Transcript: Monday, August 4, 2014

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

SUE HERERA, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR: What happens next? Stocks snapped back today. But will investors continue to shake off last week’s selloff or was the steep slide a taste of what’s yet to come?

TYLER MATHISEN, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR: Magic number. Investors bid up shares of Disney (NYSE:DIS) one day ahead of its earnings, betting the company’s results will blow past expectations.

HERERA: Collision course. How dangerous are our roads? A first in a three-part investigative series looking at highway safety and the long haul trucking industry.

All that and more tonight on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for Monday, August 4th.

And good evening, everybody. I’m Sue Herera, in tonight for Susie Gharib.

MATHISEN: Welcome, everybody. I’m Tyler Mathisen.

It was a quiet August Day on Wall Street. For today at least, last week’s seismic jitters about the Middle East, Central Europe, U.S. Central Bank policy, took a back seat to news from Portugal. That country’s government threw a lifeline to one of its biggest lenders. And that was enough to spark a rebound from last week’s steep losses, the worst in two years for the S&P 500, and unwinding of short positions bets the market will fall also helped a little bit today.

And at the end of the day, the Dow was higher by 76 points, the NASDAQ was up 31, and the S&P added 13. Stocks seeing a healthy bounce back, at least for today, a lot of people are asking what’s driving the markets right now. And what’s the mood of traders.

Bob Pisani has the latest.


BOB PISANI, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: Stocks rallied, ending just off the highs for the day. It was the best day in two weeks for the S&P 500. The rally began in Europe where the Portuguese government bailed out its largest banks, though bond and stockholders also took a big hit.

Now, stocks started the week in the U.S. with the absence of bad news from Europe and the Ukraine helped lift the appetite for cyclical names like tech, retail and commodity stocks, all of which took a drubbing last week. And energy stocks also rose as oil moved up for the first time in four days. For the rest of the week, traders are going to keep a sharp eye on Europe.

So, is the worst over? It may be too early to tell.

ART CASHIN, UBS: There will be lingering concern about the economic condition in Europe. German markets took a bit of a hit again today, worrying about them struggling under the sanctions, and we’re going to wait to see if this honeymoon with the Espiritu Santo, the Portuguese bank, lasts. They had a bounce back there, but it wasn’t anywhere near the kind of selloff they had in previous days.

PISANI: Stocks also got a lift from the realization that earnings had been better than expected. With three fourths of the S&P 500 reporting, earnings are approaching a 10 percent gain from the same period a year ago. That’s the best showing in about three years. And revenues are up about 5 percent.

For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I’m Bob Pisani at the New York Stock Exchange.


HERERA: Another important issue for investors is inflation, whether it’s happening and by how much.

For the first time in a while, some corporations, but not all are saying that they have the ability to raise prices.

Sara Eisen looks at which companies are seeing pricing power and why it’s happening now.


SARA EISEN, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Expect to pay more for candy and chocolate. Hershey’s and Mars are lifting prices 7 percent to 8 percent to deal with higher cocoa costs. That goes for coffee as well. Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX), JM Smucker, and Kraft (NYSE:KFT), which makes Maxwell House, are all boosting prices for packaged coffee and even some beverages. Kraft (NYSE:KFT) also told investors it’s raising prices on cheese and Oscar Mayer meats because of elevated costs for commodities like dairy.

DAN GREENHAUS, BTIG: As the economy improves as the labor market improves, it’s become increasingly clear that individual companies from across the spectrum are finding the environment a little more amenable to price increases. It’s certainly not anything that’s going to set alarm bells off. Certainly something we haven’t seen in the last several quarters.

EISEN: And it’s not just at the grocery store. You may also have noticed a slight increase in the cost of burritos at Chipotle, which boasted menu prices by an average 6 1/2 percent in April, the first increase in three years.

Nike (NYSE:NKE) and PepsiCo which make Frito-Lay snacks both talked about raising prices on new rollout like sneakers or new chip flavors.

For the most part, those higher prices are feeding into fatter profits. Pulte Group, the home builder, and Reynolds American (NYSE:RAI), the tobacco giant behind Camel cigarettes, both mentioned higher prices as key positives behind bottom line beats this quarter.

GREENHAUS: I’m not sure the economy is strong enough that the companies are going to find it endlessly profitable and endlessly favorable to continue raising prices. But, again, in the short term, you have to look at these modest increases as somewhat of a positive.

EISEN (on camera): Chipotle and Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) say they’re prices aren’t having an impact on consumer spending. But for food and other grocery items, it maybe a different story, because consumers at the middle and low income level are still facing challenges in this recovery. So, companies are going to have to walk a fine line between pricing and attracting sales.



MATHISEN: And even though stocks rallied today, there’s still plenty of debate between the bulls and bears on Wall Street. Tonight, we’re going to hear from both sides.

Peter Boockvar, chief market analyst with the Lindsey Group. In this seen, he’s going to play the bear.

And our bull is Chris Gaffney, he is a senior market strategist at EverBank. And for purposes of tonight’s discussion, he’s going to be on the bull side.

You know, Chris, let me start with you. Sara Eisen just talked about whiffs of inflation in the pipeline. Companies, individual companies that have been able to push through some price increases. Are you worried about inflation?

CHRIS GAFFNEY, EVERBANK: No, we’re not worried about inflation yet. And I don’t think the market is worried about inflation either, if you look at the 10-year rate.

The key is there’s no wage inflation here. The labor market as Chairman Yellen said recently, there’s still slack in the labor market and there’s no wage inflation. We do see some price inflation in select items. But again, I’m not — that does not worry me at this point.

HERERA: But, Peter, you are worried, not necessarily or specifically perhaps about inflation, but you’re worried about the Fed and perhaps the last week’s volatility is a taste of what’s to come?

PETER BOOCKVAR, LINDSEY GROUP: Yes, I’m not worried about high inflation. I’m worried about higher inflation that brings the Fed into the equation. The consumer price index is already at 2 percent. The PCE which is their preferred rate, is up two-tenths four months in a row, month over month. That’s an annualized rate of obviously north of 2 percent.

So, the Fed has a problem on their hands because rates at zero is holy inappropriate with even that level of inflation. So, we can say, yes, it’s only 2 percent, it’s not a big deal. But it doesn’t correlate well with zero interest rates. That’s the major head wind I think for stocks, because the Fed is falling well behind the reality of the data.

MATHISEN: You know, Chris, Peter, among the other things he’s worried about — not that Peter’s a worry ward, he really isn’t. I promise you he’s not. I know him.

Is the — in his view, the likelihood that Q.E., quantitative easing, and monetary stimulus, that the Fed has clearly signaled it’s going to wind down, is in the short term going to be a negative disruption for stocks? How worried are you about that process?

GAFFNEY: Well, let’s face it, the bond buying is going to end in October. However, as Bob pointed out at the beginning of the show, earnings for this earnings season are very good. And in fact the GDP number rebounded dramatically. Consumers are very confident.

So, again, I think the environment for companies and for really the equity market is very good right now, and will continue to be good through the end of the year and into 2015.

HERERA: Peter, take the other side of that, I know that you really feel as though the Fed does have some tools in its toolbox to address inflation, but that’s not all that concerns you in this market?

BOOCKVAR: Right, well, let’s look at 2013. GDP growth was 2 percent, earnings growth was 5 percent, and the market was up 30 percent because the Fed printed a trillion dollars. So, to ignore the influence of the Fed, regardless of the economic environment, earnings environment, is a mistake, after Q.E. 1 and Q.E. 2, the S&P fell about 15 percent to 20 percent.

It feels great when Q.E. is on, but there’s a flip side to what the Fed is doing. We pull forward a lot of returns, we’re going to have pay back when the Fed reverses policy which they’ve already begun with Q.E. In my opinion, Q.E. is a form of tightening, and then we have potential shrinking of the balance sheet —

MATHISEN: It’s pulling out Q.E. Pulling away —

BOOCKVAR: Pulling away Q.E. But the gains we’ve seen over the past few years has pulled forward a lot of future returns, well to the underlying growth rate in the economy and earnings. So, yes, earnings can be OK this year, but we have well more than a price set in.

MATHISEN: What about that? That some of the gains that we otherwise would have had from the real economy, Chris, have been brought forward and are, therefore, vulnerable.

GAFFNEY: Well, the Fed is definitely supported the equity markets with these low rates and again the Q.E. will end in October. The bond buying portion will end in October. However, the Fed is not going to raise rates. They’re going to keep interest rates very accommodated, well into 2015. As long as we don’t see any big spike in price inflation or wage inflation, and with the slack in the labor market, I don’t think we’re going to see that.

HERERA: So, Peter, when you look at the equity markets, are the markets slightly undervalued, fairly valued, or overvalued?

BOOCKVAR: Well, I consider them overvalued, based on the things I look at. On the P/E multiple, you can see, OK, they’re reasonably, 16, 17 times earnings. But that’s what profit margins that are 75 percent above their means.

So, putting a normal P/E on peak profit margins I don’t think is not the right thing to do. On normalized earnings, the market is very expensive. Market cap to GDP, 2,000 was the only time you’ve seen a more expensive market. Price to sales, 2000 was the only time we saw a more expensive market.

So, metrics that I look at outside of the conventional P/E on forward earnings multiple tells me that the market is very expensive. Therefore, there’s no margin of safety for a reduction of Fed accommodation.

MATHISEN: All right. Last word goes to Peter. Thanks, guys. Appreciate it very much.

Chris Gaffney, appreciate you’re being here as well.


HERERA: Earnings after the bell from insurance giant American International Group (NYSE:AIG). AIG easily topped Wall Street’s estimate, making $1.25 per share, excluding certain items. That’s a 20 cent per share beat, with profits rising more than 12 percent. Revenue also topped forecast, getting a boost from the sale of its airline leasing unit, AerCap Holdings. AIG also announced a new $2 billion share back plan. Shares initially rose in trading after-hours.

MATHISEN: One of the biggest drivers in the Dow today and this year has been Disney (NYSE:DIS). Shares up 2 percent on the session trading near their all time highs, just one day ahead of the company’s latest quarterly earnings report.

Julia Boorstin takes a look at what investors should expect.


JULIA BOORSTIN, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” soared past expectations this weekend, grossing $94 million in the U.S., setting a new August record.

Investors are optimistic Marvel’s parent company Disney (NYSE:DIS) won’t just beat at the box office, but also with its earnings, due out Tuesday afternoon.

Last year’s megahit “Frozen” is expected to help the past quarter’s results. It’s the biggest animated movie ever. It should boost the studio division and consumer products, as “Frozen” dolls and toys fly off the shelves.

Analysts expect Disney (NYSE:DIS) revenue to gain 5 percent in earnings per share to move 13 percent higher, benefiting from consumer spending more at the theme park and ESPN getting a big boost from the FIFA World Cup.

DAVID BANK, RBC CAPITAL MARKETS: They’re really just cable channel companies. No matter, you know, we associate them with their studios or other products, but, you know, Disney (NYSE:DIS) is ESPN. As goes ESPN goes Disney (NYSE:DIS).

BOORSTIN (on camera): Disney’s media networks division, which includes ESPN, as well as the Disney (NYSE:DIS) Channel, is the company’s largest, expected to face a tough advertising market, but to benefit from growth overseas, as well as feeds from cable and satellite TV providers.

(voice-over): Beyond Disney’s own results, CEO Bob Iger is sure to face questions about what the crush of M&A means for his company. With FOX trying to buy rival Time Warner (NYSE:TWX), and two big distribution deals pending, Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) (NYSE:CCS) and Time Warner (NYSE:TWX) Cable, and AT&T (NYSE:T) and DirecTV.

BANK: I don’t think they need to buy anything. I think of everybody, you know, they’ve got for this quarter, if you believe in the sizzle in the quarter, the World Cup, “Frozen”, they’re going to sound pretty good.

BOORSTIN: But all the attention on Time Warner (NYSE:TWX) shines a spotlight on the value of all cable assets, including Disney (NYSE:DIS). Disney (NYSE:DIS) shares are trading around an all time high, outperforming the market, up about 30 percent over the past year.

For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I’m Julia Boorstin, in Los Angeles.


HERERA: Still to come, disappearing homeowners. The share of Americans who own a home has fallen to a nearly two decades low. Why? And what does it mean for the broader economy?


HERERA: More troubles for PIMCO’s Total Return Fund. The world’s biggest bond fund saw net outflows of $830 million in July, the 15th straight month of money moving out. But don’t worry, let’s put this in perspective. PIMCO’s total return fund still had $223 billion in assets under management at the end of the month.

MATHISEN: Good news for anyone looking for a loan these days, the Federal Reserve says banks have been easing up on lending standards for a variety of business and consumer loans, including mortgages, leading to a surge in loan demand in the second quarter of the year.

HERERA: Homeownership fell again over the last three months and is now at its lowest level in 19 years, and widely expected to go even lower. So, what’s behind the drop or perhaps more to the point, who is behind it.

Diana Olick has that story.


DIANA OLICK, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Millennials, they’re just not buying homes the way previous generations did at their age.

LAUREN MACDONALD: Currently, I’m not sure how long I’ll stay in the city, but also, I need to save up money to at least have a deposit.

OLICK: The average age of a first time home buyer which was 31 a decade ago is now expected to jump to over 34 according to Zillow. It might seem like a small jump, but that would keep homeownership lower, keep rents higher and could impact sales of home goods, because the time horizon for owning and renovating would be shorter.

ROBERT DIETZ, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF HOME BUILDERS ECONOMIST: There’s been sort of a great delay for younger home buyers. They’re doing a lot of things later in life. Buying a home later, getting married later, having children later. And a lot of that is due to higher debt burdens, higher unemployment and lower wage growth.

OLICK: And higher home prices. Each $1,000 increase in the cost of a newly built median price home forces 206,000 potential buyers out of the market. That’s according to a new survey by the builders.

JULIEN LAMBERTO, RENTER: The cost of living has gone up substantially, and I think buying a house will pose an obstacle for many people in my generation.

OLICK: Mortgage rates may be low. reports closing costs rose 6 percent over the past year, blame compliance with new mortgage regulations for the hike.

And then there is student debt. Loan depot, an independent lender, looked at loan applications for potential home buyers between 2010 and 2014, specifically those with student debt.

With all other factors equal, the difference between those approved for a mortgage and those denied was a monthly student loan payment of less than $300.

JUDY AMSALEM, HOMEOWNER: At my age, I don’t think it’s possible without sort of going through it with someone backing you and helping you.

OLICK (on camera): Of course, in previous generations, parents often help their kids buy that first home. But today, still smarting from the great recession, a lot of parents don’t have the ability to do that. Instead, they’re opening their homes to their children once again, hoping that free rent will slowly help fund that first down payment.

For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I’m Diana Olick, in Washington.


MATHISEN: Shares of Michael Kors slipped despite a dazzling quarter, and that is where we begin tonight’s “Market Focus.”

The high-end retailer posted results that easily topped estimates, with same-store sales climbing 24 percent. But investors worry that the company won’t be able to avoid the discounting that’s weighing on the rest of the retail industry. Also, the company’s outlook for profit and sales for the current quarter was below estimates and it said it expects margins to shrink as it expands in Europe. Shares off almost 6 percent to close at $77.01.

Cardinal Health’s declining revenue overshadowed its earnings beat. The drug wholesaler said the expiration of its contract with Walgreen’s was what weighed on its earnings report. The company noted that it did post strong results despite a year of big transitions for the overall industry. Still, shares were down nearly 3 percent to finish at $70.28.

ITT Educational Services (NYSE:ESI) fell to its lowest level in nearly 14 years after the for-profit college operator said a deal to sell some of its properties fell through. A potential buyer, College Portfolio, dropped out after ITT refused to extend a due diligence period. The stock plunged 46 percent to $7.72.

Ocwen Financial (NYSE:OCN) also fell on news New York’s top financial regulator is investing — investigating, excuse me, whether the company is overcharging struggling home owners for insurance. Shares there fell 2 1/2 percent to $26.98.

HERERA: General Electric (NYSE:GE) says it will invest $2 billion in Africa by 2018. The conglomerate says the continent is the most promising growth region globally. It projects it will include — its projects will include supplying gas turbines and rail investments. The shares were off just a fraction at $25.27.

Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN) saw its shares rise after the company said its blood cancer drug met its goal in a late-stage trial. The FDA granted the drug accelerated approval status in 2012 for use in multiple myeloma, the second most common form of blood cancer. The stock was up 2 1/2 percent to $128.65.

Two companies working hard on experimental Ebola treatments. Tekmira Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:TKMR) opened strongly on hopes that a trial of its treatments for the virus will be renewed by the FDA. But later, shares fell on reports that another drug maker could be first to see its drug used to treat the outbreak in Africa.

Biocryst also has a treatment in the works and it has some support from the National Institute of Health.

Shares of Tekmira fell 7 percent to $13.26. Biocryst saw its shares rise about 5 1/2 percent to $13.22. It’s worth mentioning that both of these are small-cap stocks.

Tenet Healthcare (NYSE:THC) posted a narrower than expected loss late today. The hospital operator also raised its full-year outlook saying patient admissions grew at near record rates. Shares were volatile, though, in after-hours trading. During the regular session, the stock was nearly 2 percent higher at $53.30.

MATHISEN: P.F. Chang’s China Bistro is the latest company to admit that data may have been stolen from credit and debit card customers at 33 of its U.S.-Asian theme restaurants. The cyber thieves not only stole card numbers but in some cases, they also got the cardholders name and card expiration date.

HERERA: Meantime, McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD), which has over 2,000 restaurants in China says sales in that country are getting hit by last month’s food safety scare, which forced it to halt sales of certain items. In a regulatory filing, the world’s largest burger chain said the affected markets account for about 10 percent of its total revenue. But by the end of the month, most McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD) outlets in China are expected to offer the full menu options again.

MATHISEN: Coming up, safety on the roads. Why is the number of fatal accidents involving long haul trucks on the rise and what’s being done about it? The first of our three-part investigative series, “Collision Course”, is next.


HERERA: If you’re someone who enjoys the cell phone free zone during an airline flight, this one’s for you. As reported by “The Wall Street Journal”, the U.S. government is getting closer to making a decision on whether or not to allow or ban making or receiving phone calls on airplanes. A formal ruling from the Department of Transportation is not expected until early next year, and while the DOT takes comments from airlines, phone companies and, of course, travelers.

MATHISEN: More potential problems for General Motors (NYSE:GM). This time at the automaker’s financing unit. GM Finance has been subpoenaed by the Justice Department over sub prime auto loans it made to borrowers with questionable credit histories.

HERERA: U.S. safety regulators are close to issuing a recall for a third of a million Honda Accords. That’s after officials received about 300 complaints from owners of 2008 four-door models that the airbags can deploy when the car doors are slammed closed with too much force.

MATHISEN: And finally tonight, the first in a three-part series on the safety of the nation’s roads after an alarming rise in the number of highway traffic deaths. And an increasing number of drivers appear to be on collision course with long haul big rig trucks.

Eamon Javers has more.


BRIAN WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS: A horrendous collision.

LESTER HOLT, NBC NEWS: Terrible accident that left actor Tracy Morgan in critical condition.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: New details are emerging tonight in the investigation into that fiery bus crash.

EAMON JAVERS, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tragedies like the Tracy Morgan and FedEx (NYSE:FDX) crashes are anything but isolated incidents.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Very, very large explosion.

JAVERS: Happening near 11 times a day, across the United States, and causing nearly 4,000 fatalities, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

There are any number of causes, from driver error to fatigue and serious mechanical problems. In fact, federal regulators say 20 percent of trucks inspected on the road in 2013 had problems, like faulty brakes or bad tires and shouldn’t be on the road at all. That’s over 2 million vehicles. And more than 170,000 drivers had enough violations to be pulled from behind the wheel.

DAN RAMSDELL, ATTORNEY: It’s an 80,000 pound missile. When it hits somebody, it’s catastrophic.

JAVERS: Dan Ramsdell is the founder of the Association of Plaintiff Interstate Trucking Lawyers of America.

RAMSDELL: Roughly 4,000 a year are killed in crashes with big trucks. It’s the equivalent of a commuter jet that has 80 people on that plane, having one of those jets crashed, and everyone on board dies, every Friday of every week of every year.

JAVERS: Anne Ferro (NYSE:FOE) is the outgoing head of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which is tasked with regulating interstate trucking.

The trucking industry says it collected over $600 billion for carrying 9.7 billion tons of freight in 2013. Fatal truck crashes have gone up 18 percent from 2009 to 2012. But why are the fatal accidents going up instead of down?

ANNE FERRO, FMCSA: We see it as a combination of economic growth, the health of our economy, intensified traffic on our roadways.

JAVERS (on camera): Any other industry that has 4,000 people killed. You would see regulators shutting the entire industry down. Why isn’t that happening in trucking?

FERRO: The changes of safety oversight, of regulation of industry practices themselves has resulted in a decline of truck crashes from about 5,000 a decade ago to 4,000 a day. But you’re absolutely right, the increase from about 2009 to the present has continued to tick forward and tick upwards.

JAVERS (voice-over): Just who is to blame for the growing number of truck crashes is the subject of a fierce and ongoing debate between the trucking lobby and advocacy groups.

Dave Osiecki is the top lobbyist for the American Trucking Association.

DAVE OSIECKI, AMERICAN TRUCKING ASSOCIATION: According to all the data that we’ve seen, 70 percent of those crashes are initiated by unfortunately someone other than the truck driver, the car driver, the SUV driver. So, we’re responsible for about 30 percent of those crashes. What are people doing wrong when they’re out on the roads driving the trucks?

Motorists who aggressively pass trucks, cut in front of trucks, who tailgate trucks and who linger on the sides of trucks.

JAVERS: John Lanner is the executive director of the Truck Safety Coalition, an advocacy group for victim’s families and truck crash survivors. He thinks it’s the big rigs that are more often to blame.

JOHN LANNER, TRUCK SAFETY COALITION: Unfortunately, there’s a cultural aspect that this industry has a tolerance too high a tolerance level for deaths and injuries, and we need to work on it.



MATHISEN: Our “Collision Course” series continues tomorrow with a look at what’s being done to ensure better safety on U.S. roads. And to read more about Eamon’s investigation into the trucking industry, head to our Web site,

HERERA: Some pretty sobering statistics.

MATHISEN: Very suffering, that rise from 2009, maybe more truckers driving a little more fatigued.

HERERA: Oh, absolutely, there’s a lot of pressure. A lot of pressure.

All right. On that note, that will do it for NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for this evening. I’m Sue Herera, in for Sue. Thanks for joining us.

MATHISEN: And I’m Tyler Mathisen. Thanks from me as well. Have a great evening, everybody. We hope to see you back here 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) 2014 CNBC, Inc.

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