SUE HERERA, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR: Scrapping subsidies. The
White House halts key payments to health insurers, leaving the industry and
millions of Americans in limbo.
TYLER MATHISEN, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR: Business in Iran. The
president takes a hard line on that country, decertifying the nuclear deal.
And Boeing (NYSE:BA) pays extra close attention.
HERERA: What`s new on Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX)? Well, the stock price hit a
new milestone just as traditional media companies have headaches.
Those stories and more tonight on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for Friday,
MATHISEN: Good evening, everyone, and welcome.
The stock market finished the week on yet another high note. The Nasdaq
closed at a record. The Dow and the S&P 500 almost did. And even with a
number of developments out of Washington, investors were focused on the
possibility that corporate profits will be strong this quarter and that
global economic growth will continue to improve.
Today, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 30 points to 22871, Nasdaq was
up 14 to that record, and the S&P 500 added two.
For the week, all of the major indexes were higher.
HERERA: The market may have risen even more today if not for the decline
in the health care stocks. Shares of hospital operators and insurers were
lower after President Trump said the administration will immediately stop
making subsidy payments to health insurers that sell plans under the
Affordable Care Act exchanges. Those payments are used to offset the cost
of coverage for low-income people.
And as Bertha Coombs explains, that leaves a lot of questions about what
BERTHA COOMBS, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):
President Trump says he`s cutting off what he calls subsidies to health
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: That money is going to
insurance companies to lift up their stock price. And that`s not what I`m
about. Take a look who those insurance companies support. And I guarantee
you, one thing, it`s not Donald Trump.
COOMBS: Those CSR payments or cost sharing reduction subsidies are used by
insurance companies to lower out of pocket costs for 6 million people on
Affordable Care Act plan. The president`s move won`t make much difference
CRAIG GARTHWAITE, NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY: Insurers will still have to pay
for those subsidies themselves, they`re required to by law.
COOMBS: Without action from Congress, exchange insurers could have to
absorb subsidy losses in the fourth quarter, which analysts say will hurt
smaller regional carriers the most. But for 2018, with open enrollment set
to start November 1st, most carriers have already priced in large premium
increases to account for the loss of CSRs. Those higher prices will
actually cost the government more than the subsidies themselves.
ROBERT MOFFIT, THE HERITAGE FOUNDATION: The effect of that will be the
premium subsidies will also increase. The one thing that`s kind of ironic
about the effect of this is that it will actually increase the federal
spending on low income persons in the exchanges by about $360 billion over
COOMBS (on camera): And the Congressional Budget Office expects because of
those high premiums, we`ll see an attrition of about a million people
dropping out of the exchanges for next year. The big question is what the
insurers will do about the individual market beyond that.
GARTHWAITE: At a certain point, you have to say this market is not worth
it for me anymore. I`ll just take my marbles and go to a more profitable
COOMBS: Insurance groups expressed concerns about the president`s move and
urged Congress to act in a bipartisan fashion to stabilize the exchanges.
But as one analyst put it, with open enrollment just three weeks away, it`s
now going to be up to the states to try to shore things up.
Bertha Coombs, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, New York.
MATHISEN: President Trump today refused to certify that Iran is complying
with the terms of a landmark 2015 nuclear deal. He also described that
country as a, quote, fanatical regime.
Despite taking a hard line, the president didn`t do something he repeatedly
suggested he would do, namely scrap the deal entirely.
Eamon Javers reports tonight from the White House.
EAMON JAVERS, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: President Trump
announced he will decertify the Iran nuclear deal under U.S. law but remain
in the agreement. And action that means it will be up to Congress to
decide whether or not to re-impose sanctions on Tehran.
TRUMP: As we have seen in North Korea, the longer we ignore a threat, the
worse that threat becomes. It is why we are determined that the world`s
leading sponsor of terrorism will never obtain nuclear weapons.
JAVERS: The president was critical of the deal cut by his predecessor, an
agreement he`s called one of the worst ever.
TRUMP: By its own terms, the Iran deal was supposed to contribute to
regional and international peace and security. And yet while the United
States adheres to our commitment under the deal, the Iranian regime
continues to fuel conflict, terror, and turmoil throughout the Middle East
JAVERS: By keeping the deal in place despite his harsh criticism of it,
the president is walking a fine political line.
FRED KEMPE, ATLANTIC COUNCIL PRESIDENT & CEO: I think that this was a nod
to Secretary Mattis, to Secretary Tillerson, and to General Kelly, all of
whom think that keeping the agreement in place is in the national security
interests. The president felt more strongly in the other direction. This
to a certain extent is a compromise among these men.
JAVERS: Reaction among American allies was mixed. A joint statement from
the leaders of France, Germany, and the United Kingdom said: We encourage
the U.S. administration and Congress to consider the implications to the
security of the U.S. and its allies before taking any steps that might
undermine the nuclear deal.
But Israel`s prime minister was more effusive in his support of President
Trump`s approach, saying: If the Iran deal is left unchanged, one thing is
absolutely certain, in a few year`s time, the world`s foremost terrorist
regime will have an arsenal of nuclear weapons, and that`s a tremendous
danger for our collective future.
As the president spoke, the Treasury Department announced new sanctions
against Iran`s revolutionary guard and two other Iranian entities. The
president said that in the coming months, he could announce new sanctions
or tear up the nuclear deal altogether.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Eamon Javers at the White House.
MATHISEN: And Boeing (NYSE:BA) is one of the big western firms that
started doing business in Iran following the signing of that deal a couple
of years ago. It says its plan to sell 80 passenger jets to Iran air
appears to be safe for now. Boeing (NYSE:BA) also has aircraft purchase
agreements in place with other Iranian carriers.
HERERA: Social Security recipients will get a 2 percent increase in
benefits next year. That amount is up sharply from the past two years but
lower than what was projected this summer. The adjustment covers more than
61 million beneficiaries and is the highest since 2012. The rate of
increase is tied to the consumer price index, a commonly used inflation
MATHISEN: And that inflation gauge was higher for the month of September.
The Consumer Price Index rose 0.5 percent, the second straight increase and
the largest in eight months.
Now, most of the rise came from higher gas prices after Hurricane Harvey
knocked refineries offline.
HERERA: The rise in gasoline prices also contributed to higher retail
sales, which saw the biggest increase in 2 1/2 years in September. There
was increased demand for building materials and cars following the
Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Retail sales are expected to pick up in the
holiday season and some are forecasting the strongest holiday season in
MATHISEN: And higher sales tend to correlate with higher or better
consumer sentiment. That`s what was reported today. The University of
Michigan survey said sentiment unexpectedly hit a 13-year high this month
as Americans` perception of the economy and their own finances rebounded.
HERERA: The vice chair of the Federal Reserve today said he expects the
Central Bank to stick to its schedule of interest rate increases which
includes one in December and three next year.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STANLEY FISCHER, FEDERAL RESERVE VICE CHAIR: I think that that`s
achievable if we continue to run good policies. And with the global
economy coming and for the first time in a decade having fostered growth in
the global economy than we expected, there`s a good chance of that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HERERA: On his last day as vice chair of the central bank, Mr. Fischer
also said Janet Yellen should be reappointed as Fed chair and warned
against too much deregulation of the financial sector.
MATHISEN: On Wall Street, shares of Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) broke $200 a
share, though they failed to close above it. It`s the first time the
streaming service`s stock has reached that level.
And as Julia Boorstin reports, it comes as traditional media companies
JULIA BOORSTIN, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: Netflix
(NASDAQ:NFLX) is expected to keep growing and growing and growing. Goldman
Sachs (NYSE:GS) and JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) both raising their price targets on
the stock on expectations that the company`s recent price increase will
boost revenue and its investment in content will pay off.
Despite the stock nearly doubling over the past year, investors think it
can go even higher.
ERIN BROWNE, UBS ASSET MANAGEMENT: I don`t think valuation is a
consideration or a reason not to buy Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) here. If it has
rising revenues, the earnings will catch up to it.
BOORSTIN: Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) projected it would add 4.4 million
subscribers in the third quarter. And analysts expect the company to pick
up more than 6 million subscribers in the fourth quarter.
While Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) soars, traditional media stocks have been under
pressure, with growing concerns about consumers cutting the cord and the
diminishing value of the TV bundle. AT&T (NYSE:T) warned it would lose
video subscribers in the third quarter, pointing to intense competition in
the TV market and the impact of hurricanes. AT&T (NYSE:T) added 300,000
subscribers to its new streaming service, direct TV now. But even that
growth couldn`t compensate for traditional TV losses.
And cable distributor Charter is in a standoff with cable giant Viacom
(NYSE:VIA) over renewing their distribution agreement. After moving lower
yesterday, shares bounced back today. Analyst Barton Crockett saying
concerns are overblown.
BARTON CROCKETT, FBR CAPITAL MARKETS: You look at the pressure on the TV
network stocks, and I think more so for some of the others like a Viacom
(NYSE:VIA) or some of the TV station companies, you know, things have
gotten to silly-land. I mean, the market is treating some of these
equities like there`s zero equity value.
BOORSTIN: When the traditional media giants report over the next few
weeks, we`ll see what kind of a boost they get from new digital revenues
such as from AT&T`s DirecTV Now, and we`ll see how much competition from
the likes of Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) has hurt ratings and ad dollars.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Julia Boorstin in Los Angeles.
HERERA: So, let`s turn now to Robin Diedrich for more on traditional
companies and how they`re doing in this digital landscape. She`s a senior
media analyst at Edward Jones.
Welcome, nice to have you her, Robin.
ROBIN DIEDRICH, EDWARD JONES SENIOR MEDIA ANALYST: Thank you. Good
HERERA: Let`s start with what you think the key is for the traditional
media companies to continue to succeed and to continue to compete. Is it
as simple as content, or not?
DIEDRICH: Well, we certainly are in a period of a lot of uncertainty for
these media companies in the last several years. So, we do think it does
come down to content for some of the companies that really have the best
content. That is really going to be the way that they survive in a digital
world. Because whether or not, you know, more consumers are moving to
digital, to mobile, they would be able to take that content and either sell
to other providers or even offer their own service.
And we see more and more companies doing that. But you can`t do that
unless you have enough really popular content to create your own service.
MATHISEN: You know, Robin, I notice that there`s been a lot of
consolidation in this area. And I suspect that you would see that that is
an ongoing possibility. Discovery and HGTV, AT&T (NYSE:T) and Time Warner
(NYSE:TWX), and many, many others, Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) (NYSE:CCS) which
owns the company that produces this show, bought NBC.
Do you see consolidation as a way forward, and who will be the mergers and
DIEDRICH: Yes. I mean, I think that is a sign of the times we`re in
because of the uncertainty, because of the need to, you know, have leverage
in this very dynamic, changing marketplace. Some of these companies are
too small to survive. And I think that`s why we saw some of the mergers we
So, you know, certainly, there are, you know, thoughts that really any of
these companies could be acquired. And more of the mergers between the
distributors like the cable companies and the AT&Ts and Comcast
(NASDAQ:CMCSA) (NYSE:CCS), and the content companies. I think that is
something we`re going to continue to see, as well as potentially — what`s
been long thought about has been some of tech companies getting involved.
DIEDRICH: in these acquisitions.
HERERA: It also comes down to pricing power, does it not? The better the
content you have, the wider the reach you have, the more pricing power you
have. Is that a correct read?
DIEDRICH: Yes, and that`s always been the case. You know, the bigger,
better content, that`s given these companies, you know, in the past always
better negotiating leverage with distributors out there. And that`s really
we think is still going to be the case.
MATHISEN: Do you have a favorite stock or two?
DIEDRICH: The only company we recommend right now in the media space is
Disney (NYSE:DIS). And that is really because of how diversified they are.
You know, we do recognize the pressures in the media industry, and for ESPN
in particular. And that`s their — the flagship of their media business.
But over half the profits come from the studios, the theme parks, and
places that are really doing very nicely for Disney (NYSE:DIS) and are
investing a lot in those areas. So, we like the valuation on the stock.
We think that some of the concern over media is perhaps creating somewhat
of an opportunity for the long investor.
HERERA: All right. Robin, we`ll leave it there. Thank you so much for
joining us. Have a great weekend
DIEDRICH: Thank you.
HERERA: Robin Diedrich with Edward Jones.
MATHISEN: Still ahead, a sweet deal. Will there be a get-together in the
HERERA: The IRS has suspended its $7 million contract with Equifax
(NYSE:EFX). The agency said it`s putting the deal on hold as a
precautionary step. As we reported yesterday, Equifax (NYSE:EFX) had to
take down a Webpage after a security analyst said he was targeted with
malicious ads while visiting the site. About 145 million Americans may
have had their personal date exposed when Equifax (NYSE:EFX) was suffering
a security breach.
MATHISEN: Shares of PG&E fell today and have had their worst week in nine
years on reports that downed power lines may have played a key role in the
deadly fires burning across Northern California. State officials now
investigating some power lines that were knocked down by a windstorm on
Sunday. Regulators also looking into PG&E`s maintenance operations and
told the utility to preserve any evidence related to those fires. Shares
of PG&E tumbled 10 percent on the session today. The stock is off 16
percent this week.
HERERA: Legal costs east away at Wells Fargo`s earnings. And that`s where
we begin tonight`s “Market Focus”.
The bank reported a drop in revenue and profits, saying results were hit by
a $1 billion charge related to investigations of the bank`s mortgage
lending practices before the financial crisis. The pre-crisis mortgage
issues are in addition to the fake account scandal that has embroiled that
company over the past year. On a positive note, though, the bank saw
stronger loan growth in its residential mortgage business.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN SHREWSBERRY, WELLS FARGO CFO: In mortgages, on balance sheets for
prime jumbo mortgages, a lot of demand and good growth in that area.
Commercial real estate, we`re the biggest commercial real estate lender in
the U.S. And we`ve been relatively flat there. It`s a very competitive
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HERERA: Shares fell nearly 3 percent to $53.69.
Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) beat analysts` sales targets, despite reporting
a drop in trading activity in its fixed income business. The bank said
higher interest rates helped push profits above expectations. The shares
finished the day up about 1.5 percent to $25.83.
And Hostess Brands` chief executive Bill Toler unexpectedly announced that
he will be retiring in March. The news caused financial firm UBS to
downgrade the company stock, with UBS saying that Toler is the driving
force behind the Twinkie makers` success and his departure raises some
concerns. Shares of Hostess finished the day down 11 percent to $11.94.
MATHISEN: The company Optinose which as you might guess makes medications
for the ears, nose, and throat, went public on the Nasdaq today. The
pharmaceutical company the shares were $16 apiece. Shares jumped more than
18 percent in their debut, closing today at a fragrant $19 for Optinose.
HP gave profit guidance for 2018. It was ahead of street forecasts. The
technical company hiked quarterly dividends by 5 percent and said it plans
to issue 50 percent to 75 percent of its free cash flow to shareholders
through dividends and stock buybacks. Shares were 6 percent higher at
HERERA: Samsung forecasting record third quarter operating profit, thanks
to strong results from its memory chip business. That was overshadowed by
the surprise resignation of Samsung`s chairman, Kwon Oh-Hyun, who has been
the face of that company since its de facto chief was sent to prison on
corruption charges will step down next year. His resignation deepens
concerns over a leadership vacuum at that company.
MATHISEN: Shares of steel makers rose today after a Japanese steel company
admitted to misleading hundreds more customers than originally thought.
The latest disclosure doubles the number of affected companies to 500 now.
Kobe Steel said some of its products lacked proper quality inspections and
that problems existed with some products for more than a decade. General
Motors (NYSE:GM), Toyota (NYSE:TM), Boeing (NYSE:BA), just some of the
companies that have used Kobe Steel products.
And that, along with reports of strong imports of iron ore from China sent
shares of U.S. steel companies higher, as you see there.
HERERA: Saudi Aramco is reportedly considering shelving its IPO.
According to “The Financial Times”, the Saudi oil company has struggled to
select an exchange or to trade its shares. New York and London have been
considered the frontrunners for the largest ever flotation of stock. Saudi
Aramco is instead looking into a private share sale to the world`s largest
sovereign wealth funds and institutional investors. Other reports say that
Saudi Aramco`s IPO will not be pulled, just delayed.
MATHISEN: Well, there could be a deal in the chocolate business. Hershey
reportedly preparing to submit a bid for Nestle`s confectionary business.
Leslie Picker has been following the story for us.
This is a sweet one. I had to say it.
LESLIE PICKER, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. It`s a
good one, it makes me hungry this Friday evening. This is the
Butterfingers, Baby Ruth, Laffy Taffy, that`s the U.S. confectionary
business of Nestle. Now, that has been up for sale since about June. The
company announced they would look for strategic options for that business.
Now, CNBC.com has exclusively learned that potentially buyers could include
Hershey`s, Ferrero, Ferrera, which are two separate companies, as well as
private equity interests for this business.
Now, according to people familiar with the matter, the value for this
business could be as much as $2.5 billion.
HERERA: Do we have any idea who frontrunner might be? I mean, $2.5
billion is a lot of money. But those are a lot of very popular brands with
a lot of depth in terms of penetration.
PICKER: Absolutely. So, $2.5 billion is at the high end. Apparently, the
bids are coming in between $2 billion and $2.5 billion. Now, it`s usually
up to the company to choose the highest bidder. Those bids were submitted
So, I think they`re still going to be sifting through to figure out
exactly, you know, where the bids are, what they`re offering. It could be
a mixture of, you know, a bunch of different currencies, stock as well as
cash in terms of how they`re going to purchase this thing. So, those are
all the types of things that Nestle is going to have to sort out when it
decides who the ultimate bidder will be.
MATHISEN: If it`s Hershey, they`ll seal it with a kiss, right?
PICKER: That was a good one.
MATHISEN: You know, I`m curious as to why Mars, you didn`t mention Mars in
there. Now, Mars is a very, very secretive company. Maybe we just don`t
have the reporting on that.
MATHISEN: Is Nestle going to hold on to other confectionary businesses in
Europe, for example? Or is this it?
PICKER: So, this is part of the plan by Nestle that it announced in June,
which was due to pressure that it`s facing from an investor who has said
they need to improve their margins, they need to streamline their business
a bit more. So, they will still hold plenty of businesses, plenty of food
businesses over in Europe. This is U.S.-specific.
And these are the U.S. brands they`ve decided that they could achieve a
much better valuation in a sale, largely due to consumer tastes. I mean,
these are brands we know and love, but do we eat Laffy Taffy on a daily
PICKER: I mean, maybe Halloween time we do.
HERERA: I was going to say it`s the time of year —
MATHISEN: It`s a good time of year to sell.
HERERA: Good time of year to sell it.
MATHISEN: If we`re getting ready to sell.
MATHISEN: Well, I can see the headlines, Butterfingers and Kisses.
HERERA: Oh, there we go.
MATHISEN: Leslie, thanks. Appreciate it.
PICKER: Thank you, guys.
HERERA: You`re on a roll tonight.
MATHISEN: Oh, baby, it`s the weekend.
HERERA: Thanks, Leslie.
PICKER: Thank you.
HERERA: Coming up, stuck in the middle. Are you part of the middle class?
Well, the answer depends on where you live.
MATHISEN: And here`s a look at what to watch next week.
On Monday, the video-streaming giant Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) will report
financial results. They come after the bell.
On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve will release my favorite book of all, the
Beige Book. It is an aptly titled anecdotal look at economic conditions in
And on Friday, we`ll find out how much new home construction took place in
September. We get the release of housing starts.
That`s what to watch next week.
HERERA: The head of JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) Chase does not like the crypto
currency bitcoin. He made his feelings clear in September when he called
it a fraud. Yesterday, on his company`s earnings conference call, he said
he wasn`t going to talk about bitcoin anymore.
That is, until today, when he made these comments at a conference at the
Institute of International Finance.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bitcoin hit a new high today.
JAMIE DIMON, JPMORGAN CHASE CHAIRMAN & CEO: I could care less what bitcoin
trades for, how it trades, why it trades, who trades it. If you`re stupid
enough to buy, you`ll pay the price for it one day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HERERA: There you go. He also called it a great product for criminals but
added that he thinks the Blockchain technology behind bitcoin is valid.
MATHISEN: The White House has promised an historic tax cut for America`s
middle class. House Republicans go along with that. But whether you`ll
fall into that category is a matter of some debate.
Robert Frank looks at what it means to be in the middle.
ROBERT FRANK, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: House Republicans are
considering a new plan to allow the middle class to continue deducting
their state and local taxes. The question now is what is the dollar
definition of middle class? And does it depend on where you live?
In the face of opposition from high tax states like California, New York,
and New Jersey, House Republicans are proposing to eliminate state and
local tax deductions for the top earners but allow the middle class to keep
them. The new battle is to where to draw that income line.
The median income in America right now is around $59,000 a year. Of course
$59,000 goes a lot further in Illinois and Minnesota than it does in New
York or Massachusetts.
Representative Peter King of New York says the cutoff should be $400,000 a
year, saying that`s what counts as middle class in his high cost district
of Long Island.
According to census data, the median income in New York is $61,000. In
Massachusetts, it`s $74,000. And in Illinois, it`s $57,000. Iowa, it`s
An analysis from the Pew Research Center finds the upper bound of middle
class varies even more widely. Being middle class in New York state stops
at around $112,000. In California, it`s $120,000. But in Mississippi, the
upper bound is $75,000. Alabama, it`s $85,000.
Now, all of this matters because the higher they raise the income
threshold, the less revenue they get from eliminating the tax, showing yet
again how fixing one tax problem often creates another.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Robert Frank.
HERERA: On Friday, as you know, we usually bring you our weekly market
monitor segment. As luck would have it, on this Friday, the 13th, we ran
into technical problems. You can still, though, find his stock picks on
our Website, NBR.com.
I never believed in that, but today, there`s been a lot of glitches.
MATHISEN: How about that? A lot of glitches.
HERERA: Anyway, we hope your day was glitch-free.
That`s NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for tonight. I`m Sue Herera. Thanks for
MATHISEN: And happy Friday 13th, everybody. I`m Tyler Mathisen. Have a
great weekend. We`ll see you Monday.
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