ANNOUNCER: This is NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT with Sue Herera and Bill Griffeth.
BILL GRIFFETH, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR: Solid gains. Stocks get a lift, even as the bond market`s warning of a recession grow louder. But investors brush it off, at least for today.
SUE HERERA, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR: Record equity. Homeowners are sitting on a ton of cash. So why aren`t they tapping into it?
GRIFFETH: Houston, we have a problem. But a videogame maker found a solution, and he`s ready to give astronauts a helping hand.
Those stories and much more tonight on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for Wednesday, August 28th.
HERERA: Good evening, everyone, and welcome.
It was a head-scratching kind of day. Stocks rose sharply just as about everything got a lift. Banks, retailers, technology, energy, you name it, and it happened on a relatively quiet day that saw the bond market continue to flash a recession signal, an unusual phenomenon that we`ve been telling you about.
Today, investors brushed it off. So, here are the closing numbers. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 258 points to close back above 26,000. The Nasdaq gained 29 and the S&P 500 was up 18.
But what will it take for the bulls to stay in charge?
Bob Pisani put together a checklist.
BOB PISANI, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: Bulls can`t wait to get out of august. They`re hopeful for more stable, global economic data, more help from central bank easing. Most importantly, they`re hoping for no radical downward revisions for the earnings estimates for the third and fourth quarter.
Earnings are the key, and so far, other than notable downward revision in energy and materials, flattish earns for the S&P 500 remains the buzzword for 2019. That`s good enough for the market.
But the bears have plenty of ammunition. Trade wars are hurting growth and those earnings, and now lower yields have emerged as the new big worry for traders. They`re fretting it is a sign of even more global slowing.
Here is the problem with this. How can you worry about lower yields and at the same time home central banks are going to lower yields even more? How do you figure that out?
Central banks may not be the help the markets thought they would be.
Finally, even on an up day, there`s a growing list of new lows down here, including industrial and material names like 3M (NYSE:MMM) and Federal Express (NYSE:EXPR) and Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT), and Textron (NYSE:TXT), Freeport-McMoRan. All of these companies, what do they have in common? They`re all tied to the global economy.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Bob Pisani at the New York Stock Exchange.
GRIFFETH: A Federal Reserve official said today that the central bank is monitoring the impact of last month`s interest rate cut. Richmond Fed President Tom Barkin gave no clues about the future path of rates, but he did say that the domestic economy appears to be strong but that international economies are weaker and uncertainty is elevated, especially when it comes to trade.
HERERA: And today, more than 200 footwear companies urged President Trump to cancel the proposed higher tariffs on Chinese imports which take effect next month. The industry trade group said the tariffs act as a hidden tax that will hike consumer prices. And while duties on some Chinese imports were delayed until December, the majority of footwear lines face an additional 15 percent tariff on September 1st.
GRIFFETH: Chinese telecom company Huawei remains at the center of the trade dispute between the U.S. and China. As you know, there are restrictions on U.S. companies when it comes to doing business with Huawei, which the White House says is due to national security risks.
Well, today we were reminded once again of its importance.
Eunice Yoon is in Beijing for us tonight.
EUNICE YOON, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: One hundred thirty. That`s the number of applications the U.S. Commerce Department has reportedly received by American companies looking to continue to sell to Huawei.
Sources told “Reuters” that the Trump administration has not yet decided on whether to grant the licenses with progress on the trade deal so uncertain. Huawei won`t comment on the report except to say that the company hopes the U.S. would take it off the black list and end what Huawei describes as unjust treatment.
Meanwhile, Beijing is indicating it doesn`t want to provoke the White House with its currency. A central bank set the value of the Yuan stronger than expected for the second day in a row, suggesting it wants to keep it stable.
Separately, there`s been an interesting development on the political side that could very well affect the trade talks. Just in the past couple of days, the state media here has started using a title for President Xi Jinping that we normally don`t see. It`s Lingxiu, and suggests that the person has spiritual authority by combining pope and president into one.
People here are seeing this as a bad sign for a trade deal, because with this new title, how can President Xi Jinping be seen making concessions to the U.S.?
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Eunice Yoon in Beijing.
HERERA: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson today moved to shut down parliament for several weeks. This is in an effort to push through the U.K.`s exit from the European Union, even without an agreement in place. A so-called “hard Brexit” is what economists are concerned about, saying it could disrupt the global economy.
And in Italy, its political party struck a deal to form a new government that sidelines that hard-right leader. So, this could mean that Italy adheres to the trade bloc`s strict fiscal rules. And as you might know, Italy`s debt load is one of the largest in the eurozone.
GRIFFETH: Back here in the U.S., the consumer has been holding up pretty well, helping power the economy. But a closer look now shows that the wealthy consumers are actually starting to spend less and it`s creating an economic split.
Robert Frank has details.
ROBERT FRANK, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: For most of the past decade, the wealthy consumer was strongest and the working class lagged behind. Now, the economy has flipped.
The high-end segments of real estate, retail, art and cars are now the weakest, and the Walmart economy is the main driver of U.S. growth. Luxury real estate is having its worst year since the financial crisis. Sales of homes priced at $1.5 million or more falling by 5 percent in the second quarter.
There is now a three-year supply of mansions and luxury homes in Aspen, the Hamptons and Miami. Retailers to the 1 percent are falling behind Walmart, Costco (NASDAQ:COST) and Target (NYSE:TGT). Barneys filing for bankruptcy earlier this month.
Nordstrom (NYSE:JWN) posting three straight quarters of declines, and Neiman Marcus (NYSE:MCS) seeing its first sales drop in seven years.
Art auctions are down between 10 percent and 20 percent this year, and at the annual Pebble Beach car auction this month, more than half of the cars priced over $1 million failed to sell, while cars priced under $75,000 sold for far more than their estimates.
Spending by the ultra wealthy is now below 2017 levels, and the share of national spending by the top 10 percent is actually on a decline as middle class consumers pick up the slack. The top 10 percent still account for nearly half of all consumer outlays. So, as Mark Zandi of Moody`s writes: If high-income consumers pull back further on their spending, it will be a significant threat to the economic expansion.
Other economists are less worried about the fall-off, saying it is typical for the late stage of an economic cycle.
ETHAN HARRIS: At the beginning of the cycle, it`s great for the wealthy. You get huge profit gains. You get a roaring stock market. Collectibles go up in price dramatically.
Late in the cycle, Joe six-pack finally gets money. You get rising wages. The unemployment rate for minorities and low — low educated people goes down more than for other people. So, the economy`s in a natural rotation.
FRANK: Either way, spending by the wealthy is driven by confidence and certainty. And they`re not finding much of either in today`s global economy.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Robert Frank.
HERERA: So there has been a lot of talk in the past few weeks about recession warning, whether it is record low interest rates or that yield curve inversion, and now a decline in spending by wealthy consumers as Robert just mentioned. So, how reliable are those indicators? Is a recession on the horizon or not?
We have two opinions on that right now. Bill Lee joins us, chief economist at the Milken Institute. He says he does not believe a recession is coming. And David Sowerby, portfolio manager with Ancora Advisers, says he sees a recession hitting the U.S. sometime late next year.
WILLIAM LEE, MILKEN INSTITUTE CHIEF ECONOMIST: Thank you, Sue.
DAVID SOWERBY, ANCORA ADVISERS PORTFOLIO MANAGER: Thanks for having us.
HERERA: Bill, I`m going to start with you. You actually see the yield curve inversion as a bullish sign. How so?
LEE: Yes. Every time the yield curve has inverted in the past, it`s because the Fed has been driving up rates to try to slow the economy down. This time the yield curve is inverting because a lot of money from around the world is coming to the United States because the United States is where the highest returns are because capital can be used most productively here.
And as a bullish sign is that everybody is coming here because this is where the growth is, this is where the profits are, and this is where all of the returns are going to be.
GRIFFETH: David, what say you? What are you looking at that says maybe a recession next year sometime?
SOWERBY: Bill, two quick points.
One, we have not solved the business cycle. We will get recessions.
Second, I believe in the yield curve, and when you look at it the way I do, short-term rates, Fed fund rates, 2.1 percent, the ten-year treasury at 1.5 percent. Yes, the ten-year treasury has come down, but Fed funds have gone up from the zero level. We`ve got the equivalent with higher Fed funds and Fed reducing its balance sheet by anywhere from 300 to 350-basis-point hike in the underlying Fed funds rate from the blow point, including the balance sheet reduction.
Inverted yield curve, nine out of ten times, it`s got a great batting average, it gives us a recession. We simply don`t know exactly when, but I think it is within a year to a year and a half.
HERERA: Bill, over to you now. You know, the economic data does in general look strong, but we are seeing slowing in the manufacturing sector. Some say that manufacturing is in a recession. And as Robert Frank just reported, the wealthier consumer is starting to kind of pull back a little bit.
Wouldn`t that slow the economy?
LEE: Absolutely. In fact, we have a global slowdown going on. The question is, will this translate into a metastasized slowdown in the United States? And right now, the thing that holds it back is the consumer.
And Robert`s report is showing that even the consumer is starting to feel what is called the wealth effect. The stock market volatility is causing wealthy individuals to say I may not be as wealthy as I thought and I better start saving more.
But now, will that then translate into labor markets where companies start to layoff people? They start to cut back on hours. If that happens, truly you will get a slowdown in the United States and possibly a recession.
But so far, we have not seen any evidence that the regular man, the working stiff, who is going to work every day is going to have a lay-off ahead of him in the next six months to a year.
GRIFFETH: David, we should point out you`re not talking about a financial crisis like we saw ten years ago.
SOWERBY: Heavens no.
GRIFFETH: What kind of recession would you see this time around?
SOWERBY: Well, I`m a portfolio manager first and foremost. People never forecast dire recessions, as we saw in 2008, Bill. So, maybe on a one to ten scale, it`s about a six.
Where I get worried is in the corporate sector. I think debt levels have started to get too high. At the public sector level, even higher than that.
The consumer is in very good shape. Consumer free cash flow is very healthy. So, at the end of the day, it`s about a mild to average recession with the key being we never know exactly what the risk is that`s going to create one. But I think we haven`t saw the business cycle and we`re going to get one.
HERERA: All right. Gentlemen, we`ll leave it there and we`ll see what the Fed does coming up in September. Have this discussion once again.
SOWERBY: Thank you. Thank you, Sue.
LEE: Thanks for having us.
HERERA: William Lee with Milken Institute, David Sowerby with Ancora Advisers.
GRIFFETH: Time to look at some of today`s “Upgrades and Downgrades”.
Now, Papa John`s was upgraded today from buy to hold at Stifel Nicolaus. The analyst there cited the company`s brand new CEO, which we told you about yesterday. Price target now, $60. The stock rose 5 percent today to $50.40.
Autodesk (NASDAQ:ADSK) was downgraded to underperform from neutral at Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) Merrill Lynch. The analyst cited the software company`s disappointing outlook. Price target, $127. That stock dropped more than 6.5 percent today to 140.08.
HERERA: Monster Beverage was named a top pick at Credit Suisse. The analyst cites Monster`s new product called Rain. The firm has an outperform rating on the stock. It gained more than 2 percent to $58.08.
JetBlue was named a catalyst call at Deutsche Bank. Meaning it is a short term investment idea. The analyst says the 15 percent pull back in the stock over the past three weeks provides an attractive entry point. The firm notes that JetBlue has a good balance sheet and solid market positive since. The stock gained 1 percent to $16.75.
GRIFFETH: Still ahead, tariff squeeze. Why trade tensions are making whisky makers tipsy.
HERERA: Brown-Forman reported better than expected earnings for the ninth straight quarter. That`s the good news. The bad news is that revenue missed estimates, reflecting the impact of tariffs which the company says weighed on its margins. And it`s not just the big spirit makers that are caught in the middle of the tariff war, but smaller ones as well.
Frank Holland has more.
FRANK HOLLAND, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: American Whiskey, including iconic brands like Jack Daniels and Jim Beam is on the front line of the trade war. U.S. exports falling about 20 percent since the European Union placed a 25 percent tariff on the spirit in June of 2018. Nearly 60 percent of U.S. whiskey exports are sold there. These duties part of a retaliation to U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum.
LAWSON E. WHITING, BROWN-FORMAN PRESIDENT AND CEO: The tariffs are the biggest single thing affecting us. We anticipate our bottom line results will continue to be negatively affected through Q2. So, this is going to be tough for another quarter.
HOLLAND: The CEO of Brown-Forman, the owner of the Jack Daniels brand, emphasizing the impact during the company`s earnings call. European tariffs costing Brown-Forman more than $125 million.
CHRIS SWONGER, DISTILLED SPIRITS COUNCIL CEO: It`s having an impact on investment here in the U.S. It`s having an impact on a great American brands.
HOLLAND: The trade group for the U.S. distiller says an escalation of the trade dispute could impact as many as 78,000 jobs. It`s also ending a 20- year whiskey boom for U.S. producers.
SWONGER: Since 1997, 1998, the U.S. and Europe has really enjoyed free trade with distilled spirits, prompting 300 percent growth for American whiskey over to Europe.
HOLLAND: Scott Harris (NYSE:HRS), owner of Catoctin Creek Distilling, was banking on that robust market when he bought labels and bottles to meet E.U. regulations. They can`t be used domestically and Harris (NYSE:HRS) says it`s nearly impossible to replace the 11 percent of sales he made in Europe.
SCOTT HARRIS, CATOCTIN CREEK DISTILLING COMPANY: The tariffs in 2018 pretty much decimated that and we ended up with zero.
HOLLAND: Harris (NYSE:HRS) is now rethinking a million dollar investment in new equipment as part of expansion plans. For now, he is trying to hold on to the few customers he still has in Europe.
HARRIS: For the past year, we`ve been slashing prices and paying the tariffs ourselves to try to, you know, sort of maintain whatever market share we have over there. But that`s a very expensive prospect. Essentially we are losing money on all Europe sales we might have.
HOLLAND: It is money lost now, but possibly customers lost forever as they find new bottles to make their old fashion.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Frank Holland.
GRIFFETH: Tiffany (NYSE:TIF) sales are mixed, and that`s where we begin tonight`s “Market Focus” with the luxury jeweler seeing a double digit increase in spending in mainland China.
But overall sales were not as strong as expected as protests in Hong Kong disrupted business and tourists in the U.S. spent less money as well. Hong Kong, by the way, is Tiffany`s fourth largest market. Shares rose 3 about percent today to $85.17.
Cosmetics maker Coty raised its annual forecast citing its turnaround plan which includes cost cuts and increased investment and advertising. But the company did report a wider than expected loss. They were hurt by a $3 billion write down in the value of the company`s consumer beauty brands. Coty shares, though, rose 6 percent today to $9.33.
And watch retailer Movado faced what it says were a slew of challenges in the past quarter, including a volatile global environment, currency headwinds and the impact of the China tariffs. That caused the company to miss earnings and revenue estimates and cut its full-year forecast as a result. Shares tumbled about 15 percent today to $21.22.
HERERA: Toyota (NYSE:TM) will be teaming up and forming a capital alliance with fellow Japanese automaker Suzuki. The two companies hope the pairing will help speed up development of new technologies such as autonomous cars. Toyota (NYSE:TM) shares were down just a fraction to $130.29.
Hershey Brand plans to buy nutrition bar maker One Brands in a deal worth nearly $400 million. The chocolate maker says this acquisition will strengthen its foothold in the snack business. The stock was up a fraction to $160.48.
And after the bill, Williams-Sonoma (NYSE:WSM) reported better than expected earnings and revenue, thanks to increased sales in its West Elm and Pottery Barn stores. The home products retailer also raised its full year guidance. But the shares were volatile in after hours trading. They closed the regular session up a fraction at $68.78.
GRIFFETH: Mortgage rates rose slightly last week for the first time since mid-July. That caused refinancing applications to drop off, but right now, homeowners are actually sitting on a record amount of equity that they could tap through a refinance, for example.
Diana Olick breaks down the numbers for us.
DIANA OLICK, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: You don`t need to live on a farm to be sitting on a cash cow. Homeowners today have a collective $6.3 trillion worth of tappable equity. That`s the amount they could pull out of their homes in a cash-out refinance while still remaining 20 percent equity, and that`s a record according to Black Knight. Tappable equity grew by more than $335 billion during the second quarter of this year thanks to rising home prices.
Roughly 45 million mortgage holders have it and half of them have mortgage rates higher than 4.25 percent, making a refinance not only possible but attractive at today`s lower rates. While low mortgage rates have caused refinances to rise this year, a lower share of borrowers are pulling cash out. Some say they`re simply gun shy from the big recession when home prices plunged and millions of borrowers went under water on mortgages, owing more than their homes were worth. Others say it`s due to today`s relatively strong economy.
ROBERT BROEKSMIT, MORTGAGE BANKERS ASSOCIATION CEO: Savings have increased significantly since before the great recession, and so, the household balance sheet is in a better position and perhaps the need to tap that equity is a little lower and there`s a little bit more discipline among consumers.
OLICK: Borrowers may also be eyeing home prices, which while still growing are doing so at about half the pace they were last year. For those that bought homes in the last five years when prices were red hot, the risk of pulling equity out is higher and may not be worth the extra cash in hand.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Diana Olick in Washington.
HERERA: Coming up, game changer. Meet the man who created a video game company unlike any you have seen before.
HERERA: In a year that`s been filled with IPOs, we`re about to get one more. Fitness startup Peloton filed the paperwork necessary to go public. The company`s revenues are growing, but so are its losses. Peloton, best known for its interconnected indoor bikes and subscription cycling classes, called itself a media company in its filing at a time when the media industry faces a number of challenges.
Julia Boorstin has more.
JULIA BOORSTIN, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: Peloton isn`t just about technology and fitness. The company is saying in its filing to go public that it is, quote, a media company that creates engaging to the point of addictive original programming. The fitness company, which sells bikes and treadmills and charges a monthly fee for digital access to classes, says the rise of streaming media is a consumer trend working in its favor, the company citing the dramatic growth of streaming music and streaming video services such at Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) and Spotify over the past six years.
And the music, just as much as Peloton instructors, is what makes the service compelling.
SARA FISCHER, AXIOS: When people work out, part of what they`re looking for is not just sweat, but they also want an experience. At the end of the day, if you`re not able to give users the type of content they`re looking for to make the experience good, whether it`s a coach, or an instructor or it`s a video or even if it`s just music, you`re not going to win them over long term.
BOORSTIN: But being a media company has its downsides. The company cites reliance on licensed music in its workout videos as a key risk factor to its potential work.
Peloton warning, quote: We may be unable to license a large amount of music or the music of certain popular artists, and our business, financial condition, and operating results could be materially harmed.
FISCHER: If Peloton can`t get the leverage to get the rights to that music, some of the own original content might not be as effective, and that`s a shame because they`re spending a ton of money on it. $45 million studio in Manhattan, paying out all of the instructors to be able to get their expertise, and if someone won`t pay attention because they don`t like their music, Peloton is going to have some serious issues.
BOORSTIN: Peloton is currently fighting a $150 million lawsuit filed in March by the National Music Publisher`s Association, accusing Peloton of copyright infringement for artists including Arianna Grande and Drake, who it used their music in its workout videos.
Peloton says it estimates the lawsuit will cost it up to $11 million.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Julia Boorstin in Los Angeles.
GRIFFETH: Finally tonight, a remarkable story. We want to introduce you to someone who had a passion for gaming that led to his first job. It became a career and it took him to places he never thought possible.
Here is Bertha Coombs.
BERTHA COOMBS, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: Sam Glassenberg`s family was never terribly impressed with his dream job.
SAM GLASSENBERG, LEVEL EX FOUNDER & CEO: I started out at Lucas Arts making “Star Wars” games. I spent many years at Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), and this entire time it sort of made me the disgrace of the family because I`m the first one that never went to medical school.
COOMBS: But the medical force proved strong. When his dad asked him to make an anesthesiology training app, it turns out 100,000 doctors downloaded it. That led Sam to launch Level Ex, video games that train doctors on procedures ranging from intubating patients to removing cancerous polyps.
GLASSENBERG: They`re related to hand/eye coordination and how you maneuver in a patient scenario or in a surgical scenario.
COOMBS: For doctors, the real game changer is being able to practice and even earn education credits anywhere on their phones.
DR. ATMAN SHAH, LEVEL EX CARDIOLOGY ADVISOR: The ability to use new devices in a virtual environment, in a gaming opportunity, be allowed to push the boundaries of a new device is not only really exciting but I think it`s the future of interventional cardiology.
COOMBS: And maybe the future of healthcare in far-away environments, like the moon and Mars. NASA has now tapped the video game startup to help train astronauts to handle medical issues in space.
DR. DORIT DONOVIEL, TRISH DIRECTOR: My job really is to invest in groundbreaking technologies and capabilities that in ten years time when we are ready to go the Mars, these things will be so sophisticated.
COOMBS: Doctors at the Translational Research Institute for Space Help, a NASA partner organization that`s known as TRISH, say that they chose Level Ex over more established medical video training firms because of its strong virtual reality graphics and its gaming engagement.
Rather than making this a really boring type of practice for these non- expert users, for our astronauts, it`s going to be fun.
COOMBS: Over the next year, they will develop instructional games that can reproduce the effects of zero gravity, radiation and different gases that impact the body in space.
GLASSENBERG: I never would have thought that a few decades later, we`d be using video game technology to help astronauts train for real space missions. This is one of the most exciting projects I have ever worked on in my life.
COOMBS: Made extra sweet now that he is no longer the black sheep in the family.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Bertha Coombs.
HERERA: And before we go, here is a look at the day`s final numbers from Wall Street. The Dow added 258 points to close back above 26,000, the Nasdaq gained 29, and the S&P 500 was up 18.
That`s NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT tonight. I`m Sue Herera. Thanks for joining us.
GRIFFETH: I`m Bill Griffeth. Have great evening. We`ll see you tomorrow.
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