Transcript: Nightly Business Report – September 6, 2019

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

SUE HERERA, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR:  Getting to work.  The pace of hiring slowed last month and job gains in June and July were revised lower. But a closer look shows there`s a lot going right for the American worker.  

BILL GRIFFETH, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR:  Finding opportunity.  Our market monitor has a list of names she says could do well in this market.  

HERERA:  Bright idea.  Meet the entrepreneurs who are on a mission to make your home renovation project easier and cheaper.  

Those stories and more tonight on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for Friday,
September 6th.  

GRIFFETH:  And we do bid you a good evening, everybody, and welcome.  

That strong jobs market has been a driving force behind our economy for
several years now.  More Americans working means more Americans are
spending.  But this year, the labor market growth has been gradually
slowing, and we get more evidence of that this morning.  The economy did
not create as many jobs as expected last month.  

Now, while that may seem disappointing, remember that the unemployment rate still remains near a 50-year low and wages are still rising.  What this report does is complicate economic forecasts and Federal Reserve policy decisions.  

Here is Steve Liesman.  

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STEVE LIESMAN, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT:  The U.S. job market continued its gradual weakening trend with just 130,000 jobs created in August, and a lot of them were census workers hired by the government.  Job growth has slowed from an average monthly rate of 220,000 created last year to an average of 158,000 this year.  

DAVID KELLY, JPMORGAN CHIEF GLOBAL STRATEGIST:  This is an OK report, but I do think it shows the labor market softening here and this economy is definitely shifting down a gear to 2 percent growth rather than 3 percent growth we saw in 2018.  

LIESMAN:  But there was some good news in the report.  The unemployment rate remained unchanged at an historically low 3.7 percent, and average hourly wages were up strongly for the third straight month.  

There was job strengthening construction, leisure and hospitality, and
temporary help, but retail and manufacturing job growth are both weak.  

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell speaking in Switzerland was upbeat on jobs on the U.S. economy but also warned about risks.  

JEROME POWELL, FEDERAL RESERVE CHAIRMAN:  The most likely outlook for our economy remains a favorable one.  With moderate growth, a strong labor market and inflation moving back up close to our 2 percent goal.  All of that said, there are significant risks and we`ve been monitoring those
including, as you mentioned, slowing global growth, uncertainty around
trade policy and also persistently low inflation.  

LIESMAN:  The Fed will announce a new rate decision on September 18th.  The market is expected to cut interest rates by a quarter point.  What is
unclear is how much comes after that.  If the risk factors that Powell is
worried about end up dragging down the economy, the job market could weaken further, and the could bringing about more interest rate cuts from the Fed.  

For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Steve Liesman.  

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HERERA:  So, let`s turn now to Beth Ann Bovino for more on today`s jobs
report and what it could mean for the Fed and economy.  She is chief U.S.
economist at Standard and Poor`s global ratings.  

Nice to have you back with us.  

BETH ANN BOVINO, S&P GLOBAL RATINGS CHIEF U.S. ECONOMIST:  Great to be here.  

HERERA:  Give me your take on the jobs report.  It was a little softer than
what the street wanted but wages were good.  

BOVINO:  Well, there`s two — a couple of things to factor in.  One, it was
a little softer, but August is a very tricky month for a couple of reasons.  

One, all those kids that have those summer jobs, well, they leave and they
go to school.  So, you start to see jobs go away for that reason.  

Second thing, a lot of the forms weren`t filled out.  A lot of business
owners were also on vacation so they didn`t get around to filling out that
form to send to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  What we`ll see is probably
in September those forms will be sent a little late and we probably will
see the numbers change, and most likely to the upside.  

GRIFFETH:  I mean, we have to keep pointing out, it is still a very strong
labor market, a tight labor market at this point.  Is this slowing though
enough to convince the Fed to want to cut rates this month?  

BOVINO:  We look at — we look at this report as, sure, you know, the
headline numbers, those scary headline numbers, we finally don`t see that
200,000 job gains that we have gotten used to, are a little scary, but we
see the underpinnings of this report is rather good.  We talked about
wages.  We talked about something that wasn`t mentioned is the workweek now has gone back up to a higher level.  That`s positive.  That means business don`t need to — basically aren`t putting people on furlough and probably will keep people on their books.  

That means that in our mind that the Fed could probably wait given that the jobs market is relatively strong.  We don`t think they will, though,
largely because of pressure from what`s happening with the trade war and
other reasons, the Fed likely will move almost likely in September.  

HERERA:  Does this report kind of take away the fears of recession that we
were talking about not just two weeks ago?  Do you see recession on the
horizon?  

BOVINO:  We see — unfortunately, we do see recession, the risk has
increased.  Now, it is not at that point where all — you know, batten down
the hatches, but we do see the risk increasing.  We have raised the risk of
recession going out 12 months to close to 35 percent.  

To put it in perspective, a year ago, it was 12 — 10 percent to 15
percent, so it has increased pretty sharply.  However, that said, things
can change, and the Fed indeed in terms of them moving on basically adding more liquidity into the market, lowering rates, making it more attractive to borrow and to buy, and the domestic side of the equation is holding up relatively well.  That could give us a little bit more cushion as we go through this uncharted territory.  

HERERA:  All right.  Beth Ann Bovino with Standard & Poor`s, thank you so
much.  

BOVINO:  Thank you.  

GRIFFETH:  To the market now.  The major averages finished today mixed,
despite the potential for another rate cut this month investors are still
cautious about the slowing economic growth worldwide and those trade war uncertainties.  The Dow today added 69 points.  We`re at 26,797.  Nasdaq fell though.  The S&P was up just two.  

For the week, all of the major averages were higher for the second straight
week.  

HERERA:  State attorneys general are launching separate antitrust
investigations into Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and Google`s parental Alphabet.  
The Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) investigation is being led by the New York
attorney general who pointed to issues related to the handling of user data
and the price of advertising.  

Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) said, quote: People have multiple choices for every
one of the services we provide.  We understand that if we stop innovating
people can easily leave our platform.  This underscores the competition
that we face, end quote.  

Next week, as many as 30 states are reportedly planning to launch an
unrelated antitrust investigation into Google (NASDAQ:GOOG).  A formal
announcement is expected on Monday in front of the Supreme Court.  

GRIFFETH:  Elsewhere, the Department of Justice has launched and antitrust probe into four automakers.  Officials want to see if Ford, Honda, BMW and Volkswagen violated federal law by agreeing to tail pipe emission standards that are beyond those proposed by the White House.  As we`ve been reporting, the deal in question was between the automakers and the state of California.  

HERERA:  Ahead of a landmark opioid trial that is set to begin next month,
the drugmaker Mallinckrodt reached a $30 million tentative deal to resolve
cases in Ohio, and there are new reports tonight that Purdue Pharma is in
talks with the Justice Department to resolve criminal and civil cases
against that company.  

Meg Tirrell takes a look at the companies at the center of the crisis.  

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MEG TIRRELL, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT:  The opioid crisis has caused about 400,000 deaths in the last two decades in the United States.  Now, it is taking a corporate toll as well, in the form of a series of
bankruptcies or potential bankruptcies for makers of opioid painkillers.  
They face thousands of lawsuits from cities, counties, states and others,
seeking to hold them accountable for the epidemic.  

First, it was Insys Therapeutics, the maker of Subsys, a fentanyl-based
pain drug.  Insys filed for bankruptcy in June.  It was just days after the
company settled an investigation from the Department of Justice and to his
marketing for $225 million.  

Next, reports that Purdue Pharma was considering bankruptcy.  The maker of OxyContin is at the center of lawsuits across the country.  It is
reportedly planning to file for bankruptcy before the end of this month if
it can`t reach a settlement first.  

Then this week, a report that Mallinckrodt had hired structuring advisers
to help consider options to manage its potential liabilities in the opioid
cases, including, according to the report, possible bankruptcy filing.  

Mallinckrodt CEO took issue with the report, calling it speculation at a
Wall Street conference this week.  

MARK TRUDEAU, MALLINCKRODT CEO:  Obviously us and a number of other companies are embroiled in one of the biggest sets of uncertainties that any of us have seen.  I think people are confusing the uncertainty with
some of the actions that we`re taking leading to some of the speculation.  

TIRRELL:  The Mallinckrodt stock sank to historic lows.  

PATRICK TRUCCHIO, BERENBERG ANALYST:  Are we starting to see a domino effect here where one has already fallen and now maybe the others will eventually fall as well?  And I think to a certain extent, certainly when
you look at the stock price movement of Mallinckrodt over the last week as
it was trading down last week and earlier this week, I think there were
concerns that Mallinckrodt could be the next domino to fall.  And I think,
you know, for our part, what we said is that it is possible.  It`s not 100
percent certain.  

TIRRELL:  Wall Street is watching other companies involved in opioid
litigation as well, Teva and Endo Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ENDP) in
particular.  Their stocks also declined on the Mallinckrodt news.  Now,
it`s not just that the companies faced potential liabilities for opioid
lawsuits.  They also carry billions of dollars in debt and their business
selling generic drugs has been under pressure for years.  

TRUCCHIO:  If we just had kind of the opioid litigation piece, that may be
manageable.  When you combine the leverage with the various litigation and the fact that this litigation is sort of synergistic in a bad way, it is
combining to put them all in a really bad spot.  

TIRRELL:  Settlements or fines in thousands of the cases the companies face
could amount to billions, analysts say.  Purdue has offered a settlement it
values at more than $10 billion, though plaintiffs don`t think it`s enough.  

The costs of the opioid epidemic, however, are undeniable.  The CDC
estimates the total economic burden of prescription opioid misuse at almost $80 billion a year.  

For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Meg Tirrell.  

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GRIFFETH:  Still ahead, paging more doctors.  

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KATE ROGERS, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT:  I`m Kate Rogers (NYSE:ROG) in Mesa, Arizona.  This state is just one of many that`s facing a physician shortage.  That problem is growing in America.  We`re going to tell you why and what`s being done to solve the issue tonight on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT.  

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(MUSIC)

HERERA:  In the news tonight, Hurricane Dorian.  The storm made landfall in the U.S., hitting North Carolina`s Cape Hatteras on the outer banks and
trapping potentially hundreds of people on Ocracoke Island.  That island
sustained significant flooding and powerful winds, even though the category one storm was much weaker than when it slammed into the Bahamas.  

GRIFFETH:  So, with the jobless rate near a 50-year low, the labor market
remains very tight, making it harder for some companies to find workers and now for some hospitals to find doctors.  

As you saw, Kate Rogers (NYSE:ROG) is in Mesa, Arizona, tonight.  

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ROGERS:  Christopher Lew was drawn to medicine at a young age as a Mormon missionary.  

CHRISTOPHER LEW, RESIDENT:  I was here in the U.S. seeing a lot of elderly members of our congregations, and so a lot of them had multiple medical problems and would talk to us about them.  

ROGERS:  He was a chemistry major but decided to use his science background to help people, changing paths to attend medical school.  Today, 29-year-old Lew is training to fill an important and growing physician shortage in America, which could be as many as 122,000 doctors short by 2032 in both primary and specialty care, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.  

America`s aging population coupled with doctor retirements and a lack of
available residency slots for those graduating medical school are
pressuring the system.  Experts say team-based care, smarter technology
deployment and an increase in federal funding for residency programs would help to ease the shortage.  

DR. ATUL GROVER, AAMC EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT:  The challenge of having enough residency positions really comes down to having enough resources to support training at teaching hospitals across the country in communities, big and small.  

ROGERS:  Lew is a first-year resident at the Abrazo Health Hospital System
in greater Phoenix, which recently added two new residency programs to
attract physicians to train in the state.  

Arizona currently has a shortage of about 600 primary care physicians, a
number that will grow to nearly 2,000 over the next decade.  So, the hope
is that doctors will stay in the state to help fill the gap once their
training is complete.  

DR. AKIL LOLI, ABRAZO HEALTH:  It is our belief that by training them well, by providing a very good educational environment as well as by teaching them for future endeavors in life we will be able to retain them in this community to serve our growing population.  

LEW:  Perfect.  Thank you.  

ROGERS:  Arizona is doing more than just adding residency slots to tackle
the issue.  Governor Doug Ducey recently signed a universal licensing
recognition law to help those with out-of-state licenses gain similar
licensing in Arizona.  

GOV. DOUG DUCEY (R), ARIZONA:  We have more jobs available in Arizona today than we have people to fill them.  We do think in terms of the doctor
shortage, it is a tool in the tool box.  

ROGERS:  Back at Abrazo, Lew says the best part of this phase of training
is getting to help patients, including the older population that first
inspired him.  

LEW:  The most rewarding part is talking to patients and just seeing them
progress.  Most of our patients, you know, get better and are able to leave
here, you know, better than when they came in.  

ROGERS:  For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Kate Roger in Mesa, Arizona.  

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HERERA:  A setback for PG&E, and that`s where we begin tonight`s “Market Focus”.  

Legislation that would have helped the utility pay off billions of dollars
in wildfire liabilities was shelved.  The California lawmaker who
introduced that bill says it needs more debate and time for discussion.  
The measure`s failure though complicates PG&E`s restructuring plans.  The shares dropped about 3-1/2 percent to $10.19.  

The Trump administration unveiled its plan to privatize Fannie Mae and
Freddie Mac.  The blueprint calls for ending government control, reduction
risk to taxpayers and introducing more competition.  Fannie and Freddie
guaranteed about half of the $10 trillion home loan market.  Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac both dropped more than 8 percent.  

GRIFFETH:  Alibaba is buying Chinese e-commerce business Kaola from the
gaming company NetEase for about $2 billion.  Kaola sells imported products in China that include clothing, consumer electronics and luxury goods. Alibaba stocks slipped more than 1 percent today to $176.69.  

And Symantec (NASDAQ:SYMC) has reportedly received a buyout offer from two private equity firms.  Quoted in “The Wall Street Journal”, the two firms would take control of Symantec`s consumer security business while
preserving Broadcom`s previously announced acquisition of Symantec`s
enterprise security assets.  The deal could be valued at about $16 billion.  
Shares rose about 4-1/2 percent today to $24.52.  

HERERA:  Which brings us to our weekly market monitor who has a list of
companies she says will benefit from the services sector investment in the
cloud and network security.  Joining us once again is Nancy Tengler, chief
investment officer of the Tengler Wealth Management Group.  

Welcome back, Nancy.  Nice to see you, again, as always.  

NANCY TENGLER, CHIEF INVESTMENT OFFICER, TENGLER WEALTH MANAGEMENT GROUP:  You too, Sue.  Thanks for having me.  Hello, Bill.  

HERERA:  You know, Bill just talked about Broadcom (NASDAQ:BRCM).  That`s one of your picks.  

TENGLER:  Yes.  

HERERA:  Why do you like it?  

TENGLER:  Well, for a couple of reasons.  The CEO has consistently
underestimated but he has been transitioning the company to a pure chip
play to a software and security play.  And so, you just said that they
purchased a portion of Symantec`s enterprise security solutions.  They also
purchased computer associates about a year ago, and that`s where all of the growth for the second half is going to come from this year.  

They have a 3.6 percent yield and they`ve been raising the dividend about
50 percent a year.  So, in terms of total returns this stock has returned
about 30 percent a year for the last five years, but is still very cheap.  

GRIFFETH:  Second, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT).  When you think about the
transformation of this company and what the cloud has meant to them, how much more growth is there for Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) from the cloud do you think?  

TENGLER:  Well, the cloud is growing very quickly, Bill, and they are
growing at 60-plus percent year over year.  That`s down from 90 percent.  
But now, they have started to take share from Amazon`s AWS.  

So I like that portion of the business.  The margins are exceptional.  And
they pay a dividend about in line with the 10-year treasury and they`ve
been growing it about 10.5 percent per year.  So, even though it`s up
dramatically, it`s still attractive on our valuation, one of our largest
holdings.  

HERERA:  And next is Palo Alto networks.  No dividend paid here, but you`re taking a three-to-five-year time horizon on the stock and you`re bullish on it.  

TENGLER:  This one — yes.  This one is a little bit more volatile, because
it`s a smaller company.  They`re growing very quickly, about 22 percent per year, and they`re transitioning from an enterprise solutions company to more of a cloud security company.  

So, right now, think firewall.  They`re trying to transition the security
to the cloud so that their clients can have one vendor instead of nine or
ten.  So, this is a company that`s very well-managed.  Still attractive on
our valuation and we think it`s a great — you know, sometimes you need to
take more risks than you think even when stocks are modestly expensive.  

HERERA:  On that note, Nancy, thanks so much.  

TENGLER:  Thank you, Sue.  

HERERA:  Nancy Tengler with Tengler Wealth Management.

GRIFFETH:  Now, you probably have heard the recent reports about hackers taking over the Twitter accounts of high-profile users, including Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and various celebrities.  Once they had access, they
tweeted out expletives and other offensive messages.  

How did this happen?  

Well, as Andrea Day reports now, it is likely coming from someone tricking
cellphone providers.  

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHARLES HENDERSON, IBM`S X-FORCE RED:  These attacks should serve as a wake-up call.  

ANDREA DAY, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT:  A message from IBM`s Charles Henderson.  He is talking about recent attacks targeting high-profile Twitter accounts like Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and actress Chloe Moretz.  

HENDERSON:  I think if the industry does not move away from mobile phone numbers as a factor of authentication you will see this abused more and more.  

DAY:  About a week ago, hackers took over Dorsey`s account, using it to
tweet out offensive messages.  The hacking group, Chuckling Squad, claimed to be behind it and experts believe they used an old school attack called SIM swapping.  

HENDERSON:  It`s really easy to pull off.  You go into a cellphone store,
you lie, you get a phone, you reset somebody`s account.  This doesn`t
require the world`s best hacker.  

DAY:  Here`s how it works.  Henderson says the hacker tricks the mobile
carrier into reassigning the victim`s cell number to a new phone that they
own.  Hackers can then use the phone to publish tweets via text.  Twitter
has now turned off its tweet by text service in most locations.  

The company directing CNBC to this tweet in part: We`re taking this step
because of vulnerabilities that need to be addressed by mobile carriers,
and our reliance on having a linked phone number for two-factor
authentication.  

Twitter responding to the attacks with this in part: The phone number
associated with the account was compromised due to a security oversight by the mobile provider.  

According to Henderson, similar attacks can be used to target bank accounts as many companies rely on texts to authenticate users.  

HENDERSON:  It is mostly high-profile individuals, executives, people that
are seen to have big bank accounts because when you are doing this kind of very manual attack, you want to have a high return on investment as a
criminal.  

DAY:  And he says one of the reasons why this all works is that people at
the cellphone stores are there, they`re wanting to help customers, they`re
wanting to help them buy a new device.  So, it is a fairly easy attack to
pull off.  

For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Andrea Day.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HERERA:  Coming up, Renovation Nation.  Making over a bathroom can be
chaotic and costly, but one startup is on a mission to change all of that.   

(MUSIC)

GRIFFETH:  Finally, tonight, the story of a company that does want to make
home renovation a little less painful.  Two New York City entrepreneurs got
the bright idea to give both homeowners and builders incentives to use
their one-stop shop for materials, designs and construction.  

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GRIFFETH (voice-over):  The thought of home renovation makes most of us
wince.  The order of the day is usually cautious pessimism.  

LUKE SHERWIN, BLOCK CO-FOUNDER:  The joke is neither of us would renovate even if we could afford to.  

KODA WANG, BLOCK CO-FOUNDER:  We thought about renovation as an insane, in a poor way, experience for folks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  This is a new bathtub.  

GRIFFETH:  Trying to simplify the renovation process might sound even more insane, but Luke Sherwin and Koda Wang are trying.  Their digital platform, Block, aims to improve confidence for both owners and builders when it comes to quality, cost and convenience.  

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  These are before and afters.  

GRIFFETH:  Focusing on bathrooms since launching in December of 2018, Block has completed almost 100 jobs in apartments and single family homes in New York City and in New Jersey.  They say Block`s average cost is slightly below “Remodelling Magazine`s” midrange average, about $28,000 in the New York area for an existing five-by-seven room.  The national average: about $20,000.  

WANG:  We have found a lot of people are sort of paralyzed by how many
thousand of combinations are out there.  

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes, it`s a nice color.  

GRIFFETH:  By limiting its range of products, Block knows what it needs and it can negotiate prices for tubs and faucets, vanities and the like.  

SAOLI CHU, BLOCK LEAD DESIGNER:  We create a 3D model.  

GRIFFETH:  It also streamlines the design process.  

CHU:  A completely custom design and take probably around five to six
hours, versus doing it using the products in the catalogue, takes about an
hour.  

SHERWIN:  It basically is an efficiency on every single step of the
renovation process.  

GRIFFETH:  Sherwin and Wang say efficiencies are gained in the construction phase, too.  Block vets and hires its own builders.  

SHERWIN:  Their guys are showing up and everything is ready for them to
install.  Because Block acquires the customer, you are eliminating the
dance renovators have to do.  

GRIFFETH:  Instead of the dance, the dreaded bidding process, Block gets
builders to accept lower fees by making their jobs easier.  

WANG:  They don`t like to do marketing on Instagram.  They don`t like to do all of the little billing and administrative work.  They don`t like to be
sending out 20 proposals and hoping to win one.  

GRIFFETH:  They do like to build though.  Sherwin and Wong believe dangling a carrot, a pipeline of future projects, eliminates a builder`s greatest fear, finding the next job.  

RALPH ABEKASSIS, DANCOBY CONSTRUCTION OWNER:  You don`t have to go to the customer.  You don`t have to call them and say, what about this, what about that, sizes, specs, finishes.  It`s just so streamlined.  So I could
potentially set up a crew and do multiple jobs at once.  

GRIFFETH:  This soup-to-nuts bathroom reno in New York City took less than a month.  That`s a third of the national average, and it costs about
$30,000, just above the New York average for a midrange project, including
some custom plumbing and detailing.  

Sherwin and Wang are already testing the Block model on kitchen projects
and they`re working to expand beyond the New York area.  

WANG:  If this works and it works at scale, then both the homeowner and the contractor should benefit.  

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GRIFFETH:  By the way, we should point out that neither Sherwin nor Wang
has actually renovated anything themselves, although Sherwin`s father
renovated brownstones in Brooklyn for years.  Both, however, have had a
hand in prior digital success stories, Sherwin at the mattress company
Casper and Wang in fashion at Rent the Runway.  

HERERA:  Before we go, here is another day`s look at the numbers on Wall
Street.  The Dow managed to add 69 points to 26,797.  The Nasdaq fell 13.  
The S&P 500 was up two.  All of the major averages were higher for the
second straight week.  

GRIFFETH:  And it was only a four-day week, too.  

HERERA:  I know, exactly, right?  

GRIFFETH:  Pretty good gains.  

HERERA:  Well, it`s a good way to go out into the weekend.  

GRIFFETH:  Off to a strong start for September.  

HERERA:  That is NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for tonight.  I`m Sue Herera.  
Thanks for joining us.  

GRIFFETH:  I`m Bill Griffeth.  Have a great week end.  See you Monday.  

END

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