ANNOUNCER: This is NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT with Bill Griffeth and Sue Herera.
SUE HERERA, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR: Climbing higher. Stocks rally for three straight days, thanks in part to Walmart, which is giving Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) a run for its money.
BILL GRIFFETH, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR: Silicon prairie. Start-ups are migrating to the Midwest and Chicago is at the center of that growth.
HERERA: Charge it. More people are using their credit cards to buy things even as interest rates hit a 25-year high.
Those stories and much more tonight on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for Thursday, May 16th.
GRIFFETH: And we do bid you a good evening, everybody, and welcome.
There are a few things that investors like to see — strong earnings, upbeat economic data and no negative headlines on trade. Well, today, they got all three. Walmart and Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO) reported solid beats. The latest report on housing was better than expected and trade tensions remain mostly in the background today.
And that resulted in a 214-point gain for the Dow. It closed at 25,862, Nasdaq was up by 75, the S&P rose 25. And stocks are now up three days in a row, making Monday`s sell-off seem like a distant memory.
Bob Pisani is at the New York Stock Exchange for us.
BOB PISANI, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: This has been a stunning rally. But a stunning rally on exactly what`s going on? Well, we did have a couple of strong earnings beats from the likes of Walmart and Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO) that helped give the Dow a boost. But beyond that, there are still high hopes about trade in general. That`s really what the motivation is.
Critics want to believe that after the Dow`s steep 600-point loss on Monday, President Trump finally got the message. Suddenly, there`s all sorts of optimism and cheerful rhetoric on the trade front.
In Europe, on the NAFTA front, and when it comes to China, that`s the toughest one of all, there`s been hopes that U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Robert Lighthizer might return to Beijing soon to continue trade negotiations.
But you notice something? All of these are just hopes. There is nothing definitive here, and the market is once again vying to this “hope-ium” that suddenly all of this is going to get resolved. Today`s rally was fairly broad-based. Most sectors for materials, to energy, to health care and industrials are up about 1 percent to 1.5 percent.
One not so bright spots, semiconductor stocks, big names like Xilinx (NASDAQ:XLNX), Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM), all traded down as the Trump administration is proposing to ban Chinese electronics giant Huawei from buying sensitive U.S. technology that would affect semiconductor names.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Bob Pisani at the New York Stock Exchange.
HERERA: And as Bob just mentioned, Walmart was one of the drivers behind today`s rally. The world`s largest retailer reported better than expected- earnings and solidified its position as both an online and brick and mortar powerhouse.
That set the stock up nearly 1-1/2 percent. Courtney Reagan takes a look at the strategy that`s fueling its growth.
COURTNEY REAGAN, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: Walmart has admitted it fell behind in e-commerce, but the billions it spent to catch up is paying off. Online sales grew 37 percent. Foot traffic was higher. And comparable sales have grown for 19 straight quarters.
The integration of stores and digital, Walmart`s legacy business and its most start-up arm, are working together to fuel continued sales growth. From online grocery ordering with free store pickup to the newly announced next day free shipping offer.
CHARLIE O`SHEA, MOODY`S: We`re continuing to receive validation of the strategy that the company laid out 3-1/2 years ago. They said, we`re going to make various investments. It`s going to take time, but the payoff will be a good payoff, and it`s been better than good.
REAGAN: The big box store wants shoppers to buy, how and where they want, and hopes consumers use the website and the stores because those that shopped both spent more.
Many are impressed with Walmart`s ability to change and grow in part because of its scale. The retailer`s annual revenues are more than the annual revenues of Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) combined.
KEN LANGONE, HOME DEPOT C
O-FOUNDER: Logistics, merchandising and supply chain management, write down the list of all the things — $125 billion, $124 billion in 90 days.
REAGAN: It may be more important than ever for Walmart to secure its competitive position as a potential for more tariffs loom. The retailers, chief financial officer Brett Biggs told me, quote: Our goal is to be the low price leader. We want to manage margins with customers and shareholders in mind. We have mitigation strategies that have been in place for months, but increased tariffs will increase prices for customers.
PAUL TRUSSELL, DEUTSCHE BANK: We would expect Walmart to very much be on the forefront to try and stay at the low price for longer, as much as they can. But this really is in the government`s hands.
Walmart won`t detail how much prices could increase. But the good news for the retailer is that because food makes up such a large portion of its business and two-thirds of the costs are sourced domestically. The remaining one-third is imported for many countries, not just China, plus Walmart`s size and power gives us the upper hand in cost negotiations.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Courtney Reagan.
GRIFFETH: Now, while the market appears hopeful that the trade war will get result at some point, one company finds itself once again at the center of this tousle, that is Huawei. As we mentioned, the Trump administration essentially wants to ban Huawei from doing business here in the U.S.
And as Eunice Yoon reports, that`s not going over well in Beijing.
EUNICE YOON, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: Huawei warned the Trump administration that the U.S.`s latest moves could end up hurting America`s own high-tech ambitions. The Chinese telecom`s gear maker said that restrictions would only hurt the U.S.`s telecom development, its companies and consumers, though Huawei said it`s ready and willing to engage with the U.S. on product security.
The statement came after President Trump issued an executive order meant to safeguard America`s IT infrastructure from, quote, foreign adversaries. The order didn`t include any mention of Huawei, but U.S. officials have called the company a security threat. Separately, the Commerce Department added Huawei and 70 affiliates to the U.S.`s entity list, saying that Huawei is suspected of activities that have breached U.S. national interests.
U.S. firms will soon be required to obtain a license to sell to Huawei and the listing could take effect within days. The decision is likely to have a significant impact on Huawei`s business since the company relies heavily on U.S. components made by tech giants like Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) and Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM).
The Chinese government condemned the U.S.`s announcements. The commerce ministry said that China opposes unilateral sanctions against Chinese entities, and the foreign ministry added that China would protect the right of its businesses. Huawei is China`s most successful national champion and seen as key to realizing Beijing`s ambitions to become a world technology leader, so any ban is seen as an attack only on Huawei, but also on China`s attempts to become a superpower.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Eunice Yoon in Beijing.
HERERA: To the housing market now, construction of new homes rose in April, a sign of strength on homebuilding after a nasty pullback at the end of last year.
Diana Olick has more.
DIANA OLICK, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: Housing starts rose in April compared to March, but they were still weaker than last year. Demand is strong for housing this spring, but it was so bad at the end of last year due to a spike in mortgage rates that builders were left holding the bag and that in turn has them playing catch-up now.
I spoke with the CEO of Arizona based Taylor Morrison Homes at CNBC`s capital exchange event today. She described it in striking terms.
SHERYL PALMER, TAYLOR MORRISON HOMES CEO: You get to the fourth quarter, it`s probably holistically, the worst quarter we`ve had as an industry since the downturn, and we ended the year with a tremendous amount of inventory. In December, if you would to talk to anybody, you know, there was potentially, every house that was going to be sold again, it was that bad.
People came into the year with inventory because the fourth quarter stopped. You can`t just pick up that machine and just say, OK, now, it`s time again, I need new starts.
OLICK: Like other, Palmer sees high demand for entry-level homes right now, but the high cost for land, labor and strict regulatory compliance make it increasingly difficult to build the type of affordable homes millennials want where they want.
PALMER: The whole drive as you can buy isn`t as attractive as it was many, many years ago. When we look at this millennial population and it`s about a third of the business, they`re choosing to wait until they can buy what they want. They don`t want the hour commute. So, I think, you know, the houses are getting as small as they can get.
OLICK: So, today`s first-time buyers have to either make that tradeoff on location and services or continue to rent.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Diana Olick in Washington.
GRIFFETH: A top Federal Reserve official said today, the Central Bank should welcome a modest rise in inflation. Governor Lael Brainard did not say whether interest rates should be cut in order to support a rise in prices, but she did say that the economy appears healthy and the labor market strong. Separately, Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari said that the central bank should not have been raising interest rates for the past few years. He called monetary policy too tight.
HERERA: But even with those hikes, interest rates are historically low. But you`d never know that by looking at the interest rates the credit card companies are charging.
Rahel Solomon explains.
RAHEL SOLOMON, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: With unemployment the lowest it`s been in nearly 50 years, it could come as a surprise that according to the New York Fed, credit card delinquency rates are rising. That could be because credit card interest rates are also rising, now, 17 percent on average. That`s the highest they`ve been in almost 25 years.
Buyer rates started with a law passed by Congress in 2009 which limited a bank`s ability to raise credit card rates on current customers. The consequence was many banks started new customers at a higher initial rate.
PETER BOOCKVAR, BLEAKLEY ADVISORY GROUP: You started at a high level, so when the Fed starts to raise, starting at a higher level, you will creep up to where we are today.
SOLOMON: The Fed started raising rates in 2015, a total of nine times so far. Also contributing to the higher rates, all those were programs that credit card companies offer.
BOOCKVAR: Everybody gets a credit card, they get all these awards. Well, the banks obviously have to offset that and pay for that by higher interest rates. And then you throw in right now, these higher rates are causing higher delinquencies.
SOLOMON: The big winners here, credit card companies and banks issuing the cards.
BILL NYGREN, OAKMARK FUNDS PORTFOLIO MANAGER: You look at the company like Capital One, who are credit card lending as their major business, they`re earning good margins today. They are not seeing a big increase in their default rates. You see a little bit of a seasonal increase, but you see that every year. But year over year, things look pretty good.
SOLOMON: That New York Fed report also points out that young people between the ages of 18 to 29 are the most impacted by credit card delinquencies, reaching about 8 percent of all past due accounts.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Rahel Solomon.
GRIFFETH: And let`s turn now to Sara Rathner to talk more about these rising credit card rates and delinquencies and maybe where we go from here. Sarah is credit card expert at NerdWallet.
Thanks for joining us tonight.
SARA RATHNER, NERDWALLET CREDIT CARDS EXPERT: Thank you for having me.
GRIFFETH: So, I mean, here we are. Rates are the highest they`ve been in 25 years when prevailing interest rates are the lowest in decades, I realize that, you know, a credit card rate is higher because it`s an unsecured loan, but this is really out of whack right now economically speaking, isn`t it?
RATHNER: Yes. Well, credit card interest rates are tied to the prime rate which is set by the Federal Reserve and that rate now is 5.5 percent, which is not the highest it`s been historically, but it is the highest it`s been for about the last 10 years.
GRIFFETH: So if the consumer is looking at that rate and the banks have been increasing rates every time the Fed moves, what is the responsibility of the credit card company to notify the customer of that?
RATHNER: Well, ordinarily, a credit card company has to notify consumers within 45 days of an interest rate increase, but if the interest rate increases due to an increase in the prime rate, the credit card issuer does not have to notify the consumer about that.
GRIFFETH: Are they going much higher? What do you think?
RATHNER: It`s hard to say. You know, I`m not sure what the Fed is thinking of doing, but it`s always a good idea —
GRIFFETH: Is it beholden to the Fed? I mean, as long as the Fed is on hold right now which they seem to be, are credit card rates on hold?
RATHNER: Not necessarily because issuers can choose to increase the amount of interest they charge on top of the prime rate.
HERERA: What about the delinquencies among the millennial investor and the millennial consumer, why are those delinquency rates higher?
RATHNER: Well, younger consumers have not reached their peak income earning potential and many of them are saddled with really high student loan payments every month and that can be really hard to budget for, so that can contribute to this increased credit card delinquency among a younger audience.
GRIFFETH: Can you get a lower rate if you do some shopping? What do you think? Is that a viable alternative right now?
RATHNER: It always pays to shop around with all financial products, and credit cards are not any exception. But a lot of interest rates you could be offered by the credit card has to do with your own credit history and your own income. The longer history you have, the less risky you are to lend money to.
And so, credit card issuers are more likely to grant you a more favorable rate on a credit card than if you have a shorter history and lower income.
Sarah Rathner with NerdWallet — again, thanks for joining us tonight.
RATHNER: Thank you.
HERERA: Time to take a look at some of today`s “Upgrades and Downgrades”.
KB Home (NYSE:KBH) was upgraded to outperform from sector perform at RBC Capital. The analyst cites stronger prices for new homes and fewer reductions. The price target is $30. The shares rose 2 percent to $27.37.
Macy`s (NYSE:M) was upgraded to neutral from sell at Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS). The analyst sees potential near-term catalyst for the stock even as the company faces some medium-term challenges. The price target is 21. Despite the upgrade, though, the shares fell to $21.50.
GRIFFETH: Still ahead, a new airport terminal that`s ready for takeoff.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PHIL LEBEAU, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: Tired of cramped and old airport terminals? Check out when they`re doing in New Orleans where the Big Easy is in the midst of a big airport project.
I`m Phil LeBeau. That story coming up on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRIFFETH: China`s coffee start-up Luckin is expected to start trading on the Nasdaq tomorrow. This company`s looking to raise its profile here in the U.S. just as rival Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) is planning to expand in China.
Kate Rogers (NYSE:ROG) looks at this brewing rivalry.
KATE ROGERS, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: China`s coffee culture is heading to the U.S. Luckin hopes to get a jolt when it starts trading on the Nasdaq. The upstart is not yet two years old, but its growth has mushroomed.
The company has about 2,400 locations today, with plans to add an additional 2,500 by year`s end, which would overtake Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) as a dominant presence in China. Analysts say Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) which has referred to China as its second home market has an advantage given its two decades of operations in the country.
RJ HOTTOVY, MORNINGSTAR: I think it gives an advantage, I mean, with Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) building its brand on experience in the region, particularly with the upscale roastery type locations, and other upscale, modern locations. I think that does give them a leg up.
ROGERS: And while Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) makes money, Luckin is losing nearly twice as much cash as it takes in, even as coffee consumption in China grows. Luckin`s strategy is to offer deep discount, deliveries and cash-free stores. And while that maybe attractive to some consumers, experts say there`s likely room for growth.
HOTTOVY: I don`t think it`s winner-take-all type of situation. I think that, you know, Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) is very much focused on experience and they`ll have success among younger Chinese professionals. I mean, I think companies like Luckin which focus speed and convenience, they`ll continue to satisfy that need.
ROGERS: Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) CEO Kevin Johnson has also said that some of his competition`s heavy discounts are not sustainable, but Luckin plans to continue offering low prices, something investors will certainly be watching to see which bet wins out in the long term.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Kate Rogers (NYSE:ROG).
HERERA: When you think starts-ups, you`ll likely think of Silicon Valley in California or Silicon Alley in New York, but a growing number of companies are getting off the ground in the Midwest.
Julia Boorstin is in Chicago tonight.
JULIA BOORSTIN, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: The Midwest start- up scene is hot and it has a name, Silicon Prairie. Chicago is the city at the center of its growth.
Uptake is one example of a company thriving here, using artificial intelligence to analyze data and deliver predictive analytics. It mines billions of hours of data for 140 transportation energy and manufacturing companies, making 4 million predictions an hour. Its customers include the U.S. Army, Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT), Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.A) Energy, and Rolls Royce. CEO Brad Keywell has founded nine companies here.
BRAD KEYWELL, UPTAKE CEO: This is a spectacular place to grow companies in the technology space, few as spectacular in terms of Chicago as Uptake. And the reason is that Uptake is about helping industrial companies be better and we`re in the center of American industry, the Midwest, we`re right here in Chicago.
BOORSTIN: In addition to Chicago`s location, in the midst of American industry, it has the advantage of access to an educated and diverse workforce, with dozens of colleges in the area.
LanzaTech is headquartered in Chicago suburb, Skokie, Illinois. It transforms pollution into ethanol which can be turned into chemicals and fuels such as jet fuel, partnering with Virgin Atlantic to reduce its carbon emissions.
CEO Jennifer Holmgren says the Windy City has enabled her company`s growth.
JENNIFER HOLMGREN, LANZATECH CEO: The Chicago area has a lot of really great universities with synthetic biology and also engineering expertise. And in addition, I really think this is a town with an attitude to get things done to build big, tough things and so, that combination is perfect for the big problem we`re trying to solve.
BOORSTIN: While LanzaTech aims to license its technology to companies around the world, including steel mills in China and in an Indian oil plant, the employees here in Chicago are working to turn dangerous emissions into valuable products such as oils that can be used for medicine, food or fuel, while also fueling the growth of Midwest start-ups.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Julia Boorstin in Chicago.
GRIFFETH: Boeing (NYSE:BA) inches toward getting its 737 MAX planes back in the air. That`s where we begin tonight`s “Market Focus” with the airplane manufacturer saying that it has completed a software update for its 737 MAX aircraft. This is the key for getting those jets flying again after aviation officials grounded them following two fatal crashes. Boeing (NYSE:BA) says it`s planning to work now with the FAA to schedule a certification flight. And Boeing (NYSE:BA) shares rose more than 2 percent to $253.81.
Snap shares got a lift after Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) said its` going to rid of its stand-alone app for direct messaging on Instagram called direct. That app came to market two years ago. It was meant to compete with Snapchat, but Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) is now taking it down as part of the company`s mission to consolidate its services into a single platform. So, Snap shares rose more than 7 percent today to $11.42.
HERERA: After the bell, chip equipment maker Applied Materials (NASDAQ:AMAT) posted better than expected earnings and revenue. The results have eased some concerns that demand in the semiconductor space was slowing. Shares initially rose in after-hours trading. They closed the regular session up a fraction at $41.66.
Also, after the bell, the chip maker Nvidia`s results came in better than expected. But the company`s revenue fell for the second straight quarter. Nonetheless, shares initially spike after-hours, and closed the regular up a fraction at $160.19.
Pinterest released its first earnings report as a public company after the bell and missed expectations, but its revenue grew. Pinterest also saw global growth with monthly active users. But the stock initially dropped after-hours and it closed the regular session up nearly 8 percent at $30.86.
GRIFFETH: Flying here in the U.S. certainly has become a challenge for a growing number of passengers in part because America`s airports are old, they`re crowded and in need of major renovations. And while many airports still struggle with an aging infrastructure, some are now building new, better terminals.
Phil LeBeau takes us to New Orleans where there are big projects under way in the Big Easy.
LEBEAU: The big addition at New Orleans airport is almost done, a billion dollar terminal with 35 gates and plenty of restaurants and space to handle the city surging air traffic. Since 2009, the number of people flying out of New Orleans has jumped more than 50 percent, topping 6 million travelers in 2017.
KEVIN DOLLIOLE, NEW ORLEANS DIRECTOR OF AVIATION: As this market continues to grow, we are in a better position to handle the growth in its market, and also, we`ve done this in a way that keeps the costs of plane passengers to airlines on the low side.
LEBEAU: New Orleans airport, like others in the U.S., is bursting at the seams. Airlines have added more flights to feed America`s appetite for travel. Increasingly, tarmacs are crowded, terminals are packed and airports are struggling to keep up with booming business.
RAY LAHOOD, FORMER U.S. TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY: In terms of new airports in America, while we haven`t seen one built in decades. And you go to China, all they`re doing is building rail and airports. These are economic engines for the economy of these countries, and we are way, way far behind.
LEBEAU: Some airports like New York`s LaGuardia and Salt Lake City are building all new terminals, while Dallas has added new gates, upgraded facilities to handle more flights and passengers. But billions more is needed and travelers are tired going through old, worn down airports.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That was very important. Great dining, we need shopping. We need comfortable places, we need places to be able to have our phones, places to take our kids when we have to wait for delayed flights.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, like a long layover and there`s nowhere to eat and kind of hang out and you`re stuck sitting on the ground.
LEBEAU: When this new terminal in New Orleans is finished later this year, it will cap a five-year project, but it won`t be the end of airport construction in the U.S., as more cities realized they`ll need to expand to handle more people flying.
Phil LeBeau, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, New Orleans.
HERERA: Coming up, going, going, gone. Not even market volatility could keep money away from the auction block.
HERERA: Here`s a look at what to watch for tomorrow.
Deere is scheduled to report earnings, giving investors insight into the impact of tariffs on the agricultural sector. On the economic calendar, we`ll find out if consumers are feeling upbeat about their finances. And as we reported, China`s Luckin is expected to start trading on the Nasdaq.
That`s what to watch for on Friday.
GRIFFETH: Well, the world`s wealthiest art collectors are breaking records again. Earlier this week, of course, we told you about concerns that volatile markets and trade frictions could dampen the most important week of the year for the global art market, but as Robert Frank reports, that was not the case.
ROBERT FRANK, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: Bidders from around the world helped Sotheby`s, Christie`s, and Philips pull in more than $1.5 billion in sales.
Last night, Jeff Koons` stainless steel sculpture of a ballooned animal called rabbit sold at Christie`s for $91 million. It was the highest price ever paid at auction for a living artist.
The winning bidder was the art dealer Robert Mnuchin who bought the piece from an anonymous buyer. Mnuchin is, of course, s the father of U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. The rabbit was sold by the estate of the late, great “Conde Nast” chief S.I. Newhouse who paid $1 million for it in 1992.
Now, the other big trophy last night was Robert Rauschenberg`s Buffalo II which went for $88 million.
The auction houses say the week proves the market shows no signs of slowing.
TAD SMITH, SOTHEBY`S CEO: We actually feel that the market has a good strength and a circular basis and not a cyclical top. Now, that said, art is an asset. And assets will go up and down.
FRANK: But despite all of the hype over rabbits and Rauschenberg, the big moment of the week was this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fifty-five million.
FRANK: Claude Monet`s 130-year-old painting of a haystack at sunset went for $110 million. It is one of only eight left in private hands and it went for twice the estimate.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Robert Frank.
HERERA: Before we go, here`s a look at the final day`s numbers on Wall Street. The Dow rose 214 points, strong session today. The Nasdaq was up 75 and the S&P 500 rose 25.
That does it for NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT tonight. I`m Sue Herera. Thanks for joining us.
GRIFFETH: I`m Bill Griffeth. If you`re wondering about the bandage, I had a TKO in the seventh round. We`re fine.
HERERA: It`s going to be fine.
GRIFFETH: Have a great evening. Yes, see you tomorrow.
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