SUE HERERA, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR: Turning the page. August is
done and it was better than most expected. So, what might September hold
Pump pain. Damage from Hurricane Harvey disrupts the nation`s largest
refinery and fuel system, causing a spike in gas prices just in time for
Labor Day. How high might they go and how long will they stay there?
And, fighting back. How a small Midwestern town has the powerful hedge
fund industry a bit concerned.
All that and more tonight on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for Thursday, August
Good evening, everyone, and welcome. Tyler Mathisen is off this evening.
Well, August has come and gone and by most accounts, it wasn`t as bad as
many had feared, since August is historically one of the worst performing
months. Today, stocks ended the month on an up note. The Dow rose 55
points to 21948, Nasdaq climbed 60, the S&P 500 added 14. For the month,
all three indexes were higher, but it was the fifth straight month of gains
for the Dow and the S&P.
Dominic Chu has more.
DOMINIC CHU, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: It was supposed to be
a terrible month, at least that`s what history was suggesting. But August
turned out to be better than expected. The major U.S. stock indices ended
up relatively flat to higher with the Nasdaq composite leading the way.
According to market data and analytics firm Kensho, over the last 20 years,
August has historically been the worst month for stocks with the S&P,
falling an average of almost one-and-a-half percent for the month. This
time around, the large cap stock index got upside fuel from a mix of
different sectors, with more economically sensitive parts like technology
and more defensive areas like utilities really helping to lead the charge.
Meanwhile, telecom and energy-related stocks were among the biggest drags.
But one investing theme continues to play out in and was reinforced in
August as well, and that`s the outperformance of higher growth oriented
stocks over value stocks.
As for what`s on tap for September, recent history also prints a less
optimistic picture. According to Kensho, over the last 20 years, September
is the third worst performing month for the S&P, with an average decline of
three-quarters of a percent.
Investors will have to keep, of course, a close eye on developments in
Washington with regard to raising the debt ceiling, the Federal Reserve`s
interest rate policy and prospects for tax reform.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Dominic Chu here at the New York Stock
HERERA: So, what will the markets be watching in September? Which is Dom
just pointed out, historically, isn`t all that great.
Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities joins us.
Good to see you, Art, as always.
How do you feel though —
ART HOGAN, CHIEF MARKET STRATEGIST, WUNDERLICH SECURITIES: Good to see
you, Sue. Thanks so much —
HERERA: How do you feel going into September, given the fact that August
was a bit of a surprise?
HOGAN: It really was. It`s hard to really ascertain anything from August.
Our volumes were incredibly low. They usually are in August, even more so
this August. So, the moves that the index is made I don`t think tell a
I don`t think you want to see leadership in utilities, we saw that in
August. I don`t think that you want to see a yield on the 10-year coming
down, it did.
As we head into the month, Dominic brought up some very important points,
you`ve got a Congress against back September 5th, they`ve got 12 days to
get things done like a debt ceiling, like a budget, perhaps shifting some
to some tax reform and in tax cuts, and that`s a lot to — that`s a lot to
swallow too short period of time.
So, I think it`s — you know, if we`re going to see some volatility in this
market, it probably happens in the month September, and it probably happens
in and around either the success or failure of Washington to get something
accomplished. We`ve got many deadlines in September.
HOGAN: Not the least of which is the debt ceiling.
HERERA: Does what happened in Texas with Harvey though changed the
political conversation surrounding the debt ceiling and the budget?
HOGAN: Well, it does and it doesn`t. So, it does on the debt ceiling. I
don`t think anyone`s going to stand on the way of the debt ceiling getting
raised. No one wants to play chicken with that or look like they`re going
to, you know, be willing to shut down the government.
But, you know, when we think about the magnitude of the federal aid package
that`s going to have to go down to rebuilding and those areas affected by
Harvey, that`s going to change the budget negotiation process. So, at the
end of the month, the first part of the month, we`ll probably get the debt
ceiling raised. That`s probably, you know, the easiest of the task.
I think to your point, I think when you think about, you know, something
worth of a hundred billion dollars that will be needed an aide in the short
run, it`s certainly going to change the scope and scale of the budget and
what you`ve passed, and that needs to get done by the end of the month.
HERERA: All right. We`ll leave it there. Thank you so much.
HOGAN: Thank you.
HERERA: Art Hogan with Wunderlich Securities.
And now, let`s turn to Texas where new problems are popping up in the
aftermath of Harvey. One hospital in Beaumont evacuated patients and
stopped emergency services because flooding shut down the town`s water
system, and the government is starting to get an idea of the scope of the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOM BOSSERT, HOMELAND SECURITY ADVISOR: It looks like round about a
hundred thousand affected homes. That`s a big number. We`re going to have
a hundred thousand affected homes, all with different degrees of insurance,
some with flood insurance, some underinsured, some uninsured. I will have
to address those on a case-by-case basis as we move forward.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HERERA: And if that`s not enough, the nation`s largest refinery which is
in Port Arthur, Texas, reportedly may be closed for as long as two weeks.
And the Colonial Pipeline, the biggest fuel system in the country partially
shutting down some lines. That caused gasoline futures despite to the
highest level in two years.
Morgan Brennan has more.
MORGAN BRENNAN, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: As the floodwaters
begin to recede, more critical infrastructure is feeling the effects of
RICK PERRY, SECRETARY OF ENERGY: The Colonial Pipeline has been shut down,
for instance. That is a major deliverer of refined product to the
southeastern United States. Gas prices are going to go up because of the
cut and supply.
BRENNAN: The Colonial Pipeline says outages at some of its supply points
and a lack of actual product move are causing disruptions. Roughly a
quarter of U.S. refining capacity is offline in the gulf right now and that
means a fewer petroleum products moving around the country.
Privately held Colonial is one of the biggest pipelines in the U.S.,
transporting more than 3 million barrels of gasoline, diesel and jet fuel
per day, to cities like Nashville, Atlanta, Washington D.C., and even New
The company says two lines are down from Houston to Herbert, but operating
east of Lake Charles, Louisiana. Deliveries it warns will, quote, be
intermittent and dependent on terminal and refinery supply. But the goal
is to return to service from Houston on Sunday.
Still, experts say getting the energy complex up and running will be a
JACK GERARD, PRESIDENT & CEO, AMERICAN PETROLEUM INSTITUTE: We need to
make sure we`re able to move the product, to receive the product necessary
to process, to refine. And so, those are all coming into place now,
particularly as they open up roads, as the port`s now believe they can
reopen soon. So, it`s a matter of variables that come together.
BRENNAN: But it`s not just Colonial. The Explorer Pipeline with
northbound capacity of more than a half a million barrels per day is down
from Houston to Tulsa, with ripple effects reaching as far as Chicago.
It`s all helping send gasoline prices soaring. AAA says the national
average of a gallon of gas is now $2.45, or 10 cents higher than just a
week ago. And in key states like Georgia and Missouri, that`s serviced by
the pipelines, the moves have been even bigger. Experts say those prices
will continue to climb. In some cases, there may even be temporary
In Dallas, drivers were already stocking up today, lining up at stations to
fill up their tanks ahead of the holiday weekend, as the pain at the pump
begins to get worse.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Morgan Brennan.
HERERA: So, let`s turn now to John Kilduff who was on earlier this week to
talk energy and gas prices. He`s back to tell us how high he thinks those
prices could go and for how long that partial shutdown of the Colonial
Pipeline and one of the largest refineries in the U.S. may last. He is the
founding partner at Again Capital.
Good to have you back, John.
JOHN KILDUFF, FOUNDING PARTNER, AGAIN CAPITAL: Thanks, Sue.
HERERA: You correctly predicted what Morgan just outlined in terms of the
gas price increase. But since we had you on, the Colonial Pipeline was
partially shut down. That seems to be the one of the most significant
KILDUFF: That`s right, and I believe we raised that here too earlier in
the week, that we were — I was concerned that there wouldn`t be
sufficiency of supply to be able to feed the pipeline, have it maintained
its pressure and get the product to where it needs to be. And that`s what
Now, hopefully, they can get it back online on Sunday. But what`s
exacerbating the situation right now obviously is that big holiday weekend
KILDUFF: This is one of the biggest driving weekend`s of the year after
Labor Day — excuse me, after the Fourth of July and Memorial Day, and
until the holiday shopping season rolls around.
I don`t think folks should be panicking though. There is a lot of supply
in the system and in places like the Northeast, there`s other available
supply. The Northeast has its own refineries.
There`s plenty of sea-born product we can get and it is coming from Europe
and European product is also on its way to the Gulf — the Gulf of Mexico.
So, there will be more supply on the way.
But Morgan referenced the national average, $2.45. I think that could go
as high as $3 for a brief amount of time over the course of the next week.
HERERA: So, a quick spike.
KILDUFF: A very quick spike that won`t last very long. I think prices
would return back down to the 250 mark in the subsequent week or days.
HERERA: How long do you think it`s going to take to get the Motiva
facility back on line? It`s the largest refinery and they are swamped with
KILDUFF: Swamped, and that was an unfortunate development. That refinery
had been hanging in there almost until the very last moments when Harvey
came back to shore. It was running at a reduced rate of 40 percent.
It tells me that they had to go into sort of an emergency or what we call a
cold shutdown, which I guess you can gather by its name isn`t good.
KILDUFF: It`s hard to come back from those. They`re not orderly. So, the
two weeks could be a lowball guess and it could be longer. We will miss
that supply desperately. It won`t — the price spike in gasoline, it might
not be as fast as I would hope.
HERERA: John, thank you very much.
KILDUFF: Thank you.
HERERA: John Kilduff has been our guest tonight.
Another problem: a chemical plant northeast of Houston. Flooding knocked
out the plants cooling systems, causing chemicals to react and explode and
fires to break out. And officials say there could be more to come.
Scott Cohn joins us now from Crosby, Texas, with the very latest.
Scott, it`s always good to see you. Tell us what the latest is down there.
SCOTT COHN, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: Well, Sue, this is one
of the many consequences of this storm and it`s epic rain and they say this
has never happened six feet of rain — six feet of floodwaters inundating
this Arkema plant in Crosby, Texas, about 20 miles outside of Houston.
That meant they lost power. They lost their backup generators, and they`re
dealing with chemicals peroxides that need to be kept cold. And sure
enough, what happened was, if they don`t get cold — if they — if they
they`ve not kept cold, they catch fire.
That`s exactly what happened. There have been some minor pops or
explosions and that still is a risk. Essentially, the company says when
the chemicals get too warm, there`s a chemical reaction.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICHARD RENNARD, ARKEMA PRESIDENT, AMERICAS: When they decompose they
generate heat, and when they generate heat, there`s the possibility of a
fire and possible explosion.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COHN: The spokesman for our camera talking about what happens here the
basic chemical reaction. That chemical reaction continuing to play out and
all they can do is just let these fires burn just — not just because of
the flood waters but because there`s no way of basically stopping the
chemicals from catching fire, if they`re not cold.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID PHELPS, CROSBY, TEXAS RESIDENT: They won`t answer a phone call.
They`re trying to act like this ain`t their fault, but it is their fault,
and they need to step up and start responding to people and the people that
got this place do to this, they need to — they need to get the checkbook
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COHN: That`s David Phelps, one of the 300 or so residents who were
evacuated here. They don`t know when they`re going to be able to come back
because of the risk of more fires and potentially explosions. They say
that the chemical itself is not toxic, but it is noxious, irritating. It
certainly is irritating for the residents here who got through the storm,
but still can`t get back home — Sue.
HERERA: Scott, thank you so much. Scott Cohn joining us from Crosby,
The Dallas Federal Reserve Bank President Robert Kaplan says economic
growth will take a hit after Harvey, but will eventually return to normal.
Meanwhile, the Atlanta Fed sees the economy growing 3.3 percent in the
third quarter. That`s down a tenth of a percent from last week`s
And a day after the president was touting tax reform, our Steve Liesman sat
down exclusively with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin who said there is a
plan and it would be released in the next few weeks.
STEVE LIESMAN, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: Despite criticism
that President Trump yesterday promoted a plan without detail, Mnuchin said
there is a plan and it would be released in the next few weeks.
STEVEN MNUCHIN, TREASURY SECRETARY: Originally, our goal had been August.
Unfortunately, things got delayed a bit. But we`re on a track to get this
done by the end of the year. So, you`re going to see the details come out
later this month. It`s going to go through a committee process and we
expect the House and the Senate will get this to the president to sign this
year, and we couldn`t be more excited about the progress we`ve made.
LIESMAN: Mnuchin said the administration is aiming for a revenue-neutral
bill, that is one that won`t increase the deficit but said that would
depend on how much growth the Joint Tax Committee attributes to those tax
cuts. And Mnuchin played down apparent differences between the Fed and the
administration on the critical issue of changing the post-crisis bank
MNUCHIN: I had breakfast with Fed Chair Yellen this morning. We meet on a
weekly basis, as have previous treasury secretaries and the Fed. And we
have a very constructive dialogue on a lot of issues including regulation.
And one of the areas we are focused on working on with the Fed is fixing
the Volcker Rule, but I think as you`ve seen, the Treasury put out a report
on what we believe our regulatory changes. You know, I would describe
about 70 percent or 80 percent of them. We can work with the regulators,
which we have a working group on and the balance we`re going to need
congressional support for.
LIESMAN: In other highlights of the interview, the Treasury Secretary said
the U.S. would hit the debt ceiling on September 29th which has not changed
since the previous time he`s given us a date, but he did say that aid for
Hurricane Harvey on the spending could have an impact on the debt ceiling.
Mnuchin added he had not considered whether to go ahead with an Obama
administration plan to replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill with the
famed abolitionist Harriet Tubman.
Speaking of dollars, Mnuchin very much seems to back the idea of a market-
determined dollar and didn`t tuck it up or didn`t talk it down. He said
over the long term, a strong dollar is a reflection of market sentiment
about a country`s underlying economy, not that a strong dollar makes the
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Steve Liesman in Washington.
HERERA: Up next, why activist investors might be keeping a watchful eye on
a small Wisconsin town.
HERERA: We`ve talked about them a lot on this program. Activist
investors, shareholders, generally hedge funds, with a large stake who used
that position to pressure management to effect change in a company. Now, a
big concern for activists is coming from a small Midwestern town.
Leslie Picker has more from Brokaw, Wisconsin.
LESLIE PICKER, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When a
century-old paper mill in Brokaw, Wisconsin, closed a few years ago, the
local economy for hundreds of residents was decimated. Many of the people
here blame hedge funds based more than 1,000 miles away.
RICHARD LUETSCHWAGER, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE BROKAW MILL UNION: Now if
somebody comes in out of New York and says, here I am, I`m going to shut
this place down simply because I want to put $2 more per share on — in
RANDY RADTKE, PRESIDENT OF MARATHON COUNTY CENTRAL LABOR COUNCIL: I would
describe it as a few greedy investors took over for their own personal
enrichment and threw workers and the community under the bus.
PICKER: Brokaw is now essentially bankrupt, but its name will live on
through a new bill called the Brokaw Act. It aims to restrict a certain
group of hedge funds called activist investors.
SEN. TAMMY BALDWIN (R), WISCONSIN: So often, their focus is on jacking up
the stock price for maximum profit but without a view to the long term.
It`s creating upheaval in many instances. This adds transparency. It`s
kind of like an early warning system.
PICKER: The Brokaw Bill focuses on disclosure. It shortens the amount of
time from when a fund takes a large stake in a company to four days from
10. It also requires firms to say when they`re shorting a stock or betting
on its decline and whether they`re working in conjunction with other hedge
funds. The bill also requires them to say when they`ve taken a stake using
Brokaw`s dislike of hedge funds dates back to 2011 when a firm called
Starboard Value took a stake in Wausau Paper, the company that owned the
HANK NEWELL, FORMER CEO, WAUSAU PAPER: They`re predators trying to take
value from those that create value. Their business model and that`s what
it is, is a business model is one that`s designed to get the benefits of
ownership without paying for ownerships.
PICKER (on camera): But critics say it`s unfair to blame activists
investing as a whole. The paper industry had been on the decline for
decades and Wausau Paper had been shuttering mills before Starboard even
(voice-over): Starboard and a lobbying group that represents activist
investors did not respond to requests seeking comment, but sources familiar
with the industry say they`re already nervous about the bill.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Leslie Picker, Brokaw, Wisconsin.
HERERA: Sales fall for the 11th straight quarter at Campbell Soup
(NYSE:CPB (NYSE:CPF)) and that`s where we begin tonight`s “Market Focus”.
The food company missed expectations and said it`s struggling to lift
revenue as changing consumer preferences and competition in the space
pressure soup sales. The company also said a dispute with a retailer over
promotional pricing would hurt next year`s results. Shares fell 8 percent
Profits also fell at Dollar General (NYSE:DG) as that discount chain spend
more on employee wages. The results though still topped estimates.
Revenue and same store sales also beat expectations, but the shares fell 5
percent to $72.56.
And the networking equipment maker Ciena beat street expectations and said
it picked up market share in the latest quarter, but the company reported
week sales guidance and that pressured shares. They fell nearly 11 percent
And the Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) fake accounts scandal we`ve told you about
may be more scandalous than previously thought. The bank said, an
independent investigation has uncovered nearly 1.5 million more potentially
fake bank and credit card accounts, bringing the total to 3.5 million. The
shares were down slightly on the news.
And Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) is facing a lawsuit from a couple who claims they
damaged their eyes after purchasing defective solar eclipse glasses from
the retailer. Prior to the eclipse, Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) had recalled some
of the glasses, saying it couldn`t confirm whether the products were made
by a recommended manufacturer. Shares rose 1 percent to $980.60.
And just yesterday, Home Depot (NYSE:HD) agreed to pay more than $5.5
million fine to settle charges that it sold some recalled products between
2012 and 2016. It`s all part of the fight to keep consumers safe.
Andrea Day has a behind-the-scenes look at how millions of dollars of
product are stopped and recalled.
ANDREA DAY, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: Where was this shipment
ARIEL SILVERMAN, CPSC COMPLIANCE INVESTIGATOR: Into the stream of
DAY (voice-over): The Consumer Product Safety Commission or CPSC on the
front lines and the war to keep dangerous goods out of the country.
SILVERMAN: We look for hair dryers. We look for holiday lights.
DAY: These boxes from China are filled with toys, she says, that are
loaded with lead.
SILVERMAN: These are incredibly high.
DAY: The shipment is stopped in its tracks. But what about other products
we buy every day?
The National Highway Traffic Administration regulates cars. The FDA, food
drugs and cosmetics. And for thousands of other products, it`s the CPSC.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The sample fails for lead content.
DAY: Goods stopped at the port come to the agency`s lab here in Maryland
for more testing. When companies suspect something is wrong with a
product, they`re required by law to alert agencies like the CPSC.
Acting chairman Ann Marie Buerkle.
ANN MARIE BUERKLE, CPSC ACTING ACHAIRMAN: Our compliance staff then
reviews whatever it is that that company reported and makes a
DAY: She says up to products wind up being recalled by the agency every
year, but how many consumers find out.
BUERKLE: Most of our recalls will result in about a 65 percent effective
ED MIERZWINSKI, CONSUMER PROGRAM DIRECTOR, US. PIRG: Recalls are not as
effective as they could be.
DAY: Ed Mierzwinski, public interest research group.
MIERZWINSKI: Retailers don`t want to spend the money, don`t want to shame
themselves by promoting the recall heavily.
DAY: So, he says some critical recalls are never heard. IKEA recalled
millions of dressers last year, after four children died when they fell
MIERZWINSKI: Twenty-nine million products that had been sold to consumers
less than 500,000 consumers either got a refund or special screws to anchor
it to the wall.
DAY: IKEA tells us it, quote, has been working with the CPSC on the recall
of millions of chests and dressers that did not comply with the U.S.
voluntary industry standard. We worked with the CPSC to develop a
comprehensive plan that included national print, digital and television
advertising, in-store and IKEA.com communication, media relations, social
media promotion, outreach to IKEA family members and more. Even now more
than a year later, were proactively reaching out to customers to
communicate the recall.
But even knowing about a recall doesn`t always mean consumers rush to fix
it. According to CARFAX, there are 63 million vehicles with one unfixed
safety recall, that`s one in four cars on the road.
(on camera): To find out if a product you own has been recalled, the
government keeps a running list online. That`s recalls.gov.
And all of those registration cards that come with lots of products you
buy, make sure to turn them in so the company can reach you if there`s ever
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Andrea Day.
HERERA: Well, while you can`t protect your home from an event like Harvey,
there are some things you can do to prepare and protect your property from
wet weather. That`s coming up next.
HERERA: Mortgage rates continue to fall. In fact, they are at a fresh
2017 low and the lowest level since November. Freddie Mac says a 30-year
fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.82 percent. And as homeowners in Houston
slowly start returning to their properties, homeowners elsewhere are facing
increasingly wet weather. And may be wondering what they can do to protect
Diana Olick looked into that.
DIANA OLICK, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): There is
no way to keep a home dry in five feet of rain, period. But storms today
are increasingly strong and wet and even a brief storm can cause water
damage. Some homeowners may not even know they have a problem.
JOHN BRYANT, AQUAGUARD WATERPROOFING: We try to tell homeowners it`s the
water you can`t see the cause of the most damage, when your basement leaks,
it does doesn`t decide to leak one day. There`s a lot of early warning
signs such as just dampness in the basement or a musty odor, cracks on the
walls or floor. Again, some kind of discoloration on the walls, white
powder on the walls.
OLICK: Bryant recommends all homeowners take every precaution, make sure
your sump pump is operating, install a battery backup or generator for the
sump pumps, have wide trenches or French drains dug in the basement that
run into the sump pumps. Look for those early warning signs of leakage.
Make sure all gutters are clear and running well away from the home, and if
you don`t have a basement, make sure the land around your home is well
graded away from the slab foundation.
As for cost, it can run anywhere from $2,000 for just a sump pump, up to
$30,000 for foundation, repairs, battery backups and digging trenches and
drains. Bryant said his business has jumped 50 percent in the last five
years due to heavier rain falls and more consumer concern about what a damp
house does to air quality. He also points to new construction.
BRYANT: That`s the newer homes I would say post-1980 that leak faster, the
reason why is just they were built quicker.
OLICK (on camera): So, how do you choose a waterproofing company? Well
look for one that`s been around a while. Many of the offer long-term
warranties so you want to make sure the company is still around if the
water comes in again.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Diana Olick in Washington.
HERERA: Good advice.
That does it for NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for tonight, I`m Sue Herera.
Thanks for joining us. Have a great evening and we`ll see you right back
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