Transcript: Thursday, September 5, 2013

ANNOUNCER: This is NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT with Tyler Mathisen and Susie Gharib, brought to you by —


SUSIE GHARIB, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR: Three is the magic numbers. Stocks held gains for the third straight day, but the yields on the 10-year Treasury zeroes in on 3 percent. What does an investor do now?

SUE HERERA, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR: Eyeing tomorrow. That`s what Wall Street and the Federal Reserve are doing as many are looking to the August jobs report as the key to the question, when will the Fed start to taper?

GHARIB: And the economics of Alzheimer`s. The race is on to find a real treatment for the disease. It could be a godsend for patients and a windfall for the company that finds it.

We have all this and more for Thursday, September 5th.

Good evening, everyone. I`m Susie Gharib.

HERERA: And I`m Sue Herera, filling in tonight for Tyler Mathisen.

Three percent is indeed here. The yield on the benchmark on the 10- year treasury note pushed higher today, touching that key psychological threshold of 3 percent for the first time since July of 2011. And with the yield edging higher, the month`s long selloff in bonds accelerated today with bond traders seeing more redemptions.

That`s because some stronger-than-expected economic data reinforced beliefs that the Federal Reserve policymakers may be closer to easing back on their bond buying stimulus plans. Yield on the 10-year, the highest since July of 2011.

GHARIB: On Wall Street today, stocks inched a bit higher, rising for the third session in a row, getting some help from strong economic reports, more of that in a minute, all pointing to an improving economy. Volume was light because of the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah. The Dow rose six points, the NASDAQ up nine, the S&P adding two points.

HERERA: There was some good news about the steady recovery in the nation`s labor market today which helped lift the markets and expectations about Friday`s August jobs report.

Hampton Pearson has more.


Ahead of tomorrow`s August jobs report from the Labor Department, new indicators, the jobs market is stabilizing.

Expectations are for 170,000 new payroll jobs. Today, private employers hit that target, according to payroll data processer ADP, and the government says first time unemployment claims hit a five-year low.

WARD MCCARTHY, JEFFERIES AND COMPANY: The labor market keeps grinding away, but we have a long way to go before we`ll be normal. We have to generate another 1.5 million private sector payroll jobs before we replace all the jobs that we lost.

PEARSON: Help may be on the way from the service sector, which employs 90 percent of the work force — news from purchasing managers that companies expanded at the fastest pace in nearly eight years last month.
With both sales and new orders growing, employers ramped up hiring.

Leading economists want to see if we get payroll growth to match what purchasing managers are telling us about the service sector.

ETHAN HARRIS: I think it`s going to be very crucial what happens to payrolls, if they confirm the strength we saw in the report that will be a strong message for the Fed to get going. If they don`t, if they get a 150 or something like that on payrolls, I think people will quickly forget about the purchasing manager reports.

PEARSON (on camera): The August`s jobs report is viewed by leading economists and market watchers as a final piece of the puzzle that will be on the table when the Federal Reserve meets in two weeks.

For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Hampton Pearson, in Washington.


GHARIB: No matter what the job situation may be, American consumers appear to be a bit more cautious these days, especially when it comes to buying new clothing and accessories. While Costco (NASDAQ:COST), the Buckle (NYSE:BKE), Walgreens and a few other chains topped estimates on retail sales in August, other big names like the Gap (NYSE:GPS) and Elle Brands, that`s the owner of Victoria`s Secret and Bath & Body Works, posted disappointing revenue last month.

The concern here is that the just completed back to school season is the second biggest shopping period of the year behind December holidays and the tight fisted shoppers won`t plan on spending much money later this year.

HERERA: And joining us to talk about all of these economic and market crosscurrents is Hugh Johnson. He is chairman and chief investment officer at Hugh Johnson Advisors.

Good to see you again, Hue. Welcome.

HUGH JOHNSON, HUGH JOHNSON ADVISORS: Nice to be with you, Susie.

HERERA: The key question for the market right now, it seems to me anyway, is now that we pushed up to 3 percent, can stocks continue to go higher if interest rates continue to go higher?

JOHNSON: You know, it`s not at all unusual in financial market history for the stock market to be going up and interest rates going up at the same time. It`s only when interest rates get to a level that presents problems or it looks like it`s going to kill off in this case, say, automobile sales and housing, which have been very strong or kill off the economy that the stock market really runs into problems.

So, it serves as a drag on stocks but it doesn`t kill off the bull market until we get to a much higher level. Thankfully, we started from a low level. That`s the good news, and the second piece of good news is that if you take a look at the performance of the financial markets, the message of the financial markets is that interest rates, although they`ve gone up a lot, they have not reached a level that are going to kill off this economic recovery.

So, everything is fine right now, but you`ve got to watch very, very carefully.

GHARIB: And I guess you have to watch very carefully what`s going on in the bond market. Now, today, Bill Gross, who`s the head of PIMCO, the world`s largest bond fund, is out with a September report, and he`s saying that the safe place for investors to put their money right now is not in stocks, in bonds, shorter term bonds. What do you think of that?

JOHNSON: I couldn`t disagree more. I think that — what we see going on, you know that the return from stocks has been positive. The return from bonds has been negative. I think that`s an on going process.

I think we still have further to go in the current cycle. If we have further to go in the current cycle, as I suggest do, and that`s through
2013 and 2014, the return from stocks, owning stocks is going to be significantly higher than owning any fixed income securities, whether they`re long term or they`re short term. And to put numbers on it, I think the returns are going to be closer to, let`s say, 9.5 percent on the stock market and down as low as 2.5 percent from the fixed income market.

So, people should not back away from the equity markets. That`s where the returns are going to be the best. I disagree with them.

GHARIB: So, where are you putting your money? What stocks would you buy right now, Hugh?

JOHNSON: Well, right now, we`re working with the stuff that`s really been working. Bull market sectors primarily. First of all, consumer cyclicals right at the top of the list — financials, industrials and healthcare. Those are the four sectors of the market that not only look good on evaluation basis, but also have been performing well.

So, we`ve been buying companies like in the consumer cyclical area, Johnson controls in the healthcare area, company like Myland Industrials, United Technology, and First Republican Bank, which is a financial company, a bank company.

So those are the kinds of things we`re buying and again, we`re maintaining a fairly meaningful exposure to the stock market because, again, that`s where we think the returns are going to be the best.

GHARIB: Hugh, there`s a little bit of time left. I want to ask you about this big jobs report coming out tomorrow — what it would mean for stocks, bonds and the Fed. Quick answer.

JOHNSON: Well, the quick answer is that based on the ADP report today, it`s, first of all, tough to forecast employment. But it looks to me like the numbers tomorrow are going to show that we grew more jobs than as the consensus expectation. I think what that`s going to do is going to be fairly good for the stock market. It`s going to be negative for the bond market. Interest rates might edge up a little bit further.

It`s pretty much going to guarantee that the Federal Reserve is going to announce they were going to reduce their stimulus starting at the end of the September. But again, I think it`s positive for stocks, negative for bonds, and it`s good for the ongoing cycle. So, that`s what I think is going to be the outcome.

GHARIB: Thanks so much, Hugh. Always great to see you.

Hugh Johnson, chairman and chief investment officer of Hugh Johnson Advisors.

Well, investors are also paying close attention to an important meeting with the world`s top leaders. President Obama is St. Petersburg, Russia, tonight for the kick off of the G-20 Economic Summit.

Steve Sedgwick is there with more on what`s topping the agenda for the world`s largest industrialized meeting.


Petersburg, at the G-20 meeting, the thorny issue of Syria is overshadowing all the talk of economic coordination, which is so sorely needed by the global economy at this stage.

President Obama touched down with no bilateral prospect with his host, President Putin, over issues such as the Edward Snowden, asylum issue, and indeed, of course, over Syria. And it seems we have no accord between the United States and some of the other key members. It`s not just the Russians who have been making noises about their concern about American military action in response to the chemical attack, which has been blamed on Assad in Damascus.

The Chinese also have warmed the Americans and others that actually this could affect this broader global economic growth story. It could affect energy prices and increase those because of heightened tensions in the Middle East as well.

For the Russians part, of course, as well, President Putin has been very critical of any potential U.S. action. Especially the Secretary of State John Kerry, but the Russians are desperate to get some accord on other issues including long-term infrastructure projects, taxation issues, regulation as well, whether we can see some accord and coordination on some of these other key issues and indeed concerns over what tapering will do in the United States to the broader global economy remains to be seen. But we are undoubtedly overshadowed by Syria and not expecting any common accord from the G-20 meeting on that thorny geopolitical issue.

This is Steve Sedgwick in St. Petersburg.


HERERA: Steve, thank you very much.

United Continental is recalling nearly 600 airline pilots who have been grounded for the last three years. The pilots, most of them from United Airlines, were put on work furloughs after United and Continental Airlines merged back in 2010. But now, the company has a new pilots union contract. So, it`s recalling the last remaining furloughed pilots to meet its future staffing needs.

GHARIB: The nation`s largest bank is getting out of the student loan business. Starting October 12th, JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) Chase will no longer accept new applications for student loans even from Chase customers. The bank says it can`t compete with lower rates available from the government through Stafford and Perkins student loans. Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC), the nation`s fourth largest bank, has already ended making new student loans.

HERERA: In cities all over the U.S. today, Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) workers and their supporters took to the streets demanding higher wages, better jobs, and the right to form unions. But many of the protesters, including some who were arrested, weren`t store employees and Wal-Mart
(NYSE:WMT) is defending what it pays the staffers and how they are treated.

Courtney Reagan has the story.


About 40 protesters associated with the labor rights group Our Wal-Mart
(NYSE:WMT) showed up outside the Manhattan office building of Wal-Mart
(NYSE:WMT) board member Christopher Williams today. The protesters brought a petition with 200,000 signatures to present to Williams, asking for a public commitment to Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) providing full-time work with minimum salary at $25,000, reinstatement of the 20 workers who have been fired since June for striking, an agreement to stop all retaliation against workers calling for better jobs.

Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) says on, average full time hourly associates make
$12.83 an hour, equating to $25,000 a year. The protesters say few workers are truly given full-time hours, making supporting a family difficult.

(on camera): This location in New York City is only one of 15 planned cities protests for Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT). The people that are gathered here, some Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) employees, but the majority of them are just general supporters and activist that are also fighting for the same causes.

(voice-over): Only two of the New York protesters are current Wal- Mart (NYSE:WMT) employees. Two are former associates.

Lucas Handy (ph) says he was fired for speaking out. Barbara Girth
(ph) currently works in Colorado.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I started at Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT), they hyped it up to be like the best company to work for and over time, it fell to pieces.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel strongly enough — I feel very passionate about the way that Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) treats their associates is wrong, that I will stay here or I will go to jail.

REAGAN: Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) says, quote, “a hand full of union orchestrated media stunts made up primarily of union members and activist don`t represent the views of the vast majority of the 1.3 million associates who do work for Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT).”

More protests will take place this evening at the San Francisco home of Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) board member and current Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) CEO, Marissa Mayer. It`s not expected that the protest will cause Wal-Mart
(NYSE:WMT) to respond to the demand.

For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Courtney Reagan, in New York City.


GHARIB: Let`s take a closer look now at this issue. Our two guests have opposing views.

Robert Reich is former labor secretary and now, economics professor at the University of California, at Berkeley.

Richard Vedder is a professor of economics emeritus at Ohio University. He`s also author of the book “The Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT)
Revolution: How Big Box Stores Benefit Consumers, Workers and the Economy.”

Gentlemen, thank you very much for joining us.

Let me begin with you Professor Vedder.

You wrote an op-ed piece today with this title, “Why we`ll be better off if the Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) protests fail”. Why did you say that?

RICHARD VEDDER, UNIVERSITY OF OHIO PROF. OF ECONOMICS: Well, I think the protests are — while they may be well-intended, in some cases, would have economically disastrous effects if they really were successful. The problem with America today is not low wages. It`s the fact that we have high levels of unemployment, high levels of part-time work. We have only
58 out of every 100 adult Americans working compared with 64 or 65 a decade ago.

Trying to raise wages and raise labor costs to employers will make life miserable for workers because it will lead to unemployment. It will lead to higher prices for consumers who purchase goods at Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT), the most popular store in the United States, and will have generally undesirable effects across the economy.

HERERA: All right. Robert Reich, I believe you disagree with that.
Make the opposite case.

ROBERT REICH, FORMER LABOR SECRETARY: Well, first of all, you know, the minimum wage right now, if it were adjusted for inflation from 1968 would be about $10.40. Unfortunately right now, it`s $7.25. Low wage workers in this country are really not being paid enough to support their families, and unlike 20 or 30 years ago, where most of your low wage workers or many of them working for big box retailers or for fast food outlets were teenagers, now most of them are adults and the typical low- wage worker is actually supporting his or her family, and the family depends upon it.

The other point that`s important to say is that Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) can certainly afford this. Big corporations certainly can afford it. In fact, if you look at the entire economy, corporate profits are now up higher as a percentage than they have been in 60 years, while wages are down to the lowest percentage of the total economy than they have been in
60 years.

The median wage continues to drop adjusted for inflation and this is a huge problem not only for low wage workers but for the economy overall because after all, who is going to buy all of the stuff we produce if consumers don`t have enough money?

GHARIB: Let`s get reaction from Professor Vedder. You say the numbers don`t add up. Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) can afford to do this, it makes a ton of money. Companies like Costco (NASDAQ:COST), like Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX), managed to pay workers good wages and benefits and still, their stocks are doing really well for their shareholders.

Why doesn`t Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) learn from their example?

VEDDER: Well, I think Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) found that it`s business model works very well, it is the most successful retail sales company in the United States, but they only — they made $17 billion in profit last year. That sounds like a huge amount of money, and it is a large amount of money, but it`s only about 3.5 cents on every dollar of sales.

And they employ Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) employs worldwide about 2 million workers, most of those in the United States. If you gave everyone of them say an extra $2 an hour raise and multiply that 1,500, 2,000 hour a year, and then you add in some additional money for fringe benefits, healthcare workers are demanding, we would be — those profits would largely disappear, the price of Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) stock would fall in half.
Pension funds would find themselves losses, et cetera.

HERERA: All right. Robert Reich, quick response?

REICH: Well, I simply disagree. I mean, the numbers actually do add up in terms of giving Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) workers and many low wage workers around this country a race. And again, I want to emphasize and this is something that even Henry Ford understood in 1914, you give workers a raise, they have more money to turn around and buy stuff.

And right now, Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) is the largest employer in the United States. And taking the part time workers, it`s typical pay is way below $9 an hour. That is not sustainable in terms of this economy or any family.

GHARIB: OK. We`re going to have to leave it there. Gentlemen, thank you so much for joining us.

This is a conversation that will continue for sure.

Professor Robert Reich from Berkeley and Professor Vedder of Ohio University.

And coming up, the multi-billion-dollar race to treat Alzheimer`s disease and the companies at the forefront.

But first, here`s a look at how the international markets closed the day.


GHARIB: No bargain today for Groupon (NASDAQ:GRPN) shares and that`s where we start tonight`s “Market Focus”.

Shares of the online deal site jumping today after Morgan Stanley
(NASDAQ:NBXH) (NYSE:MS) raised its rating on the company to over weight, citing straight in north America. They rose to $10.66 but more than doubled so far this year.

Another company seeing strong gains today, Fastenal (NASDAQ:FAST).
This is the distributor of fasteners and construction supplies. It says sales in August surged 7 percent from a year ago, and that`s also thanks to strong demand. Shares were up more than 6 percent to $48.60.

HERERA: A huge gain in the shares of Kaydon (NYSE:KDN) Corporation after Sweden SKF said that it would buy the U.S. based maker of ball bearing for $1.25 billion in cash. The deal value Kaydon (NYSE:KDN) shares at about $35.5 each. Kaydon (NYSE:KDN) closed at $35.55, up 23 percent.

And Newmont Mining (NYSE:NEM) shares were a drag on the S&P 500 today after Barclays downgraded the company from two equal weight from over weight, saying that that stock is basically overvalued. Shares of Newmont Mining (NYSE:NEM) fell 4 percent to close at $30.30.

And now to a healthcare issue that impacts families all around the world. Alzheimer`s, 30 million people are affected globally and that number is expected to double by the year 2030. It`s been more than a decade since a new treatment for Alzheimer`s disease has come to market with some of the most promising drug trials coming up short last year. A treatment that reverses or even slows the disease could mean billions in annual global sales.

Bertha Coombs has more.


Dick Purdy was in his mid-70s when he was diagnosed with Alzheimer`s disease. Now 82, the former surgeon`s memory has steadily decline. But at time, his insights still seem sharp.

DICK PURDY, ALZHEIMER`S PATIENT: It just never occurred to me that some day, I would be a patient.

COOMBS: For his wife Gloria, a retired nurse, the goal is to keep him healthy and living at home and getting him enroll in a new clinical trial.

GLORIA PURDY, WIFE OF ALZHEIMER`S PATIENT: We`ve been part of the medical community all of our adult lives and since we are not going to be part of the cure, clearly, at least we can participate in the work that`s being done.

COOMBS: But after more than two decades of research, developing a treatment that slows the progression of dementia has proven elusive, in part because the root cause of Alzheimer`s remains unclear.

DAMIEN CONOVER, MORNINGSTAR ANALYST: The scientific community really doesn`t understand the disease completely as the scientific community understands cardiovascular disease for example.

COOMBS: A number of trials have targeted so-called amyloid plaques that build up in brains of dementia patients with little success. The biggest disappointment: a late-stage drug from Pfizer (NYSE:PFE), J&J and Elan Pharmaceuticals that did not slow memory loss, costing the companies nearly $1 billion in losses and prompting them to end their research efforts.

DEAN HARTLEY, ALZHEIMER`S ASSOCIATION: That`s a concern for us, to make sure that those drugs are developed and get to the market itself.

COOMBS: Yet the demand for new drugs is growing. Dementia affects more than 5 million people in the U.S., 35 million worldwide, according to Alzheimer`s Disease International, with numbers expected to double by 2030 and triple by 2050.

(on camera): Analysts say the pay off for a drug that succeeds in slowing the progression of the disease could be more than $20 billion in annual sales. That has some companies taking a new tack where others have failed.

HARTLEY: We have new data that suggests that some of these proteins that are changing the brain may start anywhere between 15 and 20 years before the clinical onset.

COOMBS (voice-over): Eli Lilly (NYSE:LLY) is now looking at whether anti-amyloids may be more effective in early stage dementia patients.
While Merck (NYSE:MRK) is targeting an anti-amyloid enzyme inhibitor, again, in patients with mild symptoms.

For stakeholders and investors alike, it will take patients.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We probably won`t see results from the studies for several more years.

COOMBS: Maybe a little hope says, Gloria Purdy.

G. PURDY: I don`t have inordinate hopes for the future, but it`s a day at a time. But it`s not an unpleasant day at a time.

D. PURDY: It`s because I`m charming.

G. PURDY: And dick said it`s because he`s charming.



HERERA: And he is.

Coming up, the roller costar economy.

But, first, a look at how commodities, currencies and treasuries fared today.


GHARIB: As summer draws to a close, it`s a season to remember for the major theme park companies. Sales for nearly every one of them was sizzling hot. Take Cedar Fair (NYSE:FUN), it owns the likes of Sandusky Point in Ohio and Knott`s Berry Farm near Los Angeles. It raised its full year guidance yesterday, reporting strong results through Labor Day, and that`s thanks to higher spending per customer.

So, it`s no wonder that the stock has skyrocketed more than 30 percent so far this year.

And as Jane Wells tells us, Cedar Fair (NYSE:FUN) is not alone.


JANE WELLS, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The economy has been on a rollercoaster. But in the theme park business, it`s mostly going up.

MATT OUIMET, CEDAR FAIR ENTERTAINMENT PRESIDENT & CEO: Once they get to the park, they have been spending it on food. They`ve been spending it on merchandise. They`ve been spending it on games.

WELLS: Most theme park companies are reporting record numbers.
Disney`s parks business was its fastest growing segment last quarter as it benefits from things like Cars Land in Anaheim.

MATTHEW HARRIGAN, WUNDERLICH SECURITIES: Absolutely, this will be a record for Disney (NYSE:DIS) on the theme park performance.

WELLS: Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) (NYSE:CCS) Universal (NYSE:UVV) Studios is reporting healthy attendance. It`s planning to spend over a billion dollars on new projects like expanding the Harry Potter franchise.

And smaller companies like Six Flags are reporting record revenues.

HARRIGAN: Overall, you know, I think Six Flags is doing particularly well, given that their attendance base is less affluent than the Disney
(NYSE:DIS) World in particular.

WELLS: Better attendance is happening even as parks raised prices.
But companies are trying to make it worth your while. Cedar Fair
(NYSE:FUN) CEO says they have to keep investing in new attractions.

OUIMET: About 80 or 90 percent of the people are repeat visitors.
They need something new. They want to come back and ride that great ride, like timber mountain log ride, but they need something new. So we all play that card.

WELLS: The only company coming up wet is SeaWorld, which just went public last spring. Attendance is down and SeaWorld is blaming part of that on the weather. While many analysts expect a better second half for the company, a new documentary about the treatment of orcas in captivity may be hurting.

(on camera): That seems to be the only pause in the long, profitable summer. And now, the industry gears up for what is the second most important time of the year, Halloween.

For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Jane Wells, Hollywood.


HERERA: And now to another kind of fun, the NFL season kicks off tonight and if you don`t have season tickets, it`s going to cost you more, a lot more to go to the game. According to ticket brokers, TiqIQ, prices across the NFL on the secondary market are up 5 percent to an average of $201. The team with the most expensive average ticket price, it`s the Chicago Bears, coming in at a whopping $433.59. The lowest, the Jacksonville Jaguars at a relatively cheap, $101.60.

GHARIB: And then, there`s the couch at my house.

HERERA: Exactly.

GHARIB: And free seats.

HERERA: And you get replay and free popcorn.

GHARIB: Exactly.

That`s NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for tonight. I`m Susie Gharib. And for more on all the stories we covered tonight, join us online at

HERERA: And I`m Sue Herrera. Have a great evening, everybody.
We`ll see you again tomorrow night.


Nightly Business Report transcripts and video are available on-line post broadcast at The program is transcribed by CQRC Transcriptions, 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) 2013 CNBC, Inc.

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