SUE HERERA, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR: Hitting the “like”
button. Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) beats earnings targets, and the stock rises.
But is the high-profile company the tech stock to own right now?
TYLER MATHISEN, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR: Starter kit. The
government launches its plan to help get your nest egg for retirement
HERERA: And medical checkup. How you can check how much your doctor
gets from drug companies.
All that and more tonight on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for Wednesday,
MATHISEN: Good evening, everyone, and welcome. Glad you could join
Talk about making your profile more attractive — that`s what Facebook
(NASDAQ:FB) just did. The social media company beating both profit and
sales targets, and investors responded. Adjusted earnings of 57 cents a
share topped estimates, as you see there. Revenue up of $4.5 billion also
came in better than consensus and was much higher than last year.
Investors hit the “like” button, sending shares of Facebook
(NASDAQ:FB) initially higher in after-hours trading. The company`s
valuation now inching toward $300 billion. Not bad for an 11-year-old.
Julia Boorstin has the one key takeaway.
PHIL LEBEAU, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: The one key
takeaway from Facebook`s earnings is that the social network is growing
across the board. As a result, user numbers, revenue as well as earnings
I spoke to COO Sheryl Sandberg, who said this broad growth showed
Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) investment in advertising paying off, as the company
rolls out more options like Instagram and video ads, which are easy and
inexpensive for marketers of all sizes to use.
And it sounds like this across-the-board growth is likely to continue.
Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) doesn`t provide guidance, but Sandberg told me they`re
pleased with the strength of advertiser demand this quarter.
Back to you.
HERERA: Thank you, Julia.
Well, Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) appears to be firing on all cylinders, but
is it a stock that belongs in your portfolio right now?
David Garrity, principal at his own tech firm, GVA Research, joins us
to talk about.
Good to see you, again, David.
DAVID GARRITY, GVA RESEARCH PRINCIPAL: Thank you, Sue.
HERERA: What about Facebook (NASDAQ:FB)? It might not be your first
pick, but does it belong in a portfolio that wants tech exposure?
GARRITY: Well, a portfolio that wants tech exposure and social media
exposure specifically would have a hard time not owning Facebook
(NASDAQ:FB). We would say that, you know, the company`s growth, over 40
percent year-over-year increase in terms of their revenues and obviously
falling through to the bottom line certainly says if anybody wants to own
growth, Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) is a name to consider. The question is, does
one want to pay up for growth at these levels?
We do think that Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) probably over the next 12 months
gets to $125, but we`re certainly seeing the stock up strongly after hours.
We would obviously want to find a lower price, if possible.
MATHISEN: You know, David, I was thinking back to the year 2000,
1999, and the sort of four horsemen of the NASDAQ — Intel (NASDAQ:INTC),
Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) and Oracle (NASDAQ:ORCL).
Today we have the so-called FANG stocks — Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), Amazon
(NASDAQ:AMZN), Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX), Google
(NASDAQ:GOOG), five horsemen there.
Of those five, which stock would be your first choice to buy at
GARRITY: Well, I`m an investor that tends to look for growth at a
reasonable price and I also look at total return. And if you look at those
five companies, obviously, the one company that stands out as providing
total return is Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL).
I would also say that, you know, the other things that I like with
Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is its valuation relative to its growth prospects are
quite strong. While there may be debate as to what extent the high-end
smartphone market is mature, I think Apple`s numbers they came out within
the September quarter showing a doubling of revenues year over year in
China says there`s a lot of room to grow for Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL).
The other thing I would say is, looking amongst these five companies,
is it`s really only apple that primarily, you know, has a sticky element to
it. I would say probably there is the same thing to Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN)
in terms of their customer list, but you look at the others, whether you
look at a Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX), whether you look at a Google
(NASDAQ:GOOG), whether you look at a Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), you know, all
these are companies where their customers, if they became dissatisfied,
could probably switch their preferences fairly quickly and easily.
HERERA: You mentioned the customer list for Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN)
being sticky, so to speak, but is that enough of a reason to own the stock?
GARRITY: Obviously, it`s not a sufficient reason in and of itself,
but it certainly argues that there`s perhaps a little bit more staying
power with the company`s business.
You know, certainly, from the standpoint of Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), we
know that the company`s focus has been to push through low pricing to their
customers and there has been a concern on the part of investors, which I
share, that Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) hasn`t necessarily let the growth in terms
of its top line actually fall through to its bottom line in terms of seeing
MATHISEN: You know, you`re really putting your mouth where your money
is. You own Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL). Do you own any of the others we talked
GARRITY: With respect to the FANG stocks? No. I don`t own Netflix
(NASDAQ:NFLX). I think they could face competition from Amazon
(NASDAQ:AMZN), Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), and also Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL).
With respect to looking at — the only name I own amongst them is
Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL). Looking at the four horsemen, if you will, back in
1999-2000, Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) I do own.
HERERA: All right, David. Thank you so much.
GARRITY: Thank you.
HERERA: David Garrity with GVA Research.
MATHISEN: Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen was on Capitol Hill to
testify before the House Financial Services Committee. Bank regulation and
supervision was on the agenda, but it was her comments on interest rates
that made headlines.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JANET YELLEN, FEDERAL RESERVE CHAIR: The economy will continue to
grow at a pace that`s sufficient to generate further improvements in the
labor market and to return inflation to our 2 percent target over the
medium term. And if the incoming information supports that expectation,
then our statement indicates that December would be a live possibility, but
importantly, that we`ve made no decision about it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATHISEN: Yellen also dismissed concerns that an interest rate hike
could push mortgage rates way up and slow the housing recovery. She said
increases would be gradual.
HERERA: Well, last week, mortgage rates did rise to the highest level
in a month, denting the number of mortgage applications that were
submitted. Total volume fell 0.8 percent according to the Mortgage Bankers
Association, but the level is still 10 percent higher than a year ago.
MATHISEN: Well, those comments from the Fed Chair Yellen weighed on
stocks today, signs of a cooling jobs market didn`t help either. The
payroll processor ADP reported that companies added 182,000 positions last
month, that was slightly better than estimates, but September`s strong
number was revised downward.
As for stocks, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 50 to 17,867.
NASDAQ dropped more than two. The S&P 500 was off 7 1/2.
HERERA: Kraft (NYSE:KFT) Heinz is closing seven factories, six in the
U.S., one in Canada, over the next two years. The company will also cut
2,600 jobs. When Kraft (NYSE:KFT) and Heinz merged in August, the company
announced layoffs of 2,500 non-factory employees. Shares ended the day
just fractionally lower.
MATHISEN: An update now on the Volkswagen emissions scandal. The
automaker has halted sales of certain Audi models after the environmental
protection agency here in the U.S. accused those cars of violating
emissions standards. The models affected now are 2015 and 2016, brand-new
diesel luxury models. This adds to the list, as VW has also stopped
selling certain Porsche Cayennes and its Volkswagen Touareg.
HERERA: And here`s another sign of the health of America`s economy,
the amount of money borrowed for auto loans has hit a record high of almost
But as Phil LeBeau tells us, the people doing most of the borrowing
may surprise you.
PHIL LEBEAU, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: Americans are not
only kicking the tires on new cars and trucks, they`re buying them in
record numbers and paying for them with bigger auto loans because new
vehicle prices have gone up.
Experian, which tracks millions of auto loans, says since 2011, the
amount of money borrowed has climbed more than 50 percent to just under $1
trillion. Who`s borrowing the most? Experian says it`s people with better
credit ratings. In fact, almost two-thirds of the money is going to those
with prime or super prime credit scores.
Meanwhile, there are fewer loans going unpaid, so, the percentage of
cars and trucks being repossessed remains below historical averages.
Still, there`s a growing concern auto dealers, banks and credit unions
are writing too many subprime loans to those with shaky credit records.
While there has been growth in that area, one representative at Experian
says it`s been reasonable, adding, “We`re not seeing an auto loan bubble.”
Phil LeBeau, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, Chicago.
MATHISEN: Multiple reports now say that evidence indicates that a
bomb brought down a Russian plane last weekend, that according to
government sources. The report also says investigators are focusing on
Islamic state operatives or sympathizers. The plane crashed over Egypt on
Saturday, killing all 224 people aboard.
Earlier in the day, British Prime Minister David Cameron said the
plane may have been brought down by a bomb and that the country was
suspending flights to and from the Sinai Peninsula.
HERERA: Coming up, the government`s newest attempt to help you save
HERERA: The vacation rental site HomeAway has agreed to be purchased
by Expedia (NASDAQ:EXPE) in a deal worth nearly $4 billion. The move will
add to Expedia`s large portfolio of travel brands, which include
Travelocity, Orbitz, Hotels.com and more.
MATHISEN: As we reported earlier this week, San Francisco voters
weighed in on Proposition F, also known as the Airbnb Initiative, a ballot
measure that would have capped the number of nights an Airbnb user could
rent out their home or room. The home-sharing start-up spent millions to
attempt to defeat the measure, and it paid off.
Josh Lipton reports from San Francisco.
JOSH LIPTON, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: If this was a
test for Airbnb, then the start-up passed with flying colors. Airbnb`s
CEO, Brian Chesky addressed the vote today at a conference in San
BRIAN CHESKY, AIRBNB CEO: Obviously, the voters spoke. So, I think
this has been a pretty important message. But you know, I understand — I
think that in San Francisco and New York, and San Francisco in particular,
people are very, very perturbed about housing costs, and I`m totally
I think at the end of the day, our mission and the mission of many of
the opponents are very similar. Airbnb was started because I couldn`t
afford to pay rent.
LIPTON: Airbnb is a powerhouse that is now valued at more than $25
billion. According to CB Insights, which analyzes venture capital. And it
is growing fast. “The Wall Street Journal” says Airbnb will generate
revenue of $900 million this year. That`s up from $250 million in 2013.
From a financial perspective, San Francisco isn`t all that important
to Airbnb. The city behind the bay accounts for less than 1 percent of
global inventory, according to Beyond Pricing, which tracks the vacation
rental market. But a loss in San Francisco could have set a bad precedent,
perhaps encouraging other cities to take on the start-up.
Airbnb already faces regulatory challenges in New York, for example.
And that`s why Airbnb fought Proposition F so hard, spending $8 million to
defeat the measure.
Supporters of Proposition F say the measure was needed because short-
term rental sites, such as Airbnb, are taking housing units off the market
in San Francisco at a time when there is a real lack of affordable housing,
and that is a hot-button issue in the city, where the median rental price
for a one-bedroom apartment is now more than $3,500 per month, up 45
percent from just four years ago, according to Zillow.
The fight isn`t necessarily over. ShareBetter SF, the coalition
supporting Proposition F, say that this defeat at the polls won`t stop
DALE CARLSON, SHAREBETTER SF: So, there`s a chance that we can get
something done legislatively. If not, we`ll go to the ballot again next
year and the year after that, if that`s what it takes.
LIPTON: But for now, Chesky and his supporters have plenty of reasons
to celebrate. In just a couple weeks, Chesky will fly to Paris, Airbnb`s
largest market, where he`ll mix and mingle with 6,000 hosts at a company
conference. For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Josh Lipton in San Francisco.
HERERA: A big beat for Michael Kors is where we begin tonight`s
The handbag maker trumped estimates as new products helped the
company`s bottom line. Same-store sales did fall, but that was mostly due
to the impact of a stronger dollar. Shares moved up more than 8 percent to
$42.58, making the company the second best performer in the S&P 500 index.
Twenty-First Century Fox reported a decline in revenue. The company
was hurt by the timing of movie releases and disappointing results from the
movie “The Fantastic Four.” The dollar also weighed on international
revenue. Shares tumbled 5 percent to $29.65.
Time Warner (NYSE:TWX) posted a beat on both the top and bottom lines,
helped by its Warner Brothers and its HBO units, but that was overshadowed
by a warning. The company saying ratings for its key domestic
entertainment networks have dropped more than expected. Shares tumbled
more than 6 percent to $72.19.
Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) reporting late earnings that beat on both the
top and bottom line. Still, the maker of mobile phone chips saw profits
fall nearly 50 percent from last year on weaker sales. Shares were lower
in initial after-hours trading, but during the regular session, the stock
was also off about 1 percent to $60.26.
MATHISEN: Whole Foods reporting revenues that missed estimates
slightly. The organic supermarket chain did unveil a $1 billion buyback
program. Shares were off right after the close. During the regular
session, the stock was down more than 1.5 percent to $30.77.
Chesapeake Energy (NYSE:CHK) swung to a loss in its recent quarter.
The driller also cut its 2015 capital budget for the second time to cope
with tumbling energy prices. Shares there fell nearly 2 percent to $7.46.
And Botox maker Allergen posted revenue that almost doubled in its
most recent quarter. This as demand for its products rose. Shares were
off a fraction, nevertheless to $307.67.
HERERA: Today, the government launched its version of a savings plan
aimed at getting workers who don`t have access to plans like a 401(k) to
start putting money away for retirement. It`s called My Retirement
Account, or myRA, for short.
Sharon Epperson joins us now with the things you need to know.
Good to see you, Sharon.
SHARON EPPERSON, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: Good to be
HERERA: Who can open an account like this and how much can they
contribute to it?
EPPERSON: Anyone can do it. That`s the beauty of this. This has
been expanding nationwide for anyone to take part in, and you need to,
though, make less than $131,000 a year. That is kind of the cutoff,
$193,000 for couples.
It`s a Roth IRA. It`s a version of that. And so, it has some of the
same limitations, the income limitation as well as the contribution limit.
So, you can only put in $5,500 or $6,500 if you`re 60 or older.
A difference, though, is that you can have a maximum balance of
$15,000, that`s it. Once you reach that limit, then you`re supposed to
roll it over into another type of Roth IRA.
MATHISEN: One of the intuitively appealing things about this is,
basically, the principal is guaranteed, correct?
EPPERSON: That`s another big difference.
MATHISEN: And where does the money go? It only goes into certain —
EPPERSON: Only into a type of treasury security that was designed for
this program that right now is yielding about 2 percent and is expected to
be guaranteed and not fall in value.
So, that is what a lot of people say and that`s what the treasury
secretary has said is the lure of this, that people who are not saving —
and this is — we`re talking about 55 million Americans who do not have
access to workplace retirement plan and many of those who are not
contributing to an IRA on their own right now. They can now do this in a
safer way, in a simpler way and a way to start them to save.
MATHISEN: So, it`s basically a 2 percent savings account in an era
when savings accounts aren`t paying anywhere near that.
EPPERSON: That`s exactly right.
MATHISEN: And then you can pull that money out and it`s growth tax-
EPPERSON: Yes, you can pull it out tax-free, just like with a Roth
IRA, and if you hit an emergency, just like a Roth IRA, your contributions
can be taken out at any time and you`re not going to be penalized on that.
So, that`s another perk.
A lot of folks, though, say, hey, why not put it in a regular IRA,
where you have a lot of different types of investments and your money can
grow. But we`re talking about people who really don`t have that minimum
balance to put into — minimum contribution —
HERERA: Right, and can`t afford to lose.
EPPERSON: Can`t afford to lose at all and really are frightened to
save in the markets at all.
HERERA: Exactly. Why the $15,000 cap? Because if you don`t have any
savings at this point, you`re going to need a lot more than $15,000.
EPPERSON: Exactly. So, they say this is another impetus to get you
to put that money into a Roth. Once you hit that level, you kind of had
training wheels to get to the $15,000 and now you`re ready for the big
time. Now you`re going to go into a Roth IRA, have those investment
options, but you`ve been disciplined in saving a certain amount over a
period of time and now you`re ready for doing it that way.
MATHISEN: What if my — quickly, what if my account grows above
$15,000 because of the growth, the compounding of interest? What happens?
EPPERSON: Once you hit $15,000, you`re supposed to roll it over, so
you`ll probably be prompted to roll it over before you hit that mark.
HERERA: Sharon, thank you as always. Sharon Epperson.
EPPERSON: My pleasure.
MATHISEN: And coming up, how to find out whether your doctor is
getting paid by drug companies and how much.
HERERA: A Senate committee has launched an investigation into big
price hikes by four pharmaceutical companies. The committee asked for
documents from Valeant Pharmaceuticals, Retrophin, Turing pharmaceuticals
and Rodelis Therapeutics.
The investigation comes after public outcry over the practices which
first came to light when Turing raised the price of one of its drugs by
about 5,000 percent.
Valeant shares were down 6 percent, Retrophin was off more than 13
percent. The other two companies are not publicly traded.
MATHISEN: Yesterday, we told you about a pharmaceutical company
called Insys Therapeutics that is under investigation in several states.
Now, some doctors associated with the company are finding themselves in hot
water as well.
Here`s a look into some of the allegations and how you may be able to
protect yourself if you have concerns about your own physician, in part two
of our series, “Pushing Pain: Profits Before Patients.”
DINA GUSOVSKY, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: Pharmaceutical
company Insys Therapeutics is accused of deliberately targeting doctors who
would write more prescriptions for its main drug, a highly addictive opiate
called Subsys Fentanyl, in exchange for payments masked as speaker fees.
Connecticut nurse practitioner Heather Alfonzo pleaded guilty to
accepting about $83,000 from Insys in exchange for writing Subsys
prescriptions for her pain patients. The money was allegedly paid to
Alfonzo as part of Insys Therapeutics` speaker program, which according to
her plea was basically dinner at a nice restaurant.
SHANNON WALSH, FORMER INSYS SALES REP: Once somebody was a speaker
for the company, they were expected to generate a certain number of
prescriptions. And if they didn`t, then they would be taken off the
GUSOVSKY: According to FDA guidelines, Subsys is only meant to be
used for persistent cancer pain, but former Insys sales rep Shannon Walsh,
based in Oregon, told CNBC that most of the doctors management told her to
target had nothing to do with oncology or pain management.
WALSH: Mostly they were general practice, internal medicine, family
physicians. They just thought it was ridiculous that we were going in
there calling on them.
GUSOVSKY: The top prescriber nationally, according to a health and
human services office of inspector general complaint, was Michigan` based
neurologist Dr. Gavin Awerbuch. The criminal complaint accuses Dr.
Awerbuch of engaging in health care fraud and distribution of controlled
substances. Among other things, the complaint said he was prescribing
Subsys for patients who did not have cancer and some did not even report
severe pain. He billed Medicare almost $7 million for Subsys, mostly in
In that same year, Awerbuch received over $54,000 from the company for
things like speaker fees, travel and meals.
Many people might not know this, but you can actually very easily
check how much money your doctor is getting from pharmaceutical companies.
This database is how we found that two physicians in Mobile, Alabama,
Dr. Xiulu Ruan and Dr. John Couch, partners at a practice, received over
$210,000 from Insys in 2013 and 2014. In May, they were arrested on drug
and fraud charges. Both pleaded not guilty.
DAVID HART, ASST. ATTORNEY GENERAL, OR: There was a level of
coordination between the doctor and the sales rep and the company and the
insurance company that was unusual in my experience.
GUSOVSKY: That coordination is something investigators are looking
into as well. For its part, Insys declined our numerous requests for
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Dina Gusovsky.
MATHISEN: And we do need to point out that less than a week ago, the
FDA granted Insys fast-track designation, which expedites drug development
to review and potentially approve an oral spray to treat opioid overdose.
We also reached out to doctors Awerbuch, Ruan and Couch, , who are still
working in their respective clinics.
Only Dr. Ruan`s lawyer returned our calls. And in response to the
inquiries of payments with Insys, Dr. Ruan`s lawyer told CNBC his speaking
engagements are sought out and this money is not out of line in any way,
“we make no apology whatsoever.”
Dina joins us now.
Tell us more about this Web site where I can go to find out who`s
paying my doctor, how much and for what.
GUSOVSKY: Yes, it`s called openpaymentsdata.cms.gov. You just log on
to the Web site, you type your physician`s name and you get a nice
breakdown of the company that`s paying him or her, exactly what the payment
is for, how much of the company pays the doctor.
MATHISEN: Whose Web site is it?
GUSOVSKY: It`s a CMS Web site. So it`s a government website and it`s
an extra tool to empower the patient because sometimes we feel helpless at
the doctor`s office. So, if you`re suspicious, for example, that your
physician is pushing a certain drug or certain procedure on to you, it`s a
great tool to use. And if that doctor is getting paid tens, if not
hundreds of thousands of dollars from one company in particular in a very
short amount of time, it might be reason to be suspicious.
Now, I do want to underscore that it is not uncommon for
pharmaceutical companies to pay physicians. This is not something just
Insys is doing. This is something pretty much all pharmaceutical companies
Where it becomes inappropriate is if the payment doesn`t match what
exactly is happening, like you heard in the piece with the nurse
practitioner who got paid for a speaking arrangement, which as she says,
was basically dinner at a nice restaurant with someone who had no authority
to prescribe a controlled substance like Subsys. That`s where it becomes
HERERA: Right. The transparency issue, I know Congress is taking
this up. There`s some new initiatives to address that. You mentioned the
Web site where you can track your doctor. But increasingly, medical
practices are using nurse practitioners either in place of doctors or in
addition to doctors. Are those going to be listed on this web site or is
there a move, if they are not, to list them on the website?
GUSOVSKY: Yes. There was a bill introduced, the Provider Payment
Sunshine Act, which would expand the reporting requirements. Right now,
you can only check on your physician, but, of course, a nurse practitioner,
nurse anesthesiologists, physician`s assistants sometimes can also
prescribe these kinds of drugs. So, they want to sort of add that level of
transparency. So, there is a bill right now that`s hoping to do just that.
MATHISEN: You made a point in the piece of pointing out that some, or
maybe even some of the largest prescribers of this medicine were general
practitioners. Is that on its face a bad thing, if my GP tells me, here`s
the drug that`s going to help me, should I question that?
GUSOVSKY: You shouldn`t question it, but, you know, in the case of
Subsys, the FDA indication is meant for late-stage breakthrough cancer
pain. It`s most likely that your general practitioner wouldn`t be treating
your pain with, God forbid, associated with cancer. OK? That would be a
pain management physician. That would be an anesthesiologist, or
oncologist, so you have to pay attention to the FDA guideline is for.
HERERA: What about tomorrow, quickly? Third part.
GUSOVSKY: Tomorrow, we`re going to introduce you to how the company
interjects itself into the insurance process and also tell you about a
class-action lawsuit that some investors have field against Insys
HERERA: OK. Dina, thank you.
MATHISEN: All righty.
HERERA: And that does it for NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for tonight.
I`m Sue Herera. Thanks so much for joining us.
MATHISEN: And thanks from me as well. I`m Tyler Mathisen. Have a
great evening, everybody. And we will see you right back here tomorrow.
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