Nightly Business Report – February 11, 2019

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



investors seem to be doing as they look for more clarity on two big issues: 

shutdown talks and trade.  


calculate their taxes, some say it`s not what they expected.  

HERERA:  Aging in place.  More older Americans are doing it, but it`s 

complicating things for potential home buyers.  

Those stories and more tonight on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for Monday, 

February 11th.

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

Investors spent much of this day watching and waiting.  They anxiously 

watched the government shutdown meetings in Washington, and those 

discussions on trade in Beijing, and they waited for new developments on 

both.  With earnings season winding down and the Fed apparently on hold, 

the government spending battle and trade talks are now the two most 

important events for the market.  

But today, after all of the watching and waiting, there`s still only fog, 

and that resulted in a mixed finish for stocks today.  The Dow fell just 53 

points, never strayed far from unchanged.  The Nasdaq rose nine.  And the 

S&P added just two.  

HERERA:  So, let`s begin tonight with the shutdown.  Lawmakers from both 

parties met this afternoon, after reports over the weekend that budget 

negotiations have stalled.  Remember, the deadline to fund parts of the 

government is this Friday.  The sticking point remains border security.  If 

the president doesn`t sign a deal into law by the deadline, parts of the 

government will shut down again.  

Ylan Mui is covering the story for us from Capitol Hill.  

Good to see you, Ylan.  Where do things stand at this hour?  


negotiations have going on through the evening.  As you mentioned, the top 

two Republicans and the top two Democrats on the shutdown committee did 

meet this afternoon to restart some of those discussions.  Now, they came 

out of that meeting, at least the Democrats did, sounding fairly 

optimistic.  Democrats have offered to pay more money for physical barriers 

in exchange for limiting the number of the detention beds use for 

immigration enforcement.  

Republicans, however, have called that a poison pill and nonstarter in 

these negotiations.  So, we will see if they`re able to break through this 

latest logjam.  

GRIFFETH:  So, what are the federal workers telling you right now?  I mean, 

they`ve already been through what was once the longest shutdown in U.S. 


MUI:  Well, they`re certainly not very happy.  What we heard today was 

workers saying that they want lawmakers to reach a deal.  They want to make 

sure the federal government stays open however, it has to happen.  

We saw workers fanning out across Capitol Hill today to take the message to 

lawmakers — folks at Bureau of Prisons, folks who work for flight 

attendants union.  They all had that same message.  They`ve been through 

this once before.  They don`t want to be here again.  

HERERA:  Understandably so.  Ylan Mui on Capitol Hill — Ylan, thank you.  

GRIFFETH:  Now to trade preparations, they are under way ahead of an 

important meeting later this week between high-level officials from the two 

world`s largest economies.  Those meetings are taking place in Beijing and 

that`s where we find our Eunice Yoon tonight.  



under way in Beijing.  Deputy level officials have arrived and they`re 

setting the stage for some of the higher level discussions for the Trade 

Representative Bob Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.  The 

talks last all week, and by the end of it, we should have a clearer idea if 

a deal is in the cards by March 1st.  

At “China Today”, it says it`s hopeful for a good result, but the question 

is, will the Chinese make major concessions on issues that are important to 

the U.S., structurally issues like state subsidies for technology 

transfers.  So far, they haven`t moved much.  And they dominant opinion 

among China watchers is that the Chinese won`t move on these issues.  They 

don`t like the outside pressure, and they consider industrial policy too 

important to give up.  

The other opinion, which is a Trump`s administration`s view, is if the U.S. 

squeezes China enough economically, when the economy is down, Beijing will 

come to the table.  And on that front, we got some data which show the 

consumer isn`t so confident here.  Lunar New Year sales grew at their 

slowest pace in more than a decade.  The sales are a gauge of the Chinese 

consumer, China`s equivalent to Christmas shopping.  Retail sales and 

domestic travel dropped to the single digits.  And that could put pressure 

on the negotiators on the Chinese side.  

For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Eunice Yoon in Beijing.  


HERERA:  So, we have the trade talks in China, shutdown negotiations 

happening in Washington and data — inflation data out later in the week.  

All of this could potentially be events for the market in this new trading 


So, Kevin Caron joins us, senior portfolio manager with Washington Crossing 

Advisors to talk about this week ahead.  

Good to see you, Kevin, as always.  


to be here.  

HERERA:  Of those that I listed, which do you think is going to be 

potentially the most market-moving?  

CARON:  It`s got to be trade, because it`s the biggest issue.  It`s been a 

lingering issue for the global economy and the financial markets for most 

of the last year.  So, I have to finger trade as being the biggest 

potential worry.  But all of the others, the shutdown does have 

implications because it pushes up against the debt ceiling ultimately.  

And then later in the month, we`re going to be confronted with Brexit.  So, 

there are a lot of events that could move the market one way or the other.  

GRIFFETH:  You would think after the long shutdown we had, and the 

implications it has for the economy that they would find a way to avoid it.  

Although what we are hearing is that it`s entirely possible that they just 

sign another continuing resolution and kick the can down the road.  

CARON:  Yes.  The market also has been rallying into this.  So, with all of 

these events, it seems as if the market`s expressing the idea cooler heads 

will prevail.  Of course, these are thorny issues taken one at a time.  The 

debt ceiling and the shutdown, the potential shutdown, is among the 

thorniest.  So, we`ll have to see how it goes.  But it has a big impact on 

market psychology.  That`s for sure.

GRIFFETH:  What about data?  We had the big Fed meeting where it looks like 

we won`t get the kind of rate hikes that the market had been factoring in 

before this New Year.  How important is the data?

CARON:  Well, the data is very important.  The Fed essentially gave in on 

the idea that the economy was overheating and has folded into a much more 

dovish Fed, and the outlook has been reduced in terms of interest rate 

increases.  So, if we got, for example, inflation date that was to run hot, 

that might put pressure on the Fed to come back and raise rates again.  

That could be a problem.  

So, yes, the Fed is paying close attention to the data that comes out on 

inflation or retail sales and consumer confidence in the next several days.  

GRIFFETH:  By the way, before we let you, we have highlighted on this 

program in the past, the consumer staple sector which was highly regarded 

over the summer as defensive move, defensive sector move.  With the rally 

in January, a lot of people were moving away from the defensive sectors, 

you still like consumer staples, don`t you?  

CARON:  Yes.  At Washington Crossings Advisors, we have a barometer that 

we`ve constructed that measures changes in the economy and financial 

markets and from about a year ago, we began to see it decline in that 

barometer and we followed that.  

So, our best indicators at this point are suggesting that we still need to 

be somewhat cautious.  We`ve not seen a turn the data yet.  So, 

consequently, the consumer, a more steady part of the economy or even 

utilities where yields have back up, to us, seem very attractive.  

HERERA:  Kevin Caron, thank you.  Kevin is with Washington Crossing 


GRIFFETH:  Well, exchange-traded funds, believe it or not, have been around 

since 1993, but it`s only in the past five years that their popularity has 

grown exponentially now with more than $3.3 trillion in assets under 

management.  So, it`s no surprise that influential investment managers are 

attending the annual gathering of the ETF industry.  

And as Bob Pisani reports, a few key themes are emerging.  He`s in 

Hollywood, Florida, for us tonight.  



Annual Inside ETF Conference, the biggest ETF conference in the world where 

roughly 2,500 investment professionals are gathered to talk about the most 

important trend in 2019.  

Chief among them: concerns about a global growth slowdown.  It`s the number 

one topic here.  The head of the New York Stock Exchange says that optimism 

about growth in the U.S. will help outweigh the slowdowns in Europe and the 


STACEY CUNNINGHAM, NYSE PRESIDENT:  You mentioned Davos.  When I was out 

there, it was apparent that there was a little more optimism from some of 

the U.S. CEOs than there were from some of the European CEOs and again, 

there`s just a lot of issues there that are unfolding.  

So, how they unfold and how quickly they unfold will contribute to what the 

growth looks like.  

PISANI:  But while many have downgraded their forecast for growth here in 

the U.S. and abroad, one key player says that a recession is not imminent.  

GREG DAVIS, VANGUARD CIO:  We upgraded our risk for recession in 2019 

because of policy uncertainty from 30 percent to 35 percent.  We see the 

risk rising as we go into 2020 where we expect it to be somewhere between 

40 percent, 50 percent chance of recession in 2020.  

PISANI:  And finally, I sat down with the investing legend Paul Tudor Jones 

who is looking to make a big push in another theme that`s gaining traction 

among ETFs, socially responsible investing.  


corporate profits have gone to shareholders.  It`s the exact photo negative 

of what the American public thinks a just company should do.  So, you`ve 

got a big disconnect between what the American public thinks and what 

corporate boardrooms and C-suite are actually doing.  

PISANI:  Jones believes that the American public strongly supports the 

principles of socially responsible investing which includes fair pay for 

workers, reducing pollution and creating and maintaining jobs.  That`s all 

a far cry from the old mantra that the sole purpose of a corporation is to 

maximize return for shareholders.  

For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Bob Pisani in Hollywood, Florida.  


HERERA:  It is time to take a look at some of today`s “Upgrades and 


Tesla was upgraded to buy from hold at Canaccord Genuity.  The analysts 

cites improving demand for electric vehicles.  The price target is $450.  

The stock rose more than 2 percent, $312.84.

Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:ERTS) was upgraded to buy from neutral at Bank of 

America (NYSE:BAC) Merrill Lynch.  The analyst cites positive reception of 

EA`s new game, “Apex Legends”, which we told you about last week.  The game 

is considered a rival to “Fortnite”.  The price target is $110.  Despite 

the upgrade though, the stock fell a fraction to $97.24.  

GRIFFETH:  Avis budget was upgraded to buy from sell at Goldman Sachs 

(NYSE:GS).  The analyst cited the stocks valuation and potential benefits 

that would come from the company`s cost-saving efforts.  Price target now 

$35 and that stock rose more than 7 percent today to $278.58.  

Nvidia was downgraded to market perform from outperform at Bernstein.  The 

analyst says that the semiconductor company is facing severe challenges to 

growth.  Price target $175 and that stock fell another 1 percent today 


HERERA:  Coming up, making a comeback.  Stocks kicked out of the Dow and 

rebounding strong.  We`ll tell which ones and why this tends to happen.  


GRIFFETH:  Very late today, Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) said it`s buying a Wi-Fi 

start-up called Aero.  Aero makes home routers to help customers better 

connect smart home devices.  Terms of the deal were not disclosed.  As you 

know, Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) has been making a big push into the smart home 

business.  It says that this deal will help define the future of home.  

HERERA:  Social media company Reddit is now valued at $3 billion, following 

its latest funding round, which raised $300 million.  Reddit plans to use 

that investment to improve its website and try and increase its digital ad 

sales.  Reddit calls itself the front page of the Internet is said to have 

more than 330 million monthly active users.  

GRIFFETH:  Well, you know about the dogs of the Dow.  But what about the 

Dow dinosaurs?  

Now, these are companies like AT&T (NYSE:T), General Electric (NYSE:GE), 

General Motors (NYSE:GM) that were once highly regarded components of the 

Dow Jones Industrial Average but are no longer.  And while most of them 

were down sharply in 2018, they have done very well, so far, in 2019.  Can 

that last?  

Joining us tonight, David Nelson.  He`s chief strategist at Belpointe Asset 


David, good to see you.  Welcome.  Thank you.


having me.  

GRIFFETH:  We should give credit to Barrons.  They ran a story about 

something like this over the weekend.  What happens typically when a 

company is taken out of the Dow?  What happens on Wall Street then?  

NELSON:  Well, it`s some of a washout, you know?  To be fair, you know, 

when Dow Jones takes a stock out of the index, likely, a lot of the bad 

news is priced in.  In G.E.`s case, you know, it`s down 80 percent, you 

know, from the highs of 2000.  

So, a lot of sellers are gone.  And when the index funds actually kick it 

out, now you have a big plus.  So, what happens in the following year is 

very often, any good news at all is enough to drive the shares higher.  In 

some cases like G.E., that was pretty dramatic.  

GRIFFETH:  It has been pretty dramatic.  What about AT&T (NYSE:T)?  

NELSON:  You know, AT&T`s probably the least of them all.  Up marginally 

this year, less than what the market.  

I`m not that excited about AT&T (NYSE:T).  Yes, it has a great dividend.  A 

lot of free cash flow, but historically has made a lot of very bad 

acquisitions.  One in particular, DirecTV was just an enormously — well, 

proved to be enormously unprofitable choice for them.  I think they`re 

going to end taking — this is going to be looked at a big error. 

GRIFFETH:  Then there`s General Motors (NYSE:GM), which has had a very 

different journey from the other two companies we just mentioned.  They 

went into bankruptcy with a financial crisis.  And then they reissued 

stock.  It`s been sideway since they came out in 2011 or thereabouts.  

But you like this company.  In fact, I think you own shares of this one, 

don`t you?  

NELSON:  We own shares — that`s true, we own shares of this company.  It`s 

the one like and for the following reasons.  Mary Barra gets it.  

I like the CEO.  I like this management team.  I think what she understands 

is that right now, there`s about over 80 million cars produced annually, 

new cars every year in the world.  

We`re just moving into another world.  We`re not going to need that.  It`s 

not an efficient use of capital.  

The average automobile sits unused 23 hours out of every day.  We need a 

different plan.  And what`s starting to happen, we`re moving into a new 

society, an on-demand world, an Uber-like world.  And I think she 

understands that.  I think cars of future will be on the road a lot longer, 

and we`re going to need a lot of less of them.  

I think they`re gearing up for that, so they`re retrenching here.  They`re 

making their footprint smaller.  They`re reducing capacity.  And I think it 

will be moved into next generation vehicles.  I think it`s a very smart 

move on their part.  

GRIFFETH:  All right.  There we are we three of the Dow`s dinosaurs 


David Nelson with Belpointe Asset Management, thanks again for joining us.  

NELSON:  Thanks for having me.  

HERERA:  Investors cheered Norfolk Southern`s new strategy.  That`s where 

we begin tonight`s “Market Focus”.

The railroad operator said changes are being made at company that will 

result in an increase in productivity, efficiency and sales growth.  The 

CEO says that lower costs will help it deliver stronger margins.  It`s also 

aiming for revenue growth at compound annual rate of 5 percent through the 

year 2021.  Norfolk Southern (NYSE:SO) was up 3 percent today to $176.95.  

Restaurant Brands reported better than expect the earnings, along with 

strong same store sales figures.  The CEO says the company`s focus on 

technology, delivery, kiosks and its mobile app has started to pay off.  

The parent company of Burger King and Tim Hortons (NYSE:THI) also raised 

its dividend.  The shares rose more than 1.5 percent to $63.72.  It touched 

a 52-week high during the session as well.  

And the videogame company Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ:ATVI) reportedly is 

planning to cut hundreds of jobs.  Bloomberg says Activision, which makes 

the popular games “Call of Duty” and “Warcraft”, is facing slowing sales 

and increased competition.  The lay-offs expected Tuesday when the company 

reports earnings said to be aimed at lifting profit and centralizing 

operations.  Activision shares fell more than 7.5 percent today to close at 

$40.11.  They hit one-year low during the session.  

GRIFFETH:  Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) is buying Solium Capital.  This is a 

Canadian company that prepares stock plans for start-ups.  Price tag: 

nearly $1 billion.  And the deal gives Morgan increased exposure to more 

potential wealth management customers.  It is Morgan Stanley`s largest 

acquisition since the financial crisis in 2008.  Shares dropped more than 

1.5 percent today to $40.21.  

Drugmaker Sanofi and Regeneron are slashing the price of their injectable 

cholesterol drug Praluent by 60 percent.  Now, the original price tag of 

$14,000 a year will now be cut down to just over $5,800 a year.  The out of 

pocket costs for Medicare Part-D patients will be between $25 and $150 per 


By the way, rival Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN) made a similar move with its 

competing drug Repatha back in October.  

Sanofi was down a fraction today $42.43.  Regeneron rose slightly to 

$408.51.  And while we`re at it, Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN) was also off a tick at 


Chegg reported a rise in profit and revenue in its fourth quarter.  The 

online education company said its subscriber count grew by more than 30 

percent.  So, as a result, it`s increasing revenue guidance for this year.  

And that sent the stock higher in initial after-hours trading this evening.  

It finished the regular session up 1 percent to $34.80.  

HERERA:  It used to be that older Americans would sell homes and downsize 

once the kids moved out.  But today, an increasing number are choosing to 

age in place, and that is having an impact on home buyers of all ages.  

Diana Olick has our report.



Louis Tenenbaum is busy building an elevator into his small Maryland home.  

LOUIS TENENBAUM, HOUSING ADVOCATE:  I took this middle line between the 

upper levels and the lower level, and opened the shaft which I put a lift 

in so that this house can really be an aging place friendly house.  

OLICK:  Tenenbaum says he plans to grow old in his current neighborhood as 

long as he can and he is not alone.  

TENENBAUM:  People age in place because they love their homes.  It`s their 

chief investment.  They love their neighborhoods and their communities.  

And they love the control that they get in their own house.  

OLICK:  The trend however is removing an estimated 1.6 million homes from a 

housing market already in critical need of more homes for sales, according 

to Freddie Mac.  That is about the same number of new single family and 

multifamily housing units built each year.  

JANE FAIRWEATHER, REAL ESTATE AGENT:  There`s a stalemate.  You know, we 

can`t get enough housing for the couples that want to put their kids in 

good public school systems.  

OLICK:  Rea estate agent Jane Fairweather sees the problem every day.  Not 

enough listings for the high demand of move up family buyers.  But she says 

it`s not just home owners like Tenenbaum choosing to stay put, others have 

no choice.  

FAIRWEATHER:  For some people, there`s nothing affordable to move to, so 

they`ve decided we have to stay here.  

OLICK:  And given how pricey today`s market is, in some cases, the math 

just works in favor of staying put.  

FAIRWEATHER:  But if they have to spend another million dollars in order to 

get one quarter of the space, the house starts to look reasonable.  And the 

maintenance on it looks reasonable.  

OLICK:  This trend is likely to grow especially as more homes are renovated 

to make it possible.  Tenenbaum lowered a kitchen counter so he could sit 

and cook if he needed to, and also moved switches to make it possible.  

You planned out for everything?  

TENENBAUM:  I hope I planned out for quite a bit.  

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


HERERA:  And to read more about the aging in place trend, you can always 

head to our website,  

GRIFFETH:  Coming up, should the rich pay more in taxes?  It`s a hot topic 

in Washington right now and it`s done before.


GRIFFETH:  As we all know, it is tax filing season and no one wants an 

unpleasant surprise.  But apparently, that`s exactly what some early filers 

have been getting.  

Sharon Epperson is with us tonight to explain what is happening and maybe 

how to avoid the same scenario next year.  

And right away, what we heard today from the IRS is that the average refund 

is smaller than it was last year.  


We`ve talked about the tax law changes and impact that could have on your 

taxes.  Another big change was a change to withholding tables.  So people 

were not having as much tax withheld.  And so, it`s not necessarily that 

they`re paying more tax, but they may be and they may not have had enough 

withheld and that`s why they`re seeing impact on that refund that they 

expected to get or maybe even owe.  The difference that we`re seeing is 

significant.  If you look at what — 

HERERA:  Whoa, that is!  

EPPERSON:  The average refund was at the end of February 1st, the first 

week that you could turn into your tax return, you`re looking at $18,000, a 

little bit over — sorry, 1,800, a little bit more.  Either number showing 

the first week in February last year.  But the average refund overall last 

year was over 2,800.  So, it`s a big difference in what people are getting 


HERERA:  So, which taxpayers, maybe segment of taxpayers, is most likely to 

be affected by this?  

EPPERSON:  It`s the ones who will be probably under-withheld and did not 

pay enough throughout the year and have the withholding problem.  And so, 

those are people who itemize and do not have dependents, people who live in 

a high tax state because of the cap now on the state and local tax 

deductions of $10,000.  

And people who have unreimbursed business expenses because so many of those 

itemized deductions and expenses are no being deducted and claimed.  So, 

that`s a big change for a lot of people.  

GRIFFETH:  So, what do you do to make sure this doesn`t happen next year?  

EPPERSON:  So, now what?  So, now what?  So, this is what I need to.  This 

is what you need to do. 


GRIFFETH:  Take a look at your W4, right?

EPPERSON:  Exactly, exactly.

So what you need do, there`s a withholding calculator at  It is 

very helpful.  Have your pay stub, have your tax return, so you have the 

accurate information to fill in and see what it says in terms of what your 

withholding should be.  

If it`s not — if it doesn`t say that right now on your W4, go to the 

employer, change that W4 form, make sure you`re in a better place for 2019 

than you were for 2018.  There`s nothing you can do now to dial it back.  

If you didn`t have the right withholding tax taken out, but you can make 

that change for 2019 if you go to those steps.  

HERERA:  And it`s early in the year.  

EPPERSON:  It`s early in the year, exactly.  

GRIFFETH:  Sharon Epperson, as always, thank you very much.  

EPPERSON:  Well, not only are taxes on everybody`s minds but so are tax 

rates, especially now that some lawmakers are talking about hiking them on 

the wealthy.  

And as Robert Frank reports, that is not a new idea.



taxing the wealthy are being called radical, socialist and extreme, even by 

some Democrats.  The plans being floated have some precedent in American 

history.  Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez discussing a top income 

rate of the high as 70 percent was almost twice the current top tax rate.  

Conservatives say her plan and similar ones from Senators Warren and 

Sanders threaten economic growth and investment.  


matter a lot.  When you get a lower rate, broader base flat tax, economic 

growth ensues and a lot of the benefits go to the poor, the minorities and 

the disenfranchised.  Those people who are getting jobs right now.

FRANK:  But America has seen much higher rates before.  Between World War 

II and 1980, the top tax rate was between 70 percent and 91 percent.  

Bernie Sanders` estate tax which would lower the exemption from the current 

$11.4 million to just $3.5 million would mark a return to 2009 levels.  

But some say taxes on estates and wealth are needed to reduce growing 


CHRIS HUGHES, ECONOMIC SECURITY PROJECT:  Let`s be clear about the rates 

are.  They are historically low, much lower than for the 40 years after the 

Second World War.  And as a member of that 1 percent, 0.1 percent, I can 

tell you, I can afford higher taxes and it would make my life better.  

FRANK:  All of which may help explain why a majority of Americans support 

higher taxes on the wealthy.  Three quarters of those polled by “Politico” 

and Morning Consult supporting increasing top tax rate to 70 percent.  A 

Fox News poll found a majority of Republicans even backed higher tacks on 

those making more than $10 million.  

Now, what none of the candidates have mentioned is that the top 1 percent 

pay the highest share of income taxes in history, close to 40 percent.  



GRIFFETH:  And before we go, one final look at day on Wall Street.  Kind of 

a wait and see day with markets very much focused on the trade talks that 

will be going on in Beijing this week and the potential shutdown talks that 

are going on in Washington beginning right now, as a matter of fact.  The 

Dow fell 53 points.  The Nasdaq was up nine.  And the S&P up almost two 

points today.  

HERERA:  And on that note, that will do it for NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT.  

I`m Sue Herera.  Thanks for joining us.  

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



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