Transcript: Nightly Business Report – July 12, 2019

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

BILL GRIFFETH, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR:  Hat trick.  All three of the major indexes closed at record levels and just in time, here comes
earnings season.  Will corporate results keep the good times going or throw
cold water on the red hot stock market?  

SUE HERERA, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR:  They`re back.  As the summer months heat up, so are bidding wars for houses.  We`ll tell you where and what people are doing to try and win that dream home.

GRIFFETH:  And smoke screen.  We`ll take you inside the black market for
cannabis where illegal dispensaries openly break the law.  

It is all part of a $70 billion nationwide illicit market crippling the
legal industry.  We have a special investigation.  

All of that and much more tonight on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for Friday, July 12th.

HERERA:  Good evening, everyone, and welcome.  

Well, it was a record run on Wall Street this week.  The major indexes
breaking through all-time levels multiple times, led, of course, by Federal
Reserve Chair Jerome Powell`s Capitol Hill testimony midweek where he
signaled an interest rate cut or cuts might be near.  In the end, we close
it out with triple play of record closes.  The Dow rose about 244 points to
27,332.  The Nasdaq climbed 48, and the S&P 500 added 13, and closed above 3,000 for the first time.

All three indexes were solidly higher on the week.  

GRIFFETH:  And while we sit here at record levels, the market will be
turning its attention to earnings season which gets under way in earnest
next week.  

Bob Pisani tells us the one thing investors must keep an eye on.  


BOB PISANI, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT:  Earning season is officially upon us once again.  Citigroup kicking things off on Monday. But for investors, it`s going to be all about guidance.  Bears believe the second half guidance is going to be cautious and on the weaker side due to global growth and, trade and tariff issues.

What about the bulls?  Well, they`re arguing dovish central banks and the
prospect of a trade deal getting done by the end of the year, well, that`s
going to win the day.  

The problem is earning estimates for 2019 are basically flattish, but the
S&P is up nearly 20 percent.  That means the market is really expensive
now.  It`s pricey, 17 times forward earnings.  That`s historically high.  

All right.  So bulls, bears, who is right?  Traders are sort of hedging
their bets.  The market believes the cyclical sectors with the global
exposure have a high chance of disappointing, and that`s partly why energy stocks, material stocks, certain industrials like transports have
underperformed in the last several months.  

Look at Fastenal, for example.  These are makers of tools, and motors and
fasteners.  They posted lower revenues and lower gross margins this week.  
They cited higher costs largely related to tariffs.  

On the flip side, defensive and domestic tech sectors with less exposure to
the global economy in theory should be more protected from slow down.  So, we are seeing health care, and real estate and utilities and to some extent consumer staples all doing better than the overall market in the past
couple of months.  The market seems comfortable with these flattish kind of earnings, but those earnings could quickly go from flattish to negative if
there`s no U.S./China trade agreement and it certainly will go negative if
tariffs increase.  

So buckle up.  The market could be in for a very bumpy ride.  

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


HERERA:  Let`s turn now to Chris Cordaro to talk more about what to expect when earnings season kicks off next week.  He is chief investment officer at Regent Atlantic.

Good to see you again, Chris.  

GRIFFETH:  Welcome back.  


HERERA:  And, you know, Bob mentioned guidance.  You think that basically the street is a little too pessimistic at this point?

CORDARO:  Yes.  You know, the consensus is slightly negative, but I think
what is happening here is all of the corporations are guiding downward.  
And so, they like to do that to manage expectations, especially after the
second quarter.  And I think that`s probably overdone.  So, at the end of
the day when we are done with earning season, I think we will see a slight
increase.  It won`t be terrific but I think it would be better than it`s

GRIFFETH:  But there are companies that you are worried about, you called
the detractors, high-profile companies out there in a broad spectrum of
industries here?  

CORDARO:  Yes.  So, obviously, the big detractor is going to be Boeing with
the 737 issues and problems they have.  

I also think Apple is potentially detractor.  It is hurt by the trade war.  
The other problem is you are coming through the Apple iPhone cycle and
sales probably will be declining.  

So, those are where I see trouble spots.  


CORDARO:  GM also on the trade side.  The other part too is realize when
the dollar`s strengthened fairly dramatically, and when the dollar
strengthened, any corporations that have earnings from overseas getting
converted back to dollars are going to be weaker.  

HERERA:  All right.  So you also gave us a couple of sectors that are going
to be leaders.  Financials and health care.  Why?  

CORDARO:  Sure.  So financials, which is one people might miss because
we`ve been talking so much about a rate cut.  

HERERA:  Right.  

CORDARO:  It is not here yet.  So the banks are still enjoying that higher
federal funds rate on their deposits, so that`s going to translate into
better business for them.  Also, they have a lot of revenue that is based
on asset-based pricing.  When the market is up, those fees are up.  So they
should also enjoy that this quarter.  

GRIFFETH:  I find it interesting that you feel that expectations have been
too low for this coming earnings season when we sit here at all-time highs
right now.  

HERERA:  Right.

CORDARO:  Well, that`s what we`re sitting here at all-time highs, but I
think also once — if there`s herd mentality, once you have corporations
start guiding lower, then everybody jumps on board.  

GRIFFETH:  Right.  

CORDARO:  So that`s what I think has happened this quarter, is everybody is jumping on board because you are always a hero if you guide lower and come out on top.

HERERA:  Very quickly, a headwind, the price of oil, down —

CORDARO:  Yes, that really hurts the energy sector.  The price of oil
declining really hurts the energy sector and that`s going to hurt the
overall S&P.  

HERERA:  Chris, thanks so much.  

CORDARO:  Thank you.  

GRIFFETH:  Thanks, Chris.  

HERERA:  Chris Cordero joining us tonight with Regent Atlantic.  

GRIFFETH:  Elsewhere, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin today urged Congress to start getting serious about the nation`s debt limit, which the U.S. is set to hit later this year.

And as Ylan Mui tells us, Mnuchin says time is running out.  


YLAN MUI, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT:  Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin warned Congress today that the government could run out of cash in early September before lawmakers return from summer recess.  As a result, Mnuchin called on Congress to increase the debt ceiling before they leave.

Now, if lawmakers don`t, the U.S. could be left unable to pay its bills and
forced to default on its debt, a catastrophic scenario that both sides say
they are determined to avoid.  Now, Congress has been at work on a broader deal that not only lifts the debt limit but increases the caps on federal spending to prevent painful budget cuts.  Previously, they thought they had until late September or even October to reach a deal, but the warning from Treasury has set off a scramble to get the job done in just a few weeks.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE:  We`re having our back-and-forth conversations, but we understand the value of that.  We also understand how important it is for us to lift the caps so that we can meet
the needs of the American people, and we`re having those conversations at
the same time.  

MUI:  There had been a flurry of phone calls between Mnuchin and Pelosi
over the past 24 hours, and they both say they do intend to honor the full
faith and credit of the United States.  

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


HERERA:  Ford and Volkswagen are forming a partnership to develop and build electric and autonomous vehicle.  The goal: save millions of dollars, maybe even billions making advanced cars and trucks that won`t hit the street until 2023, but will it work?

Phil LeBeau has more from New York City.  


PHIL LEBEAU, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT:  The CEOs of Ford and Volkswagen call it a win/win in the expensive race to build electric and autonomous cars.  Ford gets access to Volkswagen`s EV platform, VW gets access to Ford`s autonomous vehicle technology and is taking a stake in Argo AI equal to Ford, with both automakers expecting to save hundreds of millions of dollars.

DR. HERBERT DIESS, VOLKSWAGEN CEO:  If you share a technology that might cost you five to ten billion, if you share it you get it cheaper.  I think
it is relatively easy then to decide, where are we going to use it?  

LEBEAU:  The deal is the latest example of automakers pooling resources to
tackle an expensive problem, making self-driving vehicles that will some
day pay off.  GM is working with Honda and others on its subsidiary Cruze.  
Meanwhile, Nissan Renault will work with Waymo to build self-driving
vehicles for Japan and Europe.  The question is whether these partnerships
will pay off and whether the two automakers can truly make this partnership work?

JIM HACKETT, FORD CEO:  Early, I saw the chemistry between the two of us.  
There was a humility from both of us about these kinds of situations and
how we could learn together and make progress.  

LEBEAU:  The first electric vehicle developed by Ford and Volkswagen is
scheduled to roll out in Europe sometime around 2023.  By then, both
automakers believe they will be garnering major savings, which will help
them as they steer through an uncertain time in the auto industry.  



GRIFFETH:  The dull days of summer may be over sooner than expected in the nation`s housing market.  The supply of homes for sale, which had been
increasing, could turn lower again soon, and that will likely mean the
return of bidding wars.

Diana Olick has the details and the strategies.  


DIANA OLICK, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT:  After a year of searching for the perfect northern Virginia home, Taylor Frank and his wife finally found it, and so did six other buyers.

TAYLOR FRANK, BUYER WHO WON BIDDING WAR:  We knew we were going to have to come in pretty hot, and that`s what we did.

OLICK:  They waved all contingencies and even offered a bit more than what they thought the house was worth which was risky.

FRANK:  If the appraisal had not come back at a price similar to what we
ended up paying for it, we`re going to have to pay that cash out of pocket
which we didn`t really want to do.  

OLICK:  Bidding wars like this had been slowing dramatically, thanks to
more listings nationally.  

Just 12 percent of offers written by Redfin faced a bidding war in June,
down from 52 percent a year ago.  But now, the supply of homes for sale is
not growing as much and housing demand is rising as more rates sink.  So,
bidding wars are coming back.  

It`s especially competitive in more moderately-priced markets like Oklahoma City, Richmond, Memphis, Buffalo and Atlanta, where supply is now significantly lower than a year ago.

HARRISON BEACHER, KELLER WILLIAMS CAPITAL PROPERTIES:  A lot of our clients looking for what everybody else is looking for.

OLICK:  Even in pricier D.C. where Beacher works, the supply of homes for
sale had been up 24 percent in January, but now it is up just 7 percent.  
So, he is coaching his clients to make sure they are ready financially.  

BEACHER:  We always tell our clients to look in the mirror and not out the
window.  That means understanding your financial capacity first.  

OLICK:  And ready to sharpen their bidding tactics.  

BEACHER:  Some of our buyers will research the seller`s on LinkedIn, try to find some type of personal connection that they can have, and when writing a letter to a company their offer, they`re looking to make some detailed and personal connection or compliment about the home.

OLICK:  And the letter can`t just be, “I love the house.” you have to have
a narrative, project the arc of your life and how the house fits into it
and don`t be too cheesy and no pictures.  Those could cause legal issues.  

BEACHER:  That does run the risk of a possible housing violation.

OLICK:  Frank and his wife wrote a letter saying they wanted to start a
family in the home.  Turns out the sellers had done that too, perhaps why
the Franks won the home.  

For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Diana Olick in Washington.  


HERERA:  Coming up, record levels don`t seem to scare this week`s market
monitor because he has three Dow components he says you need to own.  


HERERA:  Amazon`s annual sales extravaganza prime day is almost here again and it seems to get bigger every day.  The company`s prime day kicks off 3:00 a.m. Eastern Time Monday and it runs for 48 hours, up from 36 hours last year.  But while Amazon may have created the day, Courtney Reagan tells us hundreds of rival retailers are offering competing discounts, too.


COURTNEY REAGAN, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT:  July used to be a quiet month for retail.  Not anymore.  Prime members in 18 countries, one more than in 2018, will be able to shop more than a million deals, some of which will be available only for part of the two-day event.

Amazon doesn`t release exact sales figures and while it is still a smaller
online sales day than Cyber Monday or Black Friday, analysts are still
projecting a big day.  

RJ HOTTOVY, MORNINGSTAR:  We could see a 50 percent bump up from last year to something in the $6.3 billion to $6.5 billion.  The membership and subscription fees that Prime members are paying to Amazon is up almost 25 percent each of the last two years.  And I think that`s going to continue with the different offerings out there, again, you know, Kindle, Audible, the subscription boxes that sort of pop up on the site.

REAGAN:  Estimates for the number of U.S. prime households range from
around 60 million to 100 million.  Since you have to be a member to get
Prime Day deals, Amazon uses the event to attract new signups.  

GERALD STORCH, STORCH ADVISORS CEO:  It is a recruitment vehicle,
recruitment for Amazon to get people to sign up for Prime, a lot of what
they feature would be Alexa-enabled devices to get you hooked and all of
the other services.  

REAGAN:  Prime members are valuable.  One survey shows Amazon shoppers that are Prime members spend more than double what non-Prime Amazon shoppers spend in a year.

Prime Day is not just a big day for Amazon either.  It has created a halo
effect for rivals.  EBay, Walmart, Target, Macy`s, Best Buy and many others
have competing deals.  In fact, Target says Prime Day 2018 was one of its
biggest digital days of the year.  This year, Adobe Analytics predicts
large U.S. retailers could see sales surge 79 percent compared to an
average Monday or Tuesday in July.  

And if Amazon site crashes again this year, like it did for hours last
Prime Day, that opens up even more opportunity for competing retailers.  

For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT”, I`m Courtney Reagan.  


GRIFFETH:  Oracle loses out on a government cloud contract, and that`s
where we begin tonight`s “Market Focus” with a federal judge dismissing
Oracle`s allegations that the Pentagon`s bidding process for that $10
billion cloud computing contract was tainted by conflicts of interest.  

What this means is Oracle is now eliminated from the process, leaving just
Amazon and Microsoft to compete for that contract.  Oracle shares were down a fraction today to $59.1.  Both Amazon and Microsoft shares up a fraction.

The parent of Budweiser, AB InBev is now delaying its IPO in Asia due to
weak investor interest.  It was expected to be the largest of the year,
raising near $10 billion.  AB InBev fell more than 3 percent on the news to

And the Justice Department has reportedly opened a criminal probe into
Johnson & Johnson.  Bloomberg reports that a grand jury is looking through
documents to see if the pharmaceutical company had any knowledge of
possible cancer risk from its talc-based products.  Johnson & Johnson has
repeatedly denied that those products caused cancer.  The stock fell more
than 4 percent today to $134.30.  

HERERA:  United Airlines will now be extending its Boeing 737 MAX
groundings until early November.  The carrier plans to cancel about 2,100
flights in September, 2,900 flights in October as well.  The shares were up
nearly 2 percent to $91.23.  

Shares of Illumina fell after the genetics company lowered revenue guidance due to problems with its direct-to-consumer market and lower sales of its sequencing systems.  Illumina fell more than 16 percent to $305.05.

The industrial equipment maker Hillenbrand brand is buying plastic maker Milacron for $2 billion.  That move will expand Hillenbrand`s portfolio into plastics technology.  Milacron soared nearly 24 percent to $16.75.

And the Federal Trade Commission reportedly has approved a $5 billion
settlement with Facebook over the social media company`s privacy issues.  
The investigation centered on reports that nearly 90 million Facebook users had their data improperly accessed by the political research firm,
Cambridge Analytica, last year.  Facebook rose about 2 percent to $204.87.  

GRIFFETH:  Time for our weekly market monitor.  He has names of growth
stocks he says can weather the latest market volatility.  This is his first
time on the program.  

We welcome Greg Hahn.  He is president and chief investment officer at
Winthrop Capital Management.  

Greg, good to see you.  Thanks for joining us tonight.  


GRIFFETH:  And as it happens, these are all three Dow components.  We start with Disney.  Now, I can imagine that people are not going to exactly buy it for the yield because it is only 1 percent and the stock is at an all-
time high right now.  

But obviously you think there`s more growth there to be had, yes?  

HAHN:  Yes.  We have weathered the storm with Disney, but it is at a
critical turning point and we think the potential now with Disney Plus and
the growth in the subscriber base is going to be meaningful not only for
revenue growth but also for their operating margins.  

HERERA:  Next on the list is Nike.  You say their revenue growth is
accelerating.  The stock has done pretty well, up about, let`s see, 15
percent, 16 percent for this year.  But you still think there`s room for

HAHN:  Nike is a shift in an apparel company to almost a technology
company.  So their move into this direct-to-consumer marketplace and being able to buy direct and still balance the traditional retail distribution is
going to be — I think they can manage it well, and that`s a huge growth
opportunity.  The other thing is the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will be a big
catalyst for sales.  

GRIFFETH:  And finally, Cisco, you like this one.  It has been in a tough
category lately, but it has done well in the last several months, and they
just made a huge acquisition this week, $3 billion as well.  What do you
like here?  

HAHN:  So this was a recent addition this year, and we really — we built
it because of the 5G play out.  We are looking to make a play in the 5G
space, but we also like their position in cloud technology.  So the
acquisition of Acacia Communications helps build out the fiber optic piece
and it also gives them an entry point into China, which up to this point
they had minimal exposure into the China market.  

HERERA:  As bill mentioned, we are sitting at all-time highs.  It has been
a record week.  

Do you think this market has substantially more to run, especially if the
Fed does cut rates?  

HAHN:  Yes, so our whole thesis this year is actually declines in earnings
growth.  So we are pulling risk out of the portfolio.  These are three
ideas we have that we really like because there is catalysts for earnings
growth.  But throughout the market that`s not the story.  It is really try
to button down and play defense going into the second half of the year.  

GRIFFETH:  Very good.  Greg Hahn with Winthrop Capital Management.  Again, thanks for joining us tonight, Greg.

HAHN:  Thank you.  

HERERA:  Investors are calling cannabis the new gold rush, but there is a
brazen illegal threat to that booming industry.  Up next, a special
investigation, weed killers.  


GRIFFETH:  The booming business of cannabis is what many investors have been calling the new gold rush, but with those potential riches comes this reality.  There`s a much bigger boom in the black market for weed that is crippling legal sales, and as a result only a fraction of total cannabis
demand is being met due to the illicit market.  So what is really going on
inside unlicensed dispensaries which play by their own rules?  

Melissa Lee has a CNBC investigation tonight, “Weed Killers”.  


MELISSA LEE, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT:  It is a weekday afternoon in Los Angeles, the epicenter of cannabis in the United States. This busy dispensary is open for business.


LEE:  But if everything looks normal, it isn`t.  This is, in fact, an
unlicensed, illegal dispensary, part of the booming black market in
California and around the country.  It is what the cannabis industry says
could be the biggest threat to sky-high expected revenues.  

STEVE WHITE, HARVEST HEALTH CEO:  The legal cannabis market in a very short period of time can grow from zero to somewhere in the neighborhood of $50 billion to $75 billion.

LEE:  That optimism faces this reality, an estimated $70 billion in illegal
marijuana sales nationally, seven times the legal market.  

Case in point, California.  Early projections of more than $1 billion in
annual cannabis tax receipts in 2018 are far from the $345 million
collected.  That`s in large part because the illegal market can easily
undercut the cost of running licensed dispensaries.  It`s not hard to see

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You guys ready?  




LEE:  A team of CNBC producers equipped with hidden cameras visited ten
illegal dispensaries throughout L.A., most aren`t hard to find and they`re
open day and night.  

They all have one thing in common.  They are brazenly breaking the law,
operating with no license, selling potentially untested products and
allowing customers to openly consume.  

In this illegal dispensary down the street from the University of Southern
California, customers are dabbing, smoking a highly potent cannabis
concentrate.  And if you want free weed, this store and others were happy
to give it away.  As the signs say, all you need to do is write a positive
review on Weedmaps, an online site that lists both legal and illegal
dispensaries around the country.  

CLERK:  If you do a, OK, right here.  A five star review on Weedmaps, you
get a top shelf joint.


LEE:  Despite a daily limit on the amount of cannabis stores can sell to a
customer, you can buy as much as you want at many of the illegal

PRODUCER:  So what, we can get as much as we want?  

CLERK:  You can get as much as you want.

PRODUCER:  There`s no limit?  

CLERK:  No.  

LEE:  We did not buy anything from the dispensaries.  

PATRICIA HEER, CANNABIS LAW DIGEST:  The black market is a huge problem, and some say it is a 70 to 80 percent of sales and it is a big threat.  And so a lot of states are thinking about how do we alleviate it?  The two
things, it is price and convenience.  

LEE:  And nowhere are legal operators feeling the impact more than in
California, the country`s largest legal cannabis market where voters passed Proposition 64 in 2016.  Businesses had to be in compliance with the
license by January.  That clearly didn`t happen.  

We showed a compilation of our video to Los Angeles City Attorney Mike
Feuer. Any surprises to you?

MIKE FEUER, LOS ANGELES CITY ATTORNEY:  No, I know there are unlawful dispensaries operating in the city.  It might be some of the locations you just showed me are under investigation right now.

LEE:  How big of a problem is this?  

FEUER:  It`s a very significant problem, and from a public health and
safety standpoint, it is especially crucial that buyers of cannabis only go
to the licensed shops.  

LEE:  An illegal store can rake in $10,000 to $20,000 a day authorities
say.  So far, 151 illegal dispensaries have been shut down with more
criminal prosecutions pending.  

None of the illegal dispensaries we visited responded to our request for

The danger in these illegal stores is potentially unregulated products,
like these sold to unsuspecting customers.  Legal dispensaries are required
to sell regulated products which are tested.  

This is exactly why legal store owners like Cameron Wald, executive vice
president of Project Cannabis, is outraged at how bold the black market has

CAMERON WALD, PROJECT CANNABIS EXEC. VP:  We`re facing, especially in California and in L.A. specifically, an illicit market that is extremely
strong.  We are outnumbered three to one, illicit operator to legal
operator.  So, we have outrageous price compression we have to see at our

LEE:  How much easier do you think it is to operate as an illegal
dispensary compared to what you go through?  

WALD:  It is a lot easier.  They had no compliance standards.  They had no
permitting process.  They had no documentation.  No legal process that they had to go through.

LEE:  So, they`re breaking the law, potentially threatening the health of
consumers and they`re threatening your business.  

WALD:  Correct.  

LEE:  And they`re doing this in plain sight?  

WALD:  In plain sight.  

LEE:  As we found in all of the dispensaries in which our cameras captured
illegal activity, it appears the boom in the black market in cannabis isn`t
going away any time soon.  


GRIFFETH:  Now, there are currently 186 licensed dispensaries in Los
Angeles with more than 250 illegal ones according to the police, but
realistically, no one really knows the exact number.  As far as Weedmaps,
that company tells us it provides a valuable service to the cannabis

HERERA:  Before we go, here is a look at the record day on Wall Street once
again.  The Dow rose about 244 points to 27,332, the Nasdaq climbed 48, and the S&P 500 added 13 and closed above 3,000 for the first time.  All of
three indexes solidly higher on the week.  

GRIFFETH:  That is NBR for tonight.  I`m Bill Griffeth.  Thanks for

HERERA:  I`m Sue Herera.  Have a great weekend.  


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