ANNOUNCER: This is NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT with Sue Herera and Bill Griffeth.
BILL GRIFFETH, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR: On edge. Impeachment talk and trade concerns loom over the market as investors closely watch developments in Washington.
SUE HERERA, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR: On the menu. Beyond Meat partners with the maker of the Big Mac in a big test that reshape the faux meat industry.
GRIFFETH: Safeguarding your money. Older Americans with trillions of dollars in assets are the perfect talk for fraudsters, but there are steps that you can take to protect your wealth.
Those stories and much more tonight on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for Thursday, September 26th.
HERERA: Good evening, everyone. And welcome.
We begin tonight with the stock market, which has been laser focused on our nation`s capitol. Trade has been a looming source of uncertainty and this week, a cloudy political outlook was thrown into the mix.
Today, the two combined. Stocks lifted lower after release of a whistle- blower complaint that has sparked impeachment inquiry against President Trump. Then came a report that the U.S. is unlikely to extend a temporary waiver that allows U.S. companies to sell supplies to the Chinese telecom giant Huawei.
So, by the close, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 79 points to 26,891. The Nasdaq was down 46. And the S&P 500 slipped seven.
GRIFFETH: Traders did spend much of the day watching the developments on Capitol Hill. The acting director of national intelligence testified about that whistle-blower complaint that alleges President Trump abused the power of his office.
Ylan Mui has our story from Washington.
YLAN MUI, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: It was another dramatic day in Washington, as the acting director of national intelligence testified before lawmakers amid dramatic new allegations surrounding President Trump`s phone call to with the leader of Ukraine.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA (NASDAQ:CA)): Our president sacrificed our national security and our Constitution for his personal political benefit.
MUI: Just minutes before the hearing began, the House Intelligence Committee released a redacted version of the whistle-blower complaint at the center of the controversy. It said that White House aides were deeply disturbed by the call and moved to lock down an electronic transcript in a special server with code word level security. It also said administration officials in Ukraine worked with that country`s leaders on navigating the president`s request.
Lawmakers then spent about three hours grilling Acting DNI Joseph Maguire over why it took him so long to hand over the complaint. Maguire argued the law didn`t allow him to.
JOSEPH MAGUIRE, ACTING NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE DIRECTOR: I realized the importance of the matter that is before us this morning. And I thought that it would be prudent for me to ensure that in, in fact, it met the statute before I sent it forward in compliance with the Whistleblower Protection Act.
MUI: President Trump lashed out over Twitter. Calling the allegations a Democratic scam, a fantasy and another witch hunt.
On Capitol Hill, meanwhile, Republicans dismissed the allegations.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): It was a nothingburger for me.
MUI: While Democrats had tough talk of their own.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA (NASDAQ:CA)): This is a cover-up.
MUI: One thing both parties can agree on, they want to hear directly from the whistleblower.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, Ylan Mui, in Washington.
HERERA: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi today also said that the impeachment inquiry will not derail work on other issues, such as legislation to lower drug prices as well as trade. Pelosi said the House is moving ahead on the new NAFTA, otherwise known as USMCA.
In the Senate, lawmakers passed a short-term funding measure, that vote averts a government shutdown after the end of the month. The House passed the stopgap bill last week, keeping the government open through November 21st. That legislation now goes to the president for his signature.
GRIFFETH: A new report says that the U.S. economy grew at a modest 2 percent rate in the second quarter. That was in line with estimates. Consumer spending as we know was strong but business investment contracted more sharply, marking the steepest decline since the end of 2015. Corporate profit growth was also tepid over that period of time.
So, economists say the weak business spending and profit growth could raise doubts eventually about whether consumer spending can continue at its current pace.
HERERA: Homebuyers are back in the market signs contracts to buy existing homes. Pending home sales rebounded in August, rising 1.6 percent. The gain reversed a slump in July and was likely fueled by falling mortgage rates. A separate report shows that the labor market remains robust despite the marginal rise in weekly jobless claims. Jobless claims are a measure of the number of Americans filing applications for unemployment benefits and remain historically low.
GRIFFETH: The vice chair of the Federal Reserve said today that inflation expectations are right where they should be. Economists are interpreting the remarks from Richard Clarida to mean he does not see a pressing need to cut rates further in order to stimulate the economy. As you know policy makers cut rates last week and at their July meeting.
Fed Chair Jerome Powell has characterized those cuts as insurance against the risks to the economy.
HERERA: A month-long federal investigation into the two crashes of the Boeing (NYSE:BA) 737 MAX plane has called into question some of the assumptions used by Boeing (NYSE:BA) and by regulators.
Phil LeBeau is in Chicago with an update on this ongoing story for us.
So, Phil, what exactly did the NTSB say in its report?
PHIL LEBEAU, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: Well, they had two things, Sue. They first had their report on the accident. And that`s where the assumptions come in. When they look at the two accidents involving Boeing (NYSE:BA) 737 MAX, they found basically the pilots were in a state of chaos as the planes were pitching up and down, the pilots thought they were reacting a certain way.
In the report, the NTSB says the crews did not react in the ways Boeing (NYSE:BA) and the FAA assumed they would, meaning that Boeing (NYSE:BA) and the FAA assumed that when the airplane would react with the MCAS software, that the pilots would react concurrently a different way. And that did not happen. So, as a result, they have made several recommendations that`s the second part of these recommendations that they make changes in the future in terms of how pilots are interacting or made aware of things through alerts in the cockpit.
GRIFFETH: Does this report in any way alter the timeline of when we get the 737 MAX back in the air?
LEBEAU: Good question. I`m not sure it does. At this point, Boeing (NYSE:BA) is maintaining that it expects to have the MAX flying by the end of the year. But, Bill, we`re already almost into the fourth quarter.
LEBEAU: And that means you`ve got to get recertification, you got to get not only FAA, but other regulators around the world to sign off on it. And then you`ve got to get these planes back up in the air, which is not something you can do overnight. That`s going to take at least 20 to 40 days and that`s if they`re really moving fast.
HERERA: The other big story you`ve been following for us, the General Motors (NYSE:GM) and UAW strike.
HERERA: There were a lot of reports late yesterday that the two sides were getting closer to a tentative deal. But what are you hearing?
LEBEAU: Well, it`s not imminent. That`s the bottom line. Are they making progress? You bet. They are at the negotiating table, the main table. This is where they`re hashing out the big issues that are at the heart of this.
And we`re talking about job guarantees, the use of temporary workers. So, they are making progress, Sue. But to call it imminent that we will see a deal, let`s see, by the end of tonight, everybody I talk to has said, no, relax. It may be that we don`t see something until perhaps the end of the weekend.
GRIFFETH: Quickly. Are we at the point now where we`re going to start to see this at the dealerships hurting sales or anything like that?
LEBEAU: No, we haven`t seen it yet. We compared sells. We went to LMC Automotive. Sales for the first week of the strike with the same week in September last year, they actually were slightly higher.
HERERA: Phil, thank you so much. Phil LeBeau in Chicago.
LEBEAU: You bet.
GRIFFETH: Time to look at today`s “Upgrades and Downgrades”.
We start with shares of Whirlpool (NYSE:WHR). They were upgraded to overweight from neutral at JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM). The analyst expects shipments to show modest growth over the next year. Price target now, $172. That stock rose 3 percent today to $154.84.
Square was upgraded to outperform from market perform at Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC). The analyst element cited strong fundamentals. He called the stock`s valuation attractive at these levels. Price target is now $80. That stock was up nearly 4 percent to $60.80.
HERERA: Boston Beer (NYSE:SAM) was upgraded to outperform from market perform at BMO Capital Markets. The analyst cites strong demand for the company`s hard seltzer product called Truly. The price target is $410. The shares gained more than 4 percent to $363.93.
And Target (NYSE:TGT) was named a top pick at Cowen. The stock is up more than 60 percent this year. And the analyst says it could go even higher. The price target is $130. Shares fell a fraction, though, to $106.29.
GRIFFETH: 5G as you may know is in the next generation wireless network. It`s also considered the next big thing for the technology industry because it promises to bring much faster download speeds and better communication between connected devices, and in everything from smart cars to smart factories.
But how long is it going to take to bring 5G to you?
Three of the biggest players in that industry give an update on that today.
Here`s Josh Lipton.
JOSH LIPTON, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: 5G, the next generation of cellular technology is coming, promising to bring superfast wireless speeds to people, delivering data ten times or even faster than 4G. 5G also cuts down the lag time when data is sent or received. That will improve the reaction time of cutting edge technologies like self- driving cars.
Technology executives see 5G used to improve a number of industries.
GINNI ROMETTY, IBM CEO: My mom was recently in the hospital. Try — I spent a week coordinating moving big files from each health care provider or you go to a remote surgery.
Internet 4.0, picture walk in a factory and it`s wireless. Think of all the wires and cable cables and what it could mean to safety and maintenance. That`s one they are working on.
A retail store. OK, if I could look at all the video real time, I could stock shelves differently.
LIPTON: 5G is so critical, that it`s now become the subject of intense national interest. And one question frequently raised, is China ahead of the U.S. in this 5G race? Qualcomm`s CEO acknowledges that the Chinese are moving fast.
STEVE MOLLENKOPF, QUALCOMM (NASDAQ:QCOM) CEO: They`re going at it with a lot of intensity. What`s different this time around is the speed to which the Chinese are deploying relative to the leadership that may be established other places. For example, in traditionally in cellular, it would launch in Verizon (NYSE:VZ) or maybe Japan, and then it might be several years before you get a tremendous amount of intensity with deployment in China. Not the case this time. You`re seeing a lot of deployment intensity early on.
LIPTON: Here in the U.S., a 5G rollout will be gradual for companies and consumers. Analyst estimate mass market adoption of 5G mobile devices doesn`t come until 2021. One reason why Verizon (NYSE:VZ) CEO says that he doesn`t think his company will realize significant revenue from 5G until 2022.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Josh Lipton, San Francisco.
HERERA: Still ahead, C-suite shuffle. Does the CEO exit create opportunity for investors?
GRIFFETH: Micron Technology (NASDAQ:MU) today warned that first quarter profits are going to fall below Wall Street targets. The chip maker said despite a pickup in memory chip demand, trade uncertainty is an issue especially after the Trump administration blocked access to Huawei, something that we mentioned at the top of the broadcast. Huawei as you know is the world`s largest telecom equipment maker and Micron`s single largest customer. Shares fell after-hours tonight in this earnings report in the initial afterhours trading.
HERERA: McDonald`s (NYSE:MCD) is known for its burgers. But it may soon be known for its plant-based meat. The world`s largest fast food chain is partnering with Beyond Meat to test the new product. That sent shares of Beyond Meat soaring 11 percent, while McDonald`s (NYSE:MCD) was pretty much flat. And this get-together really could be a game changer for the faux meat market.
Kate Rogers (NYSE:ROG) explains.
KATE ROGERS, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: As consumers continue to clamor for alternative meat options, the biggest player in the game is getting in on the action. McDonald`s (NYSE:MCD) announced it will be testing a PLT, a plant lettuce tomato burger, at 28 restaurants in Canada over the next 12 weeks.
The burger will be made with a Beyond Meat plant-based patty. Beyond Meat also has partnerships with Dunkin, Tim Hortons (NYSE:THI) and KFC locations in the U.S. and Canada.
Analysts say it could take sometime before McDonald`s (NYSE:MCD) attempts to tackle a nationwide rollout for one major reason: supply chain capacity. In fact, one analyst from Stevens said an alternative chicken product in the U.S. will be a more likely nationwide launch in the next two years.
Beyond Meat CEO Ethan Brown said earlier in the summer, the brand has learned from past supply chain hiccups.
ETHAN BROWN, BEYOND MEAT: We went through a tough supply situation two years ago over, and a little bit of the last summer where consumers really surprised us with the level of interest in plant based meat that we`re creating, but we learned from that and we learned to invest not only in facilities but people.
ROGERS: But customers are hungry for the option. One online petition at change.org has more than 225,000 signatures, urging McDonald`s (NYSE:MCD) to bring on a meatless menu edition.
CEO Steve Easterbrook has said the company is watching the space closely and analyzing what adding a plant-based option would mean for restaurants.
STEVE EASTERBROOK, MCDONALD`S CEO: You`ve got to obviously segregate the tools you use and the grills from beef products because some people, you know, clearly are purchasing it because they are not beef eaters. So, we know there`s complexity.
The question is, will the demand make it worth absorbing the complexity because it will drive the business? I mean, we had a similar discussion maybe four years ago around all-day breakfast where it certainly adds complexity to the operation, but the demand was sufficient that, you know, we want to find a way to absorb that. So, you know, it`s something we`re certainly taking a good look at.
ROGERS: In the meantime, McDonald`s (NYSE:MCD) vice president of global menu strategy said this test allows us to learn more about real world complications of serving the PLT, including customer demand and impact on restaurant operations.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Kate Rogers (NYSE:ROG).
GRIFFETH: Peloton hits resistance in the Wall Street debut and that`s where we begin tonight`s “Market Focus”, with the home fitness company opening for trading at $27 a share. That was below the IPO price of $29. Peloton has a market value of nearly $7.5 billion. The CEO said it`s all about growing right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN FOLEY, PELOTON CEO: We are investing and we`re in investment mode and prioritizing growth over profitability right now. We are hiring instructors, we`re opening the stores, we`re doing logistics, all of that is expenses out in front of revenue. So, we call it investment stage. And we think it`s disciplined investing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRIFFETH: But it was a rough opening for those shares. They close down 11 percent today to $25.76.
Meanwhile, cruise line operator Carnival (NYSE:CCL) beat earning estimates but gave weaker than expected guidance due to a jump in fuel prices. The company says there were a lot of factors at work.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ARNOLD DONALD, CARNIVAL CORPORATION CEO: A number of noise things. We had hurricane short-term disruptions and itineraries. We have Arabian Gulf disruption and some plan itineraries. We had to, you know, cancel people, and rebook them in shorter periods and so on.
And so, a number of noise factors that led us to primarily because of the spike of fuel prices to lower guidance a little bit.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRIFFETH: Carnival (NYSE:CCL) shares fell 8.5 percent to $43.95.
And it`s been a bumpy road for Uber and investors after going public a few months ago. But the CEO today said that he believes the company is expanding services has it on the right road.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DARA KHOSROWSHAHI, UBER CEO: We take a hard critical look at what we are doing. We think that the rides business and the environment around the rides business globally is constructive. We think we can grow. But we do think that we can take cost out of the business both on the rides and on the eat side and build for the long term but build responsibly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRIFFETH: Uber was down a fraction today to $31.57.
HERERA: Conagra beat analyst`s expectations, thanks to a strong showing from its recent acquisition of the packaged food company Pinnacle Foods. Conagra also saw strong demand for its Slim-Jim snacks and the company`s frozen food brands like Banquet and Healthy Choice. So, the shares rose more than 3.5 percent to $31 even.
Discovery is teaming up with Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) by launching a new streaming app called Food Network Kitchen, offering viewers live and on- demand cooking classes with celebrity chefs. It`s part of the Discovery`s strategy focusing its streaming content on viewers passionate about cooking.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID ZASLAV, DISCOVERY CEO: What this is, this is not an entertainment service. It`s a functional product. No one needs to be alone in the kitchen anymore. Live cooking classes every day, almost 1,000 classes on demand. Martha Stewart, Ina, Bobby Flay — everyone that`s on our network is doing cooking classes. They`re super excited about it. And we have over 150 other chefs.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HERERA: Discovery was off about 1 percent to $26.46. Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) dropped 1.5 percent to $1,739.84.
And as pressure mounts on the vaping and e-cigarette industry, the CEO of Philip Morris said he believes nicotine products must be regulated through the FDA, and that vaping will be regulated within the next two to three years.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDRE CALANTZOPOULOS, PHILIP MORRIS CEO: It is a very emotional issue as we know, because it involves using — use by teenagers and vaping. And this is — should be the priority by everybody to address, because this is a serious issue, say end of `21, `22. I think what we will see is higher regulated in terms of product, marketing and other restrictions category.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HERERA: Philip Morris was up a penny to $75.29.
GRIFFETH: Well, it`s been a rough week in the C suites. The CEOs of WeWork, eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) and Juul all stepped down just this week and they join more than 1,000 other U.S.-based CEOs who had departed this year. Is that good or bad for investors though? Are CEO departures a red flag or can they represent opportunity for those investors?
Joining us with his thoughts tonight, David Nelson. He`s chief strategist at Belpointe Asset Management.
Great to see you. Welcome back.
DAVID NELSON, BELPOINTE ASSET MANAGEMENT: Thanks for having me.
GRIFFETH: I know you are an avoid numbers cruncher.
GRIFFETH: But how much does the person sitting in the corner office affect your decisions.
NELSON: Well, it`s certainly a big part of it. But sometimes you can`t avoid making the investment. Certainly, Mark Zuckerberg was certainly under fire for Cambridge Analytica and other issues as well that I have.
But when I look at the numbers, this is a company that`s top line that`s growing at 20 percent. Forward P/E around 20, ratio of around 1. Hard to avoid, not often you`re going to find. So, sometimes you have to take that into consideration, watch the CEO, watch what happens, but sometimes you can`t avoid being in the name.
HERERA: Now, when you look at a stock, you say sometimes you canned can`t avoid the name. But how much does the CEO`s performance if there is a crisis or issue, how much does his or her performance influence your decision to either buy or not buy a stock.
NELSON: Well, certainly, the CEO can make or break the company. Obviously, you know, we say that. But not everybody is going to be a Steve Jobs. Those are pretty rare events.
So, in the end, I do come back to the numbers, but what I look for is red flags in a CEO. To me, a red flag is buybacks. You know, constant —
GRIFFETH: You`re not a big fan of those, are you?
NELSON: I`m not a big fan. Certainly, some companies like an Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) which have so much money, maybe they have to buy back stock. But for most CEOs, it`s code that they`re just run out of the ideas, and it`s the best way to make their bonus.
GRIFFETH: Bob Iger is very popular as the CEO of Disney (NYSE:DIS), but you fault him for those buybacks that they do.
NELSON: I — you know, if he go back to a certain time when they realized they had the problem with streaming, I think they spent over the next several years, they spend about $26 billion in buying back stock. Back then, they could have probably bought Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) for that same money. Here they are trying to get into the streaming business, so maybe that wasn`t use an official use of capital.
He eventually got it and they have — they are into streaming right now and they`re probably be a formidable competitor.
HERERA: What about the incoming CEO? For instance, you know, we saw some CEOs step down this week. Are you influenced in buying a stock depending on who is put in the new position?
NELSON: I need some food on my plate. I need to watch what happens. I need to see what they`re going to do with the company. I`m not going to buy just a personality.
I`ll probably wait a quarter or two, see what they`re going to do, how they`re going to shake up the industry, how they`re going to shake up the company, and do they actually fix the problems?
A lot of the problems are often in the board, because they`re the ones that sign these guys on in the first place.
GRIFFETH: You mentioned Mark Zuckerberg, current — one of the founders of Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) who has continued to be the CEO.
Adam Neumann, who was the cofounder WeWork, just had to step down this.
You know, the issue of an entrepreneur who then continues to try to run the company, the Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) boys.
GRIFFETH: You know, they even had to bring somebody in to run the company for a time. Are you a fan of an entrepreneur, an Elon Musk, for example, who founds a company and then remains as CEO?
NELSON: Look, I`m the fan of the vision. And I think there is a role there. But at some point, it`s an operating entity. And you just had on the CEO of Peloton, it`s probably endemic of what`s going on in IPOs right now, the focus on growth at the expense of profitability.
Right now, Wall Street is saying no to that. They want to see some food on the plate.
GRIFFETH: That`s for sure.
David Nelson with Belpointe Asset Management, always good to see you. Thanks.
NELSON: Hey, thanks for having me.
And coming up, older Americans are becoming more vulnerable to financial abuse. But there are steps that you can take to stop it.
HERERA: Here`s a look at what to watch for tomorrow.
Reports on personal income and spending and consumer sentiment are due out. Consumer spending has been a driving force behind the economy.
Durable goods orders will be released, giving us a peek into spending and on expensive and longer lasting items.
And a number of Fed officials will be speaking on the economy. So, lots to watch for on Friday.
GRIFFETH: Six Democratic senators today urged retailers Walmart, Walgreen`s, Rite-Aide and Dollar General (NYSE:DG) to stop selling all tobacco products. The senators in their letters cited the current epidemic of e-cigarette use by teens and recent outbreak of vaping-related illnesses and deaths.
And speaking of which, the Centers for Disease Control just today said a 12th person had now died and the number of vaping-related cases has risen to more than 800.
HERERA: According to a survey released today by insurer AIG, nearly half of older Americans are managing their own finances. But doing so could be putting them at risk for financial abuse.
Joining us now to discuss that is our senior personal finance correspondent Sharon Epperson.
Sharon, it`s always great to have you on the program with us.
How widespread is this problem?
SHARON EPPERSON, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT SENIOR PERSONAL FINANCE CORRESPONDENT: This is a serious issue. As we see a rise in older Americans, we`re seeing a rise in incidents of elder financial abuse, 3.5 million incidents are happening every year. And when you think of the cost of at least $3 billion, according to some studies, others say up to $36 billion when you look at all the different fraud and scams that are out there, and the average older adult loses about $34,000.
If they know the person who was involved, it could be as much as $50,000.
GRIFFETH: Wow. So, what do they do? What can they do to protect themselves?
EPPERSON: Well, one of the first things, because they`re not consulting with anyone in terms of their finances, is to designate a power of attorney. So many people let alone seniors do not have a power of attorney. That`s an important person to have.
If you don`t have that yet, start finding someone that you trust that could get copies of bank statements and important financial documents. So you have someone that`s doing a double check on what you have. And then don`t add that person though as a joint owner to the account, because as long as you`re capable to handle finances you can do it. Having a power of attorney doesn`t mean that you are not going to take care of your own financial responsibility.
But if you have a join owner on the account that person can go into the bank and say I`d like all the money taken out.
What about the scams out there is this? I know there are some we hear about all the time. And there are others people are not aware of that are scams.
EPPERSON: Well, here is one thing. A lot of seniors believe — 81 percent according the study believe that someone they know would never hurt them financially. The reality is many of the financial schemes that come out of there are from someone that you know, someone you think you trust.
So, one of the first things is to think about people who come to you, family members might ask you to change your information on an account, family members that come out of the blue. When was the last time you saw them and now they want to help you. Or there is a pressure from a family member or someone that you know to be the power of attorney.
So, those are some of the red flags but what I found interesting in the AIG report were some of the popular scams that I hadn`t thought of, and that is someone calling to say, that they`re the grandchild and so now they want to have that money. The lottery scam, you need to pay taxes you just won the lottery.
But here`s what one I wasn`t familiar online dating.
EPPERSON: Online dating scams of seniors on the rise. And people getting involved in these relationships.
EPPERSON: Yes, and are taken advantage of financially.
So, really interesting stuff in this AIG report. Very sobering and scary stuff too. But the bottom line, have — have the money conversation that`s what we always talk about.
HERERA: That`s exaxtly right.
EPPERSON: And definitely have that with someone you trust.
HERERA: Thanks, Sharon, as always.
HERERA: Sharon Epperson.
EPPERSON: My pleasure.
HERERA: And that is NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT tonight. I`m Sue Herera. Thanks for joining us.
GRIFFETH: I`m Bill Griffeth. See you tomorrow.
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