ANNOUNCER: This is NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT with Tyler Mathisen and
Susie Gharib, brought to you by —
BILL GRIFFETH, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR: Getting stronger. The
U.S. economy grows faster than expected. That gives Wall Street a chance
to breathe. And the next question now is, does this mean strength the Fed
has to act on?
SUSIE GHARIB, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR: Wage rage. Fast food
workers take to the streets all across the country for higher wages. Some
say raising pay is the right thing to do. Others say it`s an attack on
GRIFFETH: And one of the crowd. As tuition keeps rising, students
and families keep trying to find new ways to pick up the tab. In the
second part of our four-part series — turning to crowd sourcing to pay
your way through school.
All that and more for this Thursday evening, August the 29th.
GHARIB: Good evening, everyone. I`m Susie Gharib. I`m here with my
colleague Bill Griffeth. Tyler is off tonight.
Good news was really good news again for investors today with stocks
edging higher and new signs of strength in the U.S. economy. Investors
brushed off fears about a possible military strike against Syria and
focused instead on a positive development right here at home.
The nation`s gross domestic product or GDP grew at a stronger than
expected rate of 2.5 percent during the spring quarter. And that prompted
investors to put more of their money into stocks.
Hampton Pearson takes a closer look at the encouraging trends behind
that surprisingly robust number.
HAMPTON PEARSON, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: It now
appears that a big jump in exports helped the economy grow at a much rate
in the spring than previously reported.
Analysts and market watchers say when you go inside the numbers, the
news is even better and could cushion the markets from concerns about
JIM PAULSEN, WELLS CAPITAL MANAGEMENT: Private sector growth grew 3.3
percent in the second quarter. It`s up almost 3 percent year to date.
It`s just too good to allow the stocks to fall, but it`s hard to get really
excited to step up and take a buy right here when you got all this
uncertainty and you know you`re going to face in the next 60 days.
PEARSON: And more signs of perhaps faster hiring in August. Weekly
first time claims for unemployment benefits are at a five-year low, down to
331,000 last week according to the Labor Department. The combination of
stronger economic growth and fewer jobless claims are some market watchers
believe enough to move the Federal Reserve to begin tapering its economic
stimulus when monetary policy makers meet in mid-September.
DAVID KELLY, JPMORGAN ANALYST: I think the key thing to look at the
employment report isn`t so much payroll growth. It is, is the unemployment
rate still coming down and are wages beginning to creep up? And I think as
they are, that means the Federal Reserve will go ahead and begin to reduce
bond purchases starting in September.
PEARSON: What could be the final key day to point for the Fed, the
August jobs report gets released one week from tomorrow here at the Labor
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Hampton Pearson in Washington.
GRIFFETH: Now, even with the economy growing and stocks inching
higher, the possibility of a U.S.-led attack on Syria over its use of
chemical weaponry continues to hang over our markets. In the United
Kingdom, lawmakers there were set to vote this evening on whether to
authorize the use of British troops or weaponry in a retaliatory strike
against Syrian military targets.
Earlier today, Prime Minister David Cameron said it was legal and just
to use his words for his country to take action against Syria.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID CAMERON, UK PRIME MINISTER: We must not let the specter of
previous mistakes paralyze our ability to stand up for what is right. We
must not be so afraid of doing anything that we end up doing nothing. Let
me repeat again — there will be no action without a further vote in this
House of Commons. But on this issue, Britain should not stand aside.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GHARIB: Meanwhile on Wall Street, investors were relieved that the
prospect of U.S. military action against Syria is not imminent. And so,
stocks got a lift from that encouraging GDP number that we told you about
and the dip in first time jobless claims.
Also helping, Verizon (NYSE:VZ). It was the biggest gainer in the
Dow, up more than 2.5 percent on conformation that it`s in renewed talks to
buyout the 45 percent of Verizon (NYSE:VZ) Wireless that it doesn`t already
own from its partner in the carrier. That`s Britain`s Vodafone. That deal
could be worth upwards of $130 billion.
Well, by the closing bell, the Dow added 16 points. The NASDAQ up 30,
on strength of tech stocks and the S&P 500 tacked on three points.
GRIFFETH: Joining us tonight to analyze all of this, we are very
happy to have with us an old friend Robert Hormats, recently left his post
in the State Department where he was undersecretary for economic and energy
Bob, good evening. Welcome.
ROBERT HORMATS, FMR. STATE DEPT. UNDER SECRETARY : Good to be back
GRIFFETH: Nice to see you again.
First of all, on Syria, you know, oil prices have gone skyrocketing at
this point, what do you make of that development? And if this drags on,
how much higher does oil go do you think?
HORMATS: Well., as we know in the Middle East, that`s an area where
we see unintended consequences of various types of actions, and if we do
take some action against the Syrian regime for what they have done by use
of chemical weapons, there is likely to be a series of repercussions. Very
hard to predict.
To a degree, it will depend on the duration of the American
involvement and the extent of American involvement. If it`s very quick and
the markets perceive that it`s a one-time thing, I suspect we`ll see fewer
repercussions. If it looks like it`s sustained effort, then there will be
But it`s very hard to predict the Middle East and to make predictions
about what Hezbollah will do and what other countries in the region will do
at this point is extremely difficult. Then, therefore, there is
uncertainty in the markets and certainly in the minds of many legislators
in the U.S., and as we see in the U.K.
GHARIB: Bob, how will these developments in the Middle East impact
Fed policy today with that strong economic report on the GDP? A lot of
people feel like this is a green light that the Federal Reserve needs to
begin its tapering process of the stimulus plans in the economy. Does
Syria change all of that?
HORMATS: Well, I think these numbers are very encouraging with
respect to growth and the job specter. And that should tip the balance to
a greater degree in favor of those who do want to begin tapering relatively
soon. If, on the other hand, we see actions in the Middle East against
Syria and repercussions in the region, then I suspect we`ll see a lot of
people who would otherwise favor tapering hesitate a bit because they would
like to see what the implications are, particularly with respect to the
energy markets and with respect to the general stability of the region.
GRIFFETH: We`re getting late word, Bob, that we`ve lost — David
Cameron lost that early vote in the House of Commons to get approval for
the strike on Syria. Diplomatically, this must make it very difficult for
the Western allies to keep this coalition together as we move toward some
sort of action here.
HORMATS: It certainly does because one of the arguments that the
president makes correctly is that what the Assad regime did in Syria was to
violate international norms. And therefore, if the United States goes in
alone and doesn`t have it`s major ally that it normally relies on in these
areas, which is the U.K., it makes it somewhat harder to justify because if
it`s violating international norms, you want your allies to be there
supporting the international norms, as well, not to have it simply a
So it complicates this position substantially and will make it more
difficult for the other Europeans to do something, as well.
GHARIB: There is going to be a lot of discussion and debate about
this new development tomorrow on Wall Street trying to assess, what is the
timeline of what the U.S. does or doesn`t do. What are your thoughts on
HORMATS: Well, I think that Congress wants to be consulted and, of
course, we`ve got to bring allies around. It`s difficult to do these
So, I would guess the timing probably, although it`s very hard to
predict, will be delayed somewhat until we can bolster support among our
allies and make sure we have a firm — level of support in the United
States. And that requires explaining to the American people what the
nature of the mission is.
HORMATS: And the duration and extent of American involvement down the
road. All these things need to be done to get Americans to understand why
we`re doing it, and we do need broader international support as well. That
will make things more comfortable for the president. And I think give
markets greater confidence also.
GRIFFETH: Bob Hormats, now former under secretary of state for
economic and energy affairs — good to see you again, Bob. Thanks.
HORMATS: Great to be with you.
GHARIB: If you`re in the market to buy a home, we`ve got some good
news about mortgage rates. They fell a bit this week. Freddie Mac says
the average rate on a 30-year fixed loan dropped to 4.51 percent. And the
average on a 15-year fixed mortgage dipped to 3.54 percent. Rates bottomed
out back in May, but started rising when the Federal Reserve hinted at
tapering back on a stimulus plan sometime this year.
GIFFERTY: And stop me if you`ve heard this one before, the U.S.
banking industry netted a record profit of $42.2 billion during the second
quarter as income from trading jumped and lenders set aside less money for
bad loans. Now, the FDIC, that federal agency that insures bank deposits
says that earnings rose by 23 percent during the spring quarter, rising by
nearly $8 billion and the number of so-called problem banks fell sharply
over that same three-month period.
GHARIB: Some new tax rules for married same-sex couples. The U.S.
Treasury, along with the IRS, has issued new regulations that allow legally
married gay couples to be treated as married and file joint federal income
tax returns no matter what state they currently live in.
GRIFFETH: Well, the city of Detroit could be getting much need
financing. The emergency manager for the bankrupt city has issued requests
for proposals totaling $350 million in loans, so-called debtor in
possession financing. Most of that money would be used to pay Bank of
America`s Merrill Lynch to end a complicated swaps deal related to bonds it
once issued to finance pensions for retired city workers. It`s very
complicated. The rest will pay bills to keep the city services operating.
GHARIB: Well, a lot of Detroit area workers getting a shot in the arm
today from Ford. The automaker began making its top-selling Fusion sedan
in the U.S. for the first time ever. It`s adding 1,400 new jobs at a plant
in Flat Rock, Michigan. This is just outside the Motor City. Ford CEO
Alan Mulally moved production there from a factory in Mexico, saying the
new plant will turn out more cars and help the company meet rising demand.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALAN MULALLY, FORD PRESIDENT & CEO: Well, we don`t have a lot of
capacity left but pretty much sized to what will be longer term. We think
right now, the U.S. will come in around 16 million units, maybe up to 17.
But the neatest thing is the pin up demand, because the average age of
vehicles, as we`ve talked about is nearly 11 years old. We have room on
the second and third shifts around the United States to be able to meet
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GHARIB: Phil LeBeau was at that plant and got an up-close look at a
growing trend in manufacturing — leaner and more efficient companies.
PHIL LEBEAU, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: Here`s at Ford`s
Flat Rock assembly plant just south of Detroit, it is day one of production
of the Fusion sedan. This is the car the company has built in its plant in
Mexico, but because of increased demand, it is bringing production here to
the United States and to Detroit area.
Ford in 2013 is far different company than it was back in 2007 when
Alan Mulally started restructuring it. They are getting greater
profitability and greater sales despite the fact that the company has fewer
plants, fewer brands and fewer workers. One reason why — greater
efficiency. Half of the models built by Ford and sold by Ford in the
United States are coming from plants that are running three shifts a day.
And many of the workers hired at those plants in the last couple of years
have been brought in at a lower starting wage rate than long-time UAW
Meanwhile, on the sales side of the equation for Ford, it is doing
better competing with it`s Asian rivals, in fact, the Fusion is now the
sixth best-selling car in the United States, nipping at the heels of the
That`s story from here in Flat Rock, Michigan, where Ford has added
1,400 workers to expand production of the Fusion models.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Phil LeBeau.
GRIFFETH: Well, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is another company that sees
benefits of manufacturing here in the United States. Research firm IHS
(NYSE:IHS) is saying that assembling the Moto-X smartphone from Google`s
Motorola unit at a plant in Texas does not cost any more than making it
outside the United States. The Moto-X is the first smartphone to carry a
made in the USA label, even though labor costs are generally higher here
compare to factories in Asia where devices are typically made.
GHARIB: You sure can work up quite an appetite making all those cars
and phones, but if workers were in the mood for a burger or fries today,
they may have been out of luck. Thousands of fast food workers walked off
their jobs today in dozen of cities, demanding higher wages and the right
to form a union.
Jackie DeAngelis has our story.
JACKIE DEANGELIS, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):
From coast-to-coast, fast food workers have taken to the street.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The reason why we deserve $15 is because we work
too damn hard. I mean, everything is going up but my pay. My rent is
going up. Groceries are going up. Clothes are going up. But my pay is
still where it`s at.
DEANGELIS (on camera): Fast food workers walked off the job today
demanding two things, a raise in wages and also the right to unionize. And
it`s not just here in New York City. It`s in 50 cities across the country.
(voice-over): Workers from McDonalds, Burger King, Wendy`s and many
others saying $7.25 is not enough to survive.
STEPHEN LERNER, LABOR & COMMUNITY ORGANIZER: We`ve had this
reorganization of the economy, where workers` wages are driven down. We`re
benefits and hours are cut, and profits and salaries at the top for
executives keep going up and up and up.
DEANGELIS: Here in New York City, there are more than 50,000 fast
food workers. They make on average $8.89, slightly higher than the
national average. But according to an MIT study, an adult with one kid
here needs $29.64 an hour to make it. And someone has to make up the
CHRISTINE QUINN, NEW YORK CITY MAYORAL CANDIDATE: It`s not right for
folks to work long, hard hours. And at the end of the day still have to be
on food stamps for public assistance.
DEANGELIS (on camera): McDonald`s in a statement said, “McDonald`s
aims to offer competitive pay and benefits to our employees.” Wendy`s
says, “We`re proud to provide a place where thousands of people who come to
us asking for a job can enter the workforce at a starting wage, gain
skills, and advance with us or move on to something else.”
(voice-over): The workers seem determined to bring about change.
They say they`ll continue to fight until their employers listen.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m hoping that justice is served. I`m hoping
we get our $15 because if not, we`ll be out here every day until they hear
our voice. I feel like that`s what we deserve.
DEANGELIS: But some people feel this is an attack on business.
New York City mayoral candidate said, “The government cannot keep
piling expensive mandates on businesses and expect them to remain
resilient. Doubling the cost of worker`s salaries, many of whom are part
time, on top already skyrocketing healthcare, taxes and energy cost will
mean fewer jobs.”
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Jackie DeAngelis.
GHARIB: Coming up, the Bernie Madoff of China.
And then a little later on the program, teen retailers took it on the
chin this earning season. What did they get wrong? We`ll try to get some
But first, here is a look how the international markets fared today.
GHARIB: Investors in Salesforce.com (NYSE:CRM) could be on cloud nine
right now, and that kicks off tonight`s “Market Focus”. The maker of
Cloud-based customer management software says its second quarter earnings
beat Wall Street estimates and sales rose 31 percent to nearly a billion
dollars. The company is also raising its revenue guidance for the full
year. Shares closed at $43.65 but spike about 7 percent in after-hours
Well, less stellar news from Signet Jewelers, the owner of Kay
Jewelers and Jared stores. It missed second quarter sales estimates and
issued a weak outlook for this quarter. Part of the miss was attributed to
an 8 percent drop in sales in its U.K. stores. Shares fell 4 percent to
GRIFFETH: And investors in Campbell`s soup weren`t exactly saying
mmm, mmm good today. That company`s shares getting hit after the world`s
largest soup maker post revenue that came in short of expectations at its
core U.S. businesses as they cooled down. As a result, shares were off by
3 percent to $43.33.
And Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is losing one of it`s top executives to a
Chinese smartphone maker. Hugo Barra, who was vice president of Google`s
mobile platform Android is going to China`s Xiaomi, which makes — you
guessed it — Android-based phones. Shares of Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) were up
a fraction today to $855.43 a share.
GHARIB: Leading the United States for a job in China presents many
challenges, to say the least. But for a convicted financer in China known
as China`s Bernie Madoff, the punishment for defrauding investors in a
massive Ponzi scheme was even more severe. His case is now raising
questions about China`s criminal justice system and the financial
conditions that allow the Ponzi scheme to happen in the first place.
Eunice Yoon has the story.
EUNICE YOON, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This
man is known as the Bernie Madoff of China. Like the American, Zeng
Chengjie was found guilty of defrauding investors in a massive Ponzi
scheme. Unlike Madoff, Zeng was executed by firing squad.
Zeng`s death is now raising questions. Was he a perpetrator or a pawn
of a flawed financial system that has become a threat to China and the
China`s financial sector has long been controlled by the government,
with state-owned companies getting cash whatever, while private companies
are largely cuff off.
FRASER HOWIE, CO-AUTHOR, RED CAPITALISM: Basically, small companies
need financing, you have shadow banking developing. It`s as simple at
YOON: Zeng built 57 developments around the city of Jishou, using
money borrowed from the community, a common practice in China.
(on camera): Nearly all of these buildings were built by Zeng
Chengjie. He was such an influential figure in this town that this road
was supposed to be named after him.
(voice-over): Zeng offered returns of 24 percent to 80 percent,
attracting investors like this retired math teacher who didn`t want to show
his face for fear of reprisal by government authorities.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): More than 90 percent of
families were engaged in this shadow financing. You`d be a fool not to do
it. People here have no way to invest.
YOON: Zeng`s lawyer admits, to pay out those returns, Zeng used
incoming investor money while waiting for real estate investments to bear
fruit. He insists Zeng intended on paying everyone back in full.
But in 2008, he says new officials took over and ordered a crackdown
on shadow finance. Zeng was accused of defrauding investors out of half a
billion dollars, was jailed, his assets sold off. This summer, he was
executed. His family not informed until he was dead.
ZENG SHAN, ZENG`S DAUGHTER (through translator): It feels as though
he`s still alive because I never saw his body.
YOON: His daughter blogged the case sparking a public uproar, begging
the question, was he a con man or a victim of a shadowy financial world?
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Eunice Yoon, in Jishou.
Coming up, in life, in business, who you associate with is always
important. But when it comes to paying for college, the right crowd could
make a very big difference. We`ll explain, coming up.
But, first, a look at how commodities, treasuries and currencies fared
GRIFFETH: We know that this earning season was rough for retail, but
especially the teen retailers. The customer base can be a very pickle one.
And with the all-important back-to-school season winding down, that`s a
very dangerous variable for companies.
So, while retailers had difficulty getting into the heads of teen
crowd, our Courtney Reagan gave it a shot.
COURTNEY REAGAN, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):
The National Retail Federation forecasts back to school spending will be
lower this year compared to 2012. The teen retailers seem to be bearing
the brunt of the pain.
I joined eight teenagers on a mall shopping trip in New Jersey this
week to try to figure out what`s hot and what`s not for back to school.
What an education it was.
None of the eight teens had bought any clothing or shoes for back to
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wait and see what people are wearing in school
and I like adjust to that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
REAGAN (on camera): You do. So, it`s a wait. You want to see what
everybody else is wearing? What if everybody waits and then nobody buys
anything, then how do you —
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There is always somebody that starts the trend.
REAGAN (voice-over): The group is keenly aware of value. When they
do start shopping, they want their money to stretch.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s like of (INAUDIBLE) hipster feel, but it`s
also in a great price range.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Kind of like the Gap (NYSE:GPS), I mean, they
have really nice products and prices into that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m commuting back and forth to school, so I`ll be
buying Gap (NYSE:GPS), stuff like that. So I got to make sure I have money
to get back and forth to school first before I buy new clothes. The
clothes I have will do.
REAGAN (on camera): Which of you guys will be spending your own money
when it comes to back to school?
(voice-over): Nearly everyone is throwing in some earnings from
babysitting or chores.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My parents pay for what I need and if there is
something I really want but I don`t necessarily like need it or it`s in the
budget, if I really, really want it, then I`ll get it.
REAGAN: The boys have sights set on the latest sneakers but say the
spending limit is 100 bucks.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you go and spend too much on sneakers, you
don`t have enough (INAUDIBLE).
REAGAN: At the end of the day, it all comes down to the brand,
emulating their favorite celebrities.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We really like the Kendall and Kylie line by the
Kardashians. I think that like got really popular because of that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it`s about brand and what everybody else
REAGAN (on camera): Except you have the labels splash across your
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That`s so hard.
REAGAN (voice-over): The teens may be keeping up with the Kardashians
but keeping up with the ever changing taste of teens has proven to be a
difficult task for many retailers.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Courtney Regan in Paramus, New
GHARIB: And then when those teens are ready for college, they may be
looking for alternative ways to pay for college.
As Mary Thompson tells us in the second part of our series, one way to
pay may be as easy as following the crowd.
MARY THOMPSON, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):
There are some in the college crowd turning to crowd funding to pay their
way through school.
JENNIFER SCHOOLCRAFT, COLLEGE STUDENT: I raised $20,000.
THOMPSON: The $20,000 coming from investors Jennifer Schoolcraft
convinced to put their money to work in her.
SCHOOLCRAFT: After I graduate with my bachelors degree, I plan on
attending graduate school to be an occupational therapist.
THOMPSON: Schoolcraft founded investors who paid, a crowdfunding
platform where approved applicants who need funds to finish school or start
a company can pitch their potential to backers who get a cut of their
Here is Pave cofounder Justin Mitchell.
JUSTIN MITCHELL, PAVE CO-FOUNDER: So, it aligns interests entirely
between backers and prospects. The better prospect does, the better the
backer ends up doing.
THOMPSON: It works like this. Six months after graduating, students
start returning a negotiated percentage of their income investors. The
percentage varies depending on things like loan size and profession. It
can`t exceed 10 percent of the student`s income and the payments continue
for 10 years.
MITCHELL: The funding comes with no strings attached in terms of
things the prospect must do. They can take whatever job they want and
ideally that`s what they will do, is follow the things they are interested
THOMPSON (on camera): The risk for investors — they may not get all
the money back. The reward — they could get more.
The program is only a year old, but Pave estimates the return on these
investments should work out to be about 5 percent to 8 percent a year.
(voice-over): As for Pave, it makes money through up front and annual
servicing fees. So far, Pave funding 19 people, with about half using the
money to pay for tuition — a sign it may take a crowd, not a village to
get a student through college.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Mary Thompson.
GRIFFETH: And finally tonight, the business world has spent this past
week trying to figure out who is going to replace outgoing Microsoft
(NASDAQ:MSFT) CEO Steve Ballmer? Now someone is taking bets on that. Of
course, it`s a British bookmaker Ladbrokes, and the posted ads on who could
be the next to run that technology company.
The top 10 picks are all current or former Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT)
executives. Nokia (NYSE:NOK) CEO and former Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) execs
Steve Elop is the favorite at 5-1, followed by current chief operating
officer Kevin turner. But here are the interesting names, Netflix
(NASDAQ:NFLX) CEO Reed Hastings at 16-1, both Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) CEO
Marissa Mayer and Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) COO Sheryl Sandberg at 33-1, Bill
Gates 50-1, and Tim Cook at Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), 100-1 right now. He`s the
GHARIB: Probably none of them. It will be somebody from Disney
(NYSE:DIS) or —
GRIFFETH: I think it will be.
GHARIB: That`s NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for tonight. I`m Susie
Gharib. Have a great night.
GRIFFETH: I`m Bill Griffeth. See you tomorrow.
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