Transcript: Friday, July 25, 2014


ANNOUNCER:  This is NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT with Tyler Mathisen and Susie Gharib.

TYLER MATHISEN, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR:  Stocks slump.  The major averages finish the week on a sour note as investors look ahead to what`s being called the busiest earnings and economic week of the summer.

Breaking the bank.  Why Sovaldi, the breakthrough hepatitis C drug, is creating a big headache for some states and insurance stocks.

Tipping point.  Has Wall Street had enough of Amazon`s strategy of spending and investing for the long term at the expense of profits?

All that and more tonight on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for Friday, July 25th.

Good evening, everyone.  And welcome, I`m Tyler Mathisen.  Susie Gharib has the night off.

An economic war of words in Russia, escalating violence and a scuttled ceasefire deal in Israel and a sell off in some consumer discretionary stocks took the market down today, sharply lower.  Two stocks in particular helped dragged down averages.  Shares of Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN).com tumbled after disappointing earnings and a weaker outlook, while Visa (NYSE:V) warning of a weaker quarter ahead was the biggest decliner in the Dow.  It fell 3 1/2 percent and accounted for nearly half of the blue chip index` losses.

Not even a boost in orders for durable goods last month could help the markets much and at the close the Dow was down 123 points, closing back below 17,000.  The NASDAQ lost 22 points and the S&P 500 was down nine.

For the week, the Dow ended lower, the NASDAQ and the S&P both ended higher.

Joe Duran joins us to talk about the markets and what lies ahead next week.  He`s the CEO of United Capital Financial Advisors.

Joe, welcome and good as always to have you back.

As you look ahead to next week, what will have you have your eye most especially on?

JOE DURAN, UNITED CAPITAL FINANCIAL ADVISORS CEO:  Well, I think two things that are driving the markets right now.  One is the obvious one, all the politics happening around the world and how they evolve and every day something else happens, none of it appearing to be very positive.

But more importantly is do we get news from the economy that suggests that the strengthening is continuing, and that the Fed will become a little more proactive in cutting back its support of the economy.  And that, I think, is what is really driving a lot of what is happening in the markets now.  I really don`t think it`s the politics.  It`s really about we`re getting a lot of good news on the economy, on hiring, on existing purchasing of homes and you`re saying, well, it looks like the Fed has fewer reasons to continue injecting support to the economy.

So, that`s really the —


MATHISEN:  If that happens, if the Fed does pull back and they already has started pulling back with the bond-buying, they are pulling back quantitative easing, and they keep hinting that they`re going to raise interest rates sometime probably next year — if that punch bowl gets pulled away or the juice in it is a little less combustible, what happens to stocks?

DURAN:  Well, I think stocks — it really depends on if they handle it well.  If it`s done at the pace that the Fed would like to do it, they will only do it when the economy is standing on its own two feet and growing by itself.  And what they`re doing is making sure it doesn`t over heat.

If we get hints of inflation, which we`re starting to see actually in other parts of the world, then the Fed will need to be more proactive and then the punch bowl gets taken away very quickly and everybody`s hangover will be worse.

So, what I would suggest is, in an ideal scenario, the economy continues to find its legs, takes the slack out and inflation doesn`t become a problem.  If the inflation monster comes out here, Yellen is going to need to be a lot more proactive, and that would create problem the worst combination for stocks.

MATHISEN:  So, let`s try and make the viewers a little money here, Joe.  If you had one idea that you think is a good place to put money for return over, let`s say the next year, what would it be?  And if you had one thought to help me avoid trouble or losses, what would that be?

DURAN:  So, the area I would want to avoid is I would be careful with any speculative debts.  So, any debt that is longer term in nature or higher risk, economically sensitive stocks.  So, the risk premium for time and for quality is very, very low.  And that`s not a good time to buy high- yield debt or long-term debt.

So, I would be reasonably careful in that area.  And then what I find interesting is you want to earn in the national large companies because the economy is getting stronger.  And what I think you`re going to start seeing, if we start picking up steam, that will be good for the emerging economies and these large S&P 100 like companies that have been really not doing well — the industrials that are global in nature.  To me, that`s kind of interesting.

I think Europe is pretty interesting now.  And so, you want U.S.-based companies to take advantage of that and so to me, that`s — the other area I would say is don`t go to the dividend payers, go to the dividend growers.

So, to us, again, if interest rates stay low, that`s an interesting area.

MATHISEN:  Three very good ideas there.  Joe Duran with United Capital Advisors — thanks very much.  Have a great weekend.

More now on the dismal day for Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN).com.  Shares of the online retailer tumbled nearly 10 percent, closing at $324.01 as investors got a chance to react to last night`s earnings.  And those earnings shocked Wall Street.  Thin margin Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) lost for more than forecast by pumping much of its gaudy revenues right back into the company to expand into new products and services.  But just how long will investors accept this invest-now-profit-later philosophy from CEO Jeff Bezos?

Josh Lipton has more.



Amazon`s CEO Jeff Bezos is very clear about his company`s mission.  He invests for the long term, measuring his company success by market share, customers and revenue growth.  If that comes at the expense of near-term profitability, then so be it.

That business strategy was obvious in Amazon`s latest results.  Sales at the e-commerce giant jumped over 20 percent to $19 billion, but expenses surged even more, as the company was spending money on faster delivery, video content, and new devices like set top boxes and smart phones.  All that spending pressured profits.  Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) posted a wider than expected loss and more importantly, forecast more losses for the quarter ahead.

YOUSSEF SQUALI, CANTOR FITZGERALD MANAGING DIRECTOR:  They have always said we`re going to keep investing the money.  We`re going to generate very little margins in the process, but top line is going to continue to grow.

LIPTON:  In the past, investors accepted this lack of profitability because they agreed that Bezos` vision of trying to grab as much market share as possible.  But Amazon`s latest round of investments looks more ambitious and that`s worrying shareholders.

COLIN GILLIS, BGC FINANCIAL SENIOR TECHNOLOGY ANALYST:  The concern is that the current investment cycle is different than past cycles where you bill fulfillment centers and you knew that was going to have a correlation to additional revenue growth down the line.

In this case, we`re building content, we`re building tablets, we`re building phones, and all of these investments are going to need to be, you know, renewed pretty much on an annual basis.

LIPTON:  Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) stock got hammered Friday.  It`s now down some 20 percent this year.

The company, though, doesn`t seem to be in any rush to cut back on its spending.  On a conference call with analysts, Amazon`s CFO reiterated the company`s mantra — putting customers first is the only reliable way to create lasting value for shareholders.

(on camera):  But many of those shareholders aren`t waiting around.

They want to see returns right now on this investment.  The problem is if Bezos wants to keep competing head-to-head with tech titans such as Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), then he has to keep spending a lot of money.

Josh Lipton, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, Silicon Valley.


MATHISEN:  The sky-high cost and high demand for the Hepatitis C medication Sovaldi is causing big problems for private insurers and may even be a threat to Medicaid.

Shares of insurer well care health plan tanked today down, 20 percent after reporting a massive earnings miss last quarter with the cost of Sovaldi getting much of the blame.

Bertha Coombs has more on how the high cost of Sovaldi is impacting the entire health care industry.



Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ:GILD) hepatitis C drug is a blockbuster, netting the drug maker nearly $6 billion in sales for the first six months on the market.  But at $84,000, Sovaldi is causing pain for private insurers and government plans like Medicaid, with millions of Americans estimated to have the virus.

MATT SALO, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF MEDICAID DIRECTORS:  There is no question that we simply cannot afford to treat the 3 million, all 3 million people in this country that have hepatitis C with a drug that costs between

$84,000 and $140,000.

COOMBS:  Insurer Wellcare`s shares sank after reporting an unexpected second loss of its second quarter in part because of higher drug costs at its Florida Medicaid plant.  Hepatitis C drugs were a big problem.  The insurers will get reimbursed but the big question is how states will pay for what could be upwards of $55 billion for Hep C drugs in the next few years.

SALO:  I`ve heard anecdotally that some states are saying they have spent more on Sovaldi in the first quarter of this year than they did on all liver transplants in the past two years combined.

COOMBS:  Gilead and the pharmaceutical industry maintains Sovaldi not only saves lives but will result in lower health care costs long term.  But the near-term sticker shock is fueling the debate about high specialty drug prices and regulation in the U.S., especially since countries with national health plans are being charged less.

ARTHUR CAPLAN, NYU LANGONE MEDICAL CENTER:  I think this drug is the edge of the wedge.  This is the one that`s going to force us to address the question of how much can we afford, how much can we pay, and are we going to put up with the prices that the providers of drugs or vaccines or devices tell us that we have to pay.

COOMBS (on camera):  As one insurance executive put it, at a time when big pharmaceutical companies are moving their headquarters overseas to save on U.S. taxes, how can they argue U.S. patients should have to pay more than people in other countries for the same drugs?



MATHISEN:  A sad note to report tonight: the death of a Wall Street legend.  Former Bear Sterns chairman and CEO Alan Ace Greenberg passed away at 86, following a battle with cancer.  He started at Bear back in 1949 as a clerk, working his way up the corporate ladder and up and up, and he is credited with engineering the rise of Bear Stearns into one of Wall Street`s biggest and scrappiest investment banks.

Greenberg, an avid bridge player and a amateur magician who always had a deck of cards on his desk to perform tricks, gave up his role as CEO in 1993, and is chairman of the board in 2001.  Bear Stearns crumbling under bad mortgage bets, and was acquired by JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) Chase during the financial crisis in 2008.


MATHISEN:  An economic war of words, European nations are ratcheting up pressure on Russia, reaching a preliminary deal to impose wider sanctions on the country.  But Russia is making a move of its own that`s raising some eyebrows.

Jim Maceda of NBC News has more from Moscow.


JIM MACEDA, NBC NEWS:  Vladimir Putin may if be feeling less confident today with the news that the European Union reached an initial agreement on much more robust sectoral sanctions this time against Russia.  The deal would include a ban an E.U. investment on state-owned Russia banks.  It would include an embargo on new arm sales to Moscow, and also restrictions on the supply of key energy and technologies to Russia, like deep sea drilling for instance and shale gas technology.

And there may also be a burger war to report soon.  A Russian consumer protection agency has, in fact, filed a lawsuit against McDonald`s in Russia, believe it or not, claiming its nutritional information on packaging of its cheeseburgers and its chicken burgers is false and therefore illegal.  But McDonald`s told us today it knows nothing about the claims and that everything at McDonald`s has been approved by Russian authorities.

So, it looks like the Golden Arches, an American icon, are now in the Kremlin`s crosshairs.

Back to you.


MATHISEN:  Jim Maceda reporting.

We begin “Market Focus” tonight with investors going loco for shares of El Poyo Loco.  They made the trading debut and investors snapped them up like they were shares of Chipotle or something.

The restaurant, which has most of its locations in California, raised more than $100 million in today`s initial public offering of about 7 million shares, plus guacamole.  The stock is listed on the NASDAQ under one of the great ticker symbols of all time, LOCO.  The stock soared 60 percent to $24.03.

Shares of Stanley Black & Decker (NYSE:SWK) popped after the tool maker reported that its profit climbed in the second quarter.  That as it managed to increase sales and trim costs.  Adding to those results, the company lifted an earnings outlook for the full year.  And the stock rose almost 7 percent to $90.77.

Abbvie`s arthritis drug Humira helped the drug maker`s second quarter sales.  It beat on both the top and bottom lines.  And just last week, the company announced it is planning to buy Shire (NASDAQ:SHPGY) for $55 billion, inversion, deal there, all right?  Despite those earnings, shares were off 1.5 percent to $53.18.

Xerox (NYSE:XRX) posted mixed results, with revenue coming in below estimates as it was hurt by lower demand in its printing business.  The company did lift the lower end of its earnings forecast for the year.

Investors focused on that good news, sending shares of Xerox (NYSE:XRX) up almost 2.5 percent to $13.15.

Shares of Swift Transportation went the other way after it issued a disappointing outlook and warned of a driver shortage.  The trucking company said it was going to have to spend more on wages and training in order to attract additional drivers.

But the CEO of Ryder sees the trucker shortage as an opportunity.


ROBERT SANCHEZ, RYDER SYSTEM CEO:  There is a shortage of truck drivers, that`s a great opportunity for Ryder because we have 6,000 commercial truck drivers that are employees of Ryder.  So, we have a very extensive driving recruiting network that we use to bring drivers into Ryder and companies having trouble recruiting drivers will outsource that.

There is clearly a shortage of drivers today.  There has some wage inflation over the last couple years and I expect that to continue.


MATHISEN:  Shares of Swift Transportation fell about 18 percent to $21.20.

And dividend news from Delta.  The airline hiked its quarterly dividend payout to 9 cents a share.  And that`s going to be paid to shareholders at the end of August.  Despite that, shares drifted to $38.06.

Our market monitor guest tonight says there are some large cap stocks that are cheap in this market.  He`s Gregg Abella, portfolio manager at Investment Partners Asset Management.  He joins us onset tonight.

Gregg, good to have you with us.  Nice to see you again.


MANAGEMENT:  Thank you.

MATHISEN:  You like the big caps.  Give me your thought overall on the market quickly in a capsule.

ABELLA:  Complacent —

MATHISEN:  Complacent.

ABELLA:  — if I had to come up with one word.

I think that the earnings multiples generally, some of the industries are just extended.  We`re due for a healthy pull back.  It`s just a normal phase of the market.

So, even though I think there are some large cap names that are compelling values here, I`d be waiting another 5 percent or 10 percent to put the money to work.

MATHISEN:  And as you look at the market more broadly, I assume that one of the reasons you like some of the big caps that we`re going to get to is that some of other smaller caps, you think are over-stretched by a —

ABELLA:  That`s right.

MATHISEN:  So let`s start with your first pick, there is no bluer chip probably than ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM).

ABELLA:  Well, Exxon is a compelling value here.  It did get downgraded today, but only down in line with the market.  In fact, it was the price target that was actually lifted a little bit from that analyst who downgraded it.  But, you know a half trillion dollars sales based company, with 2.7 percent dividend yield, trading at 12 times forward earnings, looks like descent value.  And as I mentioned, with the pull back, I would be putting money to work in a name like Exxon.  It`s treated shareholders very well over a long period of time.

MATHISEN:  Good company presumably to have as an anchor in your portfolio.

ABELLA:  That`s right.

MATHISEN:  Let`s move on to another one, which is a controversial pick I would say, and that`s IBM.

ABELLA:  Well, IBM I think is suffering a little bit from lackluster capital spending and information technology in corporations.  But the company is in a very interesting space.  Platform as a service and infrastructure as a service, $100 billion sales trading at 10 times earnings, 2.5 percent dividend yield.

MATHISEN:  You like this deal with Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL)?  You like Ginni Rometty?

ABELLA:  Yes, I actually think they are on the right track.  I`m in good company, about 6.5 percent of the company is owned by Warren Buffett`s Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.A).  So, as a value guy, I can identify with why other people would think it`s compelling.  Again, on the pull back, I would probably put some money to work in this name.

MATHISEN:  And the third choice is Prospect Capital (NASDAQ:PSEC) Corporation.  I don`t — I`m not familiar with it.  Tell me about it and why you like it.

ABELLA:  Well, this is a specialty finance company.  It`s a business development company.  It lends to small and mid sized companies where banks really can`t participate right now because of Dodd-Frank.  They lend at high rates.  They pay out 90 percent of the income that they make to shareholders as business development companies do and as a result, it has a yield currently of about 12 percent.

Now, there`s some risk with this because —

MATHISEN:  Twelve percent yield, whoa, wait a minute.  That often is a danger sign.

ABELLA:  It can be, but that`s not uncommon with business development companies to pay out those kinds of rates.  The risk being —

MATHISEN:  The nature of the structure.

ABELLA:  The nature of the structure.

MATHISEN:  More than the risk.

ABELLA:  And it`s diversified over dozens of companies, but they are smaller companies and business development companies have to raise capital to continue to grow.

MATHISEN:  So, by way of disclosure, do you own any of these companies personally, does your company owned them?  What?

ABELLA:  Our clients own them.

MATHISEN:  Your clients own them, portfolios you run for them.

ABELLA:  Correct.  And on pullbacks, I`d be looking to probably add to these names.

MATHISEN:  All right.  Gregg, thank you very much.  Have a great weekend.

ABELLA:  Thanks for having me.  You, too.

MATHISEN:  See you again soon, I hope.

That`s Gregg Abella with Investment Partners Asset Management.

Well, Atlantic City, New Jersey, could see the fourth, fourth casino closed up shop by the end of this year.  And if things weren`t bad enough for the struggling seaside gambling Mecca, the city just saw its municipal debt downgraded by Moody`s (NYSE:MCO).

What could this latest blow mean for AC?  Morgan Brennan has the story.



The losing streak continues for Atlantic City, the downgrade is yet another blow, putting AC in a rare category of non-investment grade municipal bonds that includes Detroit, Harrisburg and Puerto Rico.

But experts say Atlantic City`s debt isn`t at right of default, at least not yet.


(NYSE:MCO) rating, it still has a negative outlook, which means it can go down further in a relatively short period of time, and I think they are waiting to see how the closures are going to affect the tax space.

BRENNAN:  AC only has about $245 million in long-term debt, a relatively small sum compared to larger cities billions.  But the risk is that things could keep getting worse.  The city has long struggled with high unemployment, poverty and crime.

And competition from neighboring states has caused a 45 percent drop in gaming revenue, the city`s main source of income since 2006.

This month, Trump Plaza warned it will likely close in September, becoming the fourth casino to close or consider closing since just the start of the year.  And adding insult to injury, on Tuesday, robbers reportedly made off with more than $180,000 from Caesars Atlantic City at gunpoint.

Analysts say the downgrade presents a big hurtle for AC, which has been scrambling to reinvent itself away from gambling.

CURE:  The risk is if they try to tap the capital markets again, they will be paying higher and higher costs, and that could happen sooner than they think.

BRENNAN:  That`s because the city`s ongoing decline has caused casinos to seek property tax assessments.  AC now owes Borgata $88 million, and could owe refunds to six other businesses.

(on camera):  That`s money the city doesn`t necessarily have and with bonds rating junk, raising new cash from investors could become more difficult, which in turn could mean service cuts to things like police force and garbage cleanup and that could eventually chase even more money away.



MATHISEN:  Coming up, why Comic Con is no longer just about comic strips and super heroes but big business for major media and content companies.


MATHISEN:  Some good news at the grocery store.  The USDA says that rising prices for food will level off this year, remaining steady except for more expected increases in meat and seafood prices.  The cost of pork will be particularly hard hit.  Forecast to rise as much as 11 percent this year, that`s because of a virus that has killed millions of piglets.

And Bose is picking is picking a patent fight with Beats.  The high end audio equipment maker is suing Beats over the use of some of its noise cancelling patents in its headphones.  Beats headphones, along with its streaming music service, will soon be owned by Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), which it agreed to acquire for $3 billion this year.  The deal has not yet closed.

British pay TV giant BSkyB, partly owned by the media tycoon Rupert Murdoch, will pay $9 billion in cash for two big pay TV networks in Europe, one in Italy, one in Germany.  The seller is 21st Century Fox controlled by Murdoch.

So, why the left pocket-right pocket deal?  The thinking is that by raising cash, Murdoch`s Fox muscles up to pay more for Time Warner (NYSE:TWX).  Fox`s $80 billion offer for Time Warner (NYSE:TWX) was rejected as too low earlier this month.

Well, media giant studio heads and about 150,000 fans are flocking to San Diego for this year`s Comic Con, the annual comic book and character convention and this year, the stakes are bigger than ever.

Julia Boorstin has more.



Take a look at these costumes.  Fans really get invested and can spread the word on Twitter, Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and YouTube.  That`s why Comic Con is so important.  It allows brands to communicate directly to fans, who have more power than ever, flocking to the event that`s become pop culture ground zero.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Getting my nerd on, pretty much.  This is, what, my fourth year I think here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It`s my second time here at Comic Con, I`m from Middle East.  So, we always come here.  I love everything.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I mean, I`ve seen a lot of it on TV and I want to see it for myself.

BOORSTIN:  Comic Con is a huge platform for media giants to announce and launch all sorts of content.  It expands far beyond comics from Marvel building buds for next week`s “Guardian of the Galaxy”.  Also expected to provide details on as many as six upcoming films to Warner Brother`s D.C.

comics, promoting “Constantine”, which it`s producing for NBC, launching this fall.

And streaming video and video games are here.  Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) Xbox looking to build excitement for its upcoming “Halo” game and digital show.

ED CATTO, BONFIRE AGENCY:  Comic Con is almost like (INAUDIBLE) bowl for new ideas, and creative ideas.  It`s time when all the brands and companies bring their best foot forward and unveil them in a big, grand way.  And, of course, it`s very competitive.

BOORSTIN (on camera):  Big advertisers are teaming up with media brands, help cut through the ad clutter and reach young and tech savvy consumers like these who are increasingly hard to reach through traditional means like TV advertising.

(voice-over):  Two great examples of branded stunts, Pizza Hut teaming up with Paramount`s upcoming “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” film to launch a life-size 12-foot tall pizza thrower, firing pizza hut pizzas.

And Uber is partnering with FX Networks to fly Comic Con attendees through San Diego, on 130-foot uber zip line, promoting its Gotham show, and Uber has designed cars to look like Gotham police cars to drive visitors to San Diego around.

All the companies here are hoping to connect with avid fans and turn them into evangelist for their brands.

NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, Julia Boorstin, in San Diego.


MATHISEN:  And, finally tonight, here is something you don`t see often, thousands of workers at Market Basket, a small family owned chain of supermarkets in Massachusetts, rallied today, calling for the company to reinstate the CEO, who was just fired by his own cousin.  No word yet if this family feud is finished or if the one-time boss is or will soon be back to work.

And that will do it for NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for tonight.  I`m Tyler Mathisen.  Thanks for watching.  Have a great week, everybody.  We hope to see you back here on Monday.




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) 2014 CNBC, Inc.


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