ANNOUNCER: This is NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT with Bill Griffeth and Sue Herera.
SUE HERERA, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR: Dow 27,000. The market hits a new milestone on optimism over an interest rate cut, making it even trickier to invest at these lofty levels.
BILL GRIFFETH, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR: New prognosis. The White House kills its prescription drug rebate rule, sending insurance stocks higher. But will big pharma be the next target?
HERERA: The real world. Inflation is more than just numbers. It could
mean paying more for your coffee.
Those stories and more tonight on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for Thursday, July 11th.
GRIFFETH: And we do bid you a good evening, everybody, and welcome.
Well, the Dow and the S&P both closed at record highs today. In fact, the
blue chip average, as you heard, rallied past 27,000 for the first time
ever. Investors cheered a second day of Capitol Hill testimony from Fed
Chair Jerome Powell where he signaled a potential cut in interest rates
later this month. Health care stocks also contributed to the rise. We
will explain why in a moment.
But first, the closing numbers for this Thursday with the industrial
average gaining 227 points to 27,088. The Nasdaq was down six, the S&P
Bob Pisani has more on the record-setting day.
BOB PISANI, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: Another day, another market milestone. Investors cheered comments from the Federal Reserve signaling that a rate cut is likely just around the corner.
The Dow crossed about 27,000 for the first time today and the S&P 500 moved just to the edge of 3,000, a fraction of a point below it. Close enough.
What a difference five years makes. The S&P has moved 50 percent in less
than five years from 2000 in August of 2014, to 3,000 essentially this
But the market today is different than it was in 2014. Investors have
played favorites in a very big way, big tech and FANG names dominate among the winners, including Amazon, Netflix, Microsoft, Facebook, Apple. Amazon and Netflix are up almost 500 points each since the S&P crossed 2,000 five years ago. Chip stocks have also skyrocketed, Nvidia and AMD both up more than 700 percent in the last five years. We have seen big games from Broadcom and Xilinx as well.
The bigger companies get bigger and bigger, particularly tech-related
companies. Visa and MasterCard, those are fin tech companies. Cisco is
another example. There are a few non-tech outliers like United Health and
Home Depot that have been big performers but not many of them.
And then there are the outright losers. Energy stock down big, which is no
surprise. Oil was $100 five years ago and it`s $60 today. The other big
losing sector is retailers which includes stock`s like Macy`s and Gap down
So, what does it mean that a handful of tech titans have come to dominate
the market? It is about growth. Technology is where the growth is, and
growth is hard to find globally so investors are willing to pay up almost
anything for growth wherever they can find it.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Bob Pisani at the New York Stock Exchange.
HERERA: So with the market at new highs, what should you do right now?
Joining us to talk about that is Patrick Chovanec. He is the chief
strategist at Silvercrest Asset Management.
Welcome, Patrick. Nice to see you again.
PATRICK CHOVANEC, CHIEF STRATEGIST, SILVERCREST ASSET MANAGEMENT: Hello.
HERERA: Is it decidedly more difficult to navigate the market at new
CHOVANEC: Well, right now, the economy is a lot more wobbly than the
market seems to be. You know, that`s why the Fed is talking about cutting
rates, which is something that the market is excited about, but the economy
is slowing and it could slow further.
Now, you know, it could pull through. So I wouldn`t go so far as to say
that the market`s riding for a fall, but there could be bumpier days ahead.
GRIFFETH: Yes, I mean, that`s the big conundrum we`re facing right now.
Jerome Powell just told us that the global economy is slowing down and it
is taking our economy with it. Earnings will be coming out starting next
week, and certainly expectations are not very high for those, yet here we
sit at all-time highs today.
Is this simply a stock market that`s on a sugar high because of the lower
CHOVANEC: No, because, ironically, this is not a market that is gorging on
risk. When you look at what`s really expensive in the market today, it is
actually your safe harbors. Treasuries are — you know, are returning 2
percent, which is barely above inflation.
So the problem is that while, you know, if you look and you don`t like the
risk that you see out there, if you want to take money off the table, where
do you put it? It is actually more expensive to try to hide from risk than
it is to actually ride it out right now.
HERERA: So if you are a longer term investor, do you just kind of stay put
in this market but expect some volatility?
CHOVANEC: I think that`s really the best choice that you have. I do think
that you need to realistically assess how much risk you can afford. You
know, if the market were down 30 percent in a year because there was a
recession, how would you cope?
You should always be thinking about that, but you should also be thinking
about what you are giving up by simply going and hiding under a rock for a year or two. I think you are giving up quite a bit, both in terms of short
term and long-term gains if you go and do that.
HERERA: Patrick, thank you so much.
CHOVANEC: You`re welcome.
HERERA: Patrick Chovanec with Silvercrest Asset Management.
GRIFFETH: We mentioned that rally in health care stocks that helped lift
the Dow above 27,000. Here`s why: The Trump administration today withdrew the proposal that would have eliminated rebates from government drug plans. That boosted the shares of insurers like UnitedHealthcare, Cigna and CVS.
But it also raised the possibility of new restrictions on drugmakers, which
pressured that group today.
Meg Tirrell has details for us.
MEG TIRRELL, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: The Trump
administration claimed its rule on drug rebates had the potential to be the
most sweeping change to how Americans` drugs are priced at the pharmacy counter ever. Today, they abandoned the plan.
Here is what it was aiming to do. For Medicare insurance plans,
beneficiaries pay both a monthly premium and when they get a prescription, they pay an out-of-pocket cost at the pharmacy counter. So, how is it determined how much they pay for the medicines? Well, the drug company sets a list price and pharmacy benefits managers then negotiate a rebate on that drug.
But insurance co-pays for drugs are often based on the list price, not the
price after the rebate. Right now, the PBMs and insurance companies take
that rebate and spread it across their plan beneficiaries to lower premiums
What the Trump administration rule sought to do is instead apply the
rebates directly to the price of drugs at the pharmacy counter, so the
patient being prescribed the drug could pay a lower price at the pharmacy.
But because the rebates wouldn`t be spread across the beneficiaries,
premiums for everyone could go up.
And that according to Capital Street`s Ipsita Smolinski presented a
IPSITA SMOLINSKI, CAPITAL STREET MANAGING DIRECTOR: The concern was premiums going up for Medicare beneficiaries — these are those over 65 and who vote — would probably not like to see their premiums go up for 2020 or 2021.
TIRRELL: While the Trump administration rule would have applied to
Medicare, there was concern it could lead to changes in rebates provided by employers as well, Smolinski says. And those commercial plans, rebates
contribute hundreds of millions of dollars in profit to pharmacy benefits
managers, according to Leerink. That`s why those stocks soared today.
But drug company stocks sank. That`s because Trump is not expected to give up on the issue of drug prices and may, in fact, double down on effort that could pharma`s bottom line. Investors are trying to parse comments the president made last week about a most-favored nation clause.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: For years and years, other nations paid less for drugs than we do, sometimes by 60 percent, 70 percent. We`re going to be and we`re working on it right now, we are working on a favored nation clause where we pay whatever the lowest nation`s price is. Why should other nations — like Canada — but why
should other nations pay much less than us?
TIRRELL: A source close to the administration tells me that`s how the
White House refers to a rule it has already proposed, tying the prices of
some Medicare drugs to an international average. Trump said yesterday
another announcement on drug prices is expected this week.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Meg Tirrell.
HERERA: The Fed chair was back on Capitol Hill where he sent strong
signals that the central bank is ready and able to cut interest rates this
Steve Liesman has more from Washington.
STEVE LIESMAN, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: Fed Chairman Jay Powell`s visit to Capitol Hill on day two was a lot like day one where he affirmed the market`s view that rate cuts are likely coming at the end of July. But he also provided maybe a little context for how much the Fed might cut July or even beyond.
JEROME POWELL, FEDERAL RESERVE CHAIRMAN: We don`t want to get behind the curve and let inflation drop well below 2 percent, because what happens is you get into this unhealthy dynamic potentially where lower expected inflation gets baked into interest rates, which means lower interest rates, which means less room for the central bank to react. And that becomes a self-reinforcing thing.
We have seen it in Japan. We are now seeing it in Europe. And that`s why
we think it is so important we defend our 2 percent inflation goal here in
the United States.
LIESMAN: A Federal Reserve that`s concerned about being behind the curve like Europe and Japan might be one that cuts more deeply than it otherwise might, trying to use what bullets it has to reduce rates more effectively.
Stocks liked what Powell said today, in part because it removed any
potential risk he might reverse himself from day one. Also, Powell tended
to ignore stronger economic data, both the inflation and stronger jobless
claims numbers which fell by 13,000.
That means the economic data may not matter all that much if the concerns are trade uncertainties, global economic weakness and inflation running persistently below the Fed`s 2 percent market, then the data may not deter the Federal reserve from what looks like an inevitable rate cut at the end of this month.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Steve Liesman in Washington.
GRIFFETH: And Steve just mentioned today`s inflation data where consumer prices posted their biggest gain in nearly one and a half years in June. According to the Labor Department, the so-called core consumer price index, which excludes food and energy, rose by 0.3 percent. That was more than expected and it followed four straight monthly gains.
Now, food and energy are often excluded because those prices are considered volatile on a month-to-month basis but it`s also the stuff we pay for every day, including things like coffee.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s increasing like everything is increasing because
salaries are increasing but it goes with the — it is like gas. You need
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As a college student, I think it is a little bit
like, yikes, when you realize shall oh, it`s like 5 bucks for like this
much coffee. So, it`s a little like, you have to cut back.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, price went up significantly. I remember when
coffee was 50 cents a cup.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A medium at Dunkin` Donuts is $2.85. If that goes to like $4 and something, I don`t think I would do it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I haven`t paid attention to the pricing. It is kind of
a necessary evil. I love coffee and whatever goes up, I`m just going to
deal with it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRIFFETH: So some people are seeing inflated prices at their local coffee
shops, but the government data and the Fed say that inflation remains tame. So who has it right?
Bob Brusca is with us tonight. He`s chief economist at Fact and Opinion
Bob, first of all, welcome. Thanks for joining us tonight.
BOB BRUSCA, FACT & OPINION ECONOMICS CHIEF: Thank you.
GRIFFETH: You know, there`s that old saying people will always complain
about the price of bread and gasoline and in this case coffee, but is there
an especially glaring disconnect these days between what we are paying on
an everyday basis and this tame inflation data reports that we get from the
government and Fed?
BRUSCA: I don`t think so. I think the problem is that the people tend to
focus on prices when they go up, and I think the other problem is that it
is a low inflation environment. People`s incomes don`t go up very much.
When your income isn`t going up very much and prices start going up, you
really begin to notice it and it hurts.
HERERA: So, Bob, what impact do you think it will have? I mean, we heard
some people say that if prices went up too much, that they would stop
buying. Other people said they need their coffee, they`re going to keep
So if, indeed, it is more noticeable because wages are not going up as fast
as they used to, what impact might that have?
BRUSCA: Well, people can buy beans, grind them at home and make coffee and carry it to work. It will be a lot cheaper.
GRIFFETH: A very practical advice there from Bob Brusca. At this point
why is inflation statistically speaking from the Federal Reserve and the
government, as tame as it is right now? You know, Jerome Powell made a
rather profound statement today when he said that low unemployment no
longer leads to high inflation, which is what we were taught in economics
schools. Why is that the case now?
BRUSCA: Yes, this — this unemployment inflation trade I`ve noticed in
Phillips Curve is pretty flat. Usually the Phillips Curve is dead. You
have low inflation in Japan, you have low inflation in Europe, and we have
low prices being generated every day out of China and we have a lot of
technology and we all carry around cellphones that help us to check prices.
All of this tends to keep prices very low. There`s a lot of competition.
There`s low prices elsewhere in the world, low inflation elsewhere in the
world, and incomes aren`t going up. So, people check their phones a lot to
double check prices when they spend money and that keeps prices in line.
HERERA: So, after Mr. Powell`s testimony today, do you think they cut by
25 or 50?
BRUSCA: I would be surprised if they did 50, Sue. I think you`re going to
get 25 and I think they`re going to try to keep the other 25 in their
pocket. I don`t see the case for 50.
GRIFFETH: Bob Brusca with Fact and Opinion Economics — good to see you, Robert. Thanks for joining us tonight.
BRUSCA: Good to see you too.
HERERA: It is time to look at today`s “Upgrades and Downgrades”.
Goldman Sachs launched coverage of the retail sector which included a buy
rating on Walmart. The analyst cites the retailer`s aggressive strategy
that could drive strong sales growth. The price target is $123. The stock
rose a fraction to 113.92.
Weightwatchers was upgraded to neutral from underweight at J.P. Morgan.
The firm cites stabilizing subscriber growth trends. The price target is
$22. The stock gained 8 percent to $23.67.
GRIFFETH: Discount retailer Dillard`s was upgraded to neutral from
underperforming at Wedbush Securities. The analyst cited stabilizing
promotions at the company. Price target, $62. The stock rose 4 percent to
Allstate was downgraded to underperform from neutral at Credit Suisse with the analyst saying that the insurer`s margins are under pressure due to weather and competition. Price target, $94. That stock fell 1 percent
today to $103.15.
HERERA: Still ahead, tech titans may face a future with new rules.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JULIA BOORSTIN, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: I`m Julia Boorstin in Sun Valley, Idaho, where a range of tech CEOs are at the Allen & Co Conference, and regulation of those tech giants is in focus. That`s coming up on the NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRIFFETH: We got a report today that said the federal budget deficit
widened by more than 20 percent in the first nine months of the fiscal
year. Federal spending outpaced government tax receipts, due in part to
higher spending on military and interest on the debt, coupled with the tax
cuts for corporations.
HERERA: The International Monetary Fund is forecasting more economic pain for the Eurozone. The organization says the region faces anemic growth stemming from trade tensions, Brexit and Italy`s high debt levels. The IMF also backed the European Central Bank`s plans for fresh stimulus.
GRIFFETH: We told you last night that the White House was planning to
launch an investigation into attacks on technology companies imposed by the French government and, in fact, earlier today, French lawmakers did approve the so-called digital tax, setting up a fight with Washington.
Kayla Tausche has our details.
KAYLA TAUSCHE, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: The White House is fighting back as France moved closer to a new tax on tech companies. The U.S. trade representative launching a representation that could result in new tariffs on France for the fees it says unfairly target U.S. companies for being global leaders.
The proposal is named for Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple and would see about 30 digital services companies pay an extra 3 percent on their revenue in France. It is retroactive to cover this year.
French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire defended the move and challenged the U.S. treasury secretary, G7 and OECD countries to reach an agreement.
BRUNO LE MAIRE, FRENCH FINANCE MINISTER: The sooner there will be
international solution at the OECD level, France will withdraw its national
TAUSCHE: Experts say this fight is just beginning.
LILIAN FAULHABER, GEORGETOWN LAW PROFESSOR: The bigger question is what will happen in the next several months, how other countries outside of the U.S. will react to this, whether or not it will inspire them to implement their own digital taxes or whether or not it will be a warning not to implement these types of taxes until more international measures have moved forward.
TAUSCHE: The White House is counterpunch has been praised in Washington, from leading Republican lawmakers and business groups traditionally critical of tariffs, to both hawks and doves advising the president. The irony, even as they hit back against new fees on tech overseas, regulators are ramping up their own scrutiny here at home.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Kayla Tausche in Washington.
HERERA: Delta is seeing some tailwinds. And that`s where we begin
tonight`s “Market Focus”.
The airline raised its 2019 profit outlook, thanks to strong demand. The
carrier posted record revenue and raised its dividend and unlike its
competitors, Delta does not operate the Boeing 737 MAX.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ED BASTIAN, DELTA CEO: We do not fly the MAX, and clearly, there was a
benefit for the airline in the quarter. I don`t think there was a
significant benefit. Certainly, it is not explaining the results we are
You know, I don`t know when the plane is going to come back. As we`ve
seen, it has taken longer than any of us expected to see it return to
service. It is not going to be in place for the third quarter, maybe
sometime into the fourth quarter. We don`t have a crystal ball on that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HERERA: The stock rose more than 1 percent to $60.16.
T-Mobile and Sprint are reportedly expected to extend their July 29th
deadline for their $26 billion merger. “The Wall Street Journal” reports
both wireless carriers discuss ownership issues related to Dish Network.
This would be the second deadline extension. T-Mobile shares dropped a
fraction to $78.26. Sprint shares fell near 3.5 percent to $6.91.
And shares of Fastenal missed both earnings and revenue estimates. The
wholesale distributor of industrial and construction supplies says the
trade war with China impacted its numbers, specifically higher tariffs on
imported goods that were produced in China. The stock fell nearly 3
percent to $30.36.
GRIFFETH: Shares of Grubhub fell today on fears of new regulations. “The
New York Post” says that New York state is reportedly looking to limit the
fees that food delivery companies can charge and require them to be listed
on liquor licenses when they deliver for restaurants that do serve alcohol.
Grubhub shares fell nearly 4 percent as a result today to $74 even.
Ford and Volkswagen reportedly planned to announce a new joint venture on electric and autonomous vehicles. That deal would allow both companies to share intellectual property and hardware. A formal announcement is expected tomorrow. Volkswagen does not trade here in the U.S., but Ford shares were up a fraction to $10.19.
And Boeing announced its 737 program manager Eric Lindblad is retiring
after serving in that post for less than a year. He was, however, a 35-
year veteran at the company. Mark Jenks will now be taking over the reins
of that troubled program which has suffered from the grounding of the 737
MAX aircraft. The stock was up 3 percent to $359 even.
And after the bell, genetics company Illumina warned that its fiscal second
quarter revenue is going to be weaker than expected. The company cited
weakness in its direct-to-consumer market among other things. Shares
initially dropped in afterhours tonight. They closed the regular session
today down more than 2 percent at $363.66.
HERERA: A bit earlier in our program, we mentioned Washington`s increased scrutiny of the tech sector. The potential wave of regulation was top of mind in Sun Valley, Idaho, where tech titans are meeting.
Julia Boorstin spoke to them.
BOORSTIN: With Apple`s Tim Cook, Facebook`s Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter CFO Ned Segal walking the paths here in Sun Valley, along with former Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang, and Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, big tech is out in force, and so is talk of regulating the giants, ahead of antitrust hearings on Capitol Hill next week.
Sam Altman, who founded Y-Combinator, which funds and advises early stage startups, says he thinks there`s no question that tech regulation is
needed, but that breaking up the likes of Facebook or Google would be much harder.
SAM ALTMAN, Y-COMBINATOR FOUNDER: The companies are so big and so powerful and so intertwined but I think when I talk to most of them, they sort of actively want regulation. We`re in uncharted territory. I think either we figure out how to regulate more quickly and effectively than we have in the past, or we end up in a world where at some point we have to do it in a clumsy way.
BOORSTIN: Former Twitter CEO Dick Costolo says antitrust and privacy
issues shouldn`t be conflated.
DICK COSTOLO, FORMER TWITTER CEO: It is not just the fact that companies are big that should cause them to be regulated. The size of the company doesn`t have really any impact on the kinds of things it might be doing. It`s those specific things that companies are doing with data, the way they`re managing it or mismanaging it.
BOORSTIN: The question is what laws would best protect consumers without giving an unfair advantage to the giants that can better afford regulation? And Verizon CEO Hans Vesterberg notes how hard it is for regulation to keep up with innovation.
HANS VESTERBERG, VERIZON CEO: I think the technology is moving so fast, so if you do regulation, it`s just moving so fast it is hard. So I think it
is up to responsible leaders.
BOORSTIN: While Mark Zuckerberg, who`s tried to dodge the cameras here, says he does not want to regulate Facebook himself, we will see how much the tech companies here enforce changes around the likes of privacy to avoid drastic government action.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Julia Boorstin in Sun Valley, Idaho.
GRIFFETH: And coming up, the smallest state in the country is facing some
big economic challenges.
GRIFFETH: Here is what we`re watching tomorrow. The producer price index will be providing investors with additional information on inflation
pressures within the economy. We will see if the trade war with China is
having an impact on its economy when Beijing releases import and export
numbers for the month of June. And the president of the Chicago Fed speaks on economic conditions and monetary policy.
That`s what we`re watching for Friday.
HERERA: Wall Street banks are lending less money to farmers. According to “Reuters, which cites FDIC data, agricultural loans at the nation`s top 30
banks fell about 17 percent between the peak in 2015 and March of this
year. Banks have increased their exposure to the rural Midwest following
the financial crisis in part because farmers had plenty of income and
collateral, but the retreat in lending comes as farmer`s incomes decline.
We told you yesterday that Virginia was ranked the top state for business
in CNBC`s annual survey due to the quality of its workforce and educational system. But there are 50 states. That means somebody had to come in last.
So, tonight, Scott Cohn takes us to the survey`s worst state for business,
SCOTT COHN, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: For a little state, Rhode Island has big problems, but to hear the governor tell it the worst is over.
GOV. GINA RAIMONDO (D), RHODE ISLAND: We have stopped the decline. We have stopped the decline, and working together, we have ignited a comeback of this great state and our economy.
COHN: The comeback has yet to show up in the numbers, near the bottom for business friendliness, cost of doing business, economy, and still at the
bottom for infrastructure. Fixing that has been a priority for Governor
RAIMONDO: There`s more road work going on in this state than at any time in our lifetime.
COHN: Funded by a controversial program to charge tolls on trucks, not
surprisingly unpopular with truckers like Michael Collins.
MICHAEL COLLINS, M&D TRANSPORTATION: We need to kill this cancer in this state because it is going to spread like wildfire to other states.
RAIMONDO: Thank you.
COHN: The governor rode her plan to reelection last year, but it still
faces some skepticism.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Got to do something, as long as the money actually does go to the roads.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The issue isn`t going to tap into consumers, you know. Somebody has to pay for it.
COHN: The administration says in its first three years there`s been $1.5
billion worth of new road construction, 100 miles of roads paved, and
nearly 200 bridges repaired. Unemployment is now in line with the national average, and 30 businesses have moved to the state. But school test scores are low and economic growth is among the lowest in the country, more proof that a comeback, no matter how hard you try, doesn`t happen overnight.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Scott Cohn.
HERERA: Before we go, here is a look at the day`s final numbers on Wall
Street. The Dow gained 227 points to close above 27,000. The Nasdaq was
down six and the S&P 500 added six to finish at a record.
And that is NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT tonight. I`m Sue Herera. Thanks for joining us.
GRIFFETH: I`m Bill Griffeth. Have great evening. See you tomorrow.
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