Nightly Business Report – March 21, 2019

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

stock has been on a run, but disappointing sales growth in North America
now has investors running the other way.  

sheds $18 billion in market value after its once-promising Alzheimer`s drug
ends in failure.  

GRIFFETH:  Poor performance.  Crash tests of some popular pickup trucks are
raising new safety questions.  

We have those stories and much more tonight on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for
Thursday, March 21st.  

HERERA:  Good evening, everyone, and welcome.  

Wall Street was in rally mode.  Stocks reached a five-month high today with
the Dow gaining more than 200 points, led by the technology sector.  
Investors were willing to take on more risk following the Federal Reserve`s
decision yesterday to keep rates steady this year, something we told you
about last night.  

And that resulted in a 216-point gain for the Dow Jones Industrial Average
to 25,962.  The Nasdaq rose 109 points and the S&P 500 added 30.  

GRIFETH:  And Nike (NYSE:NKE) could help determine the direction of the
stock market tomorrow.  Late today, the Dow component reported better-than-
expected earnings and an expansion in gross margins.  

Here are the numbers we got this evening.  The company earned 68 cents when
the street was looking for about 65 cents a share.  Revenue was just about
in line with expectations, more than $9.5 billion.  

Now, those sales were strong.  Nike (NYSE:NKE) results in North America
were not as solid as many had hoped and that caught investors off guard
this evening.  The stock fell in initial after-hours trading.  

Sara Eisen has more on Nike`s numbers.  


Nike`s beat, this is a company in the middle of an upswing in innovation
and solid growth, but the market is already onto it.  Nike (NYSE:NKE)
posting very strong sales across geographies, from North America to Europe
to China, despite some warnings and evidence of an economic slowdown in
different parts of the world.  

Why?  Innovation is key.  And you see that in higher margins.  Nike
(NYSE:NKE) is able to charge more for newer products, like the Epic React
and the Vapor Max that are resonating with consumers right now.  

The only challenge, Wall Street is already onto the story.  The stock has
run up 20 percent to a record high.  It`s rebounded strongly off the lows,
leaving some investors to wonder what`s next.  



HERERA:  Biogen shares had their worst day in more than a decade.  This
after the biotech company said it was stopping two phase 3 clinical trials
of an Alzheimer`s treatment.  The drug had been considered one of the most
promising in the fight against the memory-destroying disease.  The company
says the decision to halt the trials was not due to safety concerns, but
instead because analysis showed the trials were unlikely to meet their
primary goals.  That sent the stock down 29 percent.  

GRIFFETH:  So what will this setback mean for Biogen and other companies in
the biotech sector?  

Joining us tonight, Michael Yee.  He`s an equity analyst at Jefferies, and
he joins us to talk more about this.  

Good to see you again.  Welcome back, Michael.  


GRIFFETH:  I mean, there were a lot of high expectations for this treatment
of Alzheimer`s as it went through the various stages.  How big a setback is
this for Biogen to see it fail?  

YEE:  Yes, thanks.  

Well, you know, certainly from a practical standpoint, we`re obviously
disappointed and it`s a big disappointment for patients.  But for Biogen
specifically, this was the most important pipeline drug.  It could have
been a drug that was $10 billion to $15 billion of sales, could double the
company`s revenue in earnings.  

And so, this is a big setback for the company.  I think they`re going to
have to take some time to regroup and re-evaluate the pipeline and probably
go out and do some more acquisitions.  

HERERA:  I was just going to say, you think that they do have to make some
acquisitions.  What sector of biotech do they look for or look in, and what
companies do you think might be a good fit?  

YEE:  That`s a great question.  You know, I think that what they are likely
to go out and do is still focused on broad areas of neurology, companies
like Sage or Marinas.  Company Sage obviously just had a depression drug
approved this week, which could be a big program.  

And gene therapy, they did a gene therapy acquisition last month.  Gene
therapy has a lot of promise and there`s a lot of great drugs in the
pipeline from like — Sarepta is one example.  So I think that`s where
they`ll be focused over the next year or so.  

GRIFFETH:  And what now for Alzheimer`s?  There had been a lot of hope in
the last few years that we had been figuring this thing out and maybe
coming up with some effective treatments, but now what?  

YEE:  Yes, no, you`re right.  This was — this was the most promising drug
in development.  They had truly shown a lot of data over the past couple of
years that led us to be optimistic.  

And I think that where this takes us back is a view that are there
different targets within Alzheimer`s to go after?  Are there different
genetic elements of it?  Are they looking at the right patient population?  

So, I think this is a big setback for people.  I think that the company is
going to have to reassess the pipeline.  And I think this is a big
disappointment for those in the Alzheimer`s space.  

HERERA:  Picking up on Bill`s point, though, are there other companies that
are being aggressive in the Alzheimer`s space, or was Biogen really the
only one or the leader?  

YEE:  You know, Biogen certainly was the leader from the standpoint that
they have the most late stage asset with the most promising data with the
most numbers of patients.  There are other companies that have drugs that
are earlier in development, whether that be a Denali or an elector which
have some very early science in phase 1 that people are optimistic about.  

But ultimately, this was one of the big ones.  And again, a big setback
today because there was a lot of potential.  

GRIFFETH:  Indeed.  Well, let`s hope somebody else can come along with
something there.  Michael Yee with Jefferies, again —  

YEE:  Yes.

GRIFFETH:  — thanks for joining us tonight.  

YEE:  Thank you for being here.

HERERA:  New developments tonight related to Boeing (NYSE:BA).  The company
plans to slow production at its 737 factory.  Boeing (NYSE:BA) says it
continues to build the 737 at a monthly rate of 52 but will use three
buffer days next week to catch up on work delayed by recent storms and
supplier issues.  

GRIFFETH:  To the economy now and a new survey of economic conditions,
which rose in February for the first time in five months.  It`s the index
of leading economic indicators.  They were up 0.2 percent, led by higher
stock prices, lower interest rates, and improved access to credit.  

Economists say it could be a sign that growth will pick up after a slow
start to this year.  

HERERA:  Those lower interest rates are good news for home buyers.  
Mortgage rates are down just as spring selling season heats up.  

Diana Olick has more.


at the lowest level in more than a year.  This after the Federal Reserve
chairman yesterday said there would be no more rate hikes this year and
that the central bank would start buying bonds again.  Mortgage rates
loosely follow the yield on the 10-year treasury.  

So, we`ve now gone from just over 5 percent on the 30-year fixed in
November, to 4.34 percent today.  That according to “Mortgage News Daily”.  
To put that in perspective, if you`re a home buyer taking out a $300,000
mortgage, you`re now paying about 150 bucks a month less than you would
have in November.  

The question now is, will that be enough to juice home buying this spring,
enough to make up for the high home prices we`re still seeing?  Home sales
dropped off last year as rates rose.  And while affordability has now
improved slightly, first-time buyers are still struggling to get into this
pricey market.  



GRIFFETH:  UK Prime Minister Theresa may arrived in Brussels today for a
summit of European Union leaders.  Time is certainly of essence now since
the deadline for the U.K. to leave the bloc is a week from tomorrow.  So,
the issue on the table today was, of course, the Brexit deal that the U.K.
parliament has already rejected.  

Willem Marx is in Brussels for us tonight.  


its last-minute political compromises, a deal struck almost 200 hours
before a deadline could appear premature.  But if the E.U. approves the
Brexit delay overnight Thursday in Brussels, it would stem from a failure
to find agreement back in London.  

After intense back-and-forth negotiations that have now lasted one year
action, 11 month and 21 days.  Before this last E.U. council meeting, U.K.
Prime Minister Theresa May had requested more time to get her deal through
the British legislature.  Several European leaders told us they hoped she
would manage that next week, third time lucky.  

KLAUS IOHANNIS, ROMANIAN PRESIDENT:  Most of us are ready to give Brexit
another chance.  Prime Minister May another chance to convince her
parliament to vote the agreement.  There`s still time.  We still have this

MARX:  But as of right now, there`s not much time.  Just eight days until
Britain legally leaves the E.U., and the possibility that lawmakers in
Westminster vote through May`s deal remains very narrow.  

SEBASTIAN KURZ, AUSTRIAN CHANCELLOR:  I hope that there will be support in
the parliament next week, because we all have the same interests, to avoid
a hard Brexit, to avoid a no-deal scenario.  

MARX:  French president Emmanuel Macron has taken a hard-line stance and he
insisted Thursday afternoon that a parliamentary defeat for May could mean
the U.K. crashes out of Europe next Friday.  

EMMANUEL MACRON, FRENCH PRESIDENT:  In case of a no vote or no — I mean,
directly, it will guide everybody to a no deal for sure.  This is it.  

MARX:  After two years of talks, Europe`s leaders told us they were still
not clear about the will of the U.K.`s voters, lawmakers, or indeed its
leader, though they acknowledge she is caught between a rock and a hard

because at the moment.  We have more no options on the table than options.  
The speaker of the House of Commons telling us that he doesn`t want to
revote.  They are telling us that they don`t want to renegotiate.  So we
know what everybody doesn`t want but we don`t know what you want.  

MARX:  For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Willem Marx in Brussels, Belgium.  


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

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) was upgraded to strong buy from buy at Needham.  The
analyst cites Apple`s new content service and says the company should be
viewed more as an ecosystem rather than a product company.  

The price target is $225.  The stock rose more than 3.5 percent to $195.09.

ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) was upgraded to overweight from neutral at Piper
Jaffray.  The analyst cites the potential for free cash flow generation.  
The price target is $75.  The stock rose a fraction to $68.14.  

Micron Tech was downgraded to sell from neutral at Citi.  The analyst cites
the company`s soft revenue guidance which was released late yesterday.  
Today, the CEO says he`s focused on growing the profitability of the


SANJAY MEHROTRA, MICRON CEO:  As long as we focus on our supply growth to
be in line with demand, we believe in the portfolio of products, with the
technology advancements that we are making, the product portfolio that we
keep expanding, we will definitely do well in terms of meeting the
requirements of our customers and absolutely maintaining our share in the
market as well.  


HERERA:  Citi`s price target for the stock $30.  Despite the downgrade, the
stock rose more than 9 percent to $43.99.  

GRIFFETH:  Still ahead, Wall Street`s new power suit.


New York City.  Coming up on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, did Goldman Sachs
(NYSE:GS) just kill the suit?  We`ll take you inside one of Manhattan`s top
suit makers to find out what Wall Street will wear next.



GRIFFETH:  Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) has admitted to inadvertently exposing the
passwords belonging to hundreds of millions of its users.  According to
reports, the social media company stored about 600 million passwords
without encrypting them, meaning they were viewable as plain texts to some
company employees.  In a blog post, Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) did not say how
many users were affected, but it did say that it would start sending out
notifications so users can change their passwords.  Most companies do
encrypt passwords to prevent them from being stolen in the event of a data

HERERA:  New crash tests are raising questions about the safety of some of
America`s most popular vehicles, pickup trucks.  In fact, a watchdog group
says some pickups struggle to protect passengers in the front seat.  

Phil LeBeau has the details.


crash tests from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is stunning.  
Some of the most popular pickup trucks struggle to protect test dummies
riding in the front passenger seat.  

DAVID ZUBY, IIHS SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT:  In general, the pickup truck class
of vehicles is not doing as good a job protecting right front passengers as
other classes of vehicle.  

LEBEAU:  Of the large pickups tested, the Ford F-150, Ram 1500 and Nissan
Titan received the top possible rating of good, one notch above Honda
Ridgeline`s acceptable grade.  

By comparison, the IIHS says the Chevy Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500
provided marginal protection, while the Toyota (NYSE:TM) Tundra got the
lowest possible grade of poor.  

The Insurance Institute believes these tests will prompt automakers to
improve the safety of their pickups, especially as Jeep and Ford roll out
midsize pickups to meet the growing demand for trucks, which have gone from
being work and utility vehicles to becoming the everyday ride for more

ZUBY:  Pickup trucks have become sort of a vehicle that people treat as
people used to treat cars.  They`re driving them back and forth to school,
back and forth to work.  So, crash protection in these kind of trucks is
more and more important to more and more people.  

LEBEAU:  Last year pickup sales increased more than 4 percent, easily
outpacing the market overall.  Something that is expected to happen again
in 2019, as America`s love affair with the pickup runs hotter than ever.  



GRIFFETH:  More people are eating out at Olive Garden, and that`s where we
begin tonight`s “Market Focus”.  

Promotions and menu upgrades at the casual dining restaurant are paying off
apparently for parent company Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI (NASDAQ:TBUS)).  
Darden today reported better-than-expected earnings and raised its fiscal
year outlook.  It also reported strong results as its Longhorn Steakhouse
locations as well.  Shares rose more than 6-1/2 percent today to $116.11.  

Lands` End reported a near 60 percent decline in profits for the latest
quarter, but they still managed to beat Wall Street earnings and revenue
estimates.  Analysts say that the company`s turn-around is starting to pay
off, believe it or not, but investors wanted more obviously.  The stock
fell 6 percent to $16.12.  

And Conagra reported better-than-expected earnings thanks to higher prices
and an increase in sales at its snack unit.  Those higher prices helped to
offset a rise in transportation and commodity costs.  The company also
signaled improvement at Pinnacle Foods.  That`s the company it purchased
for more than $8 billion last year.  The stock today gained 12 percent to

CVS (NYSE:CVS) has started selling cannabis-based products in eight states.  
The company specified that the products are topical only.  It is not
selling any supplements or food additives that contain CBD.  


LARRY MERLO, CVS (NYSE:CVS) CEO:  Anecdotally, we`ve heard from our
customers that have used those products that, gee, it`s helped with pain
relief for arthritis and, you know, other, you know, other ailments.  So,
we`re going to walk slowly, but we think that this is something the
customers are going to be looking for and is part of the health offering.  


HERERA:  The stock gained 2 percent to $57.40.  

Clorox (NYSE:CLX) is suing rival household products maker Reckitt
Benckiser.  It alleges that the British company falsely claimed in ads that
its Lysol products are superior to those made by Clorox (NYSE:CLX).  The
stock was up about 1 percent to $158.06.  

GRIFFETH:  Levi Strauss made its return to Wall Street today, marking the
largest IPO of an apparel company in years.  The iconic American retail
brand began trading on the New York Stock Exchange after having priced its
initial public offering at $17 a share.  That was above the expected range.  
The company is now eyeing expansion through new stores.  

And the CEO says Levi Strauss is giving customers and now investors what
they want.  


CHIP BERGH, LEVI STRAUSS CEO:  To be successful, it does come down to
strong brands.  Consumers at the end of the day love an emotional
attachment with their brand.  And we`ve recreated that love for Levi`s.  We
have built a very, very big platform on big data and we`re mining the data
that we do collect and really turning it into revenue.  


GRIFFETH:  Well, it was an emotional day for those shareholders today.  
They soared by nearly 32 percent to $22.41.  

HERERA:  And in honor of that IPO, the New York Stock Exchange suspended
its dress code for today only.  Traders were permitted to wear jeans, which
are typically not allowed.  The big board`s dress code calls for men to
wear a jacket and a tie, but today it was casual  

GRIFFETH:  And that casual trend is becoming more common place in the
financial services industry.  It`s changing an entire industry that has
focused for years on dressing bankers at some of Wall Street`s most storied

Robert Frank is in Lower Manhattan for us tonight.


business suit has been going out of style for years.  But Goldman Sachs`
announcement that it`s going casual marks the end of an era for an industry
that dressed Wall Street for decades.  National suit sales dropping from
just under $13 million in 2011 to $11 million last year, and they`re
expected to fall to $10 million in the next few years.  Millennials are
driving the trend.  

SCOTT SORRILLO, MILLENIAL:  I think it`s a great idea that places are
relaxing our dress codes.  You can express yourself more as opposed to
wearing slacks and a button-down every day.  

FRANK:  Wall Street was one of the last holdouts for the suit and Goldman
set the style for much of the street.  

if Goldman goes casual, there`s going to be a problem, because Goldman is
such a bellwether for the market and is such a trend setter among other
firms.  I think we`ll see a lot of other holdouts begin to very quickly

FRANK:  The future probably looks a lot like this.  We`re in Michael
Andrews Bespoke in downtown Manhattan.  They had dozens of Goldman clients.  
Their traditional suit sales are down 28 percent just over the last three

So, Andrews is consolidating the industry, buying up New York`s oldest suit
maker, Kozinn + Sons.  It`s pushing into casual wear like blazers, custom
jeans and leather jackets.  And it`s focusing on events like weddings, big
parties and even TV and movies.  Some say Goldman`s announcement could even
help the business in the short term, since sport coats will become the new
power suit.  

ANDREWS:  We just had a client from Goldman in who had come in to get two
suits right after the announcement.  He said, all right, I still need the
suits, but I need three sport coats now too.  

FRANK:  For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Robert Frank in downtown


GRIFFETH:  And sticking with retail, shoe retailer Nine West is now
emerging from bankruptcy protection with a new name.  The company will now
be known as Premiere Brands Group.  Nine West filed for Chapter 11
protection in April of last year and cut its debt by about $1 billion in
the process.  

HERERA:  Coming up, winter whiplash.  Western states got a lot of snow this
ski season, but experts say that`s the exception, not the rule.


GRIFFETH:  Here`s a look at what to watch for tomorrow.  We`re going to get
a fresh read on the housing market with the release of existing home sales.  
Tiffany`s quarterly results will give us a glimpse into the health of the
luxury jewelry market.  And the latest read on manufacturing will tell us
if the sector is being impacted by the slowdown abroad.  That`s what we`re
watching for on Friday.

HERERA:  The western part of the United States has seen record snowfall
this year, but that hasn`t been the trend.  Snowfall totals have been
moving in the other direction.  In fact, experts say ski seasons are
already getting shorter, due to warmer temperatures.  That could have a big
financial impact on the properties that profit from snow.  

Diana Olick is back with the next installment in her series, “Rising


one of its best ski seasons this year, but all this snow is actually proof
of how undependable winter weather is becoming, because last year`s season
was one of the worst.  

delayed opening that I`ve seen since I moved here in 1991.  

OLICK:  Josh Lautenberg sells multimillion dollar homes like this in the
Vail area and said even this year`s season got off to a slow start.  

LAUTENBERG:  Because last year stunned people.  I think a lot of people
were a little gun shy from last year, deposits on hotels and rental
properties and everything else.  

OLICK:  And the winter sports season is even likely to become less
reliable.  The amount of snow in the Western United States has seen an
average drop of 41 percent from the early 1980s, according to research just
published in the Geophysical Research Letters.  As a result, the snow
season shrunk by 34 days.  That has a direct effect on the valuable
properties all that snow sits on.  

LAUTENBERG:  As far as the real estate business that I own, and then I also
am a broker within, what will happen?  You know, where`s my livelihood in
the future in three to four, five years?  

OLICK:  By 2050, home values near ski resorts could drop by at least 15
percent due to warmer winters, according to a study by researchers at the
University of Wisconsin.  In lower elevations like Utah, Idaho, Nevada and
parts of California, they could fall as much as 55 percent.  

And it`s not just the fancy homes.  Snow sports tourism contributes about
$20 billion to the U.S. economy each year.  According to researchers at the
University of New Hampshire and Colorado State University.  The bulk of
that spending is at ski resorts.  

Is there a risk to the value of your properties if you have a shorter ski

ROBERT KATZ, CEO, VAIL RESORTS:  I think there could be.  

OLICK:  Robert Katz is CEO of Vail Resorts (NYSE:MTN), a publicly traded
company.  It operates 15 mountain resorts across the U.S., Canada and
Australia.  It also owns luxury hotels and a real estate development

KATZ:  We do hear from shareholders quite a bit about this weather
variability.  If I`m going to invest in Vail Resorts (NYSE:MTN), how do I
know that you can consistently drive results?  

OLICK:  His answer, fight climate change from the ground up, lead by
example, and at the same time protect the business.  

KATZ:  Our sustainability practices are critical to our long-term
sustainability as a company and the financial performance that we can

OLICK:  So, it`s really your bottom line.  

KATZ:  Absolutely.  

OLICK:  In 2017, Katz announced a commitment to using 100 percent renewable
energy.  That means solar panels and transitioning to more energy-efficient
snow making.  Yes, snow guns in Colorado.  And it`s buying more properties,
recently in Vermont and Australia, a geographical weather hedge.  

KATZ:  It`s critical because what we`re seeing is variability, which means
every resort is not having the same weather at the same time.  

OLICK:  The company`s season lift pass is part of that too.  It works at
all Vail Resorts (NYSE:MTN) properties, but must be purchased before the
season starts.  

As ski seasons like this become shorter and less dependable, there is one
business strategy that could help lower the risk for both resorts and
residential real estate.  That is turning this winter wonderland into a
summer playground.  

That means investing millions of dollars in zip lines and mountain coasters
for summer tourists.  And it appears to be working.  Summer tax revenue in
2016 was 34 percent higher in Vail than four years before, according to the
town of Vail.  

KATZ:  It`s critical.  We think we need to be providing a terrific
experience all year round.  

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


HERERA:  To read more about the toll the climate change is taking on the
multibillion dollar winter sports industry, head to our website,  

GRIFFETH:  Before we go, one more look at the final day on Wall Street, the
final numbers on Wall Street.  They were pretty good too.  The Dow was up
216 points, Nasdaq climbed by 109, the S&P added 30 points.  

HERERA:  And that is 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


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