Nightly Business Report – March 20, 2019

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

Herera.  

SUE HERERA, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR:  Steady as she goes.  The Fed 

signals it may not make any moves on interest rates this year, cutting its 

forecast from two hikes to none.

BILL GRIFFETH, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR:  Antitrust fine.  The 

European Union goes after Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), just the latest regulator 

to turn up the heat on big tech.  Is this the price they pay for success?  

HERERA:  Done deal.  Disney (NYSE:DIS) closes its blockbuster $71 billion 

purchase of Fox and now, the hard work begins.  

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

March 28th. 

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

it was decision day for the Federal Reserve with a twist.  As expected, the 

Central Bank kept its benchmark interest rate unchanged.  

What was not expected was a strong signal then that there will be no rate 

increases this year and maybe only one next year.  Investors breathed a 

sigh of relief immediately after that announcement was made.  The Dow 

recovered from a 200-point decline but words from President Trump today 

that U.S. tariffs against China may remain in place for a prolonged period, 

that took a toll.  

And by the close, the Dow was down 141 points.  It closed at 25,745.  

Nasdaq was still up five points.  The S&P was down eight.

Steve Liesman has more on the Fed`s decision from Washington for us 

tonight.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STEVE LIESMAN, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT:  The Federal Reserve 

in a series of major announcements after its March meeting kept interest 

rates on hold, downgraded its economic outlook and forecast no rate hikes 

in 2019.  The meeting of members of the committee had previously forecast 

two hikes this year.  They`re gone now.  

The Fed also decided to stop reducing its balance sheet, that some of the 

market had said was hurting the economy and that would begin in September.  

For a central bank that moves policy slowly, it was a rapid about-face for 

a forecast of strong growth and a rate hike as recently as December.  

Despite the changes, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell maintained a positive 

outlook.  

JEROME POWELL, FEDERAL RESERVE CHAIRMAN:  The data are not currently 

sending a signal that we need to move in one direction or another.  

Committee members, participants generally see a growth of around 2 percent.  

They see unemployment remaining below 4 percent.  They see inflation 

remaining close to target and they see growth, as I said, around 2 percent.  

So that`s a positive outlook.  It`s a favorable outlook.  

LIESMAN:  Still, the Fed downgraded its outlook for growth from 2.3 percent 

to 2.1 percent this year and Powell highlighted risks to the economy coming 

in part from global developments.  

POWELL:  You see slowing global growth.  You still have — there`s no 

resolution of Brexit.  There`s no resolution really of the trade talks.  

These are ongoing risks.  We`re also carefully monitoring what`s happening 

with U.S. growth.  We called that out in our statement, that the limited 

data that we have do show a slowdown.  

On the other hand, as I mentioned, we see the underlying economic 

fundamentals for growth this year as still very positive.  

LIESMAN:  Finally, Powell noted that downward pressure on inflation is a 

major challenge for Fed and central banks around the world.  But overall, 

no hint from Powell about what the next move is up or down.  And he gave 

the clear impression today he doesn`t know either.  

For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Steve Liesman in Washington.  

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HERERA:  Let`s turn now to Art Hogan for more analysis on the Fed, the 

economy and the market.  He is chief market strategist at National 

Securities.  

Welcome back, Art.  

ART HOGAN, CHIEF MARKET STRATEGIST, NATIONAL SECURITIES:  Hi, Sue.  Thanks 

so much for having me.  

HERERA:  You say this is a bold move.  I guess the question is, in your 

opinion, was it the right move?  

HOGAN:  Well, it`s hard to say.  You know, it`s interesting.  The three 

things I think about here, I really feel like Jay Powell didn`t need to 

actually remove both of the dots for 2019.  Plenty more meetings in front 

of him that he could have done that, so that`s where it really gets bold.  

So, that exceeded expectations.  

But, you know, this is truly a Fed has made a pivot in January from being 

auto pilot hawkish in December to patient in January and now they`re even 

more patient.  So, what does this tell us?  It tells us the Fed is actually 

at neutral.  They`re literally at neutral.  

And the next move could be a hike or a cut in interest rates.  My guess is 

the next move is a hike.  And I think that probably comes in the first part 

of 2020.  

But right now, the Fed has reinforced the fact that they`re really patient 

and that`s probably a tailwind for the market.  

GRIFFETH:  So what does the stock market do with that?  Clearly for Wall 

Street, no more hikes at least for the foreseeable future, that`s a good 

thing.  But they also downgrade the forecast on the economy.  That`s not 

such a good thing.  

So where does the stock market go, do you think?  

HOGAN:  Right, and I think you really would rather have the Fed tightening 

than cutting rates as their next move.  And that would mean the economic 

activity had picked back up.  So, you know, we know the first quarter is 

likely going to be slower than the fourth quarter of last year.  We hope 

that the second quarter picks up in activity.  We don`t know that yet.  

And I think what Jay Powell was speaking to was that, oh, by the way, the 

global economy has slowed down and we have no resolution on both Brexit and 

the U.S./China trade war.  So, I think when we think about all of those 

things, if any of those things turn positive.  For example, if we get a 

U.S.-China trade deal, I think the economy picks up in the second and third 

quarter of this year.  There`s just a question of when that timing comes 

up.  The Fed may have to hike again, it may happen this year, but it`s just 

not in the cards.  

HERERA:  So, as you look at the market as an investor, a longer term 

investor, how do you handicap this given the headline risk that you just 

outlined?  

HOGAN:  Well, we need a trade behind us to think we can earn $170 for the 

S&P 500 this year.  That`s what our base assumption is.  And if we don`t do 

that and if we escalate, then I certainly think that, you know, this market 

is pricey.  

Our base case is we`re going to get that trade deal done.  Unfortunately, 

we`re going through that back and forth process right now, which seems like 

it`s the end of the process, not the beginning.  But I think getting a 

trade deal behind us, we think this market can move higher than we are 

right now.  We just need to get that in the rear-view mirror.  

HERERA:  All right, Art.  We`ll leave it there.  Thank you.  

HOGAN:  Thank you.

HERERA:  Art Hogan with National Securities.  

European Union officials say they are willing to grant a short delay for 

Britain`s exit from the bloc but that delay comes with conditions.  They 

want parliament to approve the withdrawal plan that has already been 

rejected.  That increases uncertainty just days before the U.K. is 

scheduled to leave the E.U. on March 29th.  

GRIFFETH:  And the European Union has ordered Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) to pay 

$1.7 billion for antitrust violations.  This is its third fines in a series 

of penalties.  The E.U. competition commissioner sys Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) 

abused its position in the online advertising market.  

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP

MARGRETHE VESTAGER, EUROPEAN COMMISSIONER FOR COMPETITION:  If you have a 

travel Website or a news Website and you want to sell the advertising space 

next to the search that you can do on your site, you need a broker.  And 

Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is one of the absolute biggest brokers in this market, 

and they misused their dominant position to make sure that no rivals were 

able to compete in this market for advertising on new sites, on travel 

sites.  

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRIFFETH:  In response, Google`s parent, Alphabet, said today it has 

already made changes to its products and that it plans to make additional 

updates as well.  

HERERA:  The tech giant and others in the industry are also coming under 

pressure here in the U.S.  So what does that mean for the tech industry?  

Ian Sherr is executive editor at CNET.  He joins us now to talk about that.  

Ian, welcome.  Nice to have you here.

It seems as though Europe is taking the lead on all the talk about 

regulation of big tech and also possible breakup of big tech.  What do you 

think is going to play out on this country`s soil?  

IAN SHERR, CNET EXECUTIVE EDITOR:  You know, it`s going to be really 

interesting.  I think there`s going to be an ongoing conversation on 

Capitol Hill where they try to understand the basics of how technology 

works.  We`ve learned they have a lot of education to go through.  

I think at some point, there`s going to be a test, whether it`s an attempt 

to really see what a breakup of Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) or Facebook 

(NASDAQ:FB) could look like, and then to see what happens to the rest of 

the tech industry.  But there`s going to be a lot of pushback, and 

especially from the tech industry, who says, look, we`re getting all of 

this pressure and we don`t deserve it.  

GRIFFETH:  Here it has happened again.  It`s happened in the past.  

Technology companies or companies on the cutting edge of some type of 

innovation get way out ahead of regulators and lawmakers.  It happened with 

AT&T (NYSE:T), it happened with Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), and now it`s 

happening with a lot of these FANG stocks.  

What`s your expectation not just for what the regulators and lawmakers are 

going to do, but what the companies, how they will respond?  

SHERR:  Well, they need to get in front of this as much as they can, right?  

There`s a lot of things that have been put out there.  I think that Senator 

Elizabeth Warren, who`s now a presidential candidate has caused a lot of 

conversation that probably would not have happened otherwise or taken a 

little longer by calling for a breakup of Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Apple 

(NASDAQ:AAPL) and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Facebook (NASDAQ:FB).  So — 

GRIFFETH:  But is there — are there regulations or self regulation that 

these companies can come up with that would give them some space between 

the regulators and lawmakers so that they sort of tone down the rhetoric?  

SHERR:  They could answer a lot of these concerns.  I mean, the thing is 

that right now, these companies are getting a lot of pressure from all 

sorts of places.  And they`re kind of responding to some of it, but the 

larger problems still remain.  

You know, we`re still not convinced that the election interference that 

happened in 2016 won`t repeat.  We`re still not convinced that these 

companies are not acting monopolistically, and there`s still ongoing 

concerns that they are not protecting our data correctly.  

And if they can`t answer those types of questions, they`re going to have a 

bad day at some point.  

HERERA:  Yes, very quickly in the 30 seconds that we have left, if it 

indeed it came to the ultimate solution, which will be perhaps a breakup, 

wouldn`t that foster perhaps more innovation?  We have seen that in the 

past as well.  

SHERR:  That`s definitely an argument, and I think that`s where you`re 

starting to see people like Senator Warren push toward, but that`s not a 

guarantee.  If we just break them up for the sake of breaking them up, 

we`re causing trouble in the economy.  We`re not actually being thoughtful.  

That`s what`s important.  We need to be thoughtful if we`re ever going to 

go down that path.  

HERERA:  All right.  Ian Sherr with CNET, thanks so much.  

SHERR:  My pleasure.

GRIFFETH:  So, with all the talk about regulations and laws to rein in some 

of these tech giants, is Wall Street`s so-called FANG era coming to an end?  

And if so, where does new leadership come from?  

Mike Santoli is staying late for us tonight at the New York Stock Exchange 

to explore that.  

And you actually don`t buy the notion that the FANG era is coming to a 

close?  

MIKE SANTOLI, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT:  Well, I do, Bill, 

think it`s a little premature to say it`s coming to a close.  What we have 

seen, though, is a little fracturing of FANG.  

What I mean by that is if you look at Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), to a lesser 

degree Google`s parent Alphabet, those stocks underperformed for a lot of 

last year.  Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) has had its valuation punished to some 

degree because of all these concerns.  But at the same time, Amazon 

(NASDAQ:AMZN), Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX), these companies that are not really 

using your private data in a way to sell to advertisers but are selling a 

service that you are purchasing of your own free will and you wish to, they 

have actually performed better.  

So there`s definitely been some rethinking about exactly how durable some 

of these business models are.  

HERERA:  All right.  So, if indeed we do see action against some of these 

companies or regulations, where do you see new leadership kind of emerging?  

SANTOLI:  You know, Sue, it`s very difficult to conceive of new leadership 

that is exactly as dominant as these companies, because I do think there`s 

an argument to be made that these businesses are in some sense, they tend 

toward natural monopolies.  They have these network effects that gives them 

power.  But I think they would probably, if they did get broken up or 

recede in the market`s favor, probably health care is the place to look — 

whether it`s medical technology or health care services.  

You`ve already seen it grow to a large portion of the overall market value 

of the S&P 500.  So perhaps that is the way to go.  But we`ve gone long 

stretches of time in the market without a single dominant cohort of 

companies that was really driving returns.  

GRIFFETH:  But going back to the FANGs for a moment here, you have to admit 

if there are to be regulations or some kind of a law, even if there`s a 

breakup, that is going to put a crimp on their profitability going forward, 

isn`t it?  

SANTOLI:  No, I mean, I would completely agree with that.  Not only overt 

regulations or breakups or lawsuits, but also just the chilling effect it 

has on these companies` ambitions down the road, right?  Every one of these 

technology companies probably figures it has to maneuver for its next act, 

expand with new businesses, whether it`s self-driving cars or some other 

services.  

And are they going to be permitted, for example, to make additional 

acquisitions the way Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) has done so well over the years 

or are they going to expand into those other areas aggressively.  Or would 

they be thwarted?  Those things I think very long term should be on 

investors` radars, just exactly how open-ended the growth prospects for a 

lot of these companies?  

GRIFFETH:  Mike Santoli at the New York Stock Exchange — thanks, Michael.  

SANTOLI:  Thank you.

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

Downgrades”.  

FedEx (NYSE:FDX) was downgraded to neutral from overweight at JPMorgan 

(NYSE:JPM).  The firm cites rising labor costs and potential pressure on 

operating margins.  As we reported, the company cut its full year profit 

outlook late yesterday.  

The price target is $202.  The stock fell about 3.5 percent to $175.07.  

Sony (NYSE:SNE) was downgraded to hold from buy at Jefferies.  The analyst 

cites concerns about a peak in game profits and Sony`s inability to exit 

the smartphone business.  The price target is $50.70.  The stock fell 

almost 5 percent to $43.28.  

And Dollar Tree (NASDAQ:DLTR) was upgraded to outperform from market 

perform at Telsey Advisory Group.  The analyst there cites a recent meeting 

with management which increased his confidence in the company`s plan.  The 

price target is $117.  Shares rose a fraction to $101.35.  

GRIFFETH:  And still ahead, and idled auto plant and the home town feeling 

the impact.  

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FRANK HOLLAND, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT:  This Shrine of Hope 

has been built outside this now closed GM plant that has President Trump 

tweeting.  I`m Frank Holland, I`ll have local reaction to those tweets and 

the closure coming up on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(MUSIC)

GRIFFETH:  There are reports tonight that the FBI has now joined the 

criminal investigation into the certification process of the Boeing 

(NYSE:BA) 737 MAX.  As first reported by “The Seattle Times,” the FBI`s 

Seattle field office is now part of this investigation because of its close 

proximity to Boeing`s 737 manufacturing plant in Renton.  The investigation 

is being overseen by the Justice Department and carried out by the 

Transportation Department`s inspector general.  

This latest report sent Boeing (NYSE:BA) stock initially lower in after-

hours trading tonight.  

HERERA:  Oil prices settled at a four-month high after hitting $60 for the 

first time since November.  Government data showed a sharp decline in oil 

and refine fuel inventories.  That sent the price of domestic crude higher, 

though it settled just below that $60 level.  

GRIFETH:  Optimism among the nation`s CEOs is cooling off.  According to 

the latest survey from the business roundtable, chief executives are 

concerned about global economic growth.  CEOs now see the economies growing 

at 2.5 percent.  That would be this year and it`s slightly down from the 

earlier estimate.  

HERERA:  The Disney (NYSE:DIS) and Fox merger is officially complete, and 

it could mark the beginning of a new era for Hollywood.  But integrating 

the two companies could prove challenging.  

Julia Boorstin explains.  

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JULIA BOORSTIN, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT:  Disney (NYSE:DIS) 

has officially acquired Fox`s entertainment assets, including its movie and 

TV studio with its Avatar (NASDAQ:AVTR) and X-Men franchises, along with 

National Geographic and FX, plus Indian media giant Star, and an additional 

30 percent stake in Hulu.  

These assets building Disney (NYSE:DIS) into a behemoth with more content 

to stream direct to consumers to enable and to better complete with digital 

giants such as Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX).  

JOEL KULINA, WEDBUSH:  It`s kind of roll the dice to see who`s going to 

come out.  It`s going to — for everything to go seamless and everyone to 

be a winner, that`s probably a little unrealistic.  And we`ve seen Netflix 

(NASDAQ:NFLX), what they`ve done over the years is spend, spend, spend.  

I mean, I think Disney (NYSE:DIS) and the likes of so many other players 

going to find out to compete with Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX), it`s going to ding 

their profitability.

BOORSTIN:  Iger writing in a note to employees today: I wish I could tell 

you that the hardest part is behind us.  That closing the deal was the 

finish line rather than just the next milestone.  What lies ahead is the 

challenging work.  

The challenge that lies ahead isn`t just about integrating the two 

companies but about the launch of Disney`s direct-to-consumer streaming 

service, Disney (NYSE:DIS) Plus, later this year.  It`s expected to include 

new, original exclusive content plus Disney`s library.  

Disney (NYSE:DIS) will unveil the details of the new service which will 

feature its major brands such as “Star Wars” and Fox`s National Geographic 

at a preview day next month.  

JOANNA COLES, FORMER HEARST CHIEF CONTENT OFFICER:  It remains to be seen 

if Gen Z, millennials, actually want to download something called Disney 

(NYSE:DIS) Plus.  Does that remind them of their childhood?  Do they like 

the idea of something more edgy?  Which is definitely what Netflix 

(NASDAQ:NFLX) provides.  

BOORSTIN:  As Disney (NYSE:DIS) doubles down on on-demand content, the 

remainder of Fox is focused on live news and sports, spinning of as an 

independent company, focusing on its ability to drive ad revenue and cable 

retransmission fees for its timely content, looking to benefit from the 

political news cycle in sharp contrast to Disney`s more timeless content.  

For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Julia Boorstin.  

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GRIFFETH:  The FDA approves the first postpartum depression drug.  That`s 

where we begin tonight`s “Market Focus”.  

Sage Therapeutics is the company that made the injectable drug called 

Zulresso that treats this condition.  It will only be available through a 

restricted program because there are concerns about risks, including 

excessive sedation or sudden loss of consciousness.  Two clinical studies, 

though, showed improved symptoms at the end of the first infusion.  And the 

CEO says that is key.  

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEFF JONAS, SAGE THERAPEUTICS CEO:  When you think about what we 

potentially are offering — rapid response, one-time therapy, getting women 

back home, you know, we don`t hear any resistance to that.  In fact, 

there`s a lot of enthusiasm, in order for these women not to suffer in 

silence but to get better.  

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRIFFETH:  Wall Street has been anticipating this.  The stock has been up 

60 percent so far this year, but it ended the day down more than 2.5 

percent to $152.46.  

General Mills (NYSE:GIS) increased prices, and it paid off.  The packaged 

food maker today reported higher margins, better-than-expected earnings and 

it is now forecasting improved profits for this fiscal year.  The company 

was also helped by lower costs.  Shares rose about 2 percent today to 

$48.29.  

HERERA:  Nexstar will sell 19 TV stations for more than a billion dollars 

to Tegna and Scripps.  The divestitures follow the acquisition of Tribune 

Media by Nexstar which said it is in talks to sell two more stations in 

Indianapolis.  All three stocks fell.  Nexstar was off a fraction.  Tegna 

and EW Scripps were down close to 3 percent each.  

Ford plans to build a new factory in Michigan for autonomous vehicles.  The 

new facility is expected to open in the necessary two years.  The move is 

part of the automaker`s plan to focus on its future line up of self-driving 

and electric cars.  The stock fell 2 percent to $8.51.  

GRIFFETH:  President Trump traveled to Ohio today just days after 

pressuring General Motors (NYSE:GM) to reopen a plant in that state.  The 

automaker`s factory closed earlier this month and the town of Lordstown is 

feeling the impact.  

Here`s Frank Holland.  

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

FRANK HOLLAND, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT:  Outside of its now 

closed factory where General Motors (NYSE:GM) made the Chevy Cruze, a 

Shrine of Hope left by some of the thousands of workers who made their 

living here.  

RYAN MCCABE, LAID OFF GM EMPLOYEE:  You just don`t replace these jobs.  

HOLLAND:  Ryan McCabe, a husband and father of six, was laid off from the 

Lordstown, Ohio, plant, after 19 years.  

MCCABE:  Your family has worked at General Motors (NYSE:GM), your family 

has retired from General Motors (NYSE:GM), and you`re the last one there.  

Then, all of a sudden, it`s all gone.  

HOLLAND:  GM closing this factory as it focuses more on trucks and SUVs.  

Sales of the Cruze sedan falling by almost half over the past five years.  

McCabe took these pictures of the last Cruze leaving the assembly line.  

Now, he and thousands of other workers are searching for jobs at other GM 

factories.  

MCCABE:  When General Motors (NYSE:GM) and Mary Barra tells us there`s all 

these opportunities for us to transfer, it comes across as so cold and 

calculated because I know they have kids, I know they have families.  How 

would they react in the same situation as us?  

HOLLAND:  Lordstown is under reallocation and could reopen after September 

when GM and the union enter contract negotiations.  

But President Trump, who visited Ohio today, wants answers now.  Tweeting 

over the weekend: I want jobs to stay in the USA and want Lordstown and one 

of the best economies in our history opened or sold to a company who will 

open it up fast.  

MCCABE:  I`m glad he is supporting us and wants to help us.  I just wish he 

would come here and kind of see firsthand, instead of just making random 

tweets about it.  

HOLLAND:  The reaction from others in town is mixed, especially after a 

2017 speech where the president told local workers manufacturing jobs would 

be coming back.  

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I think it`s a little too late.  I think he should 

have been on the bandwagon when they first — when they cut the other 

shifts and when they announced that they were going to cut this shift.  

UNIDNETIFIED FEMALE:  I feel like it`s the company`s fault, not the 

president`s fault.  

HOLLAND:  The closure of this plant is expected to have a $3 billion 

negative impact on this region this year.  But at the same time, 

manufacturing jobs here in Ohio have grown more than 2.5 percent since 

January of 2017.  Still, the fate of this factory and McCabe remains 

unclear.  

MCCABE:  We don`t know if this is a temporary layoff or permanent layoff.  

The whole unallocated status just kind of makes — it makes it hard to 

gauge what to do, especially for people with families.  

HOLLAND:  For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, Frank Holland in Lordstown, Ohio.  

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HERERA:  Coming up, companies are looking for the next big thing in gaming.  

But are consumers willing to pay up?  

(MUSIC)

GRIFFETH:  There was a legal setback for German life sciences giant Bayer 

last night.  A second jury has ruled that its Roundup weed killer caused a 

man`s cancer.  Bayer denies the allegation, saying it was disappointed with 

the decision.  Bayer did acquire Monsanto (NYSE:MON) which makes Roundup 

for $63 billion last year.  

HERERA:  We told you yesterday about Google`s big push into the growing 

video game market.  Today, other companies showed off their new innovative 

devices that they hope will be the next big thing in gaming.  

Josh Lipton is in San Francisco tonight.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Great.  If you move your body around — 

JOSH LIPTON, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT:  Some fans don`t just 

want to play video games, they want to feel like they`re inside the game 

itself.  That`s the appeal of virtual reality or VR, a totally immersive 

360-degree experience.  

Today, here at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, one of the 

biggest players, Facebook (NASDAQ:FB)-owned Oculus, introduced the Oculus 

Rift S.  

NATE MITCHELL, FACEBOOK HEAD OF VR PRODUCTS:  Rift S features a much higher 

resolution display, which obviously makes the whole image a lot clearer and 

more immersive, and also features, you know, Oculus touch controllers, 

which give you a natural sense of real hand presence, being able to reach 

out and interact with the virtual world around you.  

LIPTON:  It`s not just the big companies.  Startup magically sells so-

called mixed reality goggles where the digital content is integrated into 

the real world.  For example, when I put on the goggles, I suddenly 

appeared like an old man to my fellow gamer, as we ran around the room and 

took shots at each other.  

But for all the hype, this remains a relatively small market for now.  

Analysts say only 6 percent of U.S. gamers own a virtual reality or 

augmented reality headset.  

In part they say that`s because there still isn`t enough compelling content 

right now to motivate a lot of gamers to go out and buy this hardware.  And 

that`s partly because of the rising popularity of games that are free to 

play, like “Fortnite”, made by Epic Games.  It boasts more than 200 million 

registered players, raking in almost $2.5 billion last year.  

Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:ERTS) released rival game “Apex Legends” in early 

February.  

Fifty million players signed up for that game in the title`s first month.  

Analysts are watching Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:ERTS) closely.  If “Apex 

Legends” is a success, then other publishers, such as Activision may follow 

suit and more enthusiastically embrace that same free to play battle royale 

style.  

For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Josh Lipton at San Francisco.  

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GRIFFETH:  Finally tonight, it`s time for March Madness.  According to the 

American Gaming Association, nearly 50 million Americans are going to wager 

a collective $8.5 billion on the college basketball tournament.  This is 

the first March Madness, by the way, since the Supreme Court overturned 

that ruling that effectively outlawed sports betting in almost every state.  

HERERA:  Here`s a look at the final numbers on Wall Street.  The Dow fell 

141 points, Nasdaq rose 5, S&P 500 down 8.  

That will do it for NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT tonight.  I`m Sue Herera.  

Thanks for joining us.  

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

tomorrow.

END

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