Transcript: Nightly Business Report – October 9, 2017

ANNOUNCER: This is NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT with Tyler Mathisen and Sue

activist investor is added to the GE board. Executives are ousted,
potentially signaling a big shift as a company. But investors are

Republicans squabble with Republicans. So, what`s going on here? And
could the rancor be a stumbling block for tax reform and hence the stock

HERERA: The price is right. California`s governor signed into law a bill
that the pharmaceutical industry rails against.

Those stories and more tonight on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for Monday,
October 9th.

MATHISEN: Good evening, everyone, and welcome.

General Electric (NYSE:GE) had a rough day and it is on track now for a
very rough. GE`s new chief executive is making a lot of changes. He`s
giving an activist investor who`s been pushing for cost cuts a seat on the
board. And late Friday, it was announced that several top executives are
on their way out and a new chief financial officer is on her way in.

The stock closed at a two-year low amid concerns about what the changes
could mean for the company`s upcoming earnings due out next week. So far
this year, the stock has lost more than and that`s not good news for a lot
of investors who either own it outright, or in a mutual fund or retirement

Morgan Brennan takes a look at the changes at GE.


Electric (NYSE:GE) tumbling today after the industrial giant announced
sweeping leadership changes. Among the biggest, the departure of CFO Jeff
Bornstein, who will be replaced by GE`s transportation head, Jamie Miller.
It marks the latest example yet of the strategy taking shape under new CEO
John Flannery.

But the move stunned Wall Street, especially since Flannery had supported
Bornstein, at least until recently. Analysts worry it could signal more
bad news.

ANDY KAPLOWITZ, CITIGROUP: He`s viewed as being able to roll up his
sleeves with John Flannery as the new CEO, to effect change. And so, I
think there`s a concern here that with him leaving, that maybe the
underlying earnings of the company is a little worse than expected.

BRENNAN: But the C suite changes are also overshadowing another
development, that activist investor Trian Fund will finally join the board.
Trian has owned nearly 1 percent of the company since 2015 when it invested
$2.5 billion.

Since then, like other shareholders, Trian has lost money. But today, it
said it continues to, quote, believe that GE represents an attractive long-
term investment opportunity with significant upside.

The company struggled to meet key financial targets and the stock has
tumbled by 25 percent this year.

Flannery has begun cutting costs ahead of his first major meeting with
investors next month, a meeting that will outline his strategy and include
updated financial forecasts.

KAPLOWITZ: What the investors are looking for from Flannery is a realistic
view of 2018 and beyond. You know, for what it`s worth, our view is that
2018, again, we will see some sort of reset. But, you know, that will come
along with, again, a more streamlined, more cost-conscious GE. And we
could see growth off that reset.

BRENNAN: But GE isn`t the only industrial behemoth facing investor
pressure. Honeywell has also been reviewing its segment, including its
biggest business aerospace. That company is reportedly poised to announce
the spin-off of some assets as soon as this week.



HERERA: So let`s turn now to Mike Bailey for more on the executive shakeup
at GE, and what he thinks it could mean for the stock. He is director of
research at FBB Capital Markets and he owns GE shares.

Welcome. A pleasure to have you here, Mike.


HERERA: So, give me a grade, if you will, on what Mr. Flannery has done in
terms of shaking up the executive ranks, and also, there`s an activist
investor now on the board. What do you think?

BAILEY: Yes, so in terms of grades, we would give GE about a B-minus in
terms of the new management, some of the shakeup. You might say, you know,
why not a higher grade? Well, I think we`re trying to be fair. So, I
think in some sense, Flannery, he`s done a fairly good job. He`s shown
some initial nice moves early on.

But he`s an insider. We think that GE really needs some sort of a major
shakeup. So, we would have given them a higher grade if they had gotten
some — an expert from the outside. Having said that, the question is,
what else has happened.

We do like the new CFO. We think she adds some agenda diversity. We think
in terms of an outsider, she spent nearly two decades at other companies.
So, we think that`s the attitude that can maybe shake things up more at GE.

I mean, finally with Trian coming in, we do think that`s something where
they`ve been involved somewhat for the last couple of years, but we think
now is a pretty good time, sort of got potentially hitting on all
cylinders, with a new CEO, CFO, going to have an activist there on the
board. So, you could actually see some meaningful turnaround here in the
near term.

MATHISEN: Let`s talk a little bit about one of the reasons you say you
were overweight the stock. You`re comfortable owning it because in part of
the 4 percent dividend. Is the dividend safe?

BAILEY: We think it is safe. If you look historically, GE`s done a pretty
good job keeping their dividend and actually growing it. They did cut the
dividend during the Great Recession. You could argue a lot of companies

At that time, GE was very different. It was almost a bank. So, many banks
were in difficulties, so GE cut their dividends along with other companies
like that.

We think at this point a cut is fairly unlikely. Now, there`s a couple of
ways to look at that. Some folks have argued that one of the things GE
might do is break up. So, there could be a way you could see sort of a
self-dividend cut.

Let`s say, for example, GE, you know, shaves off parts of the business that
aren`t doing well. And that new business, perhaps they do tram, or just a
dividend there, before the bulk of the company. We can get into some of
those pieces that are actually doing pretty well. We do think they`re
going to keep the dividend as is, if not grow it, at least in line with

HERERA: In your view, is the company more valuable whole? Or more
valuable broken up?

BAILEY: We would break it up. So, basically, there are three really nice
pieces at GE. There`s a health care business, aerospace, and power, sort
of think of utilities.

So, that`s about three-fourths of the business that`s doing pretty well.
If you look at the stock this year, it`s off more than 25 percent. So, you
could argue that the street is already basically given up on that other
piece of business that`s struggling.

So, you know, we would look at the company, take a hard look at the
financials and say, OK, you`ve got three nice businesses here, let`s keep
them, let`s grow them nicely. The rest of the business, let`s carve it out
and perhaps let someone else do a turn-around there. But we think that
would be one way of improving things for shareholders.

HERERA: We will keep an eye on that. Thank you so much, Mike. Appreciate

BAILEY: Thanks/

HERERA: Mike Bailey with FBB Capital Partners.

MATHISEN: Well, the slide in GE shares today, a drag on the broader
market. On Wall Street, volume was light and the bond market was closed on
this Columbus Day holiday. The Dow Jones Industrials fell 12 points to
22,761, Nasdaq off 10 and S&P 500 dropped four. Some strategists say the
market was taking a breather after the big runoff in stocks, ahead of the
start of earning season.

And as Bob Pisani tells us, there are a few other things investors are
watching as well.


muted today, but there`s no shortage of catalysts for investors to watch in
the week ahead. Earnings season will kick off this week with Citigroup
(NYSE:C) and JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) reporting on Thursday and Bank of America
(NYSE:BAC) and Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) rounding things out on Friday.

So, as usual, it`s the big banks starting earnings season. Third quarter
earnings are expected to rise about 4 percent over last year. And
financials are set to suffer the lowest growth rate of any sector, actually
earnings could be down 6 percent for the financials, but it`s large by
because of the impact of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma on the insurers and re-

The banks aren`t going down, not surprisingly. Energy is set to be the
biggest gainer this earning season, led by oil and gas, equipment services
companies, and exploration production names like Anadarko, Apache
(NYSE:APA), and Cabot (NYSE:CBT) Oil and Gas, all of which are rising as
oil stays over $50.

On the economic front, we`ll get minutes from the Federal Reserve`s latest
meeting, along with data on retail sales, inflation and consumer sentiment.
A lot of people are watching that inflation data right now.

And the drama in Washington is heating up. Investors are now gauging what
the now public feud between President Trump and Senator Bob Corker could
mean for the path of tax reform. Senator Corker`s support will be critical
for tax cuts to go through.

ART CASHIN, UBS FINANCIAL SERVICES: It increases everybody`s reservation.
I think it does make it somewhat more difficult. But we never have a
weekend without a surprise out of Washington.

PISANI: Finally, keep an eye on the solar stocks. The Trump
administration is set to sign a rule to withdraw from the Clean Power Plan
tomorrow. Remember that was Obama`s centerpiece bill to fight climate

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


HERERA: And with tax reform on the line, investors are watching that
discord in D.C. that Bob just mentioned a little more closely tonight.

Eamon Javers reports from Washington.


the day extending an olive branch of sorts, a trip to his Virginia golf
course for Senator Lindsey Graham, one of the president`s frequent critics
up on Capitol Hill. President Trump has called Graham a nutjob and a
disgrace in the past.

But on this Columbus Day, the two men spent several hours together. All
that comes after a weekend in which the president engaged in a Twitter feud
with Senator Bob Corker on Capitol Hill.

On Twitter, the president wrote, Senator Bob Corker begged me to endorse
him for reelection in Tennessee. I said no and he dropped out, said he
could not win without my endorsement. He also wanted to be secretary of
state. I said, no, thanks. He`s also largely responsible for the
horrendous Iran deal.

The senator fired back writing: It`s a shame the White House has become an
adult day care center. Someone obviously missed their shift this morning.

Later, Senator Corker gave an interview to “The New York Times (NYSE:NYT)”
in which he said the president is running the White House like a reality TV
show and said he could be putting the nation on a path to World War III.
All of this comes at a time when the president is going to need Republican
votes up on the Hill for his ambitious tax package and also for a
controversial immigration reform proposal.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If attacking members of your own part in the vicious
and personal kind of way is a strategy, it`s a strategy I`ve never seen
work. I don`t see it working today in Washington.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are always distractions. Ordinarily, when you`re
in the White House and you`re working on your day-to-day issues, the
distractions are coming from the outside rather than from the inside. This
a little bit different.

JAVERS: But officials here at the White House say the administration
hasn`t really lost any votes on the tax agenda, or the immigration plan,
because Corker and the other senators that the president has insulted this
year will vote the right way for their constituents, whether or not they`ve
been in a feud with the president.

For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Eamon Javers at the White House.


MATHISEN: Expectations on Wall Street were high that the Trump
administration would be able to get a number of its priorities through
Congress. But so far, that hasn`t exactly played out. And the president
frustrated by congressional Republicans` inability to move on health care,
said over the weekend that he`s open to cutting a one or two-year deal on
that topic with Democratic rivals as a way to kick-start reform of the
nation`s system.

In response, Senator Chuck Schumer said he was willing to improve the
existing health care delivery system, but not repeal and replace Obamacare.

HERERA: On immigration, another major part of the president`s agenda, the
White House is playing hard ball, making a number of demands in exchange
for any deals to protect young undocumented immigrants commonly known as
DREAMers. According to “The New York Times (NYSE:NYT),” the president is
insisting on a border wall, hiring more border agents, tougher laws for
those seeking asylum, and denial of federal grants to sanctuary cities.
The Democrats were quick to reject this.

MATHISEN: So, how will all of the discord in Washington from hardball on
immigration, to no health care deal, to insulting tweets impact tax reform
and the stock market?

Jeff Bush is a partner at “The Washington Update” and joins us now to

What do you make of all this, Jeff? It certainly is, as Tony Fratto just
said, unusual to see the distractions coming from within, not from without.

JEFF BUSH, PARTNER, THE WASHINGTON UPDATE: Oh, you`re absolutely right.
The GOP has had this problem throughout 2017. Tax reform is a little bit
unique compared to the Affordable Care Act repeal and replace effort,
though. I think you`re going to see a lot more togetherness on the tax
reform issue compared to the other issues they`ve dealt with thus far.

HERERA: What about health care then?

BUSH: Health care was a different issue. When you have health care, you
have Republican senators in states that expanded Medicaid, you had
Republican governors in those same states, all of which were saying, we
have citizenry who will lose coverage if we change the expansion of
Medicaid. So, it`s taking away of a benefit.

Whereas tax reform, if properly positioned from a marketing perspective,
should be a broad-based benefit to the middle class and across our country.

MATHISEN: What do you make of what Eamon Javers suggested is the sort of
internal view in Washington, namely, that the GOP members who may squabble
with the president personally, whether it`s Mitch McConnell, or Lindsey
Graham, or now Bob Corker, when push comes to shove, they will go along
with tax reform because they see it as good for their constituents.

BUSH: I generally agree with that. That was the same philosophy that the
Republicans thought they had with the Affordable Care Act repeal and
replace, although it got caught up in those other issues. But tax reform
again, I think it`s a little bit different animal. It`s certainly a very
complex animal, but there`s more of a cohesive thought around the broad
benefits of a tax reform. And even within some moderate Democrats as well.

HERERA: How much do you think, though, all of this squabbling in
Washington is delaying the agenda? I mean, have you put an analysis
together at all, Jeff, about, like when we might expect some progress?
Because it keeps getting derailed and pushed back.

BUSH: It does. That`s a great point. We were quite surprised that the
Republicans having had eight years to talk about the repeal and replace
effort didn`t have the replace effort on the table ready for Republican
president to sign. I think that was a missed opportunity. If they could
have gotten out of the gates a little faster with that issue, we`d be much
further down the road as it relates to tax reform.

Right now, our best estimate, based on everything we`re looking at, is that
we`re a lot likely to get tax reform done in 2017. But it`s slightly more
likely than not that we`ll see moderate tax cuts this year, and then
revisit the reform issue in 2018.

MATHISEN: Is the market thinking everything is all A-OK, or is it being
maybe a little naive? Senator Corker says we may be leading the way on a
path to World War III. That would mess up your portfolio, Jeff.

BUSH: Well, it certainly would mess up everyone`s portfolio, without a
doubt. But I think going back one step, the reality is our country has
been on this path for some time. The Republicans have drawn this process
out. That`s not unusual in the president`s first year as they get their
footing and so forth.

But I think the market initially, there was a lift from an idea of a
Republican president. But I think that played out pretty much by May, and
the market is based more on fundamentals right now.

I`m not saying it`s a solid market run.


BUSH: I think it`s a little bit fragile. It`s looking for opportunities
to make tweak here and there. But I think overall, it`s still on a
fundamental trajectory at this point.

MATHISEN: All right. Jeff, thank you very much. Jeff Bush with The
Washington Update.

BUSH: Thank you.

HERERA: And still ahead, California signs into law a bill that the drug
industry is not happy with.


MATHISEN: Wildfires are ripping through wine country. The governor of
California has declared a state of emergency in Napa, Sonoma, and Yuba
Counties. Thousands of people have been evacuated. Homes and businesses
destroyed, as firefighters try to stop the advance driven by strong winds.

HERERA: And California`s Governor Jerry Brown approved a measure today
that will give the state`s residents more information on what`s driving
prescription drug prices.

But as Meg Terrill reports, that bill was surrounded by controversy.


of prescription drugs is a major campaign issue during the president

murder. Pharma — pharma has a lot of lobbies, a lot of lobbyists, and a
lot of power.

TIRRELL: But since then, it`s been states enacting laws around the cost of
drugs. The latest is California whose Governor Jerry Brown today signed a
drug pricing bill into law.

GOV. JERRY BROWN (D), CALIFORNIA: Californians have a right to know why
their medical costs are out of control, especially when the pharmaceutical
profits are soaring.

TIRRELL: The law doesn`t control the price of drugs. It requires drug
companies to provide notification, 60 days before increasing the price of
their medicines. The requirement applies to hikes of more than 16 percent
over a two-year period. It also requires drug companies to provide
justification for the hikes, and mandates that health insurers report
information about drug spending.

PRESCRIBING: Transparency will provide information, but the hope is that
by providing that information, making it public, the companies will be less
likely to raise the prices in the ways that they have.

TIRRELL: Price increases of more than 16 percent in two years are not
uncommon, according to the University of Pittsburgh`s Dr. Walid Gellad.

GELLAD: We just saw one today, one of the drugs for psoriasis had a 30
percent increase over the past two years, and just 12 percent in just this
year. So, it`s happening and it`s happening more and more.

TIRRELL: The law focuses on the drug`s list price before any discounts are
paid to insurers or pharmacy benefits managers. That`s one reason the
pharmaceutical industry railed against it. With industry groups Pharma
saying, quote: There`s no evidence that SB-17 will lower drug costs for
patients, because it does not shed light on the large rebates and discounts
insurance companies and pharmacy benefits managers are receiving that are
not being passed on to patients.

(on camera): It`s California`s second major attempt recently to bring
legislation addressing the price of medicine. Last year, a ballot
initiative, Proposition 61, sought to tie the price of drugs in California
to levels paid by the Department of Veterans Affairs. After a strong
lobbying effort by the pharmaceutical industry, Prop 61 failed to pass.

A similar version of that bill is expected to be voted on in Ohio this
fall. Legislation focused on drug pricing has also been passed recently in
Vermont, Maryland, New York, and Nevada.

On the federal level, there`s been less movement, helping contribute to a
recent rally in biotech stocks. Congress, though, has several hearing
scheduled in the coming weeks on the issue.



MATHISEN: Well, Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) is reportedly getting serious about
taking on YouTube, and that is where we begin tonight`s “Market Focus”.

According to CNBC, Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) is working toward creating more
advertising friendly initiatives to compete against YouTube. One potential
program could possibly give advertisers more data on what viewers are
watching and doing online. Shares of Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) up a fraction
today to $990.99.

And Walmart wants to make online returns easier. The retail giant said
customers will be able to use the Walmart app to speed up the process,
cutting down return time to 30 seconds. Shares of Walmart up just about 2
percent on the session to $80.53.

Honeywell reportedly will reportedly spin off its noncore assets and create
at least two new publicly traded companies. “Reuters” says the company
will resist calls by one of its influential shareholders to spin off its
aerospace unit. Honeywell shares were essentially flat at $143.60.

HERERA: The subprime lender OneMain is reportedly in talks to sell itself
in a deal that could be worth about $4 billion. “The Wall Street Journal”
says OneMain is said to be in advance talks with a number of interested
parties, although there is no guarantee of the deal. OneMain shares jumped
10 percent to $31.82.

Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) reiterated its buy for Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL).
Analysts said the company will surge under President Trump`s tax plan,
which would make it less expensive for Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) to bring money
back to the U.S. from overseas, thanks to a lower repatriation tax rate.
Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) shares were up nearly half a percent to $155.84.

And Google`s parent, Alphabet, received an experimental license from the
FCC to create a network of balloons that would help restore wireless phone
services in Puerto Rico after hurricane Maria wiped out much of the service
on the island. Alphabet shares down a fraction to $992.31.

MATHISEN: Coming up, televisions may be getting bigger, even viewing on
small phones is on the rise. But, first, how commodities and currencies
fared today. The bond market closed for Columbus Day.


MATHISEN: Here`s a look at what to watch tomorrow.

The largest proxy fight ever, Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG) shareholders will
vote on whether Trian`s Nelson Peltz should get a seat on the board there.

The world`s largest retailer Walmart meets with the investment community.
Executives expected to outline their strategy for the company.

And small business owners will express their confidence or the lack of same
in the economy with the release of the so-called NFIB survey.

That is what to watch Tuesday.

HERERA: Harvey Weinstein has been fired from the movie studio he founded
with his brother. The board which met yesterday cited new information
about misconduct. The firing happened days after one-third of the
company`s all-male board resigned. Last week, sexual harassment
allegations were uncovered by “The New York Times (NYSE:NYT)”, allegations
that go back decades, from actresses and former employees of the Weinstein
Company and Miramax.

MATHISEN: Well, the rough patch for movie theater stocks continues. This
time, the cause was a soft opening this weekend for the revival of the 1980
sci-fi cult classic “Blade Runner”. Early estimates put sales at $31
million in box office, less than the $54 million estimate. That weighed on
shares of AMC Entertainment, Regal, Cinemark and IMAX.

Cinema stocks have fallen hard this year. A number of high-profile
blockbusters have failed to live up to the hype. Digital disruption, of
course, looming all over the industry as well.

HERERA: And that digital disruption is taking things from the big screen
and moving them to the little one. And it`s changing the entertainment
industry as we know it.

Julia Boorstin has more.


2020, half of all video viewing worldwide won`t be on your TV, but rather
on mobile devices. And half of that local viewing will be on smartphones.
That`s 160 percent increase in smartphone viewing since 2010, according to
a new study by Ericsson ConsumerLab.

And the younger you are, the less likely you are to be watching television.
In the U.S., over 60 percent of 16 to 19-year-olds` viewing is on demand,
that`s more than double the amount in 2010. While people near 60s, still
spend more than three-quarters of their viewing with live, linear TV.

BARRY SINE, DREXEL HAMILTON ANALYST: It`s first and foremost a demographic
shift. So, obviously, you know, there`s fewer and fewer folks who watch
linear TV, and the biggest demographic group of the millennials, age 26,
25, 24. And they tend to view content on a mobile basis.

BOORSTIN (on camera): We`re already seeing the telcos big moves to appeal
to mobile viewers, turning to content to differentiate their cell service
and data, which are increasingly seen as a commodity.

(voice-over): That mobile video growth was one factor driving AT&T`s Time
Warner (NYSE:TWX) purchase, recently expanded free HBO to all its unlimited
choice mobile subscribers.

SINE: HBO is very hot, very popular content with a great creative group.
And the important thing for AT&T (NYSE:T) is, with the acquisition of Time
Warner (NYSE:TWX), they`re bringing that in-house so they don`t have to
write a check to a third party like T-Mobile is doing for Netflix

BOORSTIN: And last month, T-Mobile started offering free Netflix
(NASDAQ:NFLX) to its unlimited family plan members.

As for the future of video viewing, it may lie in virtual reality. A
report predicts a third of consumers will be virtual reality users by 2020,
but it also finds that people want to see VR headsets come down in price.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Julia Boorstin in Los Angeles.


MATHISEN: And finally tonight, the Nobel Prize in economics was awarded to
the University of Chicago professor Richard Thaler. He was recognized for
his work, arguing that people make choices that are often not in their best
financial interests.


the assumption that everybody is super rational, has no self-control
problems, never has a hangover, saves exactly the right amount for
retirement, and invests it perfectly. The rest of the world is nothing
like that. We`re more like Homer Simpson than we are like Spock from “Star
Trek”. And so, really, we`ve built up an edifice, a world, a set of
theories that apply to fictional creatures. And we don`t really have an
economic theory that applies to people.


MATHISEN: Thaler`s work extends to the National Football League. He found
football teams routinely pay too much for the top draft choices and
undervalue the lower ones. The best value in the draft, according to
Thaler, the 27th overall pick. And that`s how he would spend the $1
million Nobel Prize money he was awarded, he said, as irrationally as

Good for him.

HERERA: Good for him. Congratulations to him as well.

That does it for us tonight. I`m Sue Herera. Thanks for joining us.

MATHISEN: And thanks for me as well. I`m Tyler Mathisen. Have a great
evening, everybody, and we`ll see you right back here tomorrow night.


Nightly Business Report transcripts and video are available on-line post
broadcast at The program is transcribed by ASC Services II
Media, 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) 2017 CNBC, Inc.


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