ANNOUNCER: This is NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT with Tyler Mathisen and Susie Gharib, brought to you by —
TYLER MATHISEN, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR: Blue chip bonds. Verizon (NYSE:VZ) sells a boatload of bonds, the largest corporate debt issue ever. But as the big money piles in, should you follow?
SUSIE GHARIB, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR: Cooling off. Applications for home loans plummet. Refinancing activity falls. Are rising mortgage rates throwing cold water on housing`s hot run? And what happens next.
MATHISEN: And the great divide. The income gap between America`s rich and poor is the widest since the Great Depression and growing. What triggered the spike and what can be done about it?
All that and more tonight on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for Wednesday, September 11th.
GHARIB: Good evening, everyone.
Well, the Dow has done it again. This makes three days in a row of triple digit gains for the blue chip average. The S&P is up seven straight days, its longest winning streak since July.
Here are the closing numbers: the Dow soared 135, the NASDAQ down four, and S&P added five points.
Over in the bond market, U.S. treasury bonds rallied after an auction on the benchmark ten-year note attracted the highest demand in six months, $21 billion worth were sold at a yield at 2.94 percent. That`s the highest Uncle Sam has paid in two years.
MATHISEN: But, Susie, that treasury auction pale actually in comparison to Verizon`s history-making corporate bond offering today. That`s the biggest ever on Wall Street. The telecom giant sold a staggering $49 billion worth of bonds today and incredibly, that was only about half of what investors were willing to buy. It will use the proceeds to help finance the purchase of Vodafone`s 45 percent stake in those two companies, Verizon (NYSE:VZ) Wireless joint venture.
David Faber joins us now with more on the massive side of this bond sale.
And you`ve been following the deal for months, really. What does this say and why is it so important? What does it say about Verizon (NYSE:VZ)? What does it say about the bond market? Why are so many people paying so much attention?
DAVID FABER, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: You know, there`s been insatiable demand it would seem for bonds from good corporate borrowers, that, of course, being the likes of Verizon (NYSE:VZ) for quite sometime. In fact, it`s been an underlying story not just for the bond market but the equity market and the stock market as well. We`ve seen so many corporations issue bonds being well-received, being able to get interest rates that historically we`ve never seen anything like them.
Even with the move up in rates in the last five months, they`ve used a lot of money to buy back stock. That in turn has helped the stock market. In this case, Verizon (NYSE:VZ), as you say, using the money to buy back — buyout the 40 percent of Verizon (NYSE:VZ) Wireless they don`t own.
But it`s incredible, that $49 billion number, we`ve rarely — never seen a number that large in one day. So many viewers who may be investing in bond funds for example, that`s what — those are stepping up and saying, I want some of that, please bring it on, I need as much as I can get.
GHARIB: You said a lot of blue chip corporate borrowers have been going to market and we saw just a few months ago that Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) did that, and did an offering. But it was a lot less than what Verizon (NYSE:VZ) is offering. There have been a lot of comparisons about Verizon (NYSE:VZ) and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Verizon (NYSE:VZ) offering 5.2 percent, bigger premium than Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), 2.4 percent.
Why all the differences?
FABER: Yes. I mean, Verizon (NYSE:VZ) offered across the spectrum so they went from as little as three years to 30 years, Susie. So, they really hit all sorts of durations. Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), of course, borrowed at the low. It was in May I believe when the 10-year bond was yielding 1.6 percent. It was the best timed issue in the history of issuance ever.
We`re up, of course, over 100 basis points on the 10-year treasury yield and borrow at a spread to that. Verizon (NYSE:VZ) is a great credit, but not quite as good as Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), which had enormous sums in the bank. The problem for them is, much of that money was overseas, so they decided to borrow here to fund the buyback.
MATHISEN: Verizon (NYSE:VZ) is going to pay something like $130 billion to buyout the 45 percent —
FABER: That`s correct.
MATHISEN: So, where does the rest of the money come from?
FABER: They are using stock. They are using their own stock to purchase the remainder of it. So, they will issue Verizon (NYSE:VZ) shares to Vodafone shareholders and Vodafone itself will also take in this roughly, let`s call it $60 billion. They sold much of that debt in cash.
So, it`s $60 billion in cash and roughly the same, a little bit more in stocks. That`s the consideration for what, by the way, is the third largest deal of all time.
MATHISEN: Of all time, yes.
FABER: So, you`ve got the third largest deal and the largest corporate bond offering we`ve ever seen.
GHARIB: Real quick question, any risk? Any chance that this Vodafone/Verizon (NYSE:VZ) deal doesn`t go through, and then what would that mean for U.S. investors who bought these bonds?
FABER: You have nothing to worry about for an investor. However, the risk of the deal not happening is extremely low because Verizon (NYSE:VZ) already controlled Verizon (NYSE:VZ) Wireless. So, in this case, if the FCC or DOJ were to weigh in, there is no change in control. In fact, they may even view it more positively because you don`t have a foreign buyer any longer owning a U.S. telecommunications provider.
MATHISEN: David, thanks. Great to have you with us.
FABER: My pleasure.
MATHISEN: David Faber.
GHARIB: Our next guest says the Verizon (NYSE:VZ) bonds look great today but might not be the best opportunity a year from now.
She`s Kathleen Gaffney, portfolio manager of the Eaton (NYSE:ETN) Vance Bond Fund.
Kathleen, thanks for joining us.
You`d just heard us talking with David Faber who is saying that all the smart money is flowing into this Verizon (NYSE:VZ) bond. Tell us why you think investors shouldn`t follow suit.
KATHLEEN GAFFNEY, EATON VANCE PORTFOLIO MANAGER: It was a very hot deal, and very much in demand, and I think it speaks to — there is an appetite for yields, for looking for sources of income. But if you think about where rates are headed over the next, say, three to five years, do you want to hold on to a bond that`s yielding 5.20 today if treasuries are also going to be yielding 5 percent three years from now?
MATHISEN: All right. So I got to ask the question, Kathleen, did you go in and buy some of these bonds today?
GAFFNEY: I`m an investor to really takes a long-term view. So again, I`ve got a longer time horizon and I think there are better sources of income and total return out there in the marketplace today.
GHARIB: Like what? What are you saying — and also, you know, so you are a long-term investor. You still get your 5 percent — going back to the first point. You still get your 5 percent at the end of the — when that bond comes due, right? You didn`t lose any money.
GAFFNEY: Right, but the point is if you hold it to maturity, which is 10 years from now, talking about the 10-year bond they did as David mentioned have many different offerings, but I`m talking about the 10-year. So you`ve got to hold on to it for 10 years to realize that 5 percent, 5.20 percent annual return.
Now, interest rates are going to be who knows where ten years from now. They could be at 8 percent. They could be at 10 and you might not be so happy to have that 5.2 percent bond.
The question really is as David pointed out is Verizon (NYSE:VZ) a good credit and are you getting paid for that risk today as well as a year from now?
MATHISEN: Do you think Verizon (NYSE:VZ) is a good credit? In other words, another way to put is, if I`m comfortable with 5.2 percent as a benchmark yield over the next 10 years, and I`m comfortable with the idea that I`m going to hold that bond for that whole time, would that be something that you could counsel someone to do?
GAFFNEY: Well, I`m a bond manager and I`m looking at all the opportunities. I would ask whether you want to hold that bond for 10 years and if you`re going to hold it and go to sleep and not worry about it at all, sure. It`s not a bad investment today. I can`t tell you what Verizon (NYSE:VZ) is going to do, what the industry fundamentals are going to do over 10 years, there is a lot changing in technology that may potentially change that credit risk, and so you might actually demand more than a premium that yields 5.20 in the current market, you might demand a lot more three years or five years out.
GHARIB: Kathleen, real one quick question, we don`t have much time left. So, interest rates are going up? Are bonds a good investment overall? Forget about the Verizon (NYSE:VZ) thing for a moment.
GAFFNEY: High-quality bonds and treasuries have a lot of interest rate risk right now, which is — should be a concern for investors. Fixed income and looking for other sources of income is available in other sectors such as floating rate, high yield, convertible bonds, and other non-U.S. issuers that offer good yield advantage right now.
GHARIB: OK. Fair enough. Thank you so much, Kathleen. Kathleen Gaffney, portfolio manager of the Eaton (NYSE:ETN) Vance Bond Fund.
MATHISEN: And now to one of the other big stories of the day, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) — looks like a lot of investors and analysts soured on that stock, which recorded its worst one-day decline since April, falling 5 1/2 percent and closing well below $500 as you see right there. Now, the reason, no wow factor over the new iPhones or the operating system unveiled yesterday, along with concerns that the plastic backed iPhone 5c is still too costly for emerging markets like China and an expected deal with China Mobile (NYSE:CHL) to begin selling the iPhone in China didn`t happen.
Also feeling the bite from Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) today, some of its suppliers like chipmakers like Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM), Avago Technologies (NASDAQ:AVGO), Cirrus Logic (NASDAQ:CRUS), and Skyworks, all got a significant amount of their revenue from Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), and all were lower today.
GHARIB: Well, Tyler, a completely different story at Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) today. Shares of the social networking giant hit an all-time high today. This comes 15 months after it`s initial public stock offering. The stock closed at $35.04, a gain of more than 3 percent.
Some analysts say the boost was sparked by speculation over chief operating officer Sheryl Sandburg`s visit this week to China that could lead to an expansion into the biggest market of the world.
MATHISEN: You know, we throw around the world “disruptor” a lot when we talk about certain companies, especially in technology. One of the biggest conferences that deals with these tech disruptors is going on right now.
So, what does it mean to be a disruptor and why should investors care?
Julia Boorstin tells us.
JULIA BOORSTIN, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A disruptor is a company that invites with technology to challenge established companies and business models. Two of the biggest disruptors — Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) changing advertising and Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) transforming to entertainment business are thriving, trading at all time highs.
Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) CEO Marissa Mayer taking the stage here at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference. As about 3,000 entrepreneurs and investors flocked the event and hope to follow in their footsteps.
DAVID KRANE, GOOGLE VENTURES GENERAL PARTNER: This is an extraordinary event. The Olympics for some of the best technical athletes in the world. The community they`ve come to disrupt is the best of investors, influencers and certainly entrepreneurs.
BOORSTIN: The hear leaders of the most powerful Internet companies reveal their next steps and to hear from pre-IPO companies, Twitter Box and Dropbox facing questions about their IPO plans.
DREW HOUSTON, DROPBOX CEO: We don`t have a timeline for it. We are really still focused just on building the markets, doing things like moving in — moving into the enterprise is a big focus for us now.
BOORSTIN (on camera): With those established companies setting the gold standard, the question is how a slew of new startups presenting and competing are disrupting or shaking up established industries.
(voice-over): Like Curiator, launching a company like Pinterest for art, planning to eventually launch a new art market.
MOENEN ERBUER, CURIATOR CO-FOUNDER: Every year, people around the world spend over $12 billion, below 50K. So, that`s kind of our market.
BOORSTIN: Tackling the $500 billion men`s retail market, Brandid, it connects men who hate to shop with people who love to, to become their personal shoppers.
ANKUSH SEHGAL, BRANDID CEO: I know the pain that men have when they go shopping, and I have that pain, too. There is nothing online at the moment, there is no market leader on men`s commerce (ph). There just isn`t one. Everyone has tried it, always goes for this fashion customer. But the majority of men are not fashionistas.
BOORSTIN: There`s even $1,000 robot that makes his cocktails for bottle service at clubs and VIP sports lounges. Now, we`ll see how this shakes up the bar business.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Julia Boorstin in San Francisco.
GHARIB: We turn now to the “Market Focus” segment, and we begin with a company that shook-up the video industry, Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX). It`s launching its streaming service in the Netherlands. Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) now operates in 41 countries and has more than 37 million customers around the world.
But after a big run, one Wall Street firm decided it was time to downgrade the stock to neutral, and that pressure shares dropping more than 1 percent to $308.30.
But Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) still the best performing stock in the S&P 500 this year. It`s up 230 percent.
General Motors (NYSE:GM) will soon move a big shareholder, the U.S. government. The Treasury Department said in its August report to Congress that it sold over $800 million worth of GM common stock last month, but it did not disclose the price per share. That will be revealed at a later date. All in all, though, taxpayers are still in the hole for more than $14 billion.
Today, GM shares fell almost 2 percent to $36.35.
MATHISEN: Restoration Hardware got hammered today after reporting a loss in the second quarter. The home goods retailer is linking the loss to stock awards given to its chairman and CEO. The company is planning to close some mall stores in favor of fewer, bigger showrooms. Shares fell more than 11 percent to $67.04.
Well, feeling the sting of the digital world, International Paper (NYSE:IP), the company, is shutting down a paper mill in Courtland, Alabama, early next year. Eleven hundred workers will lose their jobs there.
International Paper (NYSE:IP) says more consumers are using e-mail and other alternatives, reducing demand for its paper products. Now, the company made a separate statement last night, announcing a $1.5 billion stock buyback plan and a 17 percent boost to its quarterly dividend. Shares of IP closed fractionally higher at $49.36, the finish there.
And Merck (NYSE:MRK) is licensing its experimental drug to AstraZeneca for an upfront fee of $50 million. The deal is going to help AstraZeneca build its pipeline, and Merck (NYSE:MRK) will be eligible to receive future payments related to regulatory milestone. The drug is being tested to treat certain types of ovarian cancer. AstraZeneca rose almost 2 percent, closing at $50.51, Merck (NYSE:MRK) up fractionally to $48.14.
GHARIB: Still ahead, the income gap between the wealthy and poor is now the biggest in the century. Why is that and what does it mean for the economy? That`s coming up.
But, first, a look at how the international markets closed today.
MATHISEN: Yesterday, we told you about changes coming to the Dow Jones industrial Average. Tonight, it`s the S&P 500. After the close of trading on September 20th, Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE:AMD) and a defense contractor SAIC (NYSE:SAI) are being — are out. They`re going to be replaced by Vertex Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:VRTX) and the electronic instruments maker Ametek. Advanced Micro and SAIC (NYSE:SAI) will move into the S&P mid-cap index.
Well, a bit of a caution light in the housing market today. Americans aren`t applying for home loans the way they did earlier this year. Mortgage applications tumbled last week, falling 13.5 percent, with refinancings plummeting 20 percent as interest rates rose slightly higher.
GHARIB: Meanwhile, the slowdown in new mortgage requests means a lot of bankers are losing their job. Citigroup (NYSE:C) announced today that it`s closing a Danville, Illinois office dedicated to mortgage refinancing. One hundred twenty employees will lose their jobs there.
And JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) has laid off more than 2,000 workers since August. Those cutbacks are part of a long-term pairing back of its mortgage origination unit that will ultimately let go 15,000 workers by the end of next year.
MATHISEN: Well, joining us to talk more about the housing market is Anthony Chan. He`s chief economist at Chase Private Client.
Welcome back, Anthony. Good to have you with us.
So, we`ve got rising rates. We`ve got layoffs in the housing departments of many banks, including JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) Chase, and we`ve also got a fall off on mortgage applications, a significant one. Are the best days in this housing market`s run behind it?
ANTHONY CHAN, CHASE PRIVATE CLIENT ECONOMIST: I really don`t think so, Tyler. I think the housing market will continue the recovery. It still has a ways to go. Remember that at this point, prices when you look at Case-Shiller, one of the most accurate ways of measuring housing prices, are still down about 23 percent from the peak in May of 2006.
So, I think that given all the pent-up demand that`s certainly built up over the past couple years, housing still has a ways to go.
GHARIB: But, you know, prices overall have been rising, maybe not from, you know, 2008 levels, interest rates are going up. The only thing not going up are people`s wages.
Do you think that it`s getting to the point that people are being priced out of the housing market?
CHAN: I think you`re going to see some of that and it`s unrealistic to expect that the trends in housing won`t slow down a little bit because mortgage rates are picking up, and some people, of course, will get priced out of the market. And, initially, when interest rates rise, what you see is a lot of people that are on the fence just jump off the fence and start buying houses before rates go up significantly, and now since rates have been going up and they have gone up over 100 basis points, you will see a little bit of a slowdown, but not a collapse in housing market growth.
MATHISEN: So, what I`m hearing you say, Anthony, is that perhaps those price rises that have been averaging 12 percent and 13 percent according to Case-Shiller year-over-year in many markets, that those price rises are likely to slow but not disappear and certainly not turn into declines. Do I got you right?
CHAN: Absolutely, 12 percent, 13 percent, those kind of growth rates are unsustainable and, in fact, they bounce back because prices drop so sharply. But we probably will move into a phase over the next couple years where prices will probably be going up somewhere in the neighborhood to 4 percent, to 6 percent or 7 percent on a year-over-year basis. And, by the way, that`s healthy because that will prevent another bubble from brewing any time soon.
GHARIB: Anthony, most are expecting the Federal Reserve policy makers to begin tapering back on their stimulus plans at their meeting next week. There is also, you know, we see mortgage rates going up. You put all this together, is the economy going really to start slowing down a bit here?
CHAN: I think that the tapering is going to occur precisely because the economy is actually showing some acceleration. The Federal Reserve is not tapering or cutting back on the asset purchases because they are worried about inflation and they`re trying to slow down the economy, but rather, they are reacting to the fact that the economy next year will probably grow a lot faster than this year.
So, does that in itself take some of the air out of the balloon? Of course. It will slow down. But there are other moving parts out there that I think will push the overall economy to grow somewhere in the neighborhood of 2.75 percent or as much as 3 percent over the next year or so. Things are getting better.
MATHISEN: Anthony, we`ll leave it on that very positive note. Anthony Chan, chief economist at Chase Private Client.
GHARIB: A troubling assessment, though, of the nation`s first state. Moody`s Analysts, which tracks state and municipal economies, says that every state in the country is currently out from the risk of falling back into a recession except for Delaware. Why is that? Well, it hasn`t seen a big return in jobs or benefitted from the growing energy industry.
MATHISEN: While most states have recovered from the great recession, as Susie just told you, a lot of Americans have not. New figures from the IRS show that the income gap between the richest and the rest of the country widened to a new record last year.
Hampton Pearson has more on the nation`s growing income inequality.
HAMPTON PEARSON, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The wealthiest Americans have enjoyed quite a come back from the 2008 recession. According to a new study, the richest 1 percent of Americans are now collecting their biggest share of household income since the Roaring `20s. Economists analyzing Internal Revenue Service data found the top 1 percent of American households, those with pre-tax income above $394,000, earned 19 percent of the country`s total household income last year, and the top 10 percent with household income exceeding $114,000 captured a record 48.2 percent.
Progressive (NYSE:PGR) economists say it`s setbacks for the main stream economy that are increasing the income gap.
ELISE GOULD, ECONOMIC POLICY INSTITUTE: We had declining unionization, and we have erosion of the minimum wage. We`ve had increasing trade. We`ve had our Federal Reserve that prioritizes low inflation over low unemployment.
And we`ve had also, the policies financial deregulation. Policies that have really rigged the economy in favor of the top 1 percent, at the expense of the bottom 90 percent.
PEARSON: But the authors of the study point out, incomes fell three times farther for wealthy Americans than average households during the financial crisis and pro-growth advocates say taxing the rich or income redistribution are not the answer.
ANDREW ROTH, CLUB FOR GROWTH: What we do support is creating the conditions that allow those lower people on the ladder to move up — reducing taxes, reducing regulations, allowing people — allowing companies to hire more people.
PEARSON (on camera): The report also says it was tax policy here in Washington that caused the spike. Wealthy Americans cashing in dividends in 2012 to avoid higher taxes this year.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Hampton Pearson.
MATHISEN: Coming up, Wall Street remembers the tragedy that happened on this day 12 years ago.
GHARIB: Americans everywhere marked the 12th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks. In Washington, President Obama, Vice President Biden and their wives commemorated the day with a moment of silence on the White House lawn at 8:46 this morning. That`s the exact time the first plane struck New York City`s World Trade Center in 2001.
In addition to the sites of the attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania, moments of silence were held in the business world, including the New York Stock Exchange, Chicago and New York Mercantile Exchange.
MATHISEN: Well, 12 years ago, Cantor Fitzgerald teetered on the brink of extinction. A majority, more than 600 of its employees killed in the 9/11 attacks. It survived thanks in part to the generosity of other firms.
Now, at its annual charity day, the firm honors the memory of those who perished, bringing in a galaxy of stars to brighten the somber day and help Cantor give back.
Mary Thompson has our story.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m trying to know how you doing? What are you doing right now?
MARY THOMPSON, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Cantor Fitzgerald charity day turns tears into laughter.
JAMIE FOXX, ACTOR: I could be Mike Tyson, heavyweight boxing champion, I need the money. Or I could be Bill Cosby. I`m going to give jell-o pudding to everybody if I raise the money. Or the president of the United States, if there is any indication, yes, we can raise money.
THOMPSON: Bringing stars like actor Jamie Foxx to light up what is an emotional day for the firm. Celebrities ranging from comedian Whoopi Goldberg to Olympian like soccer star Brandi Chastain and figure skater Sarah Hues execute trades whose commissions go straight to charity.
HOWARD LUTNICK, CANTOR FITZGERALD CHAIRMAN & CEO: Unfortunately, we know what pain is so we want to go out and reach to people suffering in a way we understand and show them love.
THOMPSON: CEO Howard Lutnick`s trading firm harmed more than any other on 9/11, 658 of its 960 employees died in the terrorist attacks.
(on camera): On this day, traders honored former employees` memories by giving their commissions to a fund supporting victim`s families and over 100 charities.
(voice-over): Among the celebrities answering phones and taking trades, funny man Billy Crystal.
BILLY CRYSTAL, ACTOR: (INAUDIBLE) Yes, I`m good. OK. Boy, this is easy.
JULIANNE MOORE, ACTRESS: You want to sell.
THOMPSON: And actress Julianne Moore.
MOORE: A billion.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thanks. Well done
THOMPSON: Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani notes the event captures the complicity of the day.
RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER NYC MAYOR: Worst day, best day. You know, worst day — terrible evil, tremendous number of people losing their lives. On the other end, tremendous courage, heroism, in this particular case, taking something bad and turning it into something good.
THOMPSON: And it was a good day, according to Shawn Matthews, who run Cantor`s broker dealer.
SHAWN MATTHEWS, CANTOR FITZGERALD CEO: We think we`ve at least met last year, which was a great year at $12 million. So, our customers really participated with us. We`re really excited and happy.
THOMPSON: Cantor giving back every year on a day it lost so much.
In New York City, I`m Mary Thompson, for NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT.
GHARIB: Twelve million dollars. That is doing some good out of something bad.
MATHISEN: And it`s really turning a tragedy into something good and that`s sort of magic of reinvention at this company.
GHARIB: They paid for college education of a lot of kids by raising this money.
MATHISEN: Anyhow. Well —
GHARIB: That`s NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for tonight. I`m Susie Gharib.
To learn more about the stories we covered tonight, join us online at NBR.com.
MATHISEN: And thanks from me, as well. I`m Tyler Mathisen, have a great evening, everybody. And we hope to see you back here tomorrow night.
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