Transcript: Nightly Business Report – April 1, 2019

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


SUE HERERA, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR:  What a start.  Stocks soar on the first day of the second quarter and some are asking whether the market is about to shift from playing defense to offense.  


BILL GRIFFETH, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR:  Call for regulation.  Why Facebook`s CEO wants the government to create new rulings for the Internet.  


HERERA:  Refinance rush.  Millions of Americans are now in a position to save money on their mortgages.  


Those stories and much more tonight on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for Monday, April 1st.  


GRIFFETH:  And we bid you a good evening, everybody, and welcome.  
The Dow rallied today, back above 26,000 to start this second quarter.  Now, the rally was sparked by a good economic report about China.  Manufacturing activity there was the strongest it has been in at least eight months.  Now, there was also a good manufacturing report here in the U.S.  It expanded in March, rebounding from its lowest level since 2016.  


But clearly, the report out of China was the bigger influence, and it was all a reminder that economic growth is important to Wall Street and the growth doesn`t always have to be here at home.  


So, to start April, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 329 points, it`s at 26,258, the Nasdaq added 99, the S&P was up by 32.  And April is historically a good month for the market.  The Dow has not declined in the month of April since 2005, the S&P since 2012.  


And the start of this quarter comes at an interesting time.  
Mike Santoli explains.  


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)


MIKE SANTOLI, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT:  A big question on Wall Street entering the second quarter, will the market shift from playing defense to offense?  Looking at the S&P 500`s strong 13 percent gain in the year`s first three months, for its best first quarter in 21 years — well, it might seem stocks were already running hard on offense, yet for the past month, the market has held up largely because more stable aggressive sectors were doing well, utility and real estate tax, and big tech giants whose business is viewed as insulated from a soft global economy.  
Some strategists argue the recent drop in bond yields and outperformance of defensive sectors is a warning of the approaching end of this economic expansion or at least a longer period of sluggish activity and flat corporate profits.  But another camp has a more bullish take, the market has rotated toward sturdier, safer areas to wait out a global soft patch and embrace the Federal Reserve`s long pause on interest rates.  
The current debate over Fed policy highlights this tricky fork in the road.  Calls have risen for the Fed to cut rates soon as a way to help ensure a growth pickup but the Fed itself is betting the economy remains healthy, giving policymakers time to be patient to see how the data evolve before making a drastic move. 

A version of the benign market rotation scenario happened in 2016, that was another time of very low bond yields, a patient Fed and a global economy struggling to get back on track.  


Under a replay of that experience, the market would now remain on alert for signs of an uptick in global growth in response to central bank stimulus efforts and more cyclical geared parts of the market such as industrials and banks could take over some of the job of carrying the indexes higher as the pace of growth quickens.  While it might seem like a delicate and uncertain transition, but that doesn’t make it an implausible one.  


For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I’m Mike Santoli.  


(END VIDEOTAPE)

HERERA:  Let`s turn now to David Kelly to talk more about what he sees ahead for the markets and the economy in the second quarter.  He is the chief global strategist at JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) Funds.  
Good to see you, David.  Welcome back.  


DAVID KELLY, CHIEF GLOBAL STRATEGIST, J.P. MORGAN FUNDS:  Glad to be here.  


HERERA:  Let`s start first of all with the economy.  You maintain that it is slowing down a little bit, but not necessarily going towards a recession. 

 
KELLY:  Well, that`s right.  In fact, other numbers we got today confirmed that.  If you look at the numbers on construction spending, retail sales, and inventories, those are all actually pretty positive and what they`ve done is they`ve pushed our estimate for first quarter GDP growth up to about 2 percent.  So, it`s not 3 percent that we got last year, but 2 percent is fine.  I mean, this is an old expansion, sort of moving forward slowly.  If we do 2 percent growth in 2019, I think that should be the best that we can hope for and actually quite good for markets.  


GRIFFETH:  But what`s important to Wall Street right now?  I mean, today, as a good example.  We saw this report out of China, the manufacturing there.  That seemed to spark this rally.  
So, is the overseas economy more important right now than our own economy?  


KELLY:  Well, I think it`s part of the story because it`s part of the risk.  I mean, what we`ve seen is what you call a global manufacturing vortex where the manufacturing numbers coming out of particularly big export to companies like Taiwan, Korea, Japan, China, they were getting worse and worse month after month, and we`ve seen an end to that in this month’s numbers.  


I was particularly encouraged by the fact the numbers got better in Korea, Taiwan, and Japan, sometimes suspicious of Chinese data where we have confirmation there that things aren`t getting much worse there, and perhaps about to turn around.  So, I think that is positive.  It removes the risk there.  I think that is good for markets.  


HERERA:  One of the things that this quarter will most likely see is some sort of resolution one way or the other on Brexit and there are people out there who are saying that is a big risk not only to our economy but to our markets.  How would you rate that?  


KELLY:  No, I don`t think — ultimately, I think Brexit has been a big splash for Britain, small ripples for the rest of the world.  I think Britain is not as important to the global economy as the global economy is to Britain.  And I wouldn’t necessarily bet on resolution.  It seems to me like the House of Common still can`t figure out what to do, so I think they will probably end up having to punt the ball down the road maybe for quite a few more quarters before they finally figure out if they`re going to leave the European Union.  


GRIFFETH:  Now, for our stock market.  The fourth quarter last year, terrible, the worst in decades, the last quarter the best in a decade.  What do you think happens this quarter?  


KELLY:  Well, I think it`s pretty diverse quarter to quarter.  I mean, that kind of proves it.  I think, overall, if things should continue to get better, because I think we`re at the point of maximum fear about the slowdown trading into a recession.  I think we`re just getting past those fears.  


If get past those fears, we settle into 2 percent growth, I think people are perhaps a little too worried about earnings going negative.  I think earnings will stay positive.  And I do think interest rates will move up a little bit.  So, I think that will help the financials and more cyclical stocks.  But overall, when interest rates are this low, there aren`t as many good alternatives
And if you think the economy — the U.S. economy and global economy can move forward, I still would favor equities over bonds.  


HERERA:  All right.  On that note, David, thank you.  David Kelly with J.P. Morgan Funds.  


KELLY:  Anytime.


GRIFFETH:  A Fed official said today now is not the time to cut interest rates.  Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari believes rates are in the right place right now and that pausing future increases allows the central bank to get more information on the economy.  As we reported on Friday, the White House called for the Fed to cut interest rates by half a point and do it immediately.  


HERERA:  With the health of the economy in focus, a handful of new reports took on extra importance today. Steve Liesman has the details.  


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)


STEVE LIESMAN, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT:  Economic data in the U.S. today coming in a bit better than expected, prompting economists to upgrade a still weak outlook for growth in the first quarter.  And we now have our first look at expectations for the second quarter.  The CNBC rapid update for the first quarter tracking at 1.5 percent GDP growth, that`s down from the fourth quarter, but up 0.2 from prior forecasts.  


And the second quarter looks pretty healthy, up 2.7 percent, is now the expectation for the current quarter we`re in now.  


We got there the hard way.  February retail sales were much lower than expectations, down 0.2 percent while economists were looking for up 2 percent.  But January revised up sharply from that initial 0.2 percent to now 0.7 percent.  The two sort of cancel each other out but on balance left, economists thinking the consumer was going to do better than originally expected.  


Meanwhile, a key manufacturing index from the Institute of Supply and Management for March coming in better than expected at a healthy 55.3, while spending topped ant estimates by a long way with a 1 percent gain.  The slowdown, is it coming?  The slowdown is here, but it`s just not looking as weak right now as economists first feared.  
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Steve Liesman.  


(END VIDEOTAPE)

GRIFFETH:  A new report says auto sales in the first quarter hit their slowest phase in more than four years.  Now, this was released one day before automakers themselves report sales for March which are expected to show a month of solid but slower growth.  
Phil LeBeau has more.  


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)


PHIL LEBEAU, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT:  It looks like the consumer is finally tapping the brakes when it comes to buying new cars and trucks.  J.D. Power analyzed sales of almost 3 million new vehicles in the first quarter and says the pace of sales is the slowest the industry has seen since late 2014.  


DAVE HABIGER, J.D. POWER CEO:  We`re seeing people perhaps have fewer cars than in the past because of new services.  But in general, the overall economy and what see with the auto manufacturers, this isn`t something we would find alarming.  It doesn`t look like 2013 or `14 type event.  


LEBEAU:  Since 2015, annual auto sales have topped 17 million vehicles, the best four-year stretch ever in the U.S.  So why is demand cooling off?  
One factor is higher interest rates for auto loans, which means higher monthly payments.  Still, with Americans showing strong consumer confidence and unemployment at its lowest level in decades, there are still plenty of people willing to spend big bucks, especially for new pickups.  
In fact, J.D. Power says automaker revenue hit a record high last quarter.  


HABIGER:  I think they want to buy pickup trucks.  They like them.  They`re practical.  They work their way through the snow reasonably well.  These things change but in 2019, we`re going to see a continued move to pickup trucks and SUVs.  


LEBEAU:  Automakers believe the slowdown in sales is not the beginning of a major drop in business.  Instead, they`re hoping this is simply a case of some consumers taking their foot off the gas and thinking twice before buying a new car or truck.  Phil LeBeau, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, Chicago.


(END VIDEOTAPE)  


HERERA:  Gas prices are rising, along with a price of oil.  Today, domestic crude it hit a five-month high on that positive economic data that we told you about earlier on the program.  Tighter supplies from a possible decrease in output from OPEC nations also contributed to the increase.  Crude settled up nearly 2.5 percent to more than $61 a barrel.  


GRIFFETH:  Time to take a look at some of today`s “Upgrades and Downgrades”.  


We begin with shares of UPS.  They were upgraded to buy from hold at Berenberg.  The analyst says that that company has built a strong business globally and will continue to show margin improvement as a result.  Price target now $130 and shares rose more than 2 percent today to $114.43.  


But that same analyst at Berenberg downgraded rival FedEx (NYSE:FDX) to hold from buy.  The analyst cited the headwinds in some markets and issues still related to FedEx`s acquisitions three years ago with international carrier TNT Express (NYSE:EXPR).  Price target now $200.  Shares closed today at $186.45.  That was up nearly 3 percent.  


HERERA:  Wells Fargo`s rating was cut to market perform from outperform at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods.  The analyst says the bank will save less in expenses than previously believed.  The price target is $50.  Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) closed at $48.81, up 1 percent.  


Lennar (NYSE:LEN) was downgraded to outperform from strong buy at Raymond James, still a positive rating but it is considered a downgrade.  The analyst says he`s moderating his view of the stock based on its valuation, but he`s still constructive on the overall outlook.  Price target is $55, the shares finished the day at $48.91, down just a fraction.  


GRIFFETH:  Still ahead, Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) is doing what many companies don`t — it`s asking lawmakers for tougher regulation.  


(MUSIC)


GRIFFETH:  Boeing`s software fix for its 737 MAX aircraft may now take longer than estimated.  The FAA said today that more time is needed for additional work by the company to ensure that Boeing (NYSE:BA) has identified and appropriately addressed all issues.  The government regulator now expects that fix to be submitted in the coming weeks.  


HERERA:  The country`s major airlines are recovering from delays caused by a system failure.  The FAA said several carriers experienced issues with a commonly used flight planning software.  That prevented some flights from taking off and quickly rippled through the system.  The airplanes affected included Southwest, which had more than one-fifth of its morning flight schedule impacted and SkyWest (NASDAQ:SKYW), which is an operator for United and Delta.  


Last week, several airlines reported problems with its reservation system which is run by a company called Sabre.  


GRIFFETH:  Saudi Aramco has now topped Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) as the world`s most profitable company.  The oil company revealed its net profits reached $111 billion last year.  Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) had a net profit of about $60 billion.  Saudi Aramco made its financial information available in a prospectus for a proposed $10 billion bond sale.  


Now, despite its level of earnings, Moody`s (NYSE:MCO) did not give Aramco its top credit rating due to a heavy dependence on the Saudi economy right now.  


Separately, there are reports that Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) cut the price of its iPhone and Mac products in China.  CNBC says the price declines total about 6 percent.  


HERERA:  As we`ve been reporting, the drum beat for regulation of Internet companies is growing louder and today in a “Washington Post (NYSE:WPO)” op-ed, Facebook`s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, outlined how exactly he thought it should be done.  But as Julia Boorstin explains, reactions have been mixed.  


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
JULIA BOORSTIN, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT:  Mark Zuckerberg thinks regulation is inevitable, so he`s proposing what it should look like, outlining new rules for the Internet for harmful content, election integrity, privacy and data portability, saying he wants regulators to set standards at what counts as terrorists as inappropriate condition content, whether an ad counts as political.  


KARA SWISHER, RECODE:  I don`t think you can`t offload freedom of speech unto the government.  The government has rules around freedom of speech having to do with the government.  
This is a private company.  And I got to say, this is his job.  He`s got to clean up this mess and he can`t turn to the government for that.  


BOORSTIN:  Zuckerberg advocating for a global framework for privacy regulation based on European rules and common standards for transferring data.  But this advocacy for new laws won`t protect Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) from pending investigations by the FTC, Justice Department and SEC.  And just last week, the Department of Housing and Urban Development charged Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) with enabling discrimination, but this could help Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) work with Congress as both sides of the aisle scrutinize the platform.


Senator Mark Warner who`s been leading the call for privacy regulation saying, quote, I`m glad to see that Mr. Zuckerberg is finally acknowledging what I`ve been saying for the past two years.  The heir of the social media Wild West is over.  


JAMES PETHOKOUKIS, AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE:  Big companies should be able to handle regulations.  They would prefer not to have them, but as we`ve seen already in Europe, that these regulations have hurt investment in smaller companies, it allowed the market share for Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) to expand.  So, listen, there`s going to be regulation.  Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) preferred they can somehow mold them.  

BOORSTIN:  But Representative David Cicilline says they don`t want Facebook`s involvement in the process, tweeting, Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) is under criminal and civil investigation and it has shown it cannot regulate itself.  Does anyone want his advice?  


This comes amid reports from India that widespread fake news on Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and WhatsApp could impact the upcoming elections.  Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and Instagram have deleted hundreds of pages in India to block manipulation.  But the ongoing spread of fake news speaks to just how daunting Facebook`s challenges are.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Julia Boorstin in Los Angeles.  


(END VIDEOTAPE)

GRIFFETH:  A bumpy road for Lyft shares and that`s where we begin tonight`s “Market Focus”.  


The ride-hailing company slipped below its IPO price today of $72 a share in this second day of trading.  Many analysts are now citing a number of challenges for the money losing company including slowing market share gains and competitive pressures.  Lyft as you know went public just on Friday, beating its biggest rival, Uber, to the stock market.  Lyft today closed down just about 12 percent to $69 and a penny.  


Meanwhile, Kellogg (NYSE:K) is selling one of its best known brands to Italian food company Ferrero for about $1.3 billion.  The cereal maker is parting ways with Keebler, Famous Amos and various fruit snacks businesses.  Kellogg (NYSE:K) last year said that it was exploring the sale of some brands in order to refocus its operations.  Ferrero is the maker of Nutella among many other brands.  Kellogg (NYSE:K) lost more than 2 percent today to $56.02.  


And Cal-Maine reported better than expected earnings and revenue.  The company pointed to a strong demand for eggs led by a specialty business.  Cal-Maine`s increase, though, in revenue comes despite a drop in egg prices.  Shares were off about 3 percent today to $43.27.  
HERERA:  March gambling revenue from the Chinese territory of Macau fell slightly but it was higher than analysts had expected, and that was good news for Wynn Reports, which is estimated to get nearly 70 percent of its revenue from that region.  And shares rose more than 8 percent to $129.34.  


ComScore`s CEO and president are both stepping down.  According to “The Wall Street Journal”, the chief executive cited, quote, irreconcilable differences with the board over the company`s strategy and execution.  Both executives have been at the company less than a year.  A current director will serves as interim CEO.  But ComScore lost nearly 30 percent today.  


And PG&E may not be able to resume dividend payments to shareholders right away.  A federal judge wants California`s largest utility to trim hundreds of thousands of trees near its power lines before it can give money back to its investors.  The cases related to a 2010 natural gas explosion which killed eight people.  The judge oversees PGE`s probation in that case.  PG&E gained 1 percent to $18.01.


GRIFFETH:  To the housing market now.  As you may know, mortgage rates fell sharply last week, potentially creating a very big opportunity for a lot of homeowners carrying a mortgage.  
Diana Olick has the numbers.  

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)


DIANA OLICK, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT:  America`s homeowners just saw the biggest one-week mortgage rate drop in a decade.  The average on the 30-year fixed fell to nearly 4 percent, which meant 4.9 million borrowers could likely qualify for a refinance and reduce their interest rate by at least three-quarters of a percentage point according to Black Knight.  That was nearly a 50 percent increase in the number of those who could benefit.  


Of course, it`s important to factor in closing costs which would be amortized over the length of the loan.  For someone not intending to stay in the home for more than a few years, a refi might not save them enough, but for nose planning on staying on a $300,000 mortgage, refinancing from 4.81 percent to 4.06 percent would save the homeowner about $133 a month 4.06 percent would save the homeowner about $133 per month.  


On $600,000 loan, it would be twice that, or $267 per month.  It was a boon not just to borrowers but to lenders as well.  Not only was call volume higher last week for those in mortgage business, but lenders were reaching out to clients, making sure they knew of a potential savings.  
Mortgage rates are popping higher again today as the bond market sells off, which just goes to show how volatile this market is.  
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Diana Olick in Washington.  


(END VIDEOTAPE)


HERERA:  Coming up, the bipartisan effort to change some popular savings plans and to improve retirement security.


(MUSIC)
GRIFFETH:  When it comes to retirement, Americans are feeling more confident but they`re still worried.  According to a new survey from CNBC and financial technology firm Acorns, more than half of adults are somewhat more confident or much more confident about their retirement plans than they were just three years ago, and yet saving for retirement ranks as the overall top personal finance concern.  And that`s especially true for those between the ages of 45 and 64.  


By the way, NBCUniversal and Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) (NYSE:CCS) ventures are investors in Acorns.  Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) (NYSE:CCS) is the parent company of CNBC, which produces this program.  


HERERA:  Today starts financial literacy month.  It was established in 2003 to teach Americans how to learn and maintain healthy financial habits.  


But with retirement as a top concern, we asked Bob Pisani to take a look at how much Americans have really saved.  As he reports, it`s not a pretty picture.  


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)


BOB PISANI, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT:  Do you know where your retirement is?  Americans can certainly use help, baby boomers in particular, that`s me.  We`ve not saved nearly enough for retirement.  We`re going to live longer than most of us think and if the trends continue, some of us are going to run out of money before we die.  
Just look at the state of the three legs of the retirement stool.  You got private savings, you got pensions and you have Social Security.  
Let`s start with the private savings.  At Vanguard, the average 401(k) account for an investor who`s 65 years old and up was just under $193,000 in 2018, but that a number is inflated by a small group of super savers.  The median balance, half have more, half have less, for the age group, it`s $58,000 for a 65-year-old.  


Try averaging that over 20 years, say.  Most Americans are expected to live into their 80s, remember, so you`re not pulling out a lot on a yearly basis, 5 percent of that maybe a year, $3,000.  


Let`s look at pensions.  The state of those who have pensions aren`t much better.  The median private pension last year was only about $9,000 a year.  Finally, Social Security, in 2018, average social security check about $1,400 a month.  Let`s say that`s $17,000 a year.  
So, let`s add all this up.  What do we have?  We get just a little more than $29,000 a year.  But it`s certainly possible to live on $29,000 a year, particularly if you live in a relatively low-cost part of the country.  


But it`s hardly a robust retirement.  And remember something, these are the lucky ones.  A study but the St. Louis Federal Reserve found that only 27 percent of households have a defined benefit plan, as a pension plan.  And only one-third have a defined contribution plan.  That`s like a 401(k).  That`s not a lot of people.  


For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Bob Pisani at the New York Stock Exchange.  


(END VIDEOTAPE)


GRIFFETH:  Now, as it happens, retirement may be one area where Republicans and Democrats in Congress can actually agree, and they`re working together to make changes to some very popular savings plans.  
Ylan Mui has details.  


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
YLAN MUI, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT:  Tomorrow, Congress will begin debating the biggest piece of retirement legislation in more than a decade.  And it actually stands a pretty good chance of becoming law.  It`s called Secure Act and the goal is to expand access to private retirement savings, especially for people who work in small businesses.  


PAUL RICHMAN, INCOME RETIREMENT INSTITUTE:  It`s packaging them all into a comprehensive piece of legislation that would address many of these little issues that have cropped up over the years where solutions have been offered to try to increase the ability of workers to save for their retirement.  


MUI:  This bill allows small businesses so band together, to offer 401(k) plans to their employees.  It repeals the maximum age for IRA contributions, which is currently 70-1/2.  It also requires companies to allow long-term, part-time workers to participate in 401(k) plans.  It also lets you withdraw from your IRA for a birth or an adoption without a penalty.  
And there`s a provision that expands the use of 529s to pay for home schooling or private schools or even to pay off your student loans.  The House Ways and Means Committee will take up this bill tomorrow and it`s got the backing to top Democrats and Republicans.  
GOP Congressman Mike Kelly is one of the co-sponsors.  


REP. MIKE KELLY (R), PENNSYLVANIA:  We were sent here by our folks in back home to act in their best interest, not our best interest or our party`s but in the best interest of the people, which to me is the real reason all of us come to Washington to serve.  
MUI:  The Senate has been working on a similar proposal.  Experts are calling it practical, commonsense legislation.  


SHAI AKABAS, BIPARTISAN POLICY CENTER:  This is the next important step in the process that is Congress, but I think there`s a lot of optimism to getting something across the finish line later this year.  


MUI:  This could be a rare example of successful bipartisanship amid divided government. 


For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Ylan Mui in Washington.


(END VIDEOTAPE)
HERERA:  Before we go, here`s a final look at the day on Wall Street.  The Dow gained 329 points to 26,258, the Nasdaq added 99 and the S&P was up 32.  


And that is NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT tonight.  I`m Sue Herera.  Thanks for joining us.  
GRIFFETH:  I`m Bill Griffith.  Have a great evening.  We`ll see you tomorrow.  


GRIFFETH:  But what`s important to Wall Street right now?  I mean, today, as a good example.  We saw this report out of China, the manufacturing there.  That seemed to spark this rally.  
So, is the overseas economy more important right now than our own economy?  


KELLY:  Well, I think it`s part of the story because it`s part of the risk.  I mean, what we`ve seen is what you call a global manufacturing vortex where the manufacturing numbers coming out of particularly big export to companies like Taiwan, Korea, Japan, China, they were getting worse and worse month after month, and we`ve seen an end to that in this month`s numbers.  


I was particularly encouraged by the fact the numbers got better in Korea, Taiwan, and Japan, sometimes suspicious of Chinese data where we have confirmation there that things aren`t getting much worse there, and perhaps about to turn around.  So, I think that is positive.  It removes the risk there.  I think that is good for markets.  


HERERA:  One of the things that this quarter will most likely see is some sort of resolution one way or the other on Brexit and there are people out there who are saying that is a big risk not only to our economy but to our markets.  How would you rate that?  


KELLY:  No, I don`t think — ultimately, I think Brexit has been a big splash for Britain, small ripples for the rest of the world.  I think Britain is not as important to the global economy as the global economy is to Britain.  And I wouldn’t necessarily bet on resolution.  It seems to me like the House of Common still can`t figure out what to do, so I think they will probably end up having to punt the ball down the road maybe for quite a few more quarters before they finally figure out if they`re going to leave the European Union.  


GRIFFETH:  Now, for our stock market.  The fourth quarter last year, terrible, the worst in decades, the last quarter the best in a decade.  What do you think happens this quarter?  


KELLY:  Well, I think it`s pretty diverse quarter to quarter.  I mean, that kind of proves it.  I think, overall, if things should continue to get better, because I think we`re at the point of maximum fear about the slowdown trading into a recession.  I think we`re just getting past those fears.  


If get past those fears, we settle into 2 percent growth, I think people are perhaps a little too worried about earnings going negative.  I think earnings will stay positive.  And I do think interest rates will move up a little bit.  So, I think that will help the financials and more cyclical stocks.  But overall, when interest rates are this low, there aren`t as many good alternatives
And if you think the economy — the U.S. economy and global economy can move forward, I still would favor equities over bonds.  


HERERA:  All right.  On that note, David, thank you.  David Kelly with J.P. Morgan Funds.  


KELLY:  Anytime.


GRIFFETH:  A Fed official said today now is not the time to cut interest rates.  Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari believes rates are in the right place right now and that pausing future increases allows the central bank to get more information on the economy.  As we reported on Friday, the White House called for the Fed to cut interest rates by half a point and do it immediately.  


HERERA:  With the health of the economy in focus, a handful of new reports took on extra importance today.  
Steve Liesman has the details.  


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
STEVE LIESMAN, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT:  Economic data in the U.S. today coming in a bit better than expected, prompting economists to upgrade a still weak outlook for growth in the first quarter.  And we now have our first look at expectations for the second quarter.  The CNBC rapid update for the first quarter tracking at 1.5 percent GDP growth, that`s down from the fourth quarter, but up 0.2 from prior forecasts.  


And the second quarter looks pretty healthy, up 2.7 percent, is now the expectation for the current quarter we`re in now.  
We got there the hard way.  February retail sales were much lower than expectations, down 0.2 percent while economists were looking for up 2 percent.  But January revised up sharply from that initial 0.2 percent to now 0.7 percent.  The two sort of cancel each other out but on balance left, economists thinking the consumer was going to do better than originally expected. 

 
Meanwhile, a key manufacturing index from the Institute of Supply and Management for March coming in better than expected at a healthy 55.3, while spending topped ant estimates by a long way with a 1 percent gain.  The slowdown, is it coming?  The slowdown is here, but it`s just not looking as weak right now as economists first feared.  
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Steve Liesman.  


(END VIDEOTAPE)
GRIFFETH:  A new report says auto sales in the first quarter hit their slowest phase in more than four years.  Now, this was released one day before automakers themselves report sales for March which are expected to show a month of solid but slower growth.  
Phil LeBeau has more.  
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)


PHIL LEBEAU, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT:  It looks like the consumer is finally tapping the brakes when it comes to buying new cars and trucks.  J.D. Power analyzed sales of almost 3 million new vehicles in the first quarter and says the pace of sales is the slowest the industry has seen since late 2014.  


DAVE HABIGER, J.D. POWER CEO:  We`re seeing people perhaps have fewer cars than in the past because of new services.  But in general, the overall economy and what see with the auto manufacturers, this isn`t something we would find alarming.  It doesn`t look like 2013 or `14 type event.  


LEBEAU:  Since 2015, annual auto sales have topped 17 million vehicles, the best four-year stretch ever in the U.S.  So why is demand cooling off?  
One factor is higher interest rates for auto loans, which means higher monthly payments.  Still, with Americans showing strong consumer confidence and unemployment at its lowest level in decades, there are still plenty of people willing to spend big bucks, especially for new pickups.  
In fact, J.D. Power says automaker revenue hit a record high last quarter.  
HABIGER:  I think they want to buy pickup trucks.  They like them.  They`re practical.  They work their way through the snow reasonably well.  These things change but in 2019, we`re going to see a continued move to pickup trucks and SUVs.  


LEBEAU:  Automakers believe the slowdown in sales is not the beginning of a major drop in business.  Instead, they`re hoping this is simply a case of some consumers taking their foot off the gas and thinking twice before buying a new car or truck.  


Phil LeBeau, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, Chicago.
(END VIDEOTAPE)  


HERERA:  Gas prices are rising, along with a price of oil.  Today, domestic crude it hit a five-month high on that positive economic data that we told you about earlier on the program.  Tighter supplies from a possible decrease in output from OPEC nations also contributed to the increase.  Crude settled up nearly 2.5 percent to more than $61 a barrel.  
GRIFFETH:  Time to take a look at some of today`s “Upgrades and Downgrades”.  


We begin with shares of UPS.  They were upgraded to buy from hold at Berenberg.  The analyst says that that company has built a strong business globally and will continue to show margin improvement as a result.  Price target now $130 and shares rose more than 2 percent today to $114.43.  


But that same analyst at Berenberg downgraded rival FedEx (NYSE:FDX) to hold from buy.  The analyst cited the headwinds in some markets and issues still related to FedEx`s acquisitions three years ago with international carrier TNT Express (NYSE:EXPR).  Price target now $200.  Shares closed today at $186.45.  That was up nearly 3 percent.  


HERERA:  Wells Fargo`s rating was cut to market perform from outperform at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods.  The analyst says the bank will save less in expenses than previously believed.  The price target is $50.  Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) closed at $48.81, up 1 percent.  


Lennar (NYSE:LEN) was downgraded to outperform from strong buy at Raymond James, still a positive rating but it is considered a downgrade.  The analyst says he`s moderating his view of the stock based on its valuation, but he`s still constructive on the overall outlook.  Price target is $55, the shares finished the day at $48.91, down just a fraction.  


GRIFFETH:  Still ahead, Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) is doing what many companies don`t — it`s asking lawmakers for tougher regulation.  
(MUSIC)
GRIFFETH:  Boeing`s software fix for its 737 MAX aircraft may now take longer than estimated.  The FAA said today that more time is needed for additional work by the company to ensure that Boeing (NYSE:BA) has identified and appropriately addressed all issues.  The government regulator now expects that fix to be submitted in the coming weeks.  


HERERA:  The country`s major airlines are recovering from delays caused by a system failure.  The FAA said several carriers experienced issues with a commonly used flight planning software.  That prevented some flights from taking off and quickly rippled through the system.  The airplanes affected included Southwest, which had more than one-fifth of its morning flight schedule impacted and SkyWest (NASDAQ:SKYW), which is an operator for United and Delta.  


Last week, several airlines reported problems with its reservation system which is run by a company called Sabre.  


GRIFFETH:  Saudi Aramco has now topped Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) as the world`s most profitable company.  The oil company revealed its net profits reached $111 billion last year.  Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) had a net profit of about $60 billion.  Saudi Aramco made its financial information available in a prospectus for a proposed $10 billion bond sale.  


Now, despite its level of earnings, Moody`s (NYSE:MCO) did not give Aramco its top credit rating due to a heavy dependence on the Saudi economy right now.  


Separately, there are reports that Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) cut the price of its iPhone and Mac products in China.  CNBC says the price declines total about 6 percent.  


HERERA:  As we`ve been reporting, the drum beat for regulation of Internet companies is growing louder and today in a “Washington Post (NYSE:WPO)” op-ed, Facebook`s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, outlined how exactly he thought it should be done.  


But as Julia Boorstin explains, reactions have been mixed.  
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)


JULIA BOORSTIN, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT:  Mark Zuckerberg thinks regulation is inevitable, so he`s proposing what it should look like, outlining new rules for the Internet for harmful content, election integrity, privacy and data portability, saying he wants regulators to set standards at what counts as terrorists as inappropriate condition content, whether an ad counts as political.  


KARA SWISHER, RECODE:  I don`t think you can`t offload freedom of speech unto the government.  The government has rules around freedom of speech having to do with the government.  
This is a private company.  And I got to say, this is his job.  He`s got to clean up this mess and he can`t turn to the government for that.  


BOORSTIN:  Zuckerberg advocating for a global framework for privacy regulation based on European rules and common standards for transferring data.  But this advocacy for new laws won`t protect Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) from pending investigations by the FTC, Justice Department and SEC.  And just last week, the Department of Housing and Urban Development charged Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) with enabling discrimination, but this could help Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) work with Congress as both sides of the aisle scrutinize the platform.


Senator Mark Warner who`s been leading the call for privacy regulation saying, quote, I`m glad to see that Mr. Zuckerberg is finally acknowledging what I`ve been saying for the past two years.  The heir of the social media Wild West is over.  


JAMES PETHOKOUKIS, AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE:  Big companies should be able to handle regulations.  They would prefer not to have them, but as we`ve seen already in Europe, that these regulations have hurt investment in smaller companies, it allowed the market share for Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) to expand.  So, listen, there`s going to be regulation.  Facebook

(NASDAQ:FB) preferred they can somehow mold them.  
BOORSTIN:  But Representative David Cicilline says they don`t want Facebook`s involvement in the process, tweeting, Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) is under criminal and civil investigation and it has shown it cannot regulate itself.  Does anyone want his advice?  
This comes amid reports from India that widespread fake news on Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and WhatsApp could impact the upcoming elections.  Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and Instagram have deleted hundreds of pages in India to block manipulation.  But the ongoing spread of fake news speaks to just how daunting Facebook`s challenges are.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Julia Boorstin in Los Angeles.  
(END VIDEOTAPE)


GRIFFETH:  A bumpy road for Lyft shares and that`s where we begin tonight`s “Market Focus”.  


The ride-hailing company slipped below its IPO price today of $72 a share in this second day of trading.  Many analysts are now citing a number of challenges for the money losing company including slowing market share gains and competitive pressures.  Lyft as you know went public just on Friday, beating its biggest rival, Uber, to the stock market.  Lyft today closed down just about 12 percent to $69 and a penny.  
Meanwhile, Kellogg (NYSE:K) is selling one of its best known brands to Italian food company Ferrero for about $1.3 billion.  The cereal maker is parting ways with Keebler, Famous Amos and various fruit snacks businesses.  Kellogg (NYSE:K) last year said that it was exploring the sale of some brands in order to refocus its operations.  Ferrero is the maker of Nutella among many other brands.  Kellogg (NYSE:K) lost more than 2 percent today to $56.02.  


And Cal-Maine reported better than expected earnings and revenue.  The company pointed to a strong demand for eggs led by a specialty business.  Cal-Maine`s increase, though, in revenue comes despite a drop in egg prices.  Shares were off about 3 percent today to $43.27.  
HERERA:  March gambling revenue from the Chinese territory of Macau fell slightly but it was higher than analysts had expected, and that was good news for Wynn Reports, which is estimated to get nearly 70 percent of its revenue from that region.  And shares rose more than 8 percent to $129.34.  


ComScore`s CEO and president are both stepping down.  According to “The Wall Street Journal”, the chief executive cited, quote, irreconcilable differences with the board over the company`s strategy and execution.  Both executives have been at the company less than a year.  A current director will serves as interim CEO.  But ComScore lost nearly 30 percent today.  


And PG&E may not be able to resume dividend payments to shareholders right away.  A federal judge wants California`s largest utility to trim hundreds of thousands of trees near its power lines before it can give money back to its investors.  The cases related to a 2010 natural gas explosion which killed eight people.  The judge oversees PGE`s probation in that case.  PG&E gained 1 percent to $18.01.


GRIFFETH:  To the housing market now.  As you may know, mortgage rates fell sharply last week, potentially creating a very big opportunity for a lot of homeowners carrying a mortgage.  
Diana Olick has the numbers.  
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)


DIANA OLICK, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT:  America`s homeowners just saw the biggest one-week mortgage rate drop in a decade.  The average on the 30-year fixed fell to nearly 4 percent, which meant 4.9 million borrowers could likely qualify for a refinance and reduce their interest rate by at least three-quarters of a percentage point according to Black Knight.  That was nearly a 50 percent increase in the number of those who could benefit.  


Of course, it`s important to factor in closing costs which would be amortized over the length of the loan.  For someone not intending to stay in the home for more than a few years, a refi might not save them enough, but for nose planning on staying on a $300,000 mortgage, refinancing from 4.81 percent to 4.06 percent would save the homeowner about $133 a month 4.06 percent would save the homeowner about $133 per month.  


On $600,000 loan, it would be twice that, or $267 per month.  It was a boon not just to borrowers but to lenders as well.  Not only was call volume higher last week for those in mortgage business, but lenders were reaching out to clients, making sure they knew of a potential savings.  
Mortgage rates are popping higher again today as the bond market sells off, which just goes to show how volatile this market is.  


For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Diana Olick in Washington.  
(END VIDEOTAPE)


HERERA:  Coming up, the bipartisan effort to change some popular savings plans and to improve retirement security.
(MUSIC)

tisan effort to change some popular savings plans and to improve retirement security.
(MUSIC)


GRIFFETH:  When it comes to retirement, Americans are feeling more confident but they`re still worried.  According to a new survey from CNBC and financial technology firm Acorns, more than half of adults are somewhat more confident or much more confident about their retirement plans than they were just three years ago, and yet saving for retirement ranks as the overall top personal finance concern.  And that`s especially true for those between the ages of 45 and 64.  


By the way, NBCUniversal and Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) (NYSE:CCS) ventures are investors in Acorns.  Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) (NYSE:CCS) is the parent company of CNBC, which produces this program.  
HERERA:  Today starts financial literacy month.  It was established in 2003 to teach Americans how to learn and maintain healthy financial habits.  


But with retirement as a top concern, we asked Bob Pisani to take a look at how much Americans have really saved.  As he reports, it`s not a pretty picture.  


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)


BOB PISANI, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT:  Do you know where your retirement is?  Americans can certainly use help, baby boomers in particular, that`s me.  We`ve not saved nearly enough for retirement.  We`re going to live longer than most of us think and if the trends continue, some of us are going to run out of money before we die.  
Just look at the state of the three legs of the retirement stool.  You got private savings, you got pensions and you have Social Security.  
Let`s start with the private savings.  At Vanguard, the average 401(k) account for an investor who`s 65 years old and up was just under $193,000 in 2018, but that a number is inflated by a small group of super savers.  The median balance, half have more, half have less, for the age group, it`s $58,000 for a 65-year-old.  


Try averaging that over 20 years, say.  Most Americans are expected to live into their 80s, remember, so you`re not pulling out a lot on a yearly basis, 5 percent of that maybe a year, $3,000.  


Let`s look at pensions.  The state of those who have pensions aren`t much better.  The median private pension last year was only about $9,000 a year.  Finally, Social Security, in 2018, average social security check about $1,400 a month.  Let`s say that`s $17,000 a year.  


So, let`s add all this up.  What do we have?  We get just a little more than $29,000 a year.  But it`s certainly possible to live on $29,000 a year, particularly if you live in a relatively low-cost part of the country.  
But it`s hardly a robust retirement.  And remember something, these are the lucky ones.  A study but the St. Louis Federal Reserve found that only 27 percent of households have a defined benefit plan, as a pension plan.  And only one-third have a defined contribution plan.  That`s like a 401(k).  That`s not a lot of people.  


For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Bob Pisani at the New York Stock Exchange.  


(END VIDEOTAPE)


GRIFFETH:  Now, as it happens, retirement may be one area where Republicans and Democrats in Congress can actually agree, and they`re working together to make changes to some very popular savings plans.  
Ylan Mui has details.  


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)


YLAN MUI, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT:  Tomorrow, Congress will begin debating the biggest piece of retirement legislation in more than a decade.  And it actually stands a pretty good chance of becoming law.  It`s called Secure Act and the goal is to expand access to private retirement savings, especially for people who work in small businesses.  


PAUL RICHMAN, INCOME RETIREMENT INSTITUTE:  It`s packaging them all into a comprehensive piece of legislation that would address many of these little issues that have cropped up over the years where solutions have been offered to try to increase the ability of workers to save for their retirement.  


MUI:  This bill allows small businesses so band together, to offer 401(k) plans to their employees.  It repeals the maximum age for IRA contributions, which is currently 70-1/2.  It also requires companies to allow long-term, part-time workers to participate in 401(k) plans.  It also lets you withdraw from your IRA for a birth or an adoption without a penalty.  


And there`s a provision that expands the use of 529s to pay for home schooling or private schools or even to pay off your student loans.  The House Ways and Means Committee will take up this bill tomorrow and it`s got the backing to top Democrats and Republicans.  
GOP Congressman Mike Kelly is one of the co-sponsors.  
REP. MIKE KELLY (R), PENNSYLVANIA:  We were sent here by our folks in back home to act in their best interest, not our best interest or our party`s but in the best interest of the people, which to me is the real reason all of us come to Washington to serve.  
MUI:  The Senate has been working on a similar proposal.  Experts are calling it practical, commonsense legislation.  


SHAI AKABAS, BIPARTISAN POLICY CENTER:  This is the next important step in the process that is Congress, but I think there`s a lot of optimism to getting something across the finish line later this year.  
MUI:  This could be a rare example of successful bipartisanship amid divided government. 


For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Ylan Mui in Washington.


(END VIDEOTAPE)
HERERA:  Before we go, here`s a final look at the day on Wall Street.  The Dow gained 329 points to 26,258, the Nasdaq added 99 and the S&P was up 32.  
And that is NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT tonight.  I`m Sue Herera.  Thanks for joining us.  
GRIFFETH:  I`m Bill Griffith.  Have a great evening.  We`ll see you tomorrow.  


HERERA:  Before we go, here`s a final look at the day on Wall Street.  The Dow gained 329 points to 26,258, the Nasdaq added 99 and the S&P was up 32.  
And that is NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT tonight.  I`m Sue Herera.  Thanks for joining us.  
GRIFFETH:  I`m Bill Griffith.  Have a great evening.  We`ll see you tomorrow.  

resident are both stepping down.  According to “The Wall Street Journal”, the chief executive cited, quote, irreconcilable differences with the board over the company`s strategy and execution.  Both executives have been at the company less than a year.  A current director will serves as interim CEO.  But ComScore lost nearly 30 percent today.  


And PG&E may not be able to resume dividend payments to shareholders right away.  A federal judge wants California`s largest utility to trim hundreds of thousands of trees near its power lines before it can give money back to its investors.  The cases related to a 2010 natural gas explosion which killed eight people.  The judge oversees PGE`s probation in that case.  PG&E gained 1 percent to $18.01.


GRIFFETH:  To the housing market now.  As you may know, mortgage rates fell sharply last week, potentially creating a very big opportunity for a lot of homeowners carrying a mortgage.  
Diana Olick has the numbers.  


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
DIANA OLICK, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT:  America`s homeowners just saw the biggest one-week mortgage rate drop in a decade.  The average on the 30-year fixed fell to nearly 4 percent, which meant 4.9 million borrowers could likely qualify for a refinance and reduce their interest rate by at least three-quarters of a percentage point according to Black Knight.  That was nearly a 50 percent increase in the number of those who could benefit.  


Of course, it`s important to factor in closing costs which would be amortized over the length of the loan.  For someone not intending to stay in the home for more than a few years, a refi might not save them enough, but for nose planning on staying on a $300,000 mortgage, refinancing from 4.81 percent to 4.06 percent would save the homeowner about $133 a month 4.06 percent would save the homeowner about $133 per month.  


On $600,000 loan, it would be twice that, or $267 per month.  It was a boon not just to borrowers but to lenders as well.  Not only was call volume higher last week for those in mortgage business, but lenders were reaching out to clients, making sure they knew of a potential savings.  
Mortgage rates are popping higher again today as the bond market sells off, which just goes to show how volatile this market is.  


For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Diana Olick in Washington.  
(END VIDEOTAPE)
HERERA:  Coming up, the bipartisan effort to change some popular savings plans and to improve retirement security.


(MUSIC)
GRIFFETH:  When it comes to retirement, Americans are feeling more confident but they`re still worried.  According to a new survey from CNBC and financial technology firm Acorns, more than half of adults are somewhat more confident or much more confident about their retirement plans than they were just three years ago, and yet saving for retirement ranks as the overall top personal finance concern.  And that`s especially true for those between the ages of 45 and 64.  


By the way, NBCUniversal and Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) (NYSE:CCS) ventures are investors in Acorns.  Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) (NYSE:CCS) is the parent company of CNBC, which produces this program.  
HERERA:  Today starts financial literacy month.  It was established in 2003 to teach Americans how to learn and maintain healthy financial habits.  
But with retirement as a top concern, we asked Bob Pisani to take a look at how much Americans have really saved.  As he reports, it`s not a pretty picture.  
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)


BOB PISANI, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT:  Do you know where your retirement is?  Americans can certainly use help, baby boomers in particular, that`s me.  We`ve not saved nearly enough for retirement.  We`re going to live longer than most of us think and if the trends continue, some of us are going to run out of money before we die.  
Just look at the state of the three legs of the retirement stool.  You got private savings, you got pensions and you have Social Security.  
Let`s start with the private savings.  At Vanguard, the average 401(k) account for an investor who`s 65 years old and up was just under $193,000 in 2018, but that a number is inflated by a small group of super savers.  The median balance, half have more, half have less, for the age group, it`s $58,000 for a 65-year-old.  


Try averaging that over 20 years, say.  Most Americans are expected to live into their 80s, remember, so you`re not pulling out a lot on a yearly basis, 5 percent of that maybe a year, $3,000.  


Let`s look at pensions.  The state of those who have pensions aren`t much better.  The median private pension last year was only about $9,000 a year.  Finally, Social Security, in 2018, average social security check about $1,400 a month.  Let`s say that`s $17,000 a year.  
So, let`s add all this up.  What do we have?  We get just a little more than $29,000 a year.  But it`s certainly possible to live on $29,000 a year, particularly if you live in a relatively low-cost part of the country.  
But it`s hardly a robust retirement.  And remember something, these are the lucky ones.  A study but the St. Louis Federal Reserve found that only 27 percent of households have a defined benefit plan, as a pension plan.  And only one-third have a defined contribution plan.  That`s like a 401(k).  That`s not a lot of people.  


For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Bob Pisani at the New York Stock Exchange.  


(END VIDEOTAPE)
GRIFFETH:  Now, as it happens, retirement may be one area where Republicans and Democrats in Congress can actually agree, and they`re working together to make changes to some very popular savings plans.  
Ylan Mui has details.  
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)


YLAN MUI, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT:  Tomorrow, Congress will begin debating the biggest piece of retirement legislation in more than a decade.  And it actually stands a pretty good chance of becoming law.  It`s called Secure Act and the goal is to expand access to private retirement savings, especially for people who work in small businesses.  


PAUL RICHMAN, INCOME RETIREMENT INSTITUTE:  It`s packaging them all into a comprehensive piece of legislation that would address many of these little issues that have cropped up over the years where solutions have been offered to try to increase the ability of workers to save for their retirement.  


MUI:  This bill allows small businesses so band together, to offer 401(k) plans to their employees.  It repeals the maximum age for IRA contributions, which is currently 70-1/2.  It also requires companies to allow long-term, part-time workers to participate in 401(k) plans.  It also lets you withdraw from your IRA for a birth or an adoption without a penalty.  


And there`s a provision that expands the use of 529s to pay for home schooling or private schools or even to pay off your student loans.  The House Ways and Means Committee will take up this bill tomorrow and it`s got the backing to top Democrats and Republicans.  
GOP Congressman Mike Kelly is one of the co-sponsors.  


REP. MIKE KELLY (R), PENNSYLVANIA:  We were sent here by our folks in back home to act in their best interest, not our best interest or our party`s but in the best interest of the people, which to me is the real reason all of us come to Washington to serve.  
MUI:  The Senate has been working on a similar proposal.  Experts are calling it practical, commonsense legislation.  


SHAI AKABAS, BIPARTISAN POLICY CENTER:  This is the next important step in the process that is Congress, but I think there`s a lot of optimism to getting something across the finish line later this year.  
MUI:  This could be a rare example of successful bipartisanship amid divided government. 


For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Ylan Mui in Washington.
(END VIDEOTAPE)
HERERA:  Before we go, here`s a final look at the day on Wall Street.  The Dow gained 329 points to 26,258, the Nasdaq added 99 and the S&P was up 32.  
And that is NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT tonight.  I`m Sue Herera.  Thanks for joining us.  
GRIFFETH:  I`m Bill Griffith.  Have a great evening.  We`ll see you tomorrow.  

ISE INSTITUTE:  Big companies should be able to handle regulations.  They would prefer not to have them, but as we`ve seen already in Europe, that these regulations have hurt investment in smaller companies, it allowed the market share for Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) to expand.  So, listen, there`s going to be regulation.  Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) preferred they can somehow mold them.  


BOORSTIN:  But Representative David Cicilline says they don`t want Facebook`s involvement in the process, tweeting, Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) is under criminal and civil investigation and it has shown it cannot regulate itself.  Does anyone want his advice?  
This comes amid reports from India that widespread fake news on Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and WhatsApp could impact the upcoming elections.  Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and Instagram have deleted hundreds of pages in India to block manipulation.  But the ongoing spread of fake news speaks to just how daunting Facebook`s challenges are.


For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Julia Boorstin in Los Angeles.  
(END VIDEOTAPE)
GRIFFETH:  A bumpy road for Lyft shares and that`s where we begin tonight`s “Market Focus”.  
The ride-hailing company slipped below its IPO price today of $72 a share in this second day of trading.  Many analysts are now citing a number of challenges for the money losing company including slowing market share gains and competitive pressures.  Lyft as you know went public just on Friday, beating its biggest rival, Uber, to the stock market.  Lyft today closed down just about 12 percent to $69 and a penny.  
Meanwhile, Kellogg (NYSE:K) is selling one of its best known brands to Italian food company Ferrero for about $1.3 billion.  The cereal maker is parting ways with Keebler, Famous Amos and various fruit snacks businesses.  Kellogg (NYSE:K) last year said that it was exploring the sale of some brands in order to refocus its operations.  Ferrero is the maker of Nutella among many other brands.  Kellogg (NYSE:K) lost more than 2 percent today to $56.02.  


And Cal-Maine reported better than expected earnings and revenue.  The company pointed to a strong demand for eggs led by a specialty business.  Cal-Maine`s increase, though, in revenue comes despite a drop in egg prices.  Shares were off about 3 percent today to $43.27.  
HERERA:  March gambling revenue from the Chinese territory of Macau fell slightly but it was higher than analysts had expected, and that was good news for Wynn Reports, which is estimated to get nearly 70 percent of its revenue from that region.  And shares rose more than 8 percent to $129.34.  


ComScore`s CEO and president are both stepping down.  According to “The Wall Street Journal”, the chief executive cited, quote, irreconcilable differences with the board over the company`s strategy and execution.  Both executives have been at the company less than a year.  A current director will serves as interim CEO.  But ComScore lost nearly 30 percent today.  


And PG&E may not be able to resume dividend payments to shareholders right away.  A federal judge wants California`s largest utility to trim hundreds of thousands of trees near its power lines before it can give money back to its investors.  The cases related to a 2010 natural gas explosion which killed eight people.  The judge oversees PGE`s probation in that case.  PG&E gained 1 percent to $18.01.


GRIFFETH:  To the housing market now.  As you may know, mortgage rates fell sharply last week, potentially creating a very big opportunity for a lot of homeowners carrying a mortgage.  
Diana Olick has the numbers.  


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
DIANA OLICK, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT:  America`s homeowners just saw the biggest one-week mortgage rate drop in a decade.  The average on the 30-year fixed fell to nearly 4 percent, which meant 4.9 million borrowers could likely qualify for a refinance and reduce their interest rate by at least three-quarters of a percentage point according to Black Knight.  That was nearly a 50 percent increase in the number of those who could benefit.  


Of course, it`s important to factor in closing costs which would be amortized over the length of the loan.  For someone not intending to stay in the home for more than a few years, a refi might not save them enough, but for nose planning on staying on a $300,000 mortgage, refinancing from 4.81 percent to 4.06 percent would save the homeowner about $133 a month 4.06 percent would save the homeowner about $133 per month.  


On $600,000 loan, it would be twice that, or $267 per month.  It was a boon not just to borrowers but to lenders as well.  Not only was call volume higher last week for those in mortgage business, but lenders were reaching out to clients, making sure they knew of a potential savings.  
Mortgage rates are popping higher again today as the bond market sells off, which just goes to show how volatile this market is.  


For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Diana Olick in Washington.  
(END VIDEOTAPE)
HERERA:  Coming up, the bipartisan effort to change some popular savings plans and to improve retirement security.
(MUSIC)
GRIFFETH:  When it comes to retirement, Americans are feeling more confident but they`re still worried.  According to a new survey from CNBC and financial technology firm Acorns, more than half of adults are somewhat more confident or much more confident about their retirement plans than they were just three years ago, and yet saving for retirement ranks as the overall top personal finance concern.  And that`s especially true for those between the ages of 45 and 64.  


By the way, NBCUniversal and Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) (NYSE:CCS) ventures are investors in Acorns.  Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) (NYSE:CCS) is the parent company of CNBC, which produces this program.  
HERERA:  Today starts financial literacy month.  It was established in 2003 to teach Americans how to learn and maintain healthy financial habits.  


But with retirement as a top concern, we asked Bob Pisani to take a look at how much Americans have really saved.  As he reports, it`s not a pretty picture.  
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
BOB PISANI, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT:  Do you know where your retirement is?  Americans can certainly use help, baby boomers in particular, that`s me.  We`ve not saved nearly enough for retirement.  We`re going to live longer than most of us think and if the trends continue, some of us are going to run out of money before we die.  
Just look at the state of the three legs of the retirement stool.  You got private savings, you got pensions and you have Social Security.  
Let`s start with the private savings.  At Vanguard, the average 401(k) account for an investor who`s 65 years old and up was just under $193,000 in 2018, but that a number is inflated by a small group of super savers.  The median balance, half have more, half have less, for the age group, it`s $58,000 for a 65-year-old.  


Try averaging that over 20 years, say.  Most Americans are expected to live into their 80s, remember, so you`re not pulling out a lot on a yearly basis, 5 percent of that maybe a year, $3,000.  
Let`s look at pensions.  The state of those who have pensions aren`t much better.  The median private pension last year was only about $9,000 a year.  Finally, Social Security, in 2018, average social security check about $1,400 a month.  Let`s say that`s $17,000 a year.  
So, let`s add all this up.  What do we have?  We get just a little more than $29,000 a year.  But it`s certainly possible to live on $29,000 a year, particularly if you live in a relatively low-cost part of the country.  
But it`s hardly a robust retirement.  And remember something, these are the lucky ones.  A study but the St. Louis Federal Reserve found that only 27 percent of households have a defined benefit plan, as a pension plan.  And only one-third have a defined contribution plan.  That`s like a 401(k).  That`s not a lot of people.  


For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Bob Pisani at the New York Stock Exchange.  
(END VIDEOTAPE)
GRIFFETH:  Now, as it happens, retirement may be one area where Republicans and Democrats in Congress can actually agree, and they`re working together to make changes to some very popular savings plans.  
Ylan Mui has details.  


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
YLAN MUI, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT:  Tomorrow, Congress will begin debating the biggest piece of retirement legislation in more than a decade.  And it actually stands a pretty good chance of becoming law.  It`s called Secure Act and the goal is to expand access to private retirement savings, especially for people who work in small businesses.  


PAUL RICHMAN, INCOME RETIREMENT INSTITUTE:  It`s packaging them all into a comprehensive piece of legislation that would address many of these little issues that have cropped up over the years where solutions have been offered to try to increase the ability of workers to save for their retirement.  


MUI:  This bill allows small businesses so band together, to offer 401(k) plans to their employees.  It repeals the maximum age for IRA contributions, which is currently 70-1/2.  It also requires companies to allow long-term, part-time workers to participate in 401(k) plans.  It also lets you withdraw from your IRA for a birth or an adoption without a penalty.  


And there`s a provision that expands the use of 529s to pay for home schooling or private schools or even to pay off your student loans.  The House Ways and Means Committee will take up this bill tomorrow and it`s got the backing to top Democrats and Republicans.  
GOP Congressman Mike Kelly is one of the co-sponsors.  


REP. MIKE KELLY (R), PENNSYLVANIA:  We were sent here by our folks in back home to act in their best interest, not our best interest or our party`s but in the best interest of the people, which to me is the real reason all of us come to Washington to serve.  


MUI:  The Senate has been working on a similar proposal.  Experts are calling it practical, commonsense legislation.  


SHAI AKABAS, BIPARTISAN POLICY CENTER:  This is the next important step in the process that is Congress, but I think there`s a lot of optimism to getting something across the finish line later this year.  
MUI:  This could be a rare example of successful bipartisanship amid divided government. 
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Ylan Mui in Washington.


(END VIDEOTAPE)


HERERA:  Before we go, here`s a final look at the day on Wall Street.  The Dow gained 329 points to 26,258, the Nasdaq added 99 and the S&P was up 32.  


And that is NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT tonight.  I`m Sue Herera.  Thanks for joining us.  


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

END
Nightly Business Report transcripts and video are available on-line post broadcast at http://nbr.com. The program is transcribed by ASC Services II Media, LLC. Updates may be posted at a later date. The views of our guests and commentators are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Nightly Business Report, or CNBC, Inc. Information presented on Nightly Business Report is not and should not be considered as investment advice. (c) 2019 CNBC, Inc.

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