Transcript: Nightly Business Report – July 17, 2019

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

RAHEL SOLOMON, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR:  Streaming shift.  Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) reports a decline in new subscribers, surprising investors and pressuring the stock.

BILL GRIFFETH, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR:  Economic puzzle.  The CEO of one of the nation`s biggest railroads is having a hard time making sense of this economy, and it could point to a broader slowdown.

SOLOMON:  And the heat is on.  Temperatures are rising across most of the
country, and if it lasts a while it could impact parts of the economy.  

Those stories and more tonight on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for Wednesday, July 17th.

Good evening, everyone.  I`m Rahel Solomon, in tonight for Sue Herera.  

GRIFFETH:  And we welcome you back once again.  

SOLOMON:  Thank you.  

GRIFFETH:  I`m Bill Griffeth.  

Every investor knows that earnings matter and we were reminded of that
again this evening when Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) reported its latest quarterly results.  The company has been growing quarter after quarter, adding more subscribers than expected each time.  But that`s not what happened tonight. The streaming service undershot its own guidance, blaming price hikes and its content offerings.

And it doesn`t help that the company has been burning through cash to fuel the creation of its own original shows.  Not surprisingly, investors were
disappointed.  They sent the stock sharply lower in initial after-hours
trading tonight.  

Julia Boorstin has more.  


(NASDAQ:NFLX) shares plummeting on subscriber additions more than 2 million less than the company projected, just 2.7 million total new subscribers, and in the U.S., Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) actually lost 130,000 subscribers.

The company is saying it forecasts more in regions of price increases,
blaming the shortfall even more though on the lack of big shows in second
quarter.  CEO Reed Hastings saying in his letter to shareholders that they
expect paid memberships in the U.S. to return to more typical growth in the
third quarter, with the start of the strong thanks to big shows including
“Stranger Things.”  One the flip side of the second quarter`s disappointing
numbers, Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) projecting the addition of 7 million
subscribers in the third quarter.  That`s higher than projected.  

For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Julia Boorstin in Los Angeles.  


SOLOMON:  Investors had a different reaction to results from Dow components IBM.  The company reported better than expected second quarter earnings, even as revenue fell from a year ago.  For the quarter, weakness in its legacy business was offset by growth in its cloud operations and investors were OK with that, sending shares higher initially in after-hours trading.

Josh Lipton has the details.  


JOSH LIPTON, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT:  One area of focus for IBM investors, those newer technologies like cloud and analytics, those are grouped together in the company`s so-called cloud and cognitive software division, and that was up about 4 percent.

Moshe Katri of Wedbush says that was a good news.  On the other hand, Katri says the margin improvement we saw this quarter actually came from less important areas of the company like services and global financing.
Net/net, it is why Katri actually called this a mixed quarter.  He
maintains a hold on IBM.  

For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Josh Lipton in San Francisco.  


GRIFFETH:  On Wall Street today, the focus was on earnings and trade.  
Stocks were under pressure most of this session, but they fell even further
late in the day on a report from the “Wall Street Journal” that progress on
a trade deal with China has stalled over issues involving controversial
Chinese telecom giant Huawei.  

By the close, the industrial average lost 115 points.  We are down to
27,219.  Nasdaq was down 37, the S&P slipped by 19.  

Now, even after today`s decline, stocks are still near those new highs that
were set on Monday, but as earning season gets underway in earnest, Mike
Santoli asks whether this aging bull market is going to begin to slow down
or get a second wind.  


MIKE SANTOLI, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT:  Fresh from the Dow crossing 27,000 and the S&P 500 passing 3,000 for the first time ever, the stock market is in close sight of another rare milestone, for a further gain of less than 4 percent, the S&P 500 will have doubled its peak level from the prior bull market.

In October 2007, the index topped 1,565, just a few percent above its
earlier peak in March of 2000.  So a 100 percent gain from there lies just
above the 3,100 mark.  Only the bull markets of the 1950s, `80s and `90s
achieved such a doubling of the prior cycle`s highest value, so what
happened next?  

Well, the good news is none of those other strong bull markets stopped once they hit this point.  The `50s boom would ultimate rise nearly 200 percent from the old peak.  In the `80s, the ultimate game was 140 percent, and the stunning run in the `90s delivered better than a 300 percent surge from the 1980`s market peak.

So, once the market got to this milestone in the past, concerns started to
build that it was overheating.  In the `80s, this threshold was reached in
early 1987, in the furious rally that preceded the October market collapse
that year which quickly recovered but still served as a traumatic setback.  
In the `90s, the point came late in 1996 just as the Fed`s Alan Greenspan
suggested that irrational exuberance gripped the market, yet, stocks, they
continued higher in volatile fashion for another three years thereafter.  

The more immediate issue now is the market`s valuation after a ten-year
bull run.  At nearly 20 times the past year`s earnings, the S&P 500 is on
the expensive side, suggesting long-term returns from here will likely be
unimpressive.  But for now, investors are pleased the Fed is likely to cut
rates to prolong an economic expansion and a corporate profit cycle that
have already humbled the skeptics for years.  

For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Mike Santoli at the New York Stock


SOLOMON:  Focus was also on the transportation sector after CSX (NYSE:CSX) issued weak guidance, which you might remember we told you about last night.  The stock fell 10 percent, its biggest one-day drop since 2008, and that has some wondering if this critical sector of the economy is warning of a freight recession.  Frank Holland has that part of the story.


FRANK HOLLAND, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT:  With unemployment near record lows, inflation a nonfactor and retail sales rising, all signs are pointing to a strong U.S. economy.  The transportation sector however may be pointing to something else.  Railroads and other logistical companies are the life blood of the company, moving goods across the country.  The more they move, the stronger the economy.

But that`s not what is happening at one of the biggest railroad operators.  
The CEO of CSX (NYSE:CSX) warning business won`t be as strong as expected for the rest of the year, leading to concerns of a potential freight
recession, an indicator the U.S. economy as a whole is slowing down.  

JAMES FOOTE, CSX (NYSE:CSX) CEO:  The present economic backdrop is one of the most puzzling I have experienced in my career.  Many of our industrial customers` volumes continuing to show weakness with no concrete signs of these trends changing.

HOLLAND:  CSX (NYSE:CSX) isn`t alone.  Knight Swift, the largest trucking
company in the U.S., lowered its earnings guidance for the year, setting an
over capacity of trucks on the market.  JB Hunt, the U.S. leader in
container shipments by truck, said that business fell more than 7 percent
in first half of the year and its nonpaid loads — that`s empty trucks —
increased by 16 percent for the quarter.  

Tariffs and trade tensions disrupted normal loads and led to backups at
warehouses.  August is typically when freight traffic ramps up as retailers
of import goods for holiday shopping.

However, contract trucking rates are expected to fall through the rest of
the year, possibly a sign of a broader slowdown.  

And tomorrow, Union Pacific (NYSE:UNP) reports earnings.  It is a major
rail operator at West Coast ports where imports from China are brought in.  
On Friday, Kansas City Southern (NYSE:SO) (NYSE:KSU), a major rail operator for trade from Mexico.  We`ll be watching closely for what these companies say about their business and the freight market as a whole.



GRIFFETH:  Joining us now to talk about what he sees ahead for the stock
market, Phil Blancato is back with us.  He`s CEO of Ladenburg Pullman Asset Management.

Phil, good to see you again.  Thanks for joining us tonight.  


GRIFFETH:  So, here we are, near all-time highs for the stock market and
yet certain sectors are slowing down.  What do you make of this dichotomy

BLANCATO:  You know, I think this is really an unusual event.  Think about
it.  We had no earnings growth at all this year, probably negative earnings
growth at the end of the second quarter, for the second quarter, and yet
the stock market is up over 20 percent.  So, what it tells me is there`s
real weakness in the underpinnings of the U.S. economy, not in the
consumer.  That`s what is holding it up, doesn`t mean recession.  

But as far as the ability to grow company earnings, it has weakened out.  
And for that reason, I have real concerns about the stock market.  

HERERA:  And so, Phil, even you just said, you know, unusual when
describing this economy.  How do you advise your investors in this type of

BLANCATO:  Move (NASDAQ:MOVE) to neutral.  We have made a lot of money this year and over this amazing bull market, nearly doubling, if you made those kind of returns and they`re not normal to make this kind of return on a regular, consistent basis, take some profits.  Move (NASDAQ:MOVE) back to a neutral position and then let`s see what happens with the Fed, with China, with the earnings cycle, with the consumer, with employment, all of the things that matter to the improvement of the economy.

But for now, take some money off the table because there are signs that
we`re slowing down.  You just named a few.  

GRIFFETH:  We certainly heard from plenty of companies that attribute some of their uncertainties to the trade issues.  But how much will the Fed help if, in fact, we get a Fed rate cut later this month?

BLANCATO:  Well, the Fed`s mandate is a little bit confusing right now,
because on one hand, we have full employment.  So that mission has been
solved.  On the other side, they want to make sure inflation is stable, not
runaway, we certainly don`t have runaway inflation.  

Their concern is that we don`t have enough inflation.  For that reason,
there`s a chance they cut.  I actually don`t think they will, I think they
will pass one more month.  However, the Fed could come in and stimulate by creating a stronger borrowing cycle.

What the market needs is a catalyst.  If interest rates go down, maybe the
consumer starts to buy homes and lever up and buy more goods, corporations issue more debt to grow their bottom line rather than maintain it.

So, the Fed could throw a lifeline by lowering interest rates.  I`m just
not convinced it`s enough to drive the market higher in the short term.  

SOLOMON:  And, Phil, you have already outlined some concerns for the
market.  Anything you think at least in the short term other than the Fed
cutting interest rates that might further stimulate the market?  

BLANCATO:  That`s a great question.  Today, there was a number watching
this week, number about retail sales.  You see, the one thing we always
forget is that 70 percent of our economy is driven by us, the consumer.  

The consumer has a high savings rate right now.  If the consumer starts to
spend and starts to borrow, which we saw a little bit of that this week,
that`s a game changer.  Then, suddenly, we have a catalyst to drive things

Couple that with the Fed getting maybe a little bit easier and the
potential of a tariff deal — that`s a big one — if there is some
negotiation that prolongs, is going to take some time, those three things
coupled together would drive the market higher.  Not one of them by
themselves I don`t think, but if we get relief by all three we will go
higher.  I am just not expecting it as of right now.  

GRIFFETH:  Phil Blancato with Ladenburg Thalmann Asset Management — good to see you again, Phil.  Thanks.

BLANCATO:  Thank you.  

SOLOMON:  And time to look at some of today`s “Upgrades and Downgrades”.  

ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) was upgraded to buy from neutral at Bank of
America (NYSE:BAC) Merrill Lynch.  The analyst cites the company`s exposure to the Brent oil market.  The price target is $75.  Shares rose a fraction to $59.78.

Hershey was upgraded to neutral from sell at Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS).  The analyst cites the decision by rival Mars to raise prices.  The price target
is $142.  The stock rose 3.5 percent to $145.71.  

GRIFFETH:  KB Home (NYSE:KBH) was upgraded to outperform from inline at Evercore ISI.  The analyst cited improving demand and the company`s focus on entry level housing.  That firm says that the stock is well-positioned heading into earnings reporting season.  Stocks rose slightly to $26.80.

Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) was downgraded to neutral from outperform at
Macquarie, with the analyst citing the bank`s higher expense guidance
following that earnings report that we told you about yesterday.  Price
target now, $47.  That stock was down a fraction to $45.21.  

SOLOMON:  Still ahead — king dollar, the IMF warns that the currency is
too strong but what does it mean for you and the things you buy everyday?  


SOLOMON:  New reports point to a sluggish housing market.  Housing starts fell 0.9 percent last month, while permits to build more homes were down more than 16 percent.  That`s the lowest level in two years.  Permits are often viewed as a sign of how much construction is in the pipeline.

A separate report shows that foreign purchases of American homes fell 36
percent from the previous year.  The National Association of Realtors cites
slower economic growth abroad, tighter capital controls in China and also a stronger U.S. dollar.

GRIFFETH:  Elsewhere, the Federal Reserve`s latest assessment of the
economy, called the Beige Book, was released today and it showed wide
spread concern about tariffs.  Businesses across the country said the trade
issues were creating uncertainty and that uncertainty may be starting to
delay business investment, rising input and labor costs were also an issue
as was the difficulty in finding workers to fill open positions.  

Despite those concerns though, the survey found that the economy did expand at a modest pace from mid-May through early July.

SOLOMON:  The International Monetary Fund said today that the U.S. dollar is overvalued by 6 percent to 12 percent.  That analysis was part of the organization`s annual assessment of the currencies and deficits of major economies.  As you know, President Trump has often said that dollar
strength is hurting our economy by slowing U.S. exports.  

GRIFFETH:  Dan Roccato joins us to talk about what a strong dollar means
for the economy and for you.  He is president of Quaker Wealth Management.  

Dan, welcome to NBR tonight.  Thanks for joining us.  


GRIFFETH:  You know, for years, treasury secretaries have said that a
strong dollar is in the best interests of the U.S. economy, but now,
there`s a lot of handwringing about that.  Is it the case still or not?  

ROCCATO:  It depends on whose interest you`re talking about.  

So, from a consumer perspective, a strong dollar is terrific, like getting
a pay raise without getting anymore money in your paycheck, because when you and I, and Rahel go to a store and buy imported goods, they`re a lot cheaper, right?  So, for you and I as consumers, at least in the short
term, a strong dollar is a good thing.  

And it also, throughout the economy, ripples through and lowers the overall pressure on inflation.  Again, we would think that`s a good thing, at least in the short term.


ROCCATO:  And finally, grab your passport, go on sale because Europe is on
sale.  It is a great time to be a tourist with a strong dollar, right,
because your dollar goes further in overseas markets.  

SOLOMON:  Dan, what about from corporations?  So, we have already heard from a number of companies this earning season point to the strong U.S. dollar, how it is hurting their earnings.  How does it impact companies?

ROCCATO:  Yes, bingo.  

So for every winner, maybe there`s a loser, and in this case, when we talk
about companies, the reality is that most of our companies now are
multinational, you know, global companies like Nike (NYSE:NKE), for
example, where they get a big percentage of their sales from overseas
consumers, overseas customers.  

Well, guess what?  If the dollar is stronger, that means those overseas
consumers are probably going to buy less of those products, and even if
they buy the same amount of those products, when we convert it back to
dollars, those companies will feel it in the bottom line because they`re
getting less dollars for that product.  

GRIFFETH:  And many times now with the dollar doing what it is doing and
other currencies around the world, companies have to make the decision, do we make things here in the U.S. or do we make them overseas where it might be cheaper.

But now you have these tariffs to deal with as well.  

ROCCATO:  Exactly.  So it doesn`t make a CFO`s job any easier, Bill, right?  
So, this stuff is complicated.  But we also like to think of it in the
short term and long term.  In the short term, a strong dollar certainly
benefits a lot of Americans.  There`s no doubt about it.  

In the long term, though, it does make our businesses somewhat less
competitive and in fact, one could argue we might lose jobs in the long
term, right, because as the jobs move overseas or, you know, U.S. factories
shut down, clearly, that`s not a good thing.  So in the long term, what
could be a virtuous cycle in the beginning becomes a vicious cycle later

GRIFFETH:  Dan Roccato with Quaker Wealth Management — good stuff on the strong dollar.  Thanks for joining us to night.

ROCCATO:  You got it, guys.  Thanks.  Have a good night.  

SOLOMON:  And the consumer helps results at Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), and that`s where we begin tonight`s “Market Focus”.

The bank reported better than expected earnings and revenue, thanks to a
stronger retail banking performance.  But the company`s net interest income fell slightly below Wall Street`s expectation as B of A sees a possible hit from rate cuts by the Federal Reserve.  Shares were up a fraction to

Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) is facing an investigation by the European Commission into the company`s dealings with third party merchants.  The commission plans to look at whether Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) is breaking antitrust rules by abusing its power as both an independent seller and retailer of its own products.  Separately, Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) says this year`s prime days exceeded last year`s Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales combined, selling more than 175 billion items.  Shares were down a fraction to $1,992.03.

PNC Financial beat estimates, thanks to a rise in interest income and
loans.  The regional lenders saw its loan portfolio increase more than 6
percent in the quarter, led by commercial lending.  The stock was up a
fraction to $139.68.  

GRIFFETH:  Strong borrowing also helped U.S. Bancorp (NYSE:USB)`s results top expectations, residential mortgage and credit card loans were key in those categories.  Stock rose more than 2 percent as a result to $54.22

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is partnering with AT&T (NYSE:T) in a multi-year cloud deal reportedly worth more than $2 billion.  AT&T (NYSE:T) will now use Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT)`s Azure cloud system, as well as a Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) 365 package that includes Windows X and Office applications. Software that both companies will also collaborate on future 5G products. Both Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and AT&T (NYSE:T) shares were down a fraction in today`s trade.

Then after the bell, eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) posted better than expected
earnings, but its gross merchandise volume fell.  The company did however
raise guidance for down the road.  Shares initially rose in after-hours
trading tonight, but they did close the regular session down more than 2
percent to $39.03.  

SOLOMON:  A stifling heat wave is taking shape across large portions of the
country from the plains to New England.  Nearly 90 percent of the
population could see temperatures of at least 90 degrees at some point over
the next week.  Several cities including Chicago, Detroit, New York and
Washington, D.C. could see the highest temperatures of the summer.  

Joining us now to discuss the economic impact is Paul Walsh.  He is global
director of weather strategy with IBM services.  

Paul, thanks so much for being with us.  


SOLOMON:  So, when do we start to see the economic impact of the stifling

WALSH:  Well, yes, it is a great question because we actually start to see
the impact of the heat before the heat gets here.  Part of the reason is
because the weather forecasts are getting really, really good and most of
us are walking around with a mobile phone, so we are all expecting it.  So
people are already planning for this heat.  

Of course, by the time we get into the weekend — it is already hot now,
frankly — but by the time we get into this weekend, it`s going to be —
we`re going to be seeing the hottest temperatures we have seen in several
years in the big cities in the northeast.  So, it`s going to be a very,
very significant impact.  But it`s not going to be as big of an impact as
it could be if it lasted longer than what we`re currently expecting.  

GRIFFETH:  Give us an example.  I mean, people who work out side, they
might not be out there for long or, you know, other areas where the heat
might impact various companies.  

WALSH:  Yes.  I mean, of course, the heat is going to impact everything
that happens out doors.  So whether it is people going golfing, maybe not
going golfing as much, outdoor entertainment venues, people are going to be staying in.  So, it`s going to have an impact in terms of where people are
going, and it`s going to have an impact on what kind of things they`re
going to be buying.  So, there`s a broader sort of economic impact.  

And, of course, people working outdoors, there`s health impacts, you know, the impact of heat waves is actually one of the biggest killers out there, much more so than things like hurricanes and tornados if you have long-lasting heat waves.  The economic impact, the health impact can be really significant.  So, we are fortunate at least in this instance that it`s not
going to be a very long duration of that.  

SOLOMON:  And, Paul, honing in more specifically on the Midwest.  You know, it seems not too long ago, we were talking about record flooding in the Midwest and how that impacted crops.  What does heat like this do to that area in the crops?

WALSH:  Well, you know, I think there`s a little bit of a silver lining
here as it relates to this specific event.  Of course, we are seeing crop
conditions now that are the worst we`ve seen since 2012 because of that
rain, because of the impact on field work.  This kind of weather, if it
lasted for a long time just like the other impacts I talked about could be
very bad, but in this case, it`s going to help to dry out some of those

So, the warming and the heat that we`re going the see is going to help I
think contribute to catching up, or helping the crops catch up to getting
to harvest.  

GRIFFETH:  Is there a time of year — I mean, we expect heat this time of
year, you know.  So, retailers have to plan for that.  Other companies, the
— gets this hot, is there a way you can plan ahead so that you can
minimize some of the economic impact that would otherwise occur?  

WALSH:  Yes, more and more businesses, retailers, consumer package good
companies, et cetera, are using weather information, using analytics, using
A.I. to be able to better anticipate exactly what the impact is going to be
on consumers and demand.  And then using those insights, those proactive
insights to make sure that they have enough of the right products, for
example, in the stores to meet the demand that`s going to be caused, not
too much of the kind of products that will not be selling because of this
kind of an event, and just in general leveraging technology across the
board to be better prepared to help people better deal with this.  

It`s both consumers, retail as well as government.  It is really a function
of our ability to better leverage data and analytics to be able to
anticipate these events.  

SOLOMON:  OK.  Paul Walsh with IBM Services, we certainly do appreciate
your time this evening.  Thank you.  

WALSH:  Thank you.  

GRIFFETH:  And coming up, how technology is reshaping the fast food
industry and driving sales in the process.  


SOLOMON:  We reported yesterday that Domino`s Pizza is getting squeezed by an increase in competition from delivery services like Uber Eats and Grubhub.  As many fast food chains focus on delivery, they`re also going high tech to increase sales.  The strategy revolves around a kiosk.

Kate Rogers (NYSE:ROG) explains.  


KATE ROGERS, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT:  Technological makeovers restaurants around the world are getting these days almost involve kiosks that allow customers to personalize orders and place them quickly.  The upgrades can be seen in restaurants from McDonald`s, to Panera and Taco Bell, and new data suggests they`re working.

Tillster, a digital ordering solutions and analytics firm, teamed up with
research firm SSI and asked 2,000 consumers to gauge their take on kiosk
technology.  Overall usage is up 6 percent in the last 12 months with more
than a third of customers saying they`ve used the kiosk in the past year,
and 30 percent say they prefer them over cashiers if line lengths are

The tech is resonating with customers across age demographics.

GRANT GILMORE, AGE 18:  It is simpler to do that than to talk and try to
communicate with another person, as weird as that sounds.  

KRISTI ALEXANDER, AGE 47:  I think it`s more convenient.  

ROGERS:  Self-serve kiosks can be costly to install, anywhere from $1,000
to $20,000 up front, along with several hundred dollars per month in fees,
but analysts say the investment can be well worth it.  

R.J. HOTTOVY, MORNINGSTAR RESTAURANT ANALYST:  When customers have a little more time and have a full chance to go through the menu, you typically see between a 5 percent and 10 percent increase in the average transaction size with kiosks.

ROGERS:  Turnover is notoriously high in the restaurant industry and the
labor market is historically tight.  While kiosks aren`t necessarily a
replacement for workers, they may free them up to better serve customers.  

HOTTOVY:  The other thing with so many orders taking place digitally now,
it is a great way to communicate with your consumers directly at the point
of sale, which is something that really retailers and restaurants haven`t
had the opportunity to do before.  

ROGERS:  But some say they miss the good old days of just talking face-to-
face and do worry about kiosks eventually replacing workers.  

JOE SIGONA, AGE 72:  I would prefer to use the one that would create the
most jobs.  So if it is a person, I would rather have a person versus the
person not being there, versus the touch screen.  

MOLLIE KNOTT, AGE 19:  You kind of like have the more one-to-one
interaction, and I think it is just nice every now and again to talk to



GRIFFETH:  And finally tonight, the Washington Monument is taking on a
whole new look to mark the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon mission. A life size projection of the Saturn V rocket is being mapped against the monument.  The Saturn V was the tallest and most powerful rocket ever built.  It carried the Apollo 11 crew to the moon back in 1969.

SOLOMON:  What a sight that is.  

GRIFFETH:  Indeed.  

SOLOMON:  And that is NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for tonight.  I`m Rahel
Solomon.  Thanks for watching.  

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


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