Transcript: Nightly Business Report – November 16, 2018


steep weekly losses as the concerns rise about the global economy. And
investors try to figure out what to expect in the weeks and months ahead.

utility at the center of a California wildfire soar after a regulator eases
bankruptcy fears.

GRIFFETH: Frequent flooding. The rising risk facing one of the sites
Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) picked for its second headquarters.

Those stories and much more tonight on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for this
Friday, November the 16th.

HERERA: And, good evening, everyone.

Well, sometimes we`re glad it`s Friday especially after a volatile week
like this one, which left investors scratching their heads. Today, some
optimism over trade sent the Dow and S&P higher but tech and the Nasdaq
dragged like they did pretty much all week.

Here are the closing numbers for you. The Dow gained 123 points to 25,413.
The Nasdaq fell 11 and the S&P 500 added six. For the week, all of the
major averages were lower. And it wasn`t just stocks. Oil prices suffered
their sixth weekly loss in a row.

GRIFFETH: Some analysts believe that the decline in oil prices does
reflect a slowing global economy. And, in fact, the Federal Reserve`s
number two official said today he is turning cautious on worldwide growth.


full employment and price to building the U.S. to achieve that we have to
understand and factor in the global economy. And there is some evidence of
global slowing. I think it`s early days. That`s something that`s going to
be relevant as I think about the outlook for the U.S. economy.


GRIFFETH: And despite his concern, Clarida does not think that the Fed is
raising interest rates too quickly.

HERERA: The sentiments were echoed by the head of the European Central
Bank, who said the euro zone economy has slowed in recent months and the
outlook is now cloudy.


MARIO DRAGHI, ECB PRESIDENT: We have recently seen a loss of growth
momentum in both of the last two quarter CBD growth projections, our staff
has revised down its estimates. Actual data have also been week. The
flash estimates for euro growth in the first quarter was just 0.2 percent.
The slowdown has raised questions about the strength of the growth outlook.


HERERA: Draghi also said the ECB plans to raise interest rates late next
year could change if inflation slows.

GRIFFETH: So, a slowing global economy is just one emerging concern right
now. The tech sector is under pressure. There are trade issues. And then
there is the Fed.

Joining us for a strategy session tonight, Kevin Caron, the portfolio
manager at Washington Crossing Advisers.

Good to see you again, Kevin. Thanks for joining us.


GRIFFETH: We`ve all been wondering why the sudden volatility in the market
starting in October and continues into November. Is this a market
anticipating a slowdown? Is that what`s going on here, do you think?

CARON: I think it is. I think it`s a market that`s anticipating — that`s
anticipating a global slowdown as you`ve just been discussing.


CARON: And also pointing to the fact that United States can`t escape the
gravitational pull of the rest of the world. So, if you look at China,
basically the hub of a lot of production on the planet, China has been
slowing materially. Their industrial side has slowed recently. We see
their market in a bear market territory.

And overall, industrial metal prices have fallen dramatically. So, the
United States is — is now stuck being confronted with a worsening global
the environment in which to participate.

HERERA: Which means that if investors want to participate, you have given
us highlights of what they really need to keep in mind. And one of the
things is the balance sheet and how much debt a company you may be
investing in is carrying.

CARON: Yes. So if for example we had a continuation of deterioration in
the outlook you`d want to look through your portfolio and do a few things.
Number one, look at the companies that you own in terms of stocks. Look at
the debt on their balance sheets. Many companies have taken on debt in the
last few years to do acquisitions, et cetera. And just be careful that
companies haven`t gotten over their skis in terms of having too much debt.

GRIFFETH: As far as dividend payments, though, a lot of people want
dividends. They are looking for that for income. But in a rising interest
rate environment, we have talked in the past about how that`s a dangerous
strategy but yet, where do you go to get the income then?

CARON: Yes, you`re right. A lot of investors looked for dividend income
off the portfolio. And one thing you can do if you are concerned about a
potential slowing from here over the horizon is look at the earnings that a
company generates, and let`s say a company generates a dollar`s worth of
dividend. Maybe you want to see them generate $2 of earnings so that if
earnings were to fall, that dividend would have less of a chance of being

GRIFFETH: So, look for quality and look for higher earnings relative to
their dividend.

CARON: That`s right.

GRIFFETH: Kevin Caron with Washington Crossing Advisers — always good to
see you. Thanks. Have a good weekend.

CARON: Thank you.

HERERA: And now to a story that we`ve been following all along, the
California wildfires and the utility at the center of that investigation.
Shares of PG&E rebounded sharply after losing more than 60 percent of its
value in a week. The surge comes after a regulator eased bankruptcy
concerns and also hinted at state support for the embattled company.

Aditi Roy has more from San Francisco.


northern California`s campfire climbs, the president of California`s Public
Utilities Commission speaks out about the utility at the center of the
investigation. In an unusual move, the regulator held a conference call
with a group of analysts which was hosted by Bank of America (NYSE:BAC),
according to a source familiar with the matter.

During that call, he told them the commission did not want to see PG&E go
bankrupt if it`s held liable for the fire. That prompted shares to soar
today after six straight days of losses, despite both Moody`s (NYSE:MCO)
and S&P downgrading the utility credit rating last night. Some insiders
say a PG&E bankruptcy would hurt customers who could eventually end up
shouldering the costs.

JOHN BARTLETT, REAVES ASSET MANAGEMENT: For every dollar that Pacific Gas
and Electric incurs in terms of these damaging wildfires, that is
ultimately going to have be paid by rate payers in one form or another.

ROY: But others say even if PG&E doesn`t go bankrupt, the rate costumers
pay could go up to help cover PG&E`s liability costs under a California
state law.

And some consumer advocates say that`s not fair.

profits when PG&E is profitable. But it seems that we`re going to be
expected again and again to share its liabilities when it`s negligent.

ROY: The law only applies to the 2017 California wildfires. And lawmakers
would have to decide whether to extend it to this year`s fires as well.

PG&E has been found responsible for more than a dozen fires last year,
which analysts say could cost $13 billion. In the meantime, the
commission`s president plans to launch a wide ranging review of PG&E,
examining the corporate governance, structure and operation of PG&E,
including in light of the recent wildfires to determine the best path

PG&E gave us a statement addressing the bankruptcy issue, saying that the
utility agrees with the president`s statement that an essential component
of providing safe electrical service is long-term financial stability.

For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Aditi Roy, San Francisco.


GRIFFETH: Elsewhere, Facebook`s latest controversy has gotten the
attention of lawmakers. As we reported yesterday, an expose by “The New
York Times (NYSE:NYT)” pointed to mismanagement of the company including
efforts by top executives to conceal gross mismanagement and negligence.
Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) continues to deny those accusations.

But as Julia Boorstin reports, Washington and Wall Street and advertisers
are watching very carefully.


(NASDAQ:FB) COO Sheryl Sandberg denying “The New York Times (NYSE:NYT)”
reports of mismanagement at the company, writing on her Facebook
(NASDAQ:FB) page, quote: To suggest that we weren`t interested in knowing
the truth or we wanted to hide what we knew or that we tried to prevent
investigations is simply untrue.

But Senator Mark Warner says he is disappointed with Facebook`s management.

SEN. MARK WARNER (D), VIRGINIA: What they said is, yes, we want to work
with you but when we get to specifics, there is not been a lot of give on
their side. But the notion that the Wild Wild West days of no regulation
at all, no guard rails, just can no longer exist.

BOORSTIN: Senator Warner isn`t the only one calling for regulation.
Fellow Democratic Senators Klobuchar, Blumenthal, Coons and Hirono wrote to
the Department of Justices, urging an expanded investigation into Facebook
(NASDAQ:FB) and Cambridge Analytica, saying, quote, disturbing recent
reports allege that Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) took significant steps to
undermine efforts to hold them responsible, including hiring partisan
political consultants to spread disinformation about people who have
criticized Facebook (NASDAQ:FB).

Definers, the D.C. based communications firm to which the senators
referring, respond that, quote, it was not hired by Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) as
an opposition research firm, saying that its main services for Facebook
(NASDAQ:FB) were media monitoring and PR around public policy issues.

AOL (NYSE:AOL) founder and tech investor Steve Case says now pressure is on
for Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) to make changes.

STEVE CASE, AOL (NYSE:AOL) CO-FOUNDER: We have to understand that they do
shoulder a great responsibility. Hopefully, they will make the moves
necessary. I think they have the right intent. They have been clear about
the intent I think a lot of people are looking for. You know, the actions
following the bent in the coming weeks and months we`ll hopefully see more
of that.

BOORSTIN: And investors and analysts are watching to see what impact this
controversy has on Facebook`s bottom line.

DOUG ANMUTH, JPMORGAN ANALYST: I think they are taking more serious steps
than a year or two ago. From a business perspective, I think we`re seeing
signs of user certainly in 3Q a little better stabilization in the user
base than we saw in the second quarter.

BOORSTIN: One ad agency Horizon Media says they are watching to see if
consumers start to retreat from the platform because of the negative

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


HERERA: And Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) shares fell in trading today. They were
down 3 percent to a multi-month low. The stock is now down 35 percent from
its most recent peak in July. And even if you don`t own the shares
outright, you might own them in an ETF or a mutual fund. The top holders
including Vanguard Total Stock Market Index, the Fidelity Contra Fund and
the Vanguard 500 Index Signal.

GRIFFETH: Time to take a look at some of today`s upgrades and downgrades.

And we begin with Home Depot (NYSE:HD) which was downgraded to neutral from
buy at Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) Merrill Lynch. The analyst there says
that earnings will peak this year and sales probably peaked last year.
Price target, $195. The shares fell fractionally to $177.02.

Michael Kors was downgraded to perform from outperform at Oppenheimer with
the analyst citing inventory management issues. The firm also said the
integration of the recently purchased Versace could prove costly. Shares
fell more than 2 percent to $45.89.

HERERA: Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) removes its sell rating from Qualcomm
(NASDAQ:QCOM), upgrading that stock to equal weight from underweight. The
analyst says the company`s risk-reward profile is more balanced now. And
the price target is $55. The shares initially rose fractionally to $55.88.

Target (NYSE:TGT) was given an overweight rating at KeyBanc in new
coverage. The analyst there cites the retailers` investments and improved
execution. The price target is $110, the shares fell 1 percent to $79.68.

GRIFFETH: Still ahead, the rising risks facing one of the sites of
Amazon`s new second headquarters.


HERERA: Airbnb`s revenue breaks through the $ 1 billion mark. That makes
the third quarter Airbnb`s best quarter yet. The company cites growth in
overseas markets, as well in smaller towns and suburban areas. The results
come ahead of a highly anticipated IPO next year.

GRIFFETH: We told you earlier this week that Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) had
selected Long Island City as one of the two locations for its second
headquarters. Well, it turns out that site could be at risk of major
flooding, as a result of rising sea levels and increasingly extreme weather

Diana Olick has the latest installment of her series “Rising Risks”.


seem ideal for Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), stunning views of Manhattan, easy
access to transportation and shiny new residential towers already rising by
the water. But there is also a rising risk of water, flooding at the
proposed 4 million to 8 million square foot Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) office
development. It`s located in a flood plane.

BENAJAMIN STRAUSS CLIMATE CENTRAL CEO: Building on the lowest spot in
Queens is not long-term thinking. This is a clearly building square in the
danger zone for frequent flooding.

OLICK: New research for climate central and Zillow shows the area could
see significant coastal flooding by 2020. Extreme projections of sea level
rise have low-lying builds under water by 2050.

Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) could build sea walls and take other steps to make its
headquarters resilient like developers at the nearby Brooklyn Navy Yard`s
new dock 72, which is just south of Long Island City, also on the river and
literally hanging over the water. It is a collaboration by Boston
Properties (NYSE:BXP) and Rudin Management.

WILLIAM RUDIN, RUDIN MANAGEMENT CEO: Our lobbyist is eight feet above the
water line. All the mechanicals are on the second and third floor. And
so, you know, we are — we are very focused on resiliency.

OLICK: And the same is true of the massive Hudson Yards Development and
the Manhattan West Side also built by a river but over train yards, so it`s
elevated. Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) could raise the ground under its new
offices and raise all the building systems.

RUDIN: But then you have to ask how easy will it be to get to and from
their headquarters? What`s happening for the surrounding neighborhood?
And they`re going to need the city`s help to fortify the whole area.

OLICK: From 2005 to 2014, Queens saw an additional 31 days of coastal
flooding due researchers say to climate change. If Queens saw a six-foot
flood which scientists expect by the end of the century, that would put $13
billion worth of property at risk of damage, about 34,000 homes.

It is highly likely Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) is already factoring in the added
costs of water and storm resilience. We asked an Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN)
spokesman about any plans but he said he could not comment.

For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Diana Olick in Long Island City.


GRIFFETH: And to read more about the growing flood risk to Long Island
City, you can head to our Website at

HERERA: “Mission Impossible” powers Viacom (NYSE:VIA) and that`s where we
begin tonight`s “Market Focus”.

The media company`s better than expected quarterly results were helped by
box office revenue from the Tom Cruise sequel. Viacom (NYSE:VIA) also
benefitted from a rise in fees paid by cable and satellite companies and
says it expects revenue to grow next year. Viacom (NYSE:VIA) shares rose
more than 3 percent to $32.99.

BlackBerry is pushing further into cybersecurity with its purchase of
Cylance for about $1.5 billion in cash. The deal will expand its unit that
make software for next generation autonomous cars. Cylance will operate as
a separate business unit within BlackBerry. The shares rose 1 percent to

GE`s finance arm is selling its health care equipment finance portfolio for
$1.5 billion to TIAA bank. This deal comes about one month after it sold a
portfolio of energy investments to a private equity firm. GE shares
finished down nearly 2 percent to $8.02.

GRIFFETH: AstraZeneca reported disappointing results from a drug trial.
Two of its experimental cancer medicines offered no advantage over
chemotherapy in previously treated metastatic lung cancer patients. Shares
fell more than 1 percent today, 1-1/2 percent really, to $40.67.

Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) plans to raise prices on 41 drugs come January. That`s
about 10 percent of its lineup. Most drugs will see a 5 percent increase.
The company had previously rolled back price increases this summer under
pressure from President Trump. Shares rose marginally to $43.51 today.

And cancer drug company Tesaro is reportedly exploring a sale. The report
comes about a week after shares fell sharply on disappointing drug trial
results after being halted for a time in today`s trade, Tesaro shares
popped by 31 percent to $34.96.

HERERA: It`s time now for our weekly market monitor who has names of
stocks he says are less vulnerable in an economic downturn.

Joining us is Tim Courtney, chief investment officer at Exencial Wealth

Welcome, Tim. Welcome back, actually. It`s nice to see you again.


HERERA: You have picked three kind of eclectic picks for us. The first
one is Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX), and you like it partly because of its
expansion possibilities in China.

COURTNEY: Yes, they`re opening about a store a day in China. That`s a big
growth venue for them. And also in the United States, they`re introducing
new menu items and greater use of drive-thru which has been shown to
increase their sales in the U.S.

GRIFFETH: Another one we have here — I don`t know how to pronounce this
Zoetis, is it? You know, we hear from money managers who like companies
involved with our pets, whether it`s food or housing or whatever it is.
This is a vaccine company in animal health, right?

COURTNEY: Exactly, that`s right. You know, with so many more dollars
being spent from households on pets, it`s — their earnings growth is low
teens and so very good. They also made an acquisition of a company that
does diagnostics primarily for livestock but also for household pets. So,
that just continues to be a growth area as more money is spent in those

HERERA: Well, we both have pets, both Bill and I, so we spent a lot on
them. That`s for sure.

And our third pick is Xylem. It`s water infrastructure partly. Why else
do you like it?

COURTNEY: Yes, it`s mostly that. I think a lot of people don`t know
exactly how much water is actually lost in municipal systems. And a lot of
municipalities don`t have the wherewithal to be able to find leaks where
they are happening and diagnose them and fix them. So, this company helps
to find those leaks, make sure that water delivery is more efficient and
they`re — they`re hardware, their pumps and meters that they`re able to
provide helps companies all across the world, or municipalities all across
the world function more efficiently.

So, it`s infrastructure spending increases, they should be reaping the
benefits there.

GRIFFETH: And again, very quickly, the theme here for these three — these
are companies that you feel can weather any economic slowdown, right?

COURTNEY: That`s right. Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) last go around did slow
down, as consumers slowed their spending during the last cycle. But in
general they`re all growing low — low teens in terms of earnings. They`re
growing high single digits in terms of revenue. And we feel like all of
these should fairly well weather, you know, a slowdown.

HERERA: All right. On that note, Tim, thank you so much.

COURTNEY: Thank you.

HERERA: Tim Courtney with Exencial Wealth Advisers.

And to read more about Tim`s picks, you can head to our Website,

Coming up, an iconic toy story.


Reagan in New York City at an iconic toy store that`s back just in time for
the holiday toy war. I`ve got the story coming up on NIGHTLY BUSINESS


GRIFFETH: Household debt is on the rise. A new report from the New York
Fed says that total indebtedness increased for the 17th consecutive quarter
to $13.5 trillion. That includes mortgages, auto loans and credit cards.
But economists say that is not yet a cause for concern since debt levels
are still far below where they were ten years ago at their peak and
Americans are mostly able to keep up with their payments right now.

HERERA: So with households appear and in a better financial condition,
economists say that could be a good sign for consumer spending. And the
new FAO Schwarz store in New York hopes that is indeed the case.

Courtney Reagan has more on this legendary toy store return to the Big


REAGAN: Iconic toy store FAO Schwarz returns to New York City just in time
for the holidays, but in a new location and with a new owner.

The original New York City toy store closed in 2015. A year later,
ThreeSixty Group bought FAO Schwarz from Toys “R” Us. Today, the new store
in Rockefeller Center opened for the first time, just down the street from
the old location.

DAVID CONN, THREESIXTY BRANDS CEO: Today, we are making history. This FAO
Schwarz store will be better than ever before and it will be here to stay.

REAGAN: A true toy experience is the key here at FAO Schwarz like at this
baby adoption center, you can`t leave until you`ve been interviewed by a
nurse or a doctor to prove that you`re a fit parent.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s just something you grew up with and I just
wanted my kid to experience the same thing, too.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s nice to see the piano and some of the stuff that
was in the older FAO Schwarz.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s like really interactive. It`s really different
from all the other toy stores I`ve been to, where you just pick something
out and leave.

REAGAN: Most FAO Schwarz toys are sold at other retailers like department
stores, but the most popular toy roots can be traced to original New York
store. It`s the first holiday season without Toys “R” Us and retailers of
all kinds are trying to grab the market share of the toy store left for

Department stores like Kohl`s (NYSE:KSS) and JCPenney are expanding their
toy assortment, along with big box players like Walmart and Target
(NYSE:TGT), adding exclusive products and shelve space for the holiday
season and beyond.

Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) put out its first toy catalog. Even grocery stores
like Kroger (NYSE:KR) are getting into the toy business. So, which
retailer will win the toy war?

According to a survey of former Toys “R” Us shoppers, Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN)
is the first choice for toys, followed closely by Walmart and Target
(NYSE:TGT). Even specialty stores like American Girl and Learning Express
(NYSE:EXPR) have been able to gain share.

The battle plans are set and the troops are in place to win the toy war,
with Black Friday now just a week away.

For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Courtney Reagan in New York City.


GRIFFETH: Well, well, some buy toys, others buy art. And lately, those
buyers have been bidding prices up to records for the most part. They were
out in force again this week, despite the recent rough patch for the stock

Robert Frank reports for us tonight.


week in New York. More than $2 billion worth of fine art and collectibles
auctioned off just this week. And despite the stock market jitters and
slowing global growth, the world`s wealthy keep on spending.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Eighteen million, 19 million, who offered me 20.

FRANK: At the start of the week was artist David Hockney. His portrait of
an artist sold at Christie`s for about $90 million. That made it the most
expensive work ever sold at the auction for by a living artist.

Edward Hopper`s “Chop Suey” depicting a Chinese restaurant in New York City
that he used to visit with his wife sold for $92 million, a new record for
traditional American art.

Now, women and African-American artists are in huge demand right now as
museums and collectors diversify their collections. This Joan Mitchell
piece called 12 Hawks at 3 O`clock went at Christies for $14 million.

Jacob Lawrence`s The Businessman set off a bidding frenzy and sold for
about $6 million, three times its estimate.

Now, there were a few misses where sellers overpriced their works. This
Marsden Hartley estimated to sell for over $30 million failed to sell as it
did a Van Gogh. Now, the fear was the stock market decline was spook the
hedge funders and Wall Streeters who buy art, and that China`s problems
would dampen Chinese buying.

But Asian buyers were out in force especially for jewels. Marie
Antoinette`s pearls went for $36 million, about seven times the estimate,
and one of the biggest pink diamonds ever sold went for $50 million.

and Asian customers, Hong Kong in particular, of course, very important to
the art market, very important to the diamond market. And they have been
some of our biggest buyers and bidders for colored diamonds.

FRANK: The stone was nearly 19 carats and was sold so Harry Winston who
plans to sell it to one of his own clients for even more.



GRIFFETH: Before we go, one final look at the day on Wall Street. A mixed
day. The S&P and the Dow were higher. The Nasdaq was down today.

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

GRIFFETH: I`m Bill Griffeth. Have a great weekend.


GRIFFETH: See you Monday.


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