ANNOUNCER: This is NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT with Sue Herera and Bill
SUE HERERA, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR: Historic low. The
unemployment rate falls to levels not seen in 50 years and the stock market
New headache. A group of migraine drugs were expected to help sales for
big pharma, but the results have not been pain-free.
Quantum (NYSE:QTM) leap. There are smartphones and smart home, but what about a smart switch? Meet the entrepreneur who created one and had the bright idea to digitize the way power is delivered.
Those stories and much more tonight on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for this Friday, May 3rd.
Good evening, everyone, and welcome. Bill is off this evening.
The Nasdaq closed at a record, we`ll have more on that in just a moment.
But we begin tonight with the strong labor market that is showing no signs
of letting up. The unemployment rate fell to its lowest level in five
decades with many economists saying this type of strength is unusual for a
recovery that is already ten years old.
Just take a look at these numbers: 263,000 jobs were created in April, a
lot more than expected. The unemployment rate fell to 3.6 percent. Wages
are up 3.2 percent from a year ago and that lifted stocks. The Dow Jones
Industrial Average rose 197 points to 26,504. The Nasdaq was up 127 and
the S&P 500 added 28.
Not only was the jobs report well received on Wall Street, but also on Main
Ylan Mui starts us off tonight.
YLAN MUI, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: Thirty-eight-year-old Essence Gilbert arrived to this job fair in Maryland on a mission to find her next opportunity. She`s in a middle of a career change, from marketing to human services. She started looking for a job last month and feels the future is wide open.
ESSENCE GILBERT, JOB SEEKER: I don`t want just another job, you know?
That`s all I`ve been doing, contract worker and job here and job there. I
don`t want that anymore. I want something that more career-based and I’ve heard that from three employers and it was awesome for me. So I feel
MUI: Right now, potential hires like Gilbert could have the upper hand.
At 3.6 percent, the unemployment rate hit the lowest levels since December
1969 and that leaves companies fighting to find qualified workers. The
health care sector added 27,000 jobs in April. Construction rose by
33,000, and professional services grew by a whopping 76,000 jobs.
JASON FURMAN, HARVARD KENNEDY SCHOOL: We`re at a phase way higher than what I thought, and, you know, the participation rate over the last year was flat. That`s amazing in an economy where a lot of people are getting older, a lot of people are retiring and those people are continuing to come in. You know, how much longer we have of it, I don`t know.
MUI: Businesses aren`t just hiring more people. They`re paying more, too. Wages rose 6 cents to $27.77 in April, and that`s a 3.2 percent jump over the year.
At the job fair, Gilbert hit nearly every booth.
GILBERT: What position are you guys hiring for at this time?
MUI: And recruiters said the job candidates here came prepared.
NYKOL MARIANO, AMERIGROUP (NYSE:AGP) COMMUNITY RELATIONS REP.: Some of them have college degrees and some of them have, like, certification. They really have brought it all today. They have left nothing at home. They have left nothing out. They have come prepared to leave with a job today.
MUI: Here in Washington, lawmakers are fighting over what`s driving all of this hiring and no one can deny that America`s job market keeps rising
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Ylan Mui, Washington.
HERERA: And investors want to know if today`s strong jobs report will
alter the Federal Reserve`s thinking on interest rates.
Today, Steve Liesman spoke to a number of Fed officials to find out. He
reports for us tonight from Stanford, California.
STEVE LIESMAN, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: A very strong jobs report and a strong decline in the unemployment rate, but not a strong reaction from Federal Reserve officials. CNBC interviewed three Fed
presidents at the Hoover Institution Monetary Policy Conference and all
thought policy was pretty much in a good place right now and they`ve not
moved to hike rates because of the stronger growth or cut rates because of
LORETTA MESTER, FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF CLEVELAND PRESIDENT: The signal of low inflation was that growth was going down, but there`s no evidence of that. The economy is in a really strong place. So I`m willing to be patient on the inflation on the down side as well as inflation on the
LIESMAN: Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan agrees that the policy rate is
in a good place and sees growth this year between 2 percent and 2.5
percent. That would be weaker than the 3 percent of last year, and he does
have some concerns about global growth which is a reason he and other Fed officials are not in any hurry to raise rates.
ROBERT KAPLAN, FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF DALLAS PRESIDENT: I worry that weak growth outside the United States particularly in Europe, we`re not immune to it and some of that is spilling over and particularly, that`s the case because, you know, almost 50 percent of S&P 500 earnings and profits come from outside the United States. So, I think that`s a bigger issue than I think will have some muting effect on GDP growth here.
LIESMAN: One Fed official, St. Louis Fed President Jim Bullard, does
believe the rates may be too high, but again, he`s in no hurry to cut.
JAMES BULLARD, FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF ST. LOUIS PRESIDENT: I think we`re a little tight on the fun trade and not too much, but a little bit tight. I think the global, safe, real interest rate short term is about zero.
If you add the 2 percent inflation target and you`re at 2 percent and we`re
at 2.40 looks — sounds a little bit tight to me.
LIESMAN: So, the consistent message from Fed officials is one of patience,
waiting until inflation either rises and forces them to raise rates or it
falls along with weaker growth and forces rate cuts. But it could be
months before that happens.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Steve Liesman in Stanford, California.
HERERA: Let`s turn now to Russ Koesterich for more analysis on today`s
jobs report. He`s a portfolio manager with Blackrock Global (NYSE:BGT)
Great to see you in studio tonight. Thanks for joining us.
RUSS KOESTERICH, BLACKROCK GLOBAL ALLOCATION FUND: Thank you, Sue.
HERERA: Your opinions of this report? I think it kind of basically
confirms your overall thesis about the economy.
KOESTERICH: It does. This was the status about as close to a goldilocks
report that you`re going to get. You had strong jobs growth. It`s
continued. Wage growth is modest. It`s not causing any real inflation.
So, from the perspective of the Fed, they can continue to be patient. With
respect to the economy, compared to what the fears people had back in
December of a recession, those are now looking very overblown.
HERERA: You are not impressed with the number that so many people are
talking about, and that is the unemployment rate itself. Why?
KOESTERICH: It`s not that I`m not impressed with it. It`s just you have
to realize there is a lot of noise around it. And to some extent, when
people saw that drop, you also need to adjust for the participation rate.
But the signal out of the overall non-farm payroll report is very clear.
The U.S. economy is creating a number of jobs actually faster than the rate
of growth in the labor market so all else equal that unemployment rate
continues to grind lower and the two key numbers, job creation and wages.
HERERA: Is it sustainable, though? Given the fact that we`ve had an
expansion for a good ten years now?
KOESTERICH: Well, at some point, you are going see slowdown. Now, having said that, we`ve been expecting that for some time, but one of the
challenges is you are going to have a more difficult time finding workers.
And particularly with that participation rate may not come up as fast as
people would like, that is going to be a challenge for companies finding
qualified workers and really, can you pay them?
HERERA: Exactly. You went right to where I was going to go next which is
wages. We did see upward pressure on wages, but employers are now
competing for an increasingly smaller pool of workers.
How much more upside pressure do you think there will be on wages?
KOESTERICH: There probably is some modest pressure. Certainly, there is
pressure for certain careers and certain skill sets that are in short
supply, but even some fundamental changes in the economy. If we would have spoken that the unemployment rate is consistently below 4 percent and you got wage growth barely above 3 percent, that does signal a fundamental change in the economy. What`s changed demographics, technology, and it also suggests a very rapid drop in unionization relative to 30, 40 years ago.
HERERA: Very good point. On that, Russ, good to see you again.
KOESTERICH: Thanks, Sue.
HERERA: Thanks for joining us. Russ Koesterich joining us tonight from
Blackrock Global (NYSE:BGT) Allocation Fund.
Well, one area where help is wanted is in the telecom industry especially
with the rollout of 5G which needs updated infrastructure to be successful.
Kate Rogers (NYSE:ROG) is in Louisville, Texas, for us tonight.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The race to 5G is a race America must win.
KATE ROGERS, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: The race to 5G or fifth generation cellular wireless is on, with launches from major carriers including Verizon (NYSE:VZ) and AT&T (NYSE:T). The technology promises increased speed and capacity for greater connectivity, thanks in large part to workers like Jordan Robinson.
JORDAN ROBINSON, ERICSSON TOWER TECHNICIAN ASSOCIATE: I hope you have cell phone service in hard to reach places.
ROGERS: The marine veteran is a tower climber for information
communication tech giant Ericsson, which is making the equipment and
rolling out the infrastructure for this next wave of technology nationwide.
Ericsson actively recruits veterans and trains workers at its five new
training facilities across the country.
They learn to climb towers like this one which can reach hundreds of feet
up into the air and they learn how to construct the equipment the network
relies on to operate.
KEVIN ZVOKEL, ERICSSON NORTH AMERICA HEAD OF NETWORKS: Tower climbers are really the backbone behind the network. You know, they climb infrastructures, whether it`s rooftops or major towers, and they actually assemble — they construct the equipment on top of the cell towers that we use every day.
ROGERS: As demand for the technology increases, Ericsson predicts mobile
data traffic will be eight times greater by 2023, but finding workers in a
tight labor market can be a challenge. Ericsson has 1,700 climbers today
and says it will need 1,000 more in the next two years.
ZVOKEL: With the economy so good, it`s hard to recruit people that want to travel and build these networks.
ROGERS: The company offers benefits, including a 401(k) plan and tuition
reimbursement for those looking to advance their careers. And while the
days can be long and weather can sometimes be challenging, Robinson said
the job has its perk, too.
ROBINSON: You always get to see something really pretty or you get to see
miles and miles of just forest or you think you`re in the middle of nowhere
and then, like, you climb 200 feet in the air and you`re, like, there`s
like a whole town not five minutes away. So, like enjoying the view is I
think best part.
ROGERS: For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Kate Rogers (NYSE:ROG) in
HERERA: President Trump is reportedly considering nominating one of his
former domestic policy aides to the Federal Reserve board. Paul Winfrey
now oversees economic policy studies at the Heritage Foundation. According to “The Wall Street Journal,” White House officials caution that
consideration of Winfrey is still in its early stages. The president`s
previous nominees, Herman Cain and Stephen Moore, withdrew their names following resistance from some Republican senators.
Berkshire Hathaway`s annual meeting is this weekend. Late yesterday,
Warren Buffett told Becky Quick that his company has been buying shares of Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), but added that he`s not the one behind the purchases.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WARREN BUFFETT, BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY CEO: I`ll tell you one thing that you`ll see which comes out in a couple of weeks which may cause you to ask me that question in two weeks, but is not significant from my standpoint. One of the two other fellows in the office that manage money.
BECKY QUICK, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: CNBC: Todd and Ted?
BUFFETT: One of them bought some Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), but — so it will show up on the 13S. It is not true to say that I`m buying Amazon
(NASDAQ:AMZN). It`s true to say that Berkshire, whatever shows up there.
QUICK: Although you`ve been a fan of Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Jeff Bezos for a long time.
BUFFETT: Yes, I`ve been a fan. I`ve been an idiot for not buying, but I
just want you to know it`s no personality change taking place or anything.
It`s somebody else’s.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HERERA: Shares of Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) moved higher in today`s trading session.
It is time to take a look at some of today`s “Upgrades and Downgrades”.
Walmart was upgraded to outperform from market perform at Bernstein. The analyst cites the retailer`s ability to compete with Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN). The price target was $115. The stock was up about 1 percent to $102.08.
That same Bernstein analyst downgraded Target (NYSE:TGT) to market perform from outperform. The firm questions management strategy of growth over cost containment. The price target is $75. The shares fell a fraction to $75.94.
Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE:BMY) was upgraded to overweight from equal
weight at Barclays. The analyst cites increased confidence in the Celgene
(NASDAQ:CELG) acquisition. The price target is $55, the shares rose more
than 3-1/2 percent to $48.62.
I.T. company Cognizant was downgraded by a number of firms including
Deutsche Bank which lowered its rating to hold from buy. The analyst cites
that company`s disappointing earnings and weak outlook. The price target
is $63, the stock fell 11 percent to $59.25.
Still ahead, our market monitor shares his stock-picking strategy and
offers three names he`s investing in right now.
HERERA: A new class of migraine drugs was expected to help boost sales for drug companies, but this week`s quarterly reports from big pharma instead shows a growing headache.
Meg Tirrell explains.
MEG TIRRELL, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: You`ve probably seen the TV commercials, a new migraine medicine called Aimovig hit the market last year from drug companies Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN) and Novartis. It`s one of a group that was expected to be major new moneymakers for the pharma industry.
ALETHIA YOUNG, CANTOR FITZGERALD HEAD OF HEALTHCARE RESEARCH: This is the first migraine prevention therapy probably approved in the past 50 years. So, I think, you know, there`s definitely a huge opportunity and they’ve been quite effective, and when it works for someone, it truly, truly does seem to work.
TIRRELL: As many as 40 million people in the United States suffer from
migraines, with about 16 million estimated to have chronic or episodic
forms, which caused at least four migraine days a month.
In addition to Aimovig, new drugs were approved in the last year from Eli
Lilly (NYSE:LLY) and Teva Pharmaceuticals. But sales from the drugmakers
report this week have disappointed. Aimovig drew $59 million in first
quarter revenue for Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN), missing Wall Street`s estimate of at least $80 million, and sales were lower for Teva`s Ajovy and Lilly’s Emgality. And that`s not because patients aren`t taking the drugs.
YOUNG: Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN) reported a couple of days ago that they’ve had 200,000 people that were treated with the medicines. Now, I do think there`s some complexity due to the fact that other drugs are coming to the market that are relatively similar to Amgen`s.
TIRRELL: And whether it`s competition between similar medicines, there are often price wars. These drugs all carry a sticker price of $6,900. But
Cantor Fitzgerald`s Alethia Young estimates they`re probably being
discounted by 30 percent to 40 percent as drugmakers compete to attract
Meanwhile, these medicines won`t be alone in the market for long. New
competitors around the horizon for biotech company, older
biopharmaceuticals and Botox maker Allergan (NYSE:AGN). Young estimates it’s a $15 billion to $20 billion market opportunity even if early sales are causing investors pain.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I’m Meg Tirrell.
HERERA: Slow sales put the brake on Fiat Chrysler and that`s where we
begin tonight`s “Market Focus”.
The automobile company`s profits were cut nearly in half and fell short of
analyst expectations. Fiat Chrysler cited changes in production, but is
confident its new models will help it meet full year profit targets. The
stock was up nearly 5.5 percent to $15.86.
Strong sales of household products helped Newell Brands post better than
expected adjusted earnings. But the maker of Rubbermaid storage
containers, Sharpie markers and Elmer`s Glue said the Toys “R” Us
bankruptcy did impact its results. The stock soared today 13.5 percent to
Dish Network lost more than 260,000 subscribers which led to a decline in
revenue, but the company`s results were essentially in line with estimates.
The shares rose nearly 4.5 percent to $35.08.
Sinclair Broadcast which is the largest U.S. broadcast station owner is
getting even bigger. The company reached a deal with Disney (NYSE:DIS) to buy 21 of their regional sports networks. Disney (NYSE:DIS) originally
acquired the networks after its $71 billion acquisition of 21st Century
Fox`s film and television assets. Sinclair shares rose just about 3
percent to $44.95.
It`s time for our weekly market monitor who likes companies, he says, are
not just leaders in their industries but are names that will hold up in an
economic downturn. Joining us is Matthew Roddy, portfolio manager with
Welcome back. Nice to have you here, Matt.
MATTHEW RODDY, ROCKLAND TRUST PORTFOLIO MANAGER: Thank you for having me, Sue.
HERERA: So these are leaders, but they`re a little bit of a downturn
hedge, I guess, is the best way to put it because you say if things
disappoint you want these names. So, let`s get to the first one which is
Raytheon (NYSE:RTN). Why do you like it?
RODDY: Yes. So, Raytheon (NYSE:RTN) is a company that`s not going to be
beholden to the business cycle. Actually, the defense industry is a growth
industry going above inflation for the last 15 years, and that`s
accelerated recently and they`re in the right vertical with missile defense
and cybersecurity and we`ve all heard the stories of hacking and electronic surveillance and so forth. And Raytheon (NYSE:RTN) is really in those verticals that are very helpful for their growth.
And we do expect that they`ll deliver 7 percent revenue growth, which
revenue growth is hard to come by, that helps them deliver on the bottom
line. And they`ve been growing the dividend for the last 10 years at 12
percent a year.
HERERA: But it`s 20 percent off of the highs from last year. So I`m
assuming you`re taking a very long-term view of the stock.
RODDY: Yes, absolutely. And we recently got this name, it`s actually our
most recent name. So we`re buying in here, off of those highs. I mean,
they were up 220, we love the company, but it was a little richer there.
And now, we`re entering at this level in the 170s and 180s.
It`s been — we like the company and we think it`s at a good level to be
HERERA: All right. Next is a name that many people have in their kitchen
cupboard and that is McCormack.
RODDY: Yes. I mean, we all see the spices in our cabinet and they`re the
leader in the white label spice market and they`re the leader in while
label spice markets, they`re the leader in condiments, they`re the leader
in sauces and marinades. They`re the leader globally, as well as
domestically. They also sell the companies like McDonald`s (NYSE:MCD) and Yum and, you know, at PepsiCo. They`re really in everything.
They have 1,500 suppliers, 14,000 raw materials, the business can never be
replicated by anyone else and they`ve been growing their dividends at 9
percent. They`ve got great consistent margins. It`s just — it`s beautiful
business and there`s no one else can come in with the all things that go
into it to disrupt it.
HERERA: All right. Next is kind of a health care play, but in a different
way, Cerner (NASDAQ:CERN). Why do they like it?
RODDY: Yes, I mean, health care has been skyrocketing. We all know that.
You know, you`ve all been talking about wages and that being an issue and
drug prices are an issue, and this is the company that helps to lower the
cost structure in the health care market.
It`s a healthcare I.T. firm deals with health care records. It also deals
with a lot of data, you know, mining the data to trying to figure out ways
to become better companies. It`s a leader in the business. They`ve been
found and run for a long time, but there was a deal reached with an
activist investor to really kind of increase the capital allocation plan
and that was a positive for the stock. They just put in their first
And we really like this company. They have great product. They`ve been
building this product themselves rather than putting it together. And so,
they`ve got a great product on the market, too.
HERERA: On that note, Matt, thank you so much. Matt Roddy with Rockland Trust.
RODDY: Thank you.
HERERA: Coming up, one entrepreneur`s “Bright Idea” to switch to something smarter and safer.
HERERA: Here`s a look at what to watch for next week.
On Wednesday, Dow component Disney (NYSE:DIS) reports its earnings, its
first report since it completed its purchase of 21st Century Fox`s assets.
Also on Wednesday, a Chinese trade delegation is set to return to
Washington for further trade negotiations. On Thursday, inflation will
once again be in focus with the release of the producer price index.
That`s what`s ahead next week.
Circuit breakers work pretty well, most of the time. If we switch them off
and we turn them back on manually. That technology hasn`t changed much since the first patent was issued to Thomas Edison 140 years ago. But a former electrician turned entrepreneur in Charlotte, North Carolina, got
the bright idea to flip the switch and bring circuit breakers into the
RYAN KENNEDY, ATOM POWER CEO AND CO-FOUNDER: They`re basically switches.
HERERA: Circuit breakers are crucial to Ryan Kennedy. They are mechanical switches that often or break a circuit during an electrical surge to protect equipment downstream.
KENNEDY: And that is in every building today.
HERERA: They`re also part of his 25-year quest to build a better
KENNEDY: To turn it off, you have to get manual levers and that is
fundamentally wrong and you see tablets and things like that and everything else is operating off of its devices. Electrical power wasn`t.
HERERA: Kennedy helped build office towers in the 1990s, remaking the
skyline in its hometown Charlotte, North Carolina. He`s also seen how
dangerous their electrical systems can be.
KENNEDY: Imagine a high-rise building completely down from an art class
event from weeks at a time and they can cost tremendous amounts of damage and downtime.
HERERA: A current surging into the air can create an art clash.
It can heat the air to more than 30,000 degrees.
KENNEDY: It can cause death, severe injury, burns.
HERERA: It happens all of the time. During an April storm in New Jersey,
utility workers scrambled away from danger. In December, a flash lit up
the night sky in New York City, causing a fire at a power plant.
Investigators in Paris say electricity may have caused the fire that
damaged Notre Dame. A faster circuit breaker can help limit the risk.
KENNEDY: This is our solid state semiconductor.
HERERA: Solid state because there are no moving parts. Faster because
semiconductors break the flow of electricity instead of mechanical
KENNEDY: It`s 3,000 times faster than the fastest mechanical breaker.
HERERA: While working with Denis Kouroussis on a project in 2014, Kennedy noticed improvements in materials and computing power that might make digital breakers a cost-effective business.
They founded Atom Power to find out.
DENIS KOUROUSSIS, ATOM POWER CTO AND CO-FOUNDER: It can interrupt up to 100,000 amps —
KENNEDY: Which, by the way, there`s no circuit breaker that does any more than that.
HERERA: Military contractors are buying and testing the first generation
model. A standard breaker might cost less than half, but watch, a single
100-amp digital breaker can be converted to 15 amps instantly. There`s a
remote control option, too.
Underwriters Laboratories, the safety inspector, tested Atom Power`s
breaker last year. If it`s certified and Kennedy believes it will be, it
will be the first-ever U.L. listed solid state circuit breaker.
Generation 2, still to be tested by U.L., is cheaper because Atom Power is
now making its semi-conductors in Charlotte.
The main attraction though is safety.
KENNEDY: You see that big black cable there, that thing is a short circuit
between two different phases, devastating under normal circumstances.
Ready? Here we go, fastest circuit breaker in the world. It`s really
HERERA: And it`s caught the attention of utilities. Atlanta-based
Southern (NYSE:SO) Company with 9 million customers, hopes to begin testing Atom Power`s breakers this year.
STEPHEN KELLEY, SOUTHERN COMPANY RESEARCH ENGINEER: You are going from interrupting hazards at speeds like you`d flip a light switch to nearly the speed of light.
HERERA: Eventually, they might even be in your basement.
KOUROUSSIS: Probably sooner than you can imagine.
KENNEDY: Electrical systems are light years behind where everyone else is. It`s kind of the Holy Grail in electrical engineering.
HERERA: Kennedy is hoping the U.L. certification comes through in time for about 100 companies to begin testing the digital breakers this year. Three of the four major manufacturers of circuit breakers, Siemens, ABB
(NYSE:ABB) and Eaton (NYSE:ETN) are Atom Power investors.
Here`s a look at the final day`s numbers on Wall Street, the Dow rose 197
points to 26,504, Nasdaq was up 127, S&P 500 added 28. For the week, the
major averages were basically flat.
That will do it for NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT tonight. I`m Sue Herera.
Thanks for joining us. Have a great weekend. We`ll see you Monday.
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