TYLER MATHISEN, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR: Disappointing delivery. Shares of UPS tumble. The company warns its fourth quarter profits won`t see what many expected and the reasons may sound familiar.
SUE HERERA, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR: Get out the vote. That`s what they`re doing in Greece and investors will be paying close attention to the outcome of Sunday`s election.
MATHISEN: Plus, higher education. President Obama is proposing a change to the way millions of families save for college — a popular savings vehicle could lose some luster.
All that and more tonight on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for Friday, January 23rd.
HERERA: Good evening, everyone.
Three things that we`ve been reporting recently came home to roost today. The strengthening dollar, gridlock at West Coast ports, and falling oil prices. At the center of those issues was a company almost everybody knows, UPS, and it wasn`t good.
Shares tumbled nearly 10 percent making it the worst performing stock on the S&P 500, after the parcel shipping company closely watched because it`s viewed as the barometer of the health of the economy warned investors to expect weak fourth quarter results. The reasons? Unfavorable currency rates, volume fluctuations because of those West Coast port disputes and those low oil prices? Well, they aren`t helping as much as many believed they would and that wasn`t all.
Morgan Brennan reports.
MORGAN BRENNAN, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):
United Parcel Service (NYSE:UPS) delivering some bad news to investors, slashing its fourth quarter earnings forecast. The problem? UPS spend a lot of money to successfully deliver holiday packages on time and avoid a repeat of Christmas 2013 when millions of packages were delivered late.
But it did so at a big hit to the bottom line. Analysts say the shipping giant overcompensated.
DONALD BROUGHTON, AVONDALE PARTNERS MANAGING DIRECTOR: UPS for some time has been using prices as a weapon to try to maintain its market share versus FedEx (NYSE:FDX) on the ground in the U.S., one. Two, they overspent guaranteeing service. They certainly couldn`t have a repeat of last year`s service disaster. And so, you combine those two events in which you`re not really seeing any improvement in yield and you`re not — and you`re spending ever more to deliver those packages and you get a big earnings miss.
BRENNAN: UPS said the added capacity was necessary to handle the, quote, “extreme spike in package volume on its two busiest days, but demand disappointing on others. That resulted in a costly decline in productivity. Also, delays at West Coast ports had an impact.
But UPS also cut its guidance for the full 2015 year, citing pension costs and currency headwinds. All of this sent shares of UPS plunging 10 percent.
(on camera): But it doesn`t stop there. Shares of rival FedEx
(NYSE:FDX) fell in sympathy as well, despite the fact that FedEx (NYSE:FDX) reaffirmed its own fiscal 2015 forecast.
(voice-over): The question now, if UPS experienced slower than expected demand, where did that market share go?
BROUGHTON: We saw this happen before. Back in 2005, UPS had service issues, and in 2006, you saw outsized gains and volume by FedEx (NYSE:FDX) as a result. That`s the way it works.
BRENNAN: But don`t roll out the Postal Service either. The USPS surpassed its own package volume forecast, setting a new holiday season record.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Morgan Brennan.
MATHISEN: Well, the strong dollar and falling oil prices also impacted General Electric`s fourth quarter results, but in a much different way. The multinational posted higher profits and says it can handle currency moves and declining crude in the year ahead. Investors like that news and they sent shares to the Dow component up nearly 1 percent to $27.48.
Mary Thompson has more.
MARY THOMPSON, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):
Having bet big on the oil and gas industry, General Electric (NYSE:GE) CEO Jeff Immelt sought to assure investors the firm can still deliver as oil prices fall.
JEFFREY IMMELT, GENERAL ELECTRIC CEO: You know, our job is to manage the company to volatility. And while we see the potential for risk to oil and gas based on current oil prices, we`re aggressively working offsets to cause actions and positive opportunities elsewhere at GE.
THOMPSON: Those opportunities include what appear to be signs of growth in GE`s U.S. health care business, strengthen its aviation unit which makes service jet engines. And the upside of lower oil for a manufacturer like GE, lower costs.
Even the dollar strength and issue for a firm that gets 53 percent of its revenue outside of the United States is seen as manageable. GE saying it might cost a penny in profit this year if the U.S. currency remains at current levels against the euro.
(on camera): Crediting the diversity of its businesses, GE survived an earlier outlook for 2015. The firm is still expecting to earn between
$1.70 and $1.80 for the year.
(voice-over): This comes as GE reported an increase in 2014 fourth quarter profits and revenue — thanks to strengthening its aviation and power businesses which helped to offset an expected decline in its once rapidly growing oil and gas unit.
Here`s analyst Deane Dray.
DEANE DRAY, RBC CAPITAL MARKETS: GE has about 16 percent of revenue exposure from oil and gas. It has been one of the growth drives over the past several years, as they invested in this business. But now, we`re in a position where there are other parts of GE`s portfolio that can be an offset.
THOMPSON: This helping to offset investors` fears, GE would fail to keep recent promises.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Mary Thompson.
HERERA: Fellow Dow component McDonald`s (NYSE:MCD) closed out a difficult year. The world`s largest fast food chain missed Wall Street`s earnings and revenue estimates. And today, CEO Don Thompson warned business will continue to be weak in the first half of 2015. But he also said the company is taking decisive action to regain momentum sales and market share. Shares of McDonald`s (NYSE:MCD) finished the day lower by about 1.5 percent.
MATHISEN: Let`s get to the markets now. UPS was one of the biggest drags on the stock today, but some news out of the housing market didn`t help much either. Existing home sales rose nearly 2.5 percent last month, but that was a little shy of estimates. All in all today, the Dow fell 141 points. The NASDAQ was the standout. It gained 7.5. The S&P 500 hit hard by UPS, was down more than 11 points.
But stocks did manage to post their first weekly gain of the year.
Whoo-hoo! The NASDAQ was the big winner, rising more than 2.5 percent.
HERERA: And as for oil, attention today was squarely on Saudi Arabia, the world`s largest exporter of petroleum and what effect the death of Saudi King Abdullah may have on the energy markets and the current oil production levels. The result was a volatile section for prices with West Texas Intermediate higher early in the day, only to turn around and erase the gains and close down 1.5 percent. Brent Crude rose slightly.
Jackie DeAngelis has more on the death of the Saudi king and what it might mean for the price of crude.
JACKIE DEANGELIS, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):
The passing of Saudi Arabia`s King Abdullah was not a shock to the market.
Ninety years old, frail and poor in health for some time, King Abdullah has named his half brother Prince Salman his successor in 2013 to ensure continuity.
Still, markets reacted on perceived uncertainty as the king`s passing does raise some questions regarding Saudi Arabia`s influence on the Middle East, on geopolitics, on oil production, as well as foreign relations with the United States.
PRINCE ALWALEED BIN TALAL, KINGDOM HOLDINGS CO. CHAIRMAN: King Salman was a deputy of King Abdullah for the last few years. Prince Muqrin was the second deputy (INAUDIBLE) also. So, the element of continuation and the element of stability will be prevailing, no doubt about that, in the foreseeable future.
JOHN KILDUFF, AGAIN CAPITAL FOUNDING PARTNER: I think the next generation is going to be very much about looking out for their own self- interest, which, you know, you can`t blame them for, but it won`t necessarily be the kind of happy U.S. interest that we come to enjoy.
DEANGELIS: And thus, prices pop.
KILDUFF: It`s almost as if the futures markets here, we spike the dollar on the news almost to pay homage to the king and now, we`re going to move on to the reality on the ground in the near term future — the near term future is for lower prices. That`s why I continue to target at least down towards $33 if not lower for a time.
DEANGELIS: Even Saudi Arabia`s Prince Alwaleed acknowledges that while prices may see volatility, they`re not likely to move back to historic levels.
PRINCE ALWALEED: In the immediate (INAUDIBLE), it`s inevitable that the price may go up more but I said, I think we`ll never see the price for oil again at $100.
DEANGELIS (on camera): So, where do prices go immediately? The fundamentals suggest lower. The Department of Energy reporting a weekly bills in inventories of more than 10 million barrels, that was the largest weekly increase since 2001. Analysts saying this shows that supply demand economics will drive this market.
(voice-over): And those dynamics show that supply continues to rise even in the face of price decline. And demand from places like China, Japan, and Europe continues to fall.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Jackie DeAngelis.
MATHISEN: Now to Greece where that country prepares to vote in a general election Sunday. Voters won`t just choose a new government. They could chart a new and very uncertain future for Europe`s most indebted country, and that has investors watching closely.
Michelle Caruso-Cabrera reports now from Athens, Greece.
MICHELLE CARUSO-CABRERA, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT (voice-
over): This man, Alexis Tsipras, the self-described radical leftist, looks like to be the next prime minister of Greece. Polls for the Sunday`s election show him in the lead by an ever-widening margin. Tsipras has promised to undo many of the painful austerity measures put in place in Greece in the last five years, things like government job cuts, lower wages and higher taxes. All enacted in exchange for billions of dollars of bailout loans. He and his party refer to it as financial waterboarding.
Yanis Varoufakis is one of the party`s economic advisors.
YANIS VAROUFKIS, UNIVERSITY OF ATHENS, PROFESSOR OF ECONOMICS: Our party`s mandate is to renegotiate, to deliberate with our partners, including the ECB, in order to render our relationship with Europe and with ECB, to reconstruct the logic of the bailout agreement.
CARUSO-CABRERA: If he wins, it promises to be an international showdown between Greece and its lenders — the European Union, the IMF and European Central Bank. The showdown potentially so contentious, it might lead Greece to exit the euro, what is now being called a Grexit.
Dr. John Milios, another adviser and a self-described Marxist, insists that is not going to happen.
Dr. JOHN MILIOS, SYRIZA PARTY: We are against Grexit because Grexit means devaluation of the purchasing power of the Greek people.
CARUSO-CABRERA (on camera): Still, it`s clear investors are worried.
For most European countries, interest rates are extremely low due to the promise of help from the European Central Bank. Greece`s interest rates, however, are much higher, hovering around 10 percent.
(voice-over): Today, Tsipras told me that he represents stability.
ALEXIS TSIPRAS, SYRIZA PARTY: For the United States, the message for Greece, the next day will be a day of optimist, of hope. I think that`s the victory of the people on Sunday will be a strong message of stabilization, progress.
CARUSO-CABRERA (on camera): Should investors be frightened?
TSIPRAS: No, no.
CARUSO-CABRERA: There`s no fear?
TSIPRAS: There`s no fear. There`s no fear. Only hope.
CARUSO-CABRERA (voice-over): If the polls are right and he does win, the world is set to find out.
NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, Athens.
HERERA: The talks in Havana continue today as U.S. and Cuba work to restore diplomatic and economic ties between the two countries but as Eamon Javers reports now from Havana, big differences remain.
EAMON JAVERS, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: As U.S.-Cuban talks wind down here in Havana, both sides are making positive noises about what they accomplished here but not citing any tangible results of the day of talks.
Earlier today, Andrea Mitchell at NBC sat down with Josefina Vidal.
She`s the Cuban diplomat who`s been sitting across from her U.S.
counterpart through the week. She said that both sides are looking for common ground.
JOSEFINA VIDAL, CUBAN MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS: We believe that countries which have differences, they can find a common ground to discuss about these differences with respect, and at the same time, to look for opportunities to work together on issues of common interests.
JAVERS: As for the United States, diplomats here are saying that Americans should be patient and not necessarily expect major change here on the island of Cuba.
ROBERTA S. JACOBSON, U.S. ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE: We have had only a month since the presidents made their announcement and we have only had the first conversation about how that policy will be implemented. So, it`s very hard to say exactly how this will work.
JAVERS: And one of the most highly watched areas for U.S. businesses, Roberta Jacobson said it`s not yet clear how much telecommunications and technology equipment the Cubans will allow to be imported to the island.
On the U.S. side, the new regulation signed last week will allow American companies to export technology to Cuba, but Roberta Jacobson said the Cubans haven`t given any indication yet of just how much of those imports they`ll allow here.
In Havana, I`m Eamon Javers for NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT.
MATHISEN: Still ahead, millions of families use 529 plans to save for college, but the president has a proposal to change them. It could end up costing you.
HERERA: Millions of families use 529 plans to save for college. One of the reasons those plans are so popular — tax savings. Currently, earnings are not taxed as long as the funds are used to pay for college expenses, but the president is proposing to eliminate that tax benefit.
Today, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said the plan is part of bigger reforms.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The reforms the president proposed for the 529 program are reforms that he would consider only in the context of the other education reforms he put forward. And when you consider that entire package of reforms, the tax cut that we`re looking at for middle class families is $50 billion.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HERERA: John Harwood is in Washington with more on this proposal.
And why is the president pushing this? This is a very popular instrument for people of all different economic brackets, John?
JOHN HARWOOD, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: Well, the president is trying to target federal resources to the people that he thinks are most in need. So, he — while curbing the tax benefits of these
529 plans which the administration says 70 percent of the assets in those plans are held by people with incomes over $200,000 a year, he`s dramatically increasing the tax credit up to $2,500 per student for families making less than $180,000 per year.
So, it`s a matter of priorities, and it`s redistribution, and to give money to a group that he thinks is more deserving, he`s taking some from people who make more money.
MATHISEN: Let`s talk a little bit, if we can, it gets real murky real fast, really into the weeds. But if I have an existing 529 plan, that portion would be segregated and not subject to tax on withdrawal for use in educational expenses. But any deposits I added to the existing account or any new accounts I would open would be?
HARWOOD: Yes, new deposits. The earnings on deposits that are already in those accounts and 7 million families have them would continue to be tax-exempt. It`s the new deposits that would be subject to taxes.
MATHISEN: And would those new deposits or those new accounts be — and withdrawals from them, I should say, would that be taxable to every single taxpayer or only to taxpayers above a certain income level?
HARWOOD: To everybody. The administration is looking at this vehicle as one that is inefficient towards targeting federal resources, tax expenditures, to the people that the administration thinks are most need of those benefits.
So, they`re not distinguishing or means testing 529 plans themselves, they`re simply shifting resources towards different vehicles, tax benefit vehicles.
HERERA: So, John, what are the odds this will get through Congress?
HARWOOD: Low. Like the rest of the president`s plan.
Remember, the president proposed $320 billion in tax increases, mostly on capital gains income through higher rate, through taxing the appreciated value of inherited assets, as well as the financial fee the president is imposing on large banks, this 529 proposal would only raise $1 billion.
So, it`s a small fraction of their overall plan which means two things.
First of all, if any part of this plan goes through, it`s very easy for the
529 part to fall away because it doesn`t raise very much money and also the people who hold those plans are politically influential.
HERERA: John Harwood in Washington — John, thanks as always.
HARWOOD: You bet.
MATHISEN: Box made a big splash in its trading debut called the Big Box. That`s where we begin tonight`s “Market Focus”.
The cloud storage company priced its initial public offering $14 a share. That was above the expected range. The company, which has a market value now about $1.5 billion, raised $175 million from that stock sale.
The CEO explained what makes Box different from its competition.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AARON LEVIE, BOX CEO: What we do is we help manage corporate information, secure it and then make it accessible on different devices, allow you to collaborate around it. And that`s not really the focus of Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), which is much more consumer-oriented. But the most important point is we`re kind of participating in a once in a lifetime transition from on-premise computing to cloud computing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATHISEN: When your stock goes up about 66 percent in a day, it`s a good day. $23.23 was the close there. It was higher by $9.
State Street (NYSE:STT) reported earnings and revenue that easily topped Wall Street`s estimates today. The investment firm`s results were powered by the recent surge in volume and volatility in foreign currency markets, but investors focused on its outlook, since the company said that a falling euro is cutting revenue from the region. Shares down 6 percent to $72.40.
HERERA: Shares of GoPro got a lift after the National Hockey League announced a North American partnership with the action camera maker. Fans will now be able to watch hockey live from the players` perspective, which sounds totally cool. The deal is GoPro`s first with a major professional sports league. The stock rose more than 8.5 percent to $52.51.
Valero hiked its quarterly dividend by 45 percent. The payout is now
40 cents a share, which will be made to shareholders in March. The yield on that dividend is now 3.2 percent. The stock popped 4.5 percent to $50.16.
And the farming equipment marker, Deere, is laying off more than 900 employees at plants in Iowa and Illinois. This is the company`s latest round of job cuts, spurred by a drop in grain prices that`s hurting demand for its machinery. Shares fell more than 1 percent to $88.35.
MATHISEN: Our market monitor tonight is cautious on stocks but says investors should be focused on yields and opportunities that will be coming in the energy sector.
Channing Smith joins us now, co-portfolio manager and managing director with Capital Advisors.
Channing, welcome. What makes you cautious?
CHANNING SMITH, CAPITAL ADVISORS CO-PORTFOLIO: I don`t know if we`re cautious. We don`t see a bear market, you know, we don`t see a recession.
Until really investors start to feel central bankers or lose confidence, we don`t really a big market downturn. We`re just trying to be realistic.
And if we look at valuation, that`s what`s really concerning us. If you look at the Shiller P/E, which is a cyclically adjusted P/E, which takes the average earnings of S&P companies the last 10 years divided by market prices, it`s at 27. And we`ve only in the 134-year history been above this marker. And so, we`re just not seeing a good valuation opportunity, Tyler.
HERERA: So, how are you finding opportunity? What are the metrics that you are using in a market that is either fully valued or slightly overvalued in some stocks in order to invest cash?
SMITH: So, we`re really looking for dividend yield. And that`s what we want to see. We only expect to see 4 percent to 6 percent and the returns really going for the next couple of years. If we can find dividend stocks that are paying 4 percent to 6 percent, you know, we`re going to take that. But they`re hard to find.
MATHISEN: Let`s look at a couple then, shall we, Channing? Starting with Wynn Resorts (NASDAQ:WYNN).
SMITH: Yes, Wynn is really — you know, we`re looking hard to find opportunities. Wynn is a casino operator. About 30 percent of their business is in Las Vegas, about 70 percent is in Wynn. They`ve struggled really the last couple quarters. The stocks down about 40 percent.
They`ve had trouble with visas. There`s an anti-corruption campaign in China. So, that`s hurt near term results.
But, Tyler, they`re paying over a 4 percent yield. They paid a special dividend in the last six years, and we think they`ll pay another dividend yield, especially dividend yield at the end of the year. It`s usually between $1 and $8. So, you`re looking at potential yield between 5 percent and 10 percent for Wynn Resorts (NASDAQ:WYNN).
HERERA: Next is a pick in the energy sector for a conservative investor, you say. Some people say Oneok and some people say Oneok. But that`s the pick.
SMITH: Yes, so Oneok is a way to play energy very conservatively. It has a 5 1/2 percent yield. They own pipelines and they move natural gas — they move natural liquids all over the country, well run. They get paid for moving the product.
So, they have some commodity exposure but we think the dividend is very secure and is a way to play energy and get a 5 percent yield.
MATHISEN: And Continental Resources (NYSE:CLR) is your third pick, more famous lately for the divorce of CEO and founder.
SMITH: Yes, you know, it`s a riskier play. This is really a play on the commodity price itself. This stock was at $80. It`s gone down to $30.
It`s about $43 or so in change today.
If you believe that energy prices are going to be in the $60 to $70 price range, really about 6 to 12 months out, this stock has a lot of appreciation. They`re very well-positioned in the Bakken. They`re very well-positioned in Oklahoma in what`s called the scoop play. We think production growth here is going to be enormous.
And so, it`s a little bit riskier play if oil prices go down, this stock is going to suffer. But over the long-term, we really think that the stock has a lot of appreciation potentially.
MATHISEN: All right. Channing, thank you very much. Have a great weekend. Channing Smith with Capital Advisors.
HERERA: Coming up, call it Sneakernomics. We`ll meet the teenager who`s turning pricey collectible footwear into a business all his own.
MATHISEN: A teenager and his sneaker sounds pretty typical, doesn`t it? But not for one 16-year-old with the help of his father amassed an enormous collection of high end kicks worth about $30,000. And then, he saw an opportunity and turned it into a growing business.
Kate Rogers (NYSE:ROG) has the story.
KATE ROGERS, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Most teenagers spend the money they make at their afterschool job on fast food, music, cool clothes and shoes. And in a lot of ways, Chase Reed is no different.
CHASE REED, SNEAKER PAWN USA: So, this is one the biggest sneaker releases to me.
ROGERS: Only he turned his passion for looking cool into his afterschool job and more. At 14, Chase had amassed $30,000 worth of basketball sneakers. But last year, he sold his entire collection to open up the world`s first sneaker pawnshop, Sneaker Pawn USA in Harlem.
CHASE REED: It was hard to let go of the collection because you`re 14 years old with 200 pairs of sneakers and now all of the sudden, you have to go back to zero? It was like — whoa, this is not really fair. This can`t be life. Like, that`s what I was looking at it as until I got older, I`m like, all right. It was really worth it. I was just wanted to become a young man and a business entrepreneur.
ROGERS (on camera): Like many 16 years old, Chase is hooked on Instagram, only his goal is to drive foot traffic here to Sneaker Pawn USA to see what`s not in store. So, for example, these LeBron crown jewels, they retail for $250. But Chase and his dad, they`re selling them over $1,200.
(voice-over): His dad, Troy, also his business partner, said the social media posts drive hundreds of calls and customers to the stores daily.
TROY REED: This is the new stock market. The market for sneakers anywhere from 100 percent to 800 percent.
ROGERS: And industry experts say the hype around sneaker collecting is real. In fact, the NPD Group said it grew by 20 percent in 2014 with no signs of slowing down in the year to come. With idols like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Jay-Z, Chase who is just 16 has big plans for the future, hoping to open more stores around the country.
CHASE REED: If I do get a nice shoe, I`ll sell it rather than collecting it. I`m a businessman now.
ROGERS: Chase has learned the art of letting go, looking cool and making cash all before he turns 18.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Kate Rogers (NYSE:ROG).
MATHISEN: To read more about Chase`s profitable sneaker pawnshop, head to our web site, NBR.com.
HERERA: He`s one to watch, I think.
Finally tonight, the CEOs and celebrities that attend the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, are by no means strapped for cash.
But the food prices in the tiny town are tough, enough to rile anybody`s stomach. The price of a simple hot dog at a posh hotel is about 43 U.S.
Now, the franc does come topped with pickles and fried onions but if you want to wash it down with a cold one, be prepared to dish out another eight bucks.
MATHISEN: Hot dog, my goodness.
HERERA: Can you imagine putting that on your expense report?
MATHISEN: We`ll see some of them next week when we get back.
HERERA: Fifty-some odd bucks on a hot dog.
All right. That does it for NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for tonight. I`m Sue Herera. Thanks for watching.
MATHISEN: I`m Tyler Mathisen. Have a great weekend, everybody. And we will see you here on Monday.
Nightly Business Report transcripts and video are available on-line post broadcast at http://nbr.com. 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) 2015 CNBC, Inc.