TYLER MATHISEN, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR: Maximum fine.
General Motors (NYSE:GM) will pay $35 million — largest penalty possible –
– for the 10-year delay of its ignition switch recall. Is the automaker
now in the clear or are more fines on the way?
SUSIE GHARIB, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR: Raising the stakes.
Warren Buffet, Dan Loeb, John Paulson — some of the world`s smartest
investors — are buying up shares of Verizon (NYSE:VZ). What do they see
in this stock that others may not?
MATHISEN: And, caps on coverage. Some health insurers are trying to
make you pay more for your coverage. But the new approach could be
hazardous to your wealth.
All that and more tonight on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for Friday, May
GHARIB: Good evening, everyone.
The bad news for General Motors (NYSE:GM) got even worse today.
Federal transportation officials slapped the automaker with a $35 million
fine — the biggest allowed by law — for failing to act quickly enough to
recall millions of cars with faulty ignition switches that were linked to
at least 13 crash-related deaths. U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony
Foxx said that G.M. broke the law by waiting too long to order that recall
even though it knew about the switch problem.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTHONY FOXX, U.S. TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY: What we cannot tolerate,
what we will never accept is a person or a company that knows danger exists
and says nothing. Literally, silence can kill.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GHARIB: In a statement, General Motors (NYSE:GM) said, quote, “We
have learned a great deal from this recall. We will now focus on the goal
of becoming an industry leader in safety.”
Phil LeBeau is with us now with more on General Motors (NYSE:GM) and
what else G.M. has agreed to.
Phil, nice to have you here with us.
First, let`s just talk about that $35 million, it does not sound like
a whole lot of money for a big company like General Motors (NYSE:GM).
So, you know, once they pay that are they free and clear? Or could
they pay more fines?
PHIL LEBEAU, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: No. Oh, there`s
absolutely — there`s going to be more fines coming out there. Remember,
the DOJ is looking at a criminal probe right now. There is an
investigation if there were criminal laws broken and if there were, you can
bet that the final potentially is going to be well over a billion dollars,
could be close to $2 billion, could be beyond that, depending on what they
So, you`ve go that out there. You`ve got two congressional
investigations. And NHTSA with today`s action is telling General Motors
(NYSE:GM) this is not the end of it. You`re going to continue to give us
more information and we want to see more of what you`re doing in the future
when it comes to safety issues.
MATHISEN: To me, there seem, Phil, to be a little bit of an irony
that NHTSA was fining General Motors (NYSE:GM), when NHTSA, the watchdog,
it, too, missed some — with connecting the dots.
MATHISEN: Are they partly culpable here?
LEBEAU: Absolutely, because NHTSA is the cop on the beat, probably
should have strung together the dots and said, wait a second, we`ve got an
issue long ago. They did three separate special crash investigations and
there were other documents that have come out that shown that they probably
should have known more and yet they didn`t.
At the end of the day, however, what they`re trying to do is: (a), say
that we`re going to be a little bit more forceful with General Motors
(NYSE:GM) and (b), trying to convince people they are the watchdog that is
GHARIB: Put this in perspective for us. You`re talking about G.M.
possibly paying a billion dollars and other fines. We know that Toyota
(NYSE:TM) recently got slapped with some big fines. How does that compare
with what G.M. is going through?
LEBEAU: Well, the Toyota (NYSE:TM) fine was the largest ever for an
automaker. And let`s be clear, General Motors (NYSE:GM) has not been
cleared of any criminal actions here. And it could be that the DOJ looks
at this and at the end of the day, they say, look, we couldn`t find any
criminal wrongdoing here.
But if there were criminal acts committed out there, the Toyota
(NYSE:TM) blueprint is out there. And that blueprint is very clear. It
says the federal government will make you pay a stiff fine if you`re an
automaker for not doing more when it comes to recalls.
GHARIB: All right. Phil, thank you so much, really great to have you
here with us.
LEBEAU: Good to be here.
GHARIB: And to read more about the G.M. recall and the corporate
culture at the automaker, go to our Web site, NBR.com.
MATHISEN: Well, after spending most of this Friday hovering around
the flat line, the major averages showed a little life in the final hour,
halting a two-day losing streak, with stocks swinging to the upside. But
today`s gains weren`t enough to save the markets from a losing week
Here`s how Wall Street ended today`s decision: the Dow up 44, NASDAQ
higher by 21 and the S&P added seven. Biggest gainer in the Dow today,
Verizon (NYSE:VZ) with shares there up more than 2 percent. That is after
regulatory filings showed that a number of billionaire investors increased
their ownership stakes in the telecom giant.
So, what is it about Verizon (NYSE:VZ) that has so many big-name
investors going all in on the stock?
Dominic Chu has more.
DOMINIC CHU, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):
Verizon (NYSE:VZ) is now a target for some of America`s biggest and best
performing money managers. Yes, that Verizon (NYSE:VZ). It`s one of the
most eye-catching trades Wall Street has seen in quite sometime and it is
in one of the least glitzy industries out there.
Verizon (NYSE:VZ) is seen by many as a massive mature company with few
big growth prospects. But there are reasons why stocks like Verizon
(NYSE:VZ) are becoming more attractive.
KRISTINA HOOPER, ALLIANZ GLOBAL INVESTOR: This is a sector that has
sound fundamentals, typically a solid cash flow, low valuations, and high
dividend yield. And there is a real need for income today and it can be
found in this space.
CHU: That may be what`s grabbing Warren Buffet`s attention, in the
latest round of quarterly regulatory disclosures, Buffet`s Berkshire
Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.A) reported a brand new stake of 11 million shares in
Verizon (NYSE:VZ). That`s worth over half a billion dollars at current
But he`s not the only one. Hedge fund heavyweights like John Paulson
of Paulson and Company, as well as Dan Loeb of Third Point, are also adding
larger stakes. Paulson bought 8.7 million shares of the company, and Loeb
bought 3.5 million shares.
Some experts point to the steady nature of Verizon`s business, along
with the hefty dividend yield that it offers. Holders of each share of
Verizon (NYSE:VZ) are entitled to $2.12 in dividend payments each year.
That translates into over 4 percent return just on the dividend alone.
HOOPER: Dividend paying stocks are the sweet spots, and amongst those
are really good telecom names that offer what baby boomers need today which
is income in retirement, as well as capital appreciation.
CHU (on camera): Of course, there is always the risk that the stocks
can go down. Now maybe it`s a longer play or just a shorter term trade,
but the dividend seems to be a big part of the reason why the stock is so
attractive to these Wall Street heavyweights.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Dominic Chu.
GHARIB: Turning to the housing market, there was a surge in the new
home construction in the month of April. Housing starts rose 13 percent
month to month, but that volume was driven almost entirely by multi-family
units, while construction of single family homes continues to struggle.
So, is this good news for housing?
Diana Olick takes a look.
STEPHEN PAUL, MARYLAND HOME BUILDER: We`ve had a really difficult
DIANA OLICK, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):
Maryland home builder Stephen Paul says despite a lot of optimism last
year, demand for his new homes this year is just not showing up.
PAUL: We`re not seeing that demand. I wish that we were seeing it.
We are seeing a change you know, in policy where you`re seeing more
townhouses being brought to the market for development and less single
family. But the traditional single family market is very slow.
OLICK: And that`s why the numbers are so drastically different.
Single family starts were up barely 1 percent month to month, while multi-
family were up nearly 43 percent, building permits, a gauge of future
demand, were even worse for a single family, permits up barely 1 percent
month to month, and down over 3 percent from a year ago.
(on camera): Multi-family apartment demand is still very strong.
Vacancies are still falling, rents still rising and that`s why you`re
seeing developers put up so many new buildings. But some argue that could
all change very soon.
DENNIS MCGILL, ZELMAN ASSOCIATES: We actually did a consumer survey
recently of over 3,000 adults in the country. And we asked those that are
married living in an apartment why they live there, and the least selected
answer was single family homes, bad investment.
OLICK (voice-over): At a realtor conference in Washington this week,
agents said the biggest barrier to recovery wasn`t lack of demand but lack
of homes for sale.
MCGILL: It`s hard to kind of argue that supply brings demand, but in
a market where there is a lack of inventory, there`s a lack of excitement.
OLICK: Back in Maryland, Stephen Paul says he will turn to more
multi-family townhomes which are generally more affordable.
PAUL: In the next two years, half of all the homes I build will be
town homes, as opposed to right now, it`s 100 percent single family.
OLICK: With the single family home prices still rising, that is where
he sees demand heading.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Diana Olick in Washington.
MATHISEN: And demand s for health care coverage always seems to be
rising, along with health care costs. And now, some insurance companies
are setting limits on what they will pay for certain medical procedures,
coverage caps that could end up costing you more money.
Bertha Coombs has more.
BERTHA COOMBS, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):
CalPERS, the California Public Employees Retirement System, was fed up with
paying wildly different prices for the same medical services.
ANN BOYNTON, CALPERS DEPUTY EXEC. OFFICER: One hospital could be
charging $15,000, and another hospital, true number, was charging us about
$100,000 for the same procedure, for the same length of stay and for the
same quality outcomes. That`s what drove us to take a broader look at this
and say, what can we do to standardize that?
COOMBS: So, CalPERS took a bold step. They set a limit of $30,000
for a knee replacement, and told members where they get the best care for
The savings for the first two years, $5.5 million. Members shopped
around and that forced area hospitals to respond.
JAMES ROBINSON, BERKELEY PROFESSOR: A lot of hospitals reduced their
prices. They didn`t want to lose these patients. The low price hospitals
didn`t reduce their rates. They just stayed where they were.
COOMBS (on camera): Under the Affordable Care Act, health care plans
can`t set spending caps when it comes to overall coverage, but the Obama
administration earlier said this month that CalPERS and other plans will be
allowed to set spending caps for individual procedures, at least for now.
(voice-over): For standard procedures like knee replacements and
colonoscopies, price limits are a good tool to help bring costs down, says
the Berkeley professor James Robinson.
ROBINSON: They will try to make sure you can go to the moderate price
provider and if you want to go to the more expensive one that is your
right. We`re not stopping that, but you have to pay the difference
COOMBS: But it only works when there`s emphasis on quality care, says
CalPERS` Ann Boynton.
BOYNTON: I think the danger is a purchaser might be inclined to
implement a program like this but not have all of the appropriate support
systems in place that make it work for the patient.
COOMBS: The Obama administration will issue a final rule on the price
limits later this year.
Bertha Coombs, NIGHTY BUSINESS REPORT.
GHARIB: Joining us now to talk more about all of this, Craig
Garthwaite. He`s an assistant professor of management at Northwestern`s
Kellogg (NYSE:K) School of Management. His specialty is health care.
Craig, nice to have you back with us.
You know, I don`t think too many people would argue that we want to
get our health care costs down. And this is one strategy to do it. But
are we at risk here of getting you know, low prices but also coming with it
low quality care? What about quality care?
CRAIG GARTHWAITE, KELLOGG SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT ASSISTANT PROFESSOR:
So, I think the representative from CalPERS is perfectly correct on that,
that this only works if you give the patient enough information to pick the
right hospital that offers the quality. You set the price at a point where
there are a number of high quality providers. Let`s be clear, you can do
that, there is such dispersion in the prices there are lots of places you
can get relatively routine procedures, like a knee replacement at a lower
cost than you might currently be paying.
MATHISEN: But where do you get the — if you can access the cost
information, where can you get the information on quality — how long a
person took to recover, the incidents of infection, the incidents of
complications, and things like that?
GARTHWAITE: Yes, it`s going to be incumbent upon the insurers that
want to reference this pricing scheme to give that information to their
customers. And that`s only going to come through the insurance, through us
having a really good sense of what quality means in this setting. So,
infections after surgery are one case, but also you want to think if you
are getting your knee or hip replaced, how long does it take you to get
back to pain-free daily living? The goal of that.
And those types of patients reporting outcomes are things that we`re
going to have to include in the system.
GHARIB: You know, Craig, it is very difficult and confusing for many
people to understand the current health care system and now, we`re adding
in all of these new rules and terms and policies. You know, talk us
through about what kind of education we`re going to need for consumers, the
patients, in all of this, so that they do well.
What we`ve seen in the financial education area, a lot of people still
don`t understand how a 401(k) works and that`s been around for a long time.
GARTHWAITE: Yes. No, it`s hard. You know, many economists can`t
really understand the health care system either. So, it`s quite difficult.
But I think the goal here is to pick a set of relatively self-contained
procedures and provide the people with tangible ideas of what quality is in
So, I think we can understand things like how many more infections do
your patients have and others, how fast do your patients get back to being
able to having pain-free living than other people? And those are the types
of alternatives (ph) we want to look at, and I think there is going to be a
lot of effort over the next few years, keeping in mind the patients will
always have the option to not buy one of these insurance plans. There`s
going to be a trade-off here. You are going to choose, do I want to pay a
high premium and have lots of flexibility and no preference pricing, or do
I want to have a low premium and I`m going to be forced to shop around a
bit to be able to get the best price? This is the choice we`re going to
face on the exchanges as we try and control health care spending.
MATHISEN: As a matter of sort of pricing theory, Craig, when a third
party is paying for something, you don`t care very much what the price is,
what the cost is. This seems to be driving it the idea that I`m going to –
– I, the insurer, am going to make you the ultimate user very aware of what
the cost is. And you`re going to have to bear more of that cost.
Is that potentially a good thing in terms of bringing the market to
bear to bring prices and costs down?
GARTHWAITE: We certainly want to have a little bit more of a
situation where the patient is responding to price signals within health
care. And so we want to do that. We want to do it in a way in which the
patient can make an informed decision. That`s why I want to do it and pick
these types of relatively self-contained procedures.
We don`t want sort of people to pick their care coordinator for type 2
diabetes based ultimately only on price, because we don`t think patients
have enough information for that. But we can identify a set of procedures
like an MRI, like a colonoscopy, which we think are relatively self-
contained episodes and patients can shop on the price.
It really is the only way we`re going to solve a lot of our health
care spending. It`s in some ways, a simple problem. We need to either
consume less health care or pay less for the health care we consume. This
is one attempt to get at the price question.
GHARIB: Boy, it`s a whole new landscape, a lot to learn here. Craig,
thanks so much for explaining part of it to us. We really appreciate it.
GARTHWAITE: Thank you.
GHARIB: Craig Garthwaite, he`s a Northwestern`s Kellogg (NYSE:K)
School of Management professor.
MATHISEN: And still ahead, the case for mid-cap stocks from a market
monitor who will name names and give you the numbers.
But, first, India elected a new prime minister in a landslide victory
sweeping the long-dominant Congress Party from power in the world`s largest
democracy. Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi has promised a revival of
economic growth with more foreign investment and a stronger fiscal
partnership with the U.S., sending its benchmark index to record highs.
GHARIB: Golden Gate Capital reels in Red Lobster from Darden and
that`s where we begin tonight`s “Market Focus”. Darden, the restaurant
operator, has agreed to sell the chain for more than $2 billion in cash
going against pressure from activist investor Starboard Value that opposed
the sale. Other investors didn`t seem to like the news either. Shares
fell more than 4 percent to $48.49.
Another drug merger in the news today. Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT)
is paying nearly $3 billion for Chile`s CFR Pharmaceuticals. The deal
would expand Abbott`s presence in Latin America and more than double its
branded generics drug business in that region. But shares of Abbott fell
slightly to $39.06.
Shares of World Wrestling Entertainment (NYSE:WWE) got slammed today.
The company said its new online network won`t make up for loss pay-per-view
and streaming video on demand business until 2015. The stock plunged
almost 44 percent to $11.27.
MATHISEN: Dillard`s posted earnings that trumped Wall Street`s
estimates. The apparel, cosmetics and home furnishings retailer did post
revenue that came up a bit short, but that didn`t seem to bother investors.
Shares jumped almost 15 percent to $111 even.
Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) will submit a new drug application with the FDA for
its breast cancer drug early in the third quarter of this year. That means
the drug maker won`t have to do bigger, expensive, late-stage testing for
approval of the treatment. Shares there up slightly, $29.12, the close.
TrueCar had a successful market debut, even after its initial public
offering was priced at $9 a share. And that was well below the expected
the level. The company which operates truecar.com, an online car shopping
and research site, raised about $70 million from the sale of its shares.
And the stock closed at $10.06, up almost 12 percent.
GHARIB: Valuations on a pair of tech start-ups are raising some
eyebrows. Uber Technology, this is a mobile taxicab app, is in the process
of raising hundreds of millions of dollars, pegging the company with the
value of $10 billion.
And Pinterest, the online scrapbooking and social media site, just
raised another $200 million from investors, putting that company`s value at
MATHISEN: Our market monitor tonight says that while large cap stocks
will do better, he has a few mid-cappers in mind that will also do well.
He`s Brian Lazorishak. He`s portfolio manager with Chase Investment
Let me get your overall view of the market after this very, very —
sort of up and down week.
BRIAN LAZORISHAK, CHASE INVESTMENT COUNSEL PORTFOLIO MANAGER: Yes, it
certainly has been a choppy week. Thanks for having me.
You know, we think the market — the weight of the evidence still
suggested that the market is in a primary up-trend, although certainly
markets become more selective. And you have seen deterioration beneath the
surface over the last few weeks. So, that`s certainly been notable in the
smaller and mid-cap stocks, and some of the more defensive issues
outperforming some of the more aggressive or growthier names.
GHARIB: So, Brian, given this kind of volatility and uncertainty, you
were saying — Tyler was just mentioning that you say that large cap stocks
will do well in this market, not as much mid-caps — which we know did well
Talk us through the difference.
LAZORISHAK: Sure, and you know large cap trailed a bit last year,
over the last couple of years, it really has been a better environment for
smaller and mid-cap stocks. And we`re seeing a little bit of that this
year in that large cap has done better so far. Some of it has been a
flight to safety, some of it a reverse of the things we saw last year.
So, that could continue for sometime. But we still believe from a
diversification standpoint, there`s a place for mid-cap or small cap in a
portfolio and think you just have to be more selective in those areas.
MATHISEN: First stock you want to name tonight is Skyworks Solution.
Tell us what it does and why you like it?
LAZORISHAK: Sure. Skyworks makes components that connect things.
It`s the easiest way to say it. Obviously, that makes a lot of sense for
smartphones and tablets, and they are — their business is doing great
there. And they`re continuing to get more dollar content in$n8 smartphones
and tablets so that is a positive.
But they`re also seeing a trend of connecting other areas of people`s
lives. Things such as health care, autos, things around the house getting
connected. And as more and more devices become connected to the Internet
of things that has a huge growth potential.
For a company like Skyworks, business is tremendous. The stock has
had a pretty good move but the valuation is still attractive.
GHARIB: All right. Here`s another company. Completely different
field. It`s in education.
Grand Canyon Education (NASDAQ:LOPE), ticker symbol LOPE, trading at
$45. Why do you like this one?
LAZORISHAK: Grand Canyon is the — in our opinion, the highest
quality stock in the for-profit education space. Grand Canyon is a
traditional ground campus university. It`s a Christian university based in
Phoenix with about 10,000, 11,000 ground students this fall.
They are growing tremendously. They`re building a second campus out
in Phoenix. They think they`re going to be — by the start of next school
year, about 18,000 students. So, very strong growth.
And you know they really offer a value proposition. Everybody has
been talking about the rising cost of higher education. They`re tuition
and fees have not been increased in the last five years, which is just
remarkable if you look around at what has happened everywhere is in that
MATHISEN: Did you have them in your NCAA bracket, Brian?
LAZORISHAK: I did not have the Antelopes. And that`s where the
ticker symbol comes from, in my bracket.
MATHISEN: All right. Let`s go to Mastec, which is your final choice
LAZORISHAK: Yes, Mastec is an infrastructure company. So, they
provide services from everybody from DirecTV and AT&T (NYSE:T) in terms of
residential and installation services to bigger projects such as wind,
If you think about the way people talk about infrastructure in the
United States and the need to upgrade that infrastructure, they`re one of
the bigger players in that area. And stand to benefit from that longer
Again, very consistent solid growth story but very reasonable
MATHISEN: Any disclosures, Brian, about those stocks?
LAZORISHAK: Own all three of those stocks in our funds, but do not
own them personally.
MATHISEN: All right. Brian Lazorishak, with Chase Investment
Counsel, have a great weekend.
LAZORISHAK: Thank you.
GHARIB: Coming up on the program — will be the airports be packed,
highways bumper to bumper, when you hit the road for the upcoming Memorial
Day weekend? The answer, up next.
MATHISEN: And finally tonight, the unofficial start of summer is just
10 days away. Wow. And that means millions of Americans will be hitting
the roads, as well as the rails, taking to the skies, over the long
Memorial Day weekend. Just how many of us are expected to leave home next
Hampton Pearson takes a look.
HAMPTON PEARSON, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):
After a harsh winter millions of Americans will jump start the travel
season with the Memorial Day getaway next weekend. AAA is forecasting a
post-recession high, 36 million travelers, the biggest year-over-year jump
in more than a decade.
MARSHALL DONEY, AAA CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER: People are sick and
tired of hibernating indoors and they`re looking forward to some summer
PEARSON: More than eight out of 10 travelers, an estimated 31
million, will be driving to their destinations, about 80 percent of all
gasoline sales happen at convenient stores nationwide, and the just
released survey finds owner/operators already seeing increased spending
over last year and looking ahead to a big summer travel season.
JEFF LENARD, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF CONVENIENCE STORES: Once you see
kids get out of school whether college or high school, you really see
travel pick up.
PEARSON: Memorial Day air travel should top 2.6 million, despite a 6
percent increase in airline fares from a year ago, a surprise early
vacation winner, the cruise ship industry.
DONEY: The harsh winter appears to be good news for people gaining
interest in summertime travel. The cruise industry seems to have
benefitted with a 6.5 percent category increase in travelers.
PEARSON: Part of a 1.5 million increase in those taking boats, buses
and trains to get over that winter cabin fever.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We wanted to get to a place where we could just
really relax and get some sun. And when we added all of those things
together, a cruise seemed like a new experience.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would travel more if the prices came down
certainly, because I do love to travel.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If I want to take a trip, I`m going to take a
trip. I`ll worry about whatever else got to get paid whenever it`s got to
PEARSON (on camera): With any kind of break in the weather,
forecasters predict the Memorial Day weekend could be the start of one of
the biggest summer travel seasons since the end of the recession.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Hampton Pearson in Washington.
GHARIB: I`ll be on the road. I hope we have good weather.
MATHISEN: I hope so. People want to get away after the winter.
GHARIB: Oh, yes.
MATHISEN: We`ve earned it in the East, for sure, and the rest of the
country as well.
GHARIB: That`s NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT. I`m Susie Gharib. Thanks
MATHISEN: And I`m Tyler Mathisen. Thanks from me as well. Have a
great weekend, everybody. And we hope to see you back here on Monday
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