Transcript: Nightly Business Report – November 21, 2018

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

a dramatic week on Wall Street, with sharp declines. Yet investors are
relatively calm. Is that a sign that the worst is still to come?

Black Friday just two days away, retailers are taking steps to drive sales
and alleviate concerns about weaker margins.

HERERA: And locked in. Cyber Monday is fast approaching. But there is
one segment of the online shopping area coming under fire. It`s a story
you need to see.

All that and more tonight on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for Wednesday,
November 21st.

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

It`s a good thing that the Thanksgiving feast is tomorrow, because there`s
been plenty of stomach churning action already on Wall Street this week,
and today was no different. Stocks did open this morning looking ready to
recoup some of the week`s losses as we head into the holiday weekend.
Technology was holding up. In fact many of the beaten down stocks in that
group like Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), even Apple
(NASDAQ:AAPL) were trading higher.

And the Dow was up more than 200 points for at a time. But then things
change late in the day. And Dow component Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) gave up all
of its gains and dragged the industrial average down with it. Good news:
the Nasdaq and S&P did stay in the black.

Final numbers for this Wednesday, the Dow down just a point, still below
25,000. The Nasdaq rose by 63 and the S&P added eight.

So, as yet another rally fizzled, investors have to be asking whether this
is a market that wants to go lower.

Mike Santoli looks at whether there is enough fear in the market to help
find a bottom.


month slide has certainly made investors a bit anxious about the market
outlook. But there has not been a kind of intense panic or urgent slide
from stocks that many traders like to see before betting that a good bottom
for the index has been reached.

As the S&P has fallen 10 percent from a high for the second time this year,
retail investors have pulled significant sums out of stock mutual funds and
riskier bond funds, traders of stock options have been more aggressive
buying protection against further index declines, and surveys of individual
and professional investors have also shown a decline in bullish sentiment
in recent weeks.

But so far, these responses have stopped short of true extremes of fearful
attitudes and behaviors that often accompany a durable market low. The
market`s volatility index, for instance, a measure of demand for downside
option bets peaked in the high 20s in October, but in the past week has
stayed closer to 20 even as the S&P approached October lows. And Wall
Street strategists on balance continued to predict some recovery in stocks
by year-end and further modest gains in 2019.

It`s important to note that not all market rebounds happen only after most
investors have fled or given up hope. Perhaps with the S&P still roughly
flat for the year and the U.S. economy still performing well for now, the
level of caution among investors now isn`t out of step with current
conditions. And the prevalence of automated trading strategies dominating
the day to day action, there is a chance fear readings are less frequent or
clear than they used to be, though of course humans decide whether to give
machines the money to trade.

Could it be with nearly half of all stocks down 20 percent or more and bond
yields easing back from their highs, the market maybe can find its footing
without first scaring most investors away? While old time traders might
prefer to see more panic before buying, but perhaps that will require
another plunge to new lows, which may or may not be ahead.



HERERA: Orders for durable goods like washers and dryers fell more than
expected last month, although much of that was driven by weaker demand for
airlines. Orders fell nearly 4.5 percent in October. It was the steepest
decline in more than a year. The report also showed that business
investments fell slightly, adding to drops in August and September.

GRIFFETH: Right now, there is a divergence of opinion between Wall Street
traders and economists about where this economy is headed. Will it be a
slight slowdown or worse?

Steve Liesman takes a look for us tonight.


come in for some sort of landing with economists forecasting a soft one,
and traders seeming to believe it`s going to be a bumpy ride to the tarmac.
U.S. growth is seen slowing from a high of 4.2 percent in the second
quarter to 2.8 percent in the fourth and then to 2.4 percent in 2019.
Slowing global growth, trade wars, higher interest rates and decline in
fiscal stimulus are all weighing on the outlook.

10 percent from the peak. Given the higher interest rates, given the trade
war, given the slowing of growth, I think that`s all should be expected.
So, I don`t think it`s signaling a dramatic weakening in the economy but
certainly a slowing.

LIESMAN: Today`s U.S. durable goods report for October supported the idea
of a slowing. Business investment fell for the third straight month. That
hasn`t happened since 2015.

Lower oil prices which have reduced spending in the oil fields and tariff
fears may have caused some executives to push off investment. One wild
card for 2019, will the Fed react to the slowing by itself slowing down the
pace of rate hikes?

questioning whether the Fed has to be as assertive or aggressive as it is
currently postured. I think that is one thing the market — but that can
change in the blink of an eye. You could have a change in policy, a pause
indicated by our Fed and markets could very quickly get comfortable with
that. We think that the trade war is much more difficult situation to
resolve potentially.

LIESMAN: So far, economists have marked down growth but haven`t called for
a recession. Judging by the strong downdraft in stocks the past several
weeks, it seems only some investors have made up their mind that one is



HERERA: Let`s hear from Mark Zandi on how much of a slowdown he expects in
the economy. He is the chief economist at Moody`s (NYSE:MCO) Analytics.

Good to see you, Mark. Welcome.

Let`s start —

ZANDI: Thanks, Sue.

HERERA: Let`s start with what indicators you are going to be watching that
might tell you what type of a slowdown is going to be, because obviously
from Steve`s piece, you do expect the economy to continue to slow a bit.

ZANDI: Yes, I do. I mean, I think the economy was all juiced earlier in
the year by deficit financed tax cuts and the benefit of those tax cuts are
now fading. So, it`s not surprising that growth would slow.

But to gauge how much the economy is slowing and whether it`s, you know, a
serious slowing or even recession, things I would look at would be, for
example, the number of initial claims for unemployment insurance. You
know, that comes out every week. Very sensitive.

Right now, it`s between 200,000 and 225,000 per week. That is very low,
very consistent with the solid economy. If that starts rising back closer
to 300,000 per week, then that would be a sign something is coming off the

Consumer confidence, also that`s a very good — usually that reflects the
economy, doesn`t drive the economy. But if things are turning and we start
into a downturn or recession, then confidence gets hammered, falls very
sharply and it starts the affect the economy. So, I`d watch that as well.

And, finally, you know, one other indicator, a little bit more esoteric,
something I watch, is construction and loans to businesses, C&I loans,
construction and industry loans. They`re very good barometer of the health
of the economy, a little bit lagging but something I also watch.

GRIFFETH: And what do you think the Fed will do about this? Clearly, a
spotlight has been focused on them. Some people blame them for the
slowdown we`re seeing right now with the rate increases. And just this
week, Wall Street started to anticipate that maybe they won`t raise as many
rate increases next year as had been anticipated earlier.

What do you think they`re going to do?

ZANDI: Yes. Yes, some blame, like the president you mean blames the
higher — the Fed and the higher interest rates for the slowdown. Yes,

You know, I think the slowdown as I said is really largely related to the
end of the benefit of the tax cuts that provided a nice pop to growth. You
know, people went out and spent that extra tax benefit. But that`s gone.
We don`t have that.

I think the trade war is also playing a really big role. You mentioned
those investment numbers, they`ve kind of gone sideways here in the last
few months. Despite the lower marginal rates for businesses. And I think
businesses are very nervous about how this trade war is unfolding and I
think it`s affecting their investment decisions.

GRIFFETH: But do you think —

ZANDI: Of course, the higher rates also matter.

GRIFFETH: Do you think the Fed could be — and I hate to use this word —
but really this comes to mind. Do you think the Fed could be bullied into
not raising rates as many times next year as they would otherwise?

ZANDI: No, no absolutely not. No. I mean, they`ve got a script, right?
I mean — and they got a formula, almost a formula. They look at
unemployment rate, you know, where is that relative to full employment.
We`re at 3.7 percent unemployment it`s falling.

They look at inflation. They have a target, 2 percent. Well, right on

They look at financial conditions, what`s going on in the market and credit
spreads and cap rates. But, you know, I`d be — no, I just don`t think
there is any possibility they are going to vow to those kind of pressure.

HERERA: OK. Mark, we have to leave it there. Thanks for joining us.
Happy Thanksgiving.

ZANDI: Thank you. You, too. Take care.

HERERA: Mark Zandi with Moody`s Analytics.

GRIFFETH: Existing home sales rose in October for the first time in six
months. Sales of previously owned homes rose just 1.5 percent to a
seasonally adjusted annual rate of more than 5.2 million. Now, even with
that increase, sales for the month were still down more than 5 percent
compared to the same time last year.

Separately, fewer potential home buyers applied for a mortgage last week
and applications for refinancing, that fell by 5 percent.

HERERA: The once red hot housing market, the house flipping market
specifically, may be flopping. A combination of higher costs and lower
housing demand has some flippers fleeing.

Diana Olick explains.


flipping homes in the Los Angeles area for 30 years, usually several per
year. But this year, he did just this one.

MARK BETHANIS, HOUSE FLIPPER: It`s not only becoming more expensive on the
purchase side of flipping, but it`s becoming more expensive on the fix-up
side of flipping.

OLICK: Bethanis is a residential contractor, but even he had trouble
finding labor to transform his flips like this and finding homes cheap
enough to profit on. The math is getting a lot tighter.

And that is likely why the number of homes flips defined as a home bought
and sold within the same 12-month period fell 18 percent in August
nationally compared with August of 2017 according to Attom Data Solutions.

In California where prices are high and demand is falling, the number of
flips was down a steeper 22 percent. Growth flipping returns across the
country in August fell to the lowest level in nearly seven years. And it`s
also taking much longer to sell a flipped home. Now, an average 186 days,
the longest since June of 2006.

There is also increased competition from large scale flippers who came in
during the foreclosure crisis and to have continued to flip large volumes
of homes.

BETHANIS: They have teams of people, you know, looking at properties, you
know, where the little guy like myself as an example, you know, I have
myself and my realtor contacts that are looking. But, you know, a team can
always do more than an individual.

OLICK: Flippers are also now faced with a cooling housing market where
prices are still high but demand is falling off because of higher mortgage

And a lot of older home owners who might be downsizing now are staying put
because it`s so expensive to move. That leaves fewer flippable homes ripe
for the picking.

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


GRIFFETH: Mark Zuckerberg is staying put. During an interview last night
with Laurie Segall on CNN`s “AC360”, Facebook`s chairman and CEO defended
his C-suite. He called Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg an
important part of that company. He also said he`s planning to keep his
chairman role.


LAURIE SEGALL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So, you were not stepping down as

MARK ZUCKERBERG, CEO, FACEBOOK: That`s not the plan.

SEGALL: That`s not the plan. Would anything change that?

ZUCKERBERG: I mean, in fact, eventually over time, I`m not going to — I`m
not going to be doing this forever. But I certainly — I`m not currently
thinking that that makes sense.


GRIFFETH: Zuckerberg also reiterated points that he has made in the past.
He apologized for many missteps that have plagued his company, most
prominently Russians using Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) to meddle in the 2016

HERERA: Coming up, happy travels.


those flying on Thanksgiving weekend — few delays and a smooth travel
experience. I`m Phil LeBeau in Chicago. That story coming up on NIGHTLY



HERERA: Following the arrest of Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn. Questions
have arisen about what might happen to the alliance he built between
Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi.

Chery Kang is in Yokohama, Japan, with more on the challenges for those


calling for a stable automotive alliance among Renault, Nissan and
Mitsubishi. Japan`s chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga saying it`s
important to keep this three-way alliance alive.

Now, this is the moment where the interests of the French government and
the Japanese government seem aligned here. But really the crucial question
is what does a Nissan motor want amid reports of frustration on its part
regarding the structure of this alliance with the Nissan motor having no
control over its French partner and no voting rights.

In the meantime, though, the Japanese automaker might have its own
prosecutorial problem with reports on the prosecution in Japan is
considering to make a case against the company itself amid allegations of
financial misconduct of the chairman and a board member.

Tomorrow, Thursday Asia time is really the big day for Nissan Motor with
board members gathering together and voting on the removal of Carlos Ghosn
as chairman.

For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Chery Kang in Yokohama, Japan.


GRIFFETH: Many Thanksgiving travelers are already on their way to
grandma`s house. And this year a record number will be getting there on a

Phil LeBeau has more on why fliers are finding packed planes and higher
fees. He is at Chicago`s O`Hare Airport for us tonight.


LEBEAU: It`s one of the busiest days of the years to fly. But around the
country, travelers are enjoying a relatively smooth journey.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s pretty calm. It was easy coming in too.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was shocked because I was taking a cab because I
didn`t think there was going to be any parking. But there`s plenty of
parking and it`s empty.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It should be crowded but it`s much calmer today.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We thought it was a disaster but we were really
pleasantly surprised when we just got out of the taxi.

LEBEAU: This year, there is good news and bad news for those who are
flying. On the bright side, airlines are doing a better job with planes
taking off and landing on time. And there are no major storms to ground
scores of flights. On the other hand, travelers are generally paying more
to check bags with several airlines recently raising baggage fees by $5.

SUSAN DONOFRIO, MACQUARIE CAPITAL: There may be a little bit of grumbling.
But I think given the strong demand and the tight supply that does continue
throughout the industry, you know, we are seeing as travelers, you know,
willing to pay that.

LEBEAU: Analyst Susan Donofrio as has been tracking air fares and she says
they gradually moved higher over the last couple of months, roughly 5
percent higher. And because of the strong economy and healthy consumer
confidence, travelers have been willing to pay the price.

DONOFRIO: I would say overall, we`re going to see a busy weekend. We have
been seeing a busy fall. And I would say in terms of what we`re
anticipating, we are expecting volumes to be up about 5 percent. And with
that, we are expecting pricing to be up about 3 percent as well.

LEBEAU: All of this is good news for the airlines and their investors.
The packed planes, higher fees and slightly higher air fares means this
could be a very profitable holiday season for the carriers.



HERERA: Sales picked up at Deere but not the pace that Wall Street was
expecting. And that`s where we begin tonight`s “Market Focus”.

The equipment maker reporting disappointing results for the quarter. Even
as demand for farm and construction equipment improved. Deere said it
expects margins to expand next year but also sees overall profits coming in
lower than expected. The shares finished up more than 2 percent to

The software firm Autodesk (NASDAQ:ADSK) grew its subscriber base and that
helped results to top expectations. Autodesk (NASDAQ:ADSK) also said it
was buying a start-up for nearly $900 million that it says will give it the
opportunity to make work flows in the construction industry more effective.
Shares of Autodesk (NASDAQ:ADSK) jumped nearly 109 percent to $135.04.

GRIFFETH: GameStop said today that it is selling the Spring Mobile
business for $700 million. Spring Mobile owns and operates more than 1,200
AT&T (NYSE:T) wireless stores. Videogame retailer said that the deal is
going to generate immediate cash and allow it to focus on its entertainment
business. Shares popped more than 11 percent on that news today to close
at $13.71.

And an appeals court has rejected Johnson & Johnson`s request to block
generic versions of its prostate cancer drug Zytiga from hitting the
market. The drugmaker asked for the halt while it appeals a judge`s ruling
invalidating a patent on that treatment. J&J now says it will seek an
emergency order to stop those generics they the shares fell.

HERERA: Black Friday, of course, is a critical day for retailers. So, in
order to handle the crush of shoppers, many are prepping today to make sure
things go smoothly on Friday.

Courtney Reagan is at a Kohl`s in Secaucus, New Jersey, for us.


around the country are getting stores ready for the biggest shopping
weekend of the year. More than half of all Americans are expected to shop
online in store or both at some point between Thanksgiving and Cyber

While Black Friday is not as big as it once because was because of the
sales spread over the weekend and online, it`s still expected to be the
biggest day of the year.

ROD SIDES, DELOITTE VICE CHAIRMAN: Friday has turned into an event with
families and friends toward more of a tradition. So, families spend a lot
of time out together on Black Friday. Actually, when we talk to the
consumer, about 25 percent expect to shop on Thanksgiving, about 70 percent
expect to be in the store on Black Friday.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Pretty much we eat turkey, eat and get the girls
ready and let`s get out and shop.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m definitely not shopping Black Friday. I`m not
shopping over the weekend either. I`d rather do everything online.

REAGAN: If you want to get a head start, most retailers are offering door
busters online very early Thanksgiving morning. But if you want to hit the
stores, JCPenney opens first at 2:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. Best Buy
(NYSE:BBY), Kohl`s, Macy`s and Target (NYSE:TGT) store deals start at 5:00.

Walmart`s Black Friday begins at 6:00 p.m. at its stores, but you can get
fueled starting at 4:00 with free coffee and cookies.

It takes a lot to handle the surge. The right merchandise in the right
quantity to the right stores and distribution centers is often planned a
year in advance. Apps and websites are tested under heavy volume to make
sure sites can handle the traffic.

Beyond offering enticing prices, retailers are aiming to make shopping
easier. Walmart, Target (NYSE:TGT), Kohl`s have mapped all their stores
for shoppers so door busters can be found quickly. All three offer the
option to check out without going to a register at at least some stores.

Buy online pick up in store becomes more important during the holidays.
While it gives shoppers flexibility, it adds complexity for the retailer to
use store inventory and labor to also quickly fill online orders.

Kohl`s says most buy online pick up in store orders are ready in an hour or
less. The department store expects 10 million items will be picked up in
store in November and December alone.

Retailers have been working since last Christmas to get everything ready
for this weekend. Now, all that`s left to do is wait for the shopper rush.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.


REAGAN: For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Courtney Reagan in Secaucus, New


GRIFFETH: Coming up, there is one industry where top companies earned
billions last year. So why is it under fire?


GRIFFETH: Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) said today that some customer names and
email addresses were exposed to due to what the company called a technical
error. Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) says the issue has been resolved and the
company has contacted those customers who were affected, but they are not
saying how many or how long that breach lasted.

Meanwhile, the Postal Service says it has fixed the security flaw on its
website that allowed anyone with a account to view the details of
about 60 million other users.

HERERA: Shoppers spent more than the $6.5 billion online last year on just
one day, Cyber Monday. Some of that money going to online subscriptions.
The model where you sign up for a monthly box or service is booming. But
some businesses are under fire with the feds now cracking down.

Andrea Day with our investigation “Locked In.



CEO of Adore Me. We first heard about the company on CNBC`s power pitch
nearly four years ago, a segment where entrepreneurs get to pitch their
business models to a panel of experts.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m not a fan of customers going to the website and
being defaulted into a subscription model instead of proactively choosing
it. Unfortunately, I`m out.

DAY: Subscription ecommerce programs like Adore Me where you are charged
every month to receive products are booming. According to a recent study
by McKenzie, the market growing 800 percent from 2013 to 2017. The top
companies raking in more than $5.5 billion just last year.

But when it comes to the plans, consumers can lose out.

monitor the area for fraud because it`s an area that`s rife with problems
right now.

DAY: James Kohm is the assistant director of enforcement at the Federal
Trade Commission`s Bureau of Consumer Protection.

What do you think we could be talking about financially?

KOHM: Well, we are certainly talking about hundreds of millions of dollars
and maybe over a billion dollars every year out of the economy.

DAY: Nearly three years after CNBC`s experts buzzed Adore Me off the
segment, the FTC slapped the company with an order to pay $1.3 million back
to customers.

KOHM: They had a business where if you didn`t buy each and every month,
you could bank the amount that you weren`t spending. What they failed to
tell consumer is if you cancelled the service, you lost all of that money
that was essentially in your bank. There was no disclosure of that at all.

DAY: And that`s not all.

KOHM: They used one of the classic means of keeping people from
cancelling. They left them on hold for long amounts of time.

angry like I want out of my subscription now.

KOHM: Gabrielle Augustin is a former customer service rep for Adore Me.

Shanty Hernandez ran the department there for three years.

going crazy.

DAY: And she says many had no clue they were signing up for a monthly
charge. The VIP membership was preselected at checkout. Customers had to
uncheck the box to opt out. And when she told management that customers
were begging to cancel —

HERNANDEZ: Try to keep them however you could.

DAY: Cassie Laforest was one of those customers calling in to get a
refund, after she ordered a bra and underwear set in 2014.

CASSIE LAFOREST, ADORE ME CUSTOMER: It wasn`t comfortable. It wasn`t
soft. So I was kind of like, OK, so I wasted $25. I won`t shop there
again. At least that`s what I thought.

DAY: Until she says her card got declined and realized that Adore Me had
been charging hundreds of dollars, and keeping her money as store credit.

You had no idea you were signing up for a membership.


DAY: After last year`s order, the FTC says Adore Me cleaned up its act.
According to the order, Adore Me did not admit or deny any wrongdoing.

KOHM: They gave the money back. They gave it to us in the form of a
judgment in court.

DAY: The company did not respond to our repeated requests for comment.

To make sure you don`t get locked into a plan, take your time at check out
and read every box, so you aren`t signing up for a monthly charge that you
don`t want.



HERERA: Here`s a look at final numbers on Wall Street. The Dow is down
about a point. It had been up more than 200. Nasdaq rose 63. S&P added

GRIFFETH: That is NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for tonight. I`m Bill Griffeth.
Happy Thanksgiving, everybody.

HERERA: Indeed. We will see you tomorrow.


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