interest to their depositors.

As for retail weakness today, let`s call to it the Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN)
effect again. Big names like Ascena, Abercrombie & Fitch (NYSE:ANF), Gap
(NYSE:GPS), and small retailers like Buckle (NYSE:BKE) were all down four,
five, six percent after Amazon`s decision to raise its minimum wage to $15.
Some are concerned that this will add another layers of stress for
retailers, most of whom pay far below $15 as the minimum wage. Retail
margins have already been pressured by higher input and transportation
costs. That`s a big issue.

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


GRIFFETH: Now, rising confidence in the economy is helping auto sales
remain relatively strong. And the latest numbers for September that were
released today show Americans are willing to hand over a near record amount
of money for a new car or truck.

Phil LeBeau has the details.


pump relatively stable and the economy roaring, auto dealers continue to
see brisk business. Last month, Fiat Chrysler outpaced Toyota (NYSE:TM),
Ford and Honda who all sold fewer vehicles than a year ago. That`s because
Hurricane Harvey brought massive flooding along the Texas and Louisiana
coast, leading to a surge in replacement sales in September of last year.

For all of 2018, sales are on pace to top 17 million vehicles for a fourth
straight year. Not only are Americans buying vehicles at a healthy clip,
they`re paying more. The average price paid now tops $35,700, largely
because pickups and SUVs which come with higher sticker prices remain red
hot and that`s good news for the bottom line of auto makers.

Still, auto stocks are stuck in neutral with some actually pulling back.
Ford is down 26 percent this year. Despite the fact its F-series pickup is
enjoying record sales. Proof investors are looking for more than strong
demand in the showroom.



GRIFFETH: Meanwhile, Tesla met its production and delivery goals when it
comes to its Model 3 electric sedan. The company said today that it
delivered more than 55,800 vehicles to customers in the third quarter.
That is three times more than they delivered the previous quarter.

But the stock fell after Tesla warned of problems selling cars in China
because of the new tariffs.

HERERA: It`s time to look at some of today`s upgrades and downgrades.

General Electric (NYSE:GE) was upgraded to outperform from sector perform
at RBC Capital. The analyst cites the successful track record of its newly
installed CEO, but reported on the management change yesterday. The price
target is $15.

Separately, though, S&P downgraded GE`s credit rating and Moody`s put it on
review for possible downgrade. But shares rose nonetheless to $12.32.

Chevron (NYSE:CVX) was added to the conviction buy list over at Goldman
Sachs (NYSE:GS). The analyst says risks to the stock have been overstated.
The price target is $142. The stock rose a fraction to $124.74.

GRIFFETH: And that same analyst at Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) downgraded
ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) to neutral from buy. The firm cited the stocks
evaluation. Price target now, $81. The stock fell 2 percent to $78.28.

Weight Watchers, which is now simply called WW was added to J.P. Morgan`s
focus list. The analyst says the stock`s recently pullback makes it more
attractive. Price target now $120. That`s a stock rose nearly 1 percent
to $73.35.

HERERA: Still ahead, Pepsi`s beverage sales return to growth just as the
company`s CEO exits.


HERERA: The FDA conducted a surprise inspection of Juul`s headquarters
last week. The agency is looking for additional information about the
company`s sales and marketing practices. Inspectors collected more than
1,000 pages of documents. The surprise visit was part of the FDA`s
crackdown on e-cigarette companies.

GRIFFETH: More people are drinking Pepsi`s teas and Gatorade and colas
these days. The company said today its beverage business returned to
growth in the most recent quarter, helping Pepsi report a rise in profits
on CEO Indra Nooyi`s last day in the corner office. But the higher costs
are still a concern for investors. The stock fell in trading today.

Sara Eisen has more on Pepsi`s latest quarter.


12-year tenure as CEO on a high note. PepsiCo posting a strong 4.9 percent
organic revenue growth which is the metric the industry uses to show how
the underlying business is doing. It as double digit internationally,
growing Frito Lay`s snack business and a turnaround in beverages, all
contributing to the growth. However, the strong dollar put a dent in the
profit outlook.

overall financials of the company, the first half of the year, the dollar
was actually a tailwind to our results. It flipped to a headwind in Q3 and
slightly more substantial headwind we believe in Q4.

EISEN: On Nooyi`s last day, she told analysts and investors: I have
blessed to lead such a great company. During her leadership at Pepsi, she
steered the snack and drinks company early, toward what she called better
for you offerings, like Quaker Oats, Bare fruit snakes, Bubbly Sparkling
Water, and recently, doubling down on Sparkling Water by acquiring

She also successfully managed to fight off an activist investor who pushed
to split the business into snacks and beverage companies. However, when
Ramon Laguarta, a 22-year-old veteran of the company, does take over
tomorrow, there are still plenty of questions. Pepsi`s stock has
underperformed Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) this year, and one reason is that Coke
has moved to unload its bottlers, making a leaner, more focused company.

It`s also been more willing to think outside the box. Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO)
recently confirming it is exploring development of CBD beverages made from

Nooyi`s exit also marks a shrinking group of female, less than 25 of them
right now within the S&P 500, less than 5 percent of the overall index.



HERERA: The FDA grants breakthrough therapy designation to Clovis
Oncology`s experimental extremist. That is where we begin tonight`s
“Market Focus”.

The cancer drug maker said the designation for its prostate cancer therapy
was awarded based on initial data from Clovis`s ongoing study of the drug.
The new status is intended to speed up the approval process for the
treatment. Shares of Clovis Oncology rose more than 7 percent to $31.39.

Payroll processor Paychex (NASDAQ:PAYX) said higher revenue in its services
segments helped total sales edge past expectations. The company also
topped earnings estimates. Shares rose more than 1 percent to $74.78.

Delta said that it took a $30 million hit from Hurricane Florence. And
it`s facing rising fuel costs. There is also a chance that the airlines
profits for the quarter will miss expectations. Separately its rival
United Continental also gave a disappointing earnings outlook for the year.
Shares of Delta were off 3 percent to $54.69. Meanwhile, United
Continental shares fell 1 percent to $86.71.

GRIFFETH: After the bell, “Reuters” reported that Mattress Firm could file
for bankruptcy this week. The report added that the nation`s largest
mattress retailer is looking to terminate costly store leases due to its
poor financial performance. And that news sent shares of the rival
mattress retailer Tempur Sealy (NYSE:ZZ) initially higher in afterhours
trading tonight. They were off nearly 2 percent to $48.38 during the
regular session. Mattress Firm`s parent company, by the way, does not
trade here in the United States.

Also out after the bell tonight, J.C. Penney said it has appointed Jill
Soltau as its new chief executive. She was previously CEO of the Joann
Stores, the fabric and craft supplies retailer. Investors were pleased
obviously. They sent initially shares higher in afterhours, as you can see
there. But during the regular session, shares of J.C. Penney finished down
8 percent down.

HERERA: Chinese buyers are backing away from doing deals in the U.S.
largely due to trade tensions and heightened regulatory restrictions.
According to Dialogic (NASDAQ:DLGC), the number of deals are a fraction of
what they were just a few years ago.

Leslie Picker is with us now to discuss the pros and cons of fewer cross
border mergers.

Good to see you as always, Leslie.

you, Sue.

HERERA: So, how does Chinese deal making compare today with that of just a
few years ago before the trade rhetoric was so much in focus?

PICKER: So when you look back to 2016, Chinese companies were buying about
$31 billion worth of assets here in the U.S. When you look at the same
feared, the first nine months of the year, 2018, that number is a fifth.
Then, compared to last year, the number is half.

So, we have seen a dramatic decrease in inbound M&A activity coming from

GRIFFETH: So, what are the talks between the Chinese and American looks
like now, Leslie?

PICKER: So, according to sources I`ve spoken with, they pretty much
grinded to a halt. Any discussions that were taking place between Chinese
companies and American companies have basically gone nowhere, because
everyone is very trigger shy when it comes to actually signing deals.
They`re worried that the trade tensions could spill over and that these
massive multibillion-dollar deals that they are discussing could become a

And it`s very, very, very challenging for companies once they have signed
deals to face issues on the regulatory front, face issues from the trade
front because it causes a lot of missed opportunities. And it requires
them to therefore backtrack. And as deals are signed, companies kind of
put other projects on hold.


PICKER: So, those opportunity costs become problematic down the road if a
deal ultimately doesn`t come together in the end.

HERERA: You mentioned regulation. How much do you think regulators in
either China or the U.S. have contributed to where we find ourselves right

PICKER: We are seeing both sides really clamp down on moving assets

On the U.S., there is something called the Committee on Foreign Investment
in the United States or CFIUS. And their role, this agency which is
comprised of members of the Treasury and national security, members of the
administration, their role is to look at inbound foreign direct investment
and determine whether it could be a national security concern. Their
powers have been expanded as of mid-August. And therefore, it`s very
uncertain for Chinese companies or companies elsewhere to really pursue
acquisitions here because they are not sure what the rules will look like
or what they look like in practice.

And on the Chinese side, they have been clamping down on these big
conglomerates that have taken on debt in recent years. And they are
saying, you know, you can`t actually take on more debt to fund acquisitions
in the U.S. or elsewhere.

HERERA: All right. Leslie, thank you so much. Leslie Picker at the New
York Stock Exchange tonight.

GRIFFETH: Coming up, a new risk developing in the mortgage market —


GRIFFETH: Ten years after the subprime mortgage crisis, there is a new
risk developing in the mortgage business, that is fraud. And maybe not the
kind you are thinking about.

Diana Olick has more.


and more people want to own home owners, it`s inevitable. More will lie
and cheat to get a mortgage.

Mortgage fraud risks jumped over 12 percent annually in the end of the
second quarter, according to Core Logic. They gauge risk by looking at
instance of fraud in identity and income among other things.

The biggest jump, 22 percent was in misrepresenting income. Lenders are
pretty strict now about how much debt you can carry in relation to income,
so people are juicing the numbers. Also, more investors in market for
renting or flipping means more people claiming they`ll occupy the property
when, in fact, they won`t.

MATT LIEBERMAN, APEX HOME LOANS: Most people want to say they are living
in the property because the terms of the loan will be better than if
they`re buying as an investment.

OLICK: Matt Lieberman of Apex Home Loan says this is the most common type
of fraud he sees, but all fraud means more risk when he sells to banks or

LIEBERMAN: If for some reason they see something that we missed that we
should have caught, they could then force us to buy back the loan. Meaning
that they — they won`t actually purchase it and they`ll make us buy it
back and keep it.

OLICK: States with the highest rate of fraud risk are New York, New
Jersey, Florida, D.C. and New Mexico. California, the priciest real estate
market, ranks ninth.

And fraud is easier than ever to perpetrate thanks to the Internet. A
quick search online will result in a bevy of cites that will not only
generate fake pay stubs but will actually answer phone calls to verify fake

NIMA GHAMSARI, BLEND CEO: Technology is definitely part of the problem
because people can go and generate a fake pay stub and do all these things
on the internet they couldn`t do 10, 20, 30 years ago.

OLICK: And the risk isn`t just from borrowers. Brokers who package loans
for lenders are also committing more fraud. Why? Because as interest
rates rise and the refinance market dries up, they need more business from

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


HERERA: Well, the housing market is starting to cool a bit across the
country. A deeper chill is setting in on one of the nation`s more
expensive markets, New York City. And this is happening even as Wall
Street pay rises, something that has historically helped lift Manhattan

Robert Frank explains.


in one of the toniest real estate markets in the country. Manhattan real
estate now in a one-year long correction. Total sales falling 11 percent
in the third quarter, the fourth straight quarter of double digit decline,
according to a new report from Douglas Elliman and Miller Samuel. The
average price of a New York City apartment is down 4 percent to just under
$2 million, and the high end of the market saw prices fall 12 percent.

As the rest of the country deals with a shortage of homes for sale, the
listings in Manhattan are now at the highest level since 2011. That`s
oversupply is contributing to the decline in sales, along with fewer
foreign buyers. Not even a rising stock market can lift sales, which are
also hurting because of the recent tax changes in high tax states like New

Add to that rising mortgage rates and even the entry level in Manhattan is
hurting. Big price drops are now seen across the city. This penthouse in
SoHo is 5,500 square feet with five bedrooms, four bathrooms and it`s got
1,900 square feet of terraces with three fireplaces and an outdoor Jacuzzi.

MADELINE HULT ELGHANYAN, DOUGLAS ELLIMAN: Right, now, we do see some quite
drastic price drops for properties that were overpriced to start with. I
think if you are looking for something that was really overpriced, there
are some bargains you can find throughout the city.

FRANK: This first came on the market in 2016 at $25 million. It dropped
this summer to $19 million. And just this week, it fell to $17 million.
Whether that counts as a bargain remains to be seen.

Bargains being a relative term in the dizzying heights of Manhattan real

For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Robert Frank in Manhattan.


HERERA: And that is NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for tonight. I`m Sue Herera.
Thanks for joining us.

GRIFFETH: I`m Bill Griffeth. Have a great evening, everybody. We`ll see
you tomorrow.


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