Transcript: Nightly Business Report – October 23, 2019

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


SUE HERERA, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR:  In the clouds.  Microsoft  (NASDAQ:MSFT) trounced earnings expectations but growth has slowed in one  of its key businesses.  


Billions and counting.  Profits fall and costs rise at Boeing (NYSE:BA) as  the CEO stands firm, sticking to his timeline of getting the 737 MAX back  in the air.  


Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) crunch.  Sales slump and its outlook is ugly.  But  investors may be starting to believe that the worst is over.  
Those stories and much more tonight on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for this  Wednesday, October 23rd.  


Good evening, everyone, and welcome.  Bill has the evening off.  
Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is reeling in the profits.  The most valuable  public company in the U.S. easily beat Wall Street estimates, reporting  earnings of more than $10 billion in sales of more than $30 billion both  double digit increases from a year ago.  Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) may have  made its name in its Windows operating system but its future is in the  cloud.  Its cloud business called Azure has been growing quickly, but its  growth in the most recent quarter was below 60 percent, a big number but  one that gave investors pause.  The stock was volatile in initial after- hours trading.
Josh Lipton has more now on Microsoft`s quarter.  
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)


JOSH LIPTON, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT:  Expectations ran high  into Microsoft`s latest earnings with the stock up nearly 35 percent so far  this year as investors bet that it`s a smart way to capitalize on the shift  to cloud computing.  One big number that investors watch: commercial cloud  revenue.  Now, that includes Azure, Microsoft`s answer to rival AWS, as  well as other cloud properties.  
Commercial cloud revenue clocked in at $11.6 billion with gross margin  spanning to 66 percent.  


Evercore`s Kirk Materne says the growth in the cloud is now translating  into real earnings power.  And that he argues should drive the stock higher  over the long-term.


For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Josh Lipton, San Francisco.  
(END VIDEOTAPE)


HERERA:  Let`s turn now to Dan Ives to talk more about Microsoft`s better  than expected earnings.  He is the managing director of equity research at  Wedbush Securities.  


Welcome, Dan.  Nice to have you here.  


DAN IVES, WEDBUSH SECURITIES MANAGING DIRECTOR OF EQUITY RESEARCH:  Great  to be here.  Thanks.  


HERERA:  What do you think of the report?  Specifically, I know you were  going to be focused on the cloud business.  And that seems to be what has  investors a little bit worried about tonight.  
Are you at all concerned?  


IVES:  Yes, I view it as a knee-jerk reaction.  I mean, this continues in  my opinion to be a strong report and really one that puts gasoline in the  engine in terms of cloud.  You look at a 59 percent growth number.  I think  what`s happening here is Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) stealing share from AWS.   And for the stock, we continue to view this as something that`s still in  the early innings and moving higher.  


HERERA:  Now, the stock as Josh mentioned in his report is up about 35  percent.  You`re still bullish on the stock.  What kind of target do you  have?  And does this percentage increase so far this year give you any  pause?  


IVES:  Yes, we have $160 price target.  I think this is only halfway  through the move to cloud.  And Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) continues to be our  bet.  But if I look at this quarter ultimately gives us more bullishness to  owning this.  Stocks up and I still view this as a start of what`s going to  be a massive secular change when the Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) and Microsoft  (NASDAQ:MSFT) owning the cloud.  


HERERA:  What about Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and the competition with their  cloud business?  They really still own the space even though Microsoft  (NASDAQ:MSFT) is gaining.  


IVES:  It`s a great point.  I mean, I think the first part of this, Bezos  and Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) won the first part of the cloud battle.  But I  think the next part is where Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Dell (NASDAQ:DELL)  win there.  And I think when you look at these earnings, forest for the  trees, I think this really shows that Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is starting  to steal share and in our opinion makes us more positive on shares, and  just on the cloud story going forward, in terms of the two-horse race  between Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN).  


HERERA:  Now, if you are a long-term investor as many of our viewers are,  would you own both stocks on a kind of hedge your bet as to who`s really  going to win the cloud war?  


IVES:  Yes, I mean, right here, I view Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) as my 10- year play on cloud.  And that`s continuing to be our top pick.  I do view  Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) when you look at the AWS piece, that`s another name to  own in the portfolio.  You`re going to have $700 billion to $800 billion  spent in the cloud over the next eight to nine years.  These are the two  ways to play it in my opinion.  


HERERA:  On that note, Dan Ives with Wedbush Securities — thanks, Dan.  
IVES:  Thank you.  


HERERA:  Boeing`s earnings were cut in half as the company struggles to  recover from the grounding of its top selling 737 MAX jetliner.  Revenue  slid 20 percent from a year ago.  But that wasn`t as bad as feared.  
The company also said it`s sticking with its plan to get the 737 MAX back  in the air.  And that helped lift the stock in today`s session.  
Phil LeBeau has the details.  
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)


PHIL LEBEAU, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT:  Fixing the 737 MAX  continues to cost Boeing (NYSE:BA) hundreds of millions of dollars.  But  CEO Dennis Muilenburg says the company is moving closer to fixing the  beleaguered plane.  


DENNIS MUILENBURG, BOEING CHAIRMAN & CEO:  There are tangible milestones  being achieved but we still have more work to do.  Last week, we did  complete an initial dry run of the certification test flight.


LEBEAU:  That certification flight is expected to happen next month.  If it  goes as planned, the head of the FAA could decide by the end of the year,  the MAX is safe to fly, clearing the way for scores of 737s to get back in  the air.  But some on Wall Street have a different time line for the MAX.  
RON EPSTEIN, BANK OF AMERICA:  We have it returning to service in March.   Are we changing that because of what the company said?  No.  I mean, this  is a company that has a history of overpromising and under-delivering, and  eventually, they get it right.  


LEBEAU:  After cutting MAX production to 42 per month earlier this year,  Boeing (NYSE:BA) plans to ramp up to 57 per month by the end of next year.  


While investors are encouraged Boeing (NYSE:BA) is close to turning the  corner with this crisis, some in Congress still have plenty of questions  about what went wrong.  And next week, they`ll grill CEO Dennis Muilenburg  during hearings on the Hill.  


MUILENBURG:  I anticipate there will be tough questions, challenging  questions, a lot of scrutiny.  And frankly, we support the scrutiny on the  work that we`re doing.  


LEBEAU:  That scrutiny is far from over.  Regulators from around the world  still must be convinced that the MAX is safe to fly.  And in some countries  like China, that may not happen for several months.  
Phil LeBeau, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, Chicago.  
(END VIDEOTAPE)


HERERA:  Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) is considered a barometer for global  growth.  And today, it reported weaker than expected earnings, it lowered  its full year profit outlook.  It also said it would not be issuing sales  guidance because the outlook is so uncertain.  But the stock didn`t fall as  much as you`d think.  In fact, it rose.  
Seema Mody explains.  
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)


SEEMA MODY, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT:  The softening global  economy is pushing Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) customers to think twice about  buying heavy machinery.  The industrial bellwether said dealers were  holding off on purchases of equipment not due to financial distress but  because of the uncertainty about where the economy goes from here.  


ANDREW R.J. BONFIELD, CATERPILLAR CFO:  Obviously, primary is dealer  expectations of inventory reductions.  It depends where we end — you know,  obviously, the big unknown factor is what is our dealer expectations of  future growth going to be at the end of the year, because that will impact  their order pattern in Q4.  


MODY:  Weaker demand resulted in Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) posting its first  quarterly profit decline since 2016.  Energy was also weak.  The company  makes things like pumps and drilling equipment.  That softness some experts  say is the result of the trade war and slowing global growth.  


JIM UMPLEBY, CATERPILLAR CEO:  Our mines customers are cautious and so,  they are hesitant to pull the trigger on new equipment, although, again,  we`re seeing increased sales.  So, we`re seeing improvement in that  business.  One thing to also keep in mind is that, you know, when miners  sometimes delay, that creates opportunities for us for rebuild in parts.  


MODY:  Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) continues to deal with ongoing weakness in  Asia-Pacific where sales fell 13 percent.  But the company is confident  that overtime, it will be able to fend of competition in markets like  China.  


UMPLEBY:  We are confident in our ability to compete in China long-term and  demonstrated the ability to do that.  But there will be fluctuations on a  short-term basis up or down.  That`s just part of the deal.  


MODY:  Despite the disappointing earnings report, some investors are  hopeful the company can stage a turn around overtime.  


ROB WERTHEIMER, MELIUS RESEARCH FOUNDING PARTNER:  They`ve done a very good  job, the short little up cycle we have.  And keep in mind, these industrial  up cycles has been great.  Mining is not all that great.  Oil and gas is  not at all that great.  And construction is OK.  


It hasn`t been a powerful up cycle.  The margins have been really  exceptional.  They`ve done a great job.  We`ll see how they can manage the  other side, the turn if we have one.
MODY:  The biggest challenge for Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) will be navigating  the uncertain global economy.  
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, Seema Mody.  
(END VIDEOTAPE)


HERERA:  Those earnings were not enough to firmly drive stocks in one  direction or the other.  The major average is kind of wobbled, trading at a  narrow range throughout the session.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose  45 points to 26,833.  The Nasdaq was up 15, and the S&P added 8.  
And now comes the hard part, making sense of corporate America`s hits and  misses this earnings season.  
Bob Pisani is here to help lead the way.  
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)


BOB PISANI, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT:  We are about a quarter  of the way through earnings season and analysts are wondering whether  several high profile misses are spelling broader trouble ahead for the  overall stock market.  


FedEx (NYSE:FDX), McDonald`s (NYSE:MCD), now Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) and  Boeing (NYSE:BA) have all missed earnings expectations by a significant  amount.  We`re talking a miss of 30 percent by Boeing (NYSE:BA).  That`s a  real outlier.  While the misses aren`t trivial, they may be outliers.  


Only 14 percent of companies are missing earnings estimates this quarter.   That`s roughly in line with the historical trends.  And most of these large  misses are either company or sector specific.  So, Boeing`s 737 MAX jet  issues are well-known. 


FedEx (NYSE:FDX) had many company specific issues.  Look at rival UPS, they  boasting strong numbers in the next day air delivery service.  They didn`t  have the same problems FedEx (NYSE:FDX) had. 


McDonald`s (NYSE:MCD) likely saw significant traffic diversion around that  whole chicken sandwich wars earlier in the last few months, competitors  like Popeyes.  But if the miss is reflecting trends in the broader economy,  you`d be seeing far more companies missing and overall guidance would be  much worse than it is.  


So, this leaves Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT), this is poster child for the trade  wars and for Canada.  Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) reduced dealer inventory due  uncertainty in the global economy resulting from trade tensions.  That`s  their words.  And they said end user demand was flat.  But Caterpillar  (NYSE:CAT) earnings trends have been very poor more than a year, not just  this quarter.


And the fact that the stock is up today seems to indicate that the street  believes that Caterpillar`s earnings could be bottoming.  The question now  is, is the global slowdown getting priced in?  Alec Young from FTSE Russell  calls this the muddle-through market, where investors are expecting one to  two percent GDP growth and maybe 5 percent earnings growth or less in 2020.  


That`s a lot better than recession fears that we had six months ago.  
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Bob Pisani at the New York Stock Exchange.  
(END VIDEOTAPE)


HERERA:  It is time to look at some of today`s “Upgrades and Downgrades”.  


Coke was upgraded to buy from neutral at UBS.  The analyst cites price  increase, its acquisition of a global coffee brand and innovation.  The  price target is $63.  The stock rose more than 1.5 percent to $56.64.  


Travelers was upgraded to hold from sell at Deutsche Bank.  The analyst  says underwriting margin may be bottoming.  The price target is $140.   Shares of the Dow component gained 1.5 percent to $132.16.


Walgreen`s Boots Alliance was downgraded to neutral from overweight at  JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM).  The analyst there cites growth challenges in the near  term.  The price target is $63.  The stock fell 1 percent to $54.56.  
And ServiceNow was downgraded to neutral from buy at Mizuho Securities.   The analyst cites the departure of the company`s CEO and the broader  concern over employee attrition.  Last night you may remember we told that  you ServiceNow CEO is going to go over and head Nike (NYSE:NKE).  The price  target is $230.  The stock is down more than 3.5 percent to 220.01.  
Still ahead, Facebook`s CEO did not find many friends among lawmakers on  Capitol Hill.  
(MUSIC)


HERERA:  In the news tonight, President Trump today lifted all sanctions on  Turkey, saying there will be a permanent cease fire in the conflict between  Turkey and the Kurds in northern Syria.  The ceasefire required Kurdish  forces to move out of a roughly 20-mile zone on the Turkish border.  
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  By the moves that we have  made, we are achieving a much more peaceful and stable area between Turkey  and Syria, including a 20-mile-wide safe zone.  
(END VIDEO CLIP)


HERERA:  The administration says it reserves the right to re-impose the  sanctions if Ankara falls short of its obligations, adding that it`s not  the job of the U.S. military to police the world.  


Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg went to Capitol Hill today to  answer questions about his company`s cryptocurrency project called Libra.   And he found himself defending just about every part of his social media  network.  


Ylan Mui has more on the heated hearing.  
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)


YLAN MUI, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT:  Mark Zuckerberg`s hearing  on Capitol Hill lasted all day.  Facebook`s founder and CEO fielded  questions on everything from election security and political speech, to  privacy and competition.  Democrats were angry and at times exasperated.


REP. MAXINE WATERS (D-CA (NASDAQ:CA)), FINANCIAL SERVICES CHAIR:  Facebook  (NASDAQ:FB) changes the rules when it can benefit itself.  
REP. NYDIA VELAZQUEZ (D), NEW YORK:  Have you learned that you should not  lie?  


REP. GREGORY MEEKS (D-NY):  Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) has been systemically  found at the scene of the crime.  


REP. BRAD SHERMAN (D-CA (NASDAQ:CA)):  For the richest man in the world to  come here and hide behind the poorest people in the world and say that`s  who you`re really trying to help.  You`re trying to help those for whom the  dollar is not a good currency — drug dealers, terrorists, tax evaders.


MUI:  Republicans were also tough on Zuckerberg but some cautioned against  the broader big tech backlash.  


REP. PATRICK MCHENRY (R-NC):  That`s why I believe American innovation is  on trial this day in this hearing.  


MUI:  The focus of the hearing was supposed to be Facebook`s ambitious plan  to launch a cryptocurrency called Libra.  Zuckerberg says he understands  why Washington is kept skeptical.  


MARK ZUCKERBERG, FACEBOOK CEO:  I get that I`m not the ideal messenger for  this right now.  We faced a lot of issues over the past few years and I`m  sure there are a lot of people who wish it were anyone but Facebook  (NASDAQ:FB) who are helping to propose this.  


MUI:  He promised lawmakers that Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) would not move  forward with Libra unless they get approval from U.S. regulators.  And if  it doesn`t, Zuckerberg said he would be willing to leave the association  backing the cryptocurrency.  However, there will be costs to stepping away.  


ZUCKERBERG:  While we debate these issues, the rest of the world isn`t  waiting.  China is moving quickly to launch the similar idea in the coming  months.  Libra is going to be backed mostly by dollars and I believe that  it will extend America`s financial leadership around the world, as well as  our Democrat values and oversight.  
But if America doesn`t innovate, our financial leadership is not  guaranteed.  


MUI:  This is Zuckerberg`s first public testimony on Capitol Hill in 18  months.  He leaned forward in seat while listening to questions and  answering them.  
This hearing may be over, but the spotlight isn`t going away.  
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Ylan Mui in Washington.  
(END VIDEOTAPE)


HERERA:  Sales of one of the Eli Lilly`s top selling drugs misses the mark.   And that`s where we begin tonight`s “Market Focus”.  


Rebates and discounts on a Lily`s diabetes drug Trulicity curved revenue  and came in shy of targets but the drug maker did top expectations and it  raised its full year earnings forecast.  Shares fell more than 2 percent to  $107.40.  


Profit and health insurer Anthem rose more than 20 percent, thanks to  enrollment gains from people enrolled in Medicare Advantage and Medicaid.   Anthem`s 2020 guidance was also better than feared, easing concerns that  rising medical costs would cut into profits.  That helped sent shares up  more than 1 percent to $263.51.  


Norfolk Southern (NYSE:SO) profit fell as the railroad carried less freight  in the quarter.  The company also sees industry headwinds, with tariff  uncertainty and global weakness that could impact the coal and steel  transport markets.  Norfolk Southern (NYSE:SO) shares slipped more than 2  percent to $184.87.  


And shares of Resideo Technologies fell following the company lowering its  revenue guidance.  The smart home and security products company also said  its CFO will be leaving and it has begun a comprehensive operational and  financial review.  Shares lost nearly 40 percent of their value today to  finish at $9.50.  


And after the bell, Ford posted a lower than expected profit as higher  warranty and incentive costs and slower demand in China hit its bottom  line.  The automaker also cut its full-year guidance.  Shares initially  fell following the news, but they closed the regular session up about 1.5  percent to $9.21.  


Also after the bell, Tesla shares initially spiked after the electric  carmaker posted a surprise profit for the quarter.  But revenue did fall  slightly from a year ago.  And you can see the after-hours move after  closing the regular session down a fraction to $254.68.  


While price target hikes are pretty common on Wall Street, but today, there  were a couple that caught our attention.  Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) and Morgan  Stanley (NYSE:MS) increased their target on the paint company Sherwin- Williams (NYSE:SHW) to $650 a share.  Now, there were only a handful of  companies trading at that high of a dollar amount, which got us thinking,  why did companies choose to keep their stock prices so high?  
We decided to examine the phenomenon in a segment we call surprising  stocks.  


And joining to us talk about all this is Art Hogan.  He is the chief market  strategist at National Securities.  
Good to see you, Art.  


ART HOGAN, CHIEF MARKET STRATEGIST, NATIONAL SECURITIES:  Nice to see you,  Sue.  Thanks so much for having me.  


HERERA:  Sherwin-Williams (NYSE:SHW) was a surprise for me with the price  that it`s trades at.  But if you broaden it out, why would a company choose  to keep its price that high instead of splitting it?  


HOGAN:  Yes, it`s such a great question.  
So, on the company side, there`s three kind of fundamental reasons why they  like to keep that.  There`s a prestige thing and, all of a sudden, sort of  post to the 1999, 2000 time frame when everything fell apart, the higher  the price, is it just seemed like you are a fancier and better company.   That`s persistent.  So, we have seen that.  


And the second thing, large institutional investors pay by share.  So they  put pressure on companies not to actually split their share price, so they  don`t have to pay as much in transacting, investing in companies.  
And then the third thing is, remember both in 1999, 2000 and 2008 when  prices came down precipitously, if you start at lower level and you slipped  between $10, it became a very slippery slope for your stock to get down to  a level where you might be delisted or you might get — the stock price  might be too low that you couldn`t trade on exchanging or couldn`t be in  funds.  


So, I think that`s probably the three main drivers for corporations.  


HERERA:  So, for that last one that you mentioned, it could be a defensive  strategy.  In case.  


HOGAN:  Yes, very much so.  


HERERA:  If the CFO or the CEO thinks that perhaps the economy is slowing  or we`re headed for a recession or something along those lines.  
HOGAN:  Yes, that`s generally the thought process.  There`s the sort of  prestige thing I`ve got a $1,000 stock or the $500 stock.  There`s the  pressure you get from large institutional investors who say, hey, listen,  we are paying by the share, so we don`t care how expensive your stock is.   And the third thing is, hey, remember in 2008 when we got down to 5 bucks  and half the funds of the world could invest in us because our stock price  was too low.


So, those are types of things, and really, those are the fundamentals.  But  I don`t think there`s great reasons.


HERERA:  But on the other side, one of the reasons that you might want to  split your stock I would think that you broaden out shareholder base.  
HOGAN:  Oh, absolutely.  So human psychology for with whatever reason, it`s  just easier for me to contemplate that a $20 stock is going to $40, and I  think I`m buying more if I buy it at $20, even though spending $10,000,  than if I paid $20 a share and it goes to $400.  


The contemplation of going from 20 to 40 easier for me to grasp as an  investor than it is to think a stock can go from 20 to 400.  And even  though I invested $10,000 in that stock at either stock price and that  percentage gain is exactly the same, I just believe it`s easier for it to  happen from $20 to $40.  


HERERA:  Right.  


HOGAN:  I believe I can buy more.  It`s a human nature thing.  And you get  more investors that say, I can afford to buy this stock at $20.  Can`t  afraid it as $400.  


HERERA:  Right, what about liquidity overall in the stock.  
HOGAN:  Yes, the more shares you have outstanding, the more likely your  shares are going to trade an awful lot.  And I think that that helps in  that liquidity.  So, if you are a holder, you`re probably going to be able  to get in and out without moving a stock around that much when there`s more  liquidity, when there`s volume in your stock.  


So, I think there are a whole lot of benefits, the largest of those —  


HERERA:  OK.
HOGAN:  — are psychological for the lower priced stocks.  
HERERA:  On that note, Art, thanks so much.  
HOGAN:  My pleasure.  
HERERA:  Art Hogan with National Securities.  
And coming up, why a new harvest may be coming to Wall Street.  


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FRANK HOLLAND, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT:  The most valuable  hemp crop in U.S. history being harvested right now.  
I`m Frank Holland.  Coming up on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I take you inside  the growing CBD industry.  
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(MUSIC)


HERERA:  Target (NYSE:TGT) plans to add $50 million to its holiday payroll.   The retailer wants to ensure it has enough workers on hand during peak  shopping times.  It`s also focusing on things like free shipping and  rewards program that will give members early access to doorbusters.  
Separately, Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) will start advertising holiday discounts  online this week, in an effort to attract holiday shoppers early.  


Well, as you probably know, the trade war has put a lot of pressure on our  nation`s farmers.  But there is a relatively new cash crop that has some  seeing green and Wall Street eyeing a potential new wave of profits.  
Frank Holland is in Murray, Kentucky, for us.  
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)


HOLLAND:  U.S. hemp production has more than doubled since Congress  legalized the crop last December.  As much as $32 billion worth of  cannabidiol or CBD could be sourced from the hemp of this farm in Murray,  Kentucky, and others around the country.  


SMOKE WALLIN, VERTICAL WELLNESS CEO:  We are growing hemp.  We`re  harvesting it.  We`re extracting the CBD, and then we`re putting into our  brands.  


HOLLAND:  Smoke Wallin is the CEO of Vertical Wellness, a company focused  on CBD products manufactured from industrial hemp.  Vertical Wellness is a  subsidiary of Vertical Companies, a U.S.-based cannabis producer expects to  launch an IPO, the Hemp CBD business, on the Nasdaq next year.  Other  companies in the CBD space already trade in Canada.  
However, analysts say the first company to trade in the U.S. will benefit  from increased visibility, greater investment and more access to capital.   Wallin says that`s the motivation but unlike higher profile IPOs, he says  the company is already profitable.  


Vertical Wellness expects to generate $28 million in revenue this year and  see the number more than triple in 2020.  By selling 75 percent of the hemp  and using 25 percent in its own brands of CBD products.  


WALLIN:  Right away, we`re going to see a profitable company, scaling very  quickly.  
So, we — I don`t really focus on revenue so much.  I know the market is  really geared to that kind of stuff.  I focus on driving EBITDA and cash  flow so we can scale up business profitably.  


HOLLAND:  It`s the same goal for Nathan Musser, a tobacco and soybean  farmer who started growing hemp in the spring of 2018 as part of the state  pilot program.  After hemp became legal, he decided to plant eight times  more.  


NATHAN MUSSER, FARMER:  The profits on the hill is in line with the tobacco  probably 15 to 20 percent higher than the tobacco.  And with the corn and  soybeans, it`s substantially higher 


HOLLAND:  Hemp is also a substantially cheaper source of CBD than cannabis.   Farmers and Vertical Wellness both hoping to capitalize on this emerging  cash crop.  


WALLIN:  It`s about how do you build something that`s really truly,  scalable and sustainable.  


HOLLAND:  Regulation, though, remains the biggest headwind for the domestic  hemp and CBD industry.  Both the Department of Agriculture and Food and  Drug Administration are drafting guidelines for how hemp can be grown , as  well as how CBD can be used in food and drinks.  


For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Frank Holland in Murray, Kentucky.  
(END VIDEOTAPE)


HERERA:  And before we go, another look at the day`s final numbers on Wall  Street.  The Dow rose 45 points.  The Nasdaq up 15 and S&P 500 added 8. 


And that is NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for tonight.  I`m Sue Herera.  Thanks  for joining us.  And we`ll see you tomorrow.  

END



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Nightly Business Report transcripts and video are available on-line post  broadcast at http://nbr.com. The program is transcribed by ASC Services II  Media, LLC. Updates may be posted at a later date. The views of our guests  and commentators are their own and do not necessarily represent the views  of Nightly Business Report, or CNBC, Inc. Information presented on Nightly  Business Report is not and should not be considered as investment advice.  (c) 2019 CNBC, Inc.


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