Transcript: Nightly Business Report – October 20, 2017

0ANNOUNCER: This is NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT with Tyler Mathisen and Sue


third-quarter earnings, this one`s horrible.


the initial stock drop was ugly, but the late-day turnaround was electric.

Road to tax cuts. The Senate approves a budget, kick-starting the process
for tax cuts and reform.

And Kobe, Inc. He scored on the court, but can Kobe Bryant win in the
business world?

Those stories and more tonight on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for Friday,
October 20th.

Good evening, everyone, and welcome. I`m Tyler Mathisen. Sue Herera is
off tonight.

Well, stocks finished the day at new records after the Senate took a step,
a big step, toward tax reform. More on that in a moment.

But we begin tonight with a company that is an American icon, albeit today
a tarnished one, General Electric (NYSE:GE). Today, the company missed
earnings forecasts by a lot, a stark reminder of the work that lays ahead
for the new CEO. He summed up the quarter by saying: our results are
unacceptable, to say the least.

Early today, Wall Street agreed. But after falling sharply, the stock made
an about face, an abrupt one, embarking on its biggest comeback since 2009
and finishing up 1 percent.

Morgan Brennan takes a look at the quarter and what may be ahead for GE.


Electric (NYSE:GE), it`s all about restructuring. Still, the oldest stock
in the Dow`s new CEO, John Flannery, says everything is up for review as he
begins to make, quote, sweeping changes at the struggling company.

FLANNERY: I`ve spent really 90 days exhaustive review of the whole
company, so that the businesses, our culture, corporate spending,
everything at the company has been up for examination, every stone turned,
no sacred cows.

BRENNAN: The comments came on the heels of a particularly disappointing
quarter. Earnings missed expectations by 20 cents, and full-year profits
were dramatically slashed.

But the biggest surprise was operating cash flow. GE had previously
forecast $12 to $14 billion for 2017. Today, it cut that metric in half.

Flannery is already taking steps to rein in costs, eliminating what could
be thousands of corporate jobs. Grounding the fleet of company-owned jets
and shuttering some research centers. Today he doubled GE`s cost-cutting
forecast to $2 billion for 2018. But with all this talk of cost-cutting,
investors are concerned about the future of the dividend.

Flannery did not make any promises it was safe.

FLANNERY: When I look at all of the capital allocation things quite
rationally. If it makes sense to pay dividend, pay dividends. If it makes
sense to buy a stock back, buy stock back. If it makes sense to buy
acquire a company or sell a company.

So I don`t review it emotionally really. It`s all around what`s the best
use of the company`s resources, management, capital, financial capital, and
how is that accrued at the benefit of the owners.

BRENNAN: Flannery says a final decision will come soon as he gets ready to
update investors in more detail next month. But analysts and shareholders
increasingly believe a cut is in the cards, especially after today`s

JACK DE GAN, HARBOR ADVISORY CIO: Clearly, a dividend cut would free up a
lot of flexibility for John Flannery to execute his restructuring. Eight
billion dollar a year in dividends is a big burden. He has the most
political capital he will probably ever have between now and November 13th
at the update meeting. So he has to think very hard about this. He has
one opportunity to cut the dividend, and this is it.

BRENNAN: Some are more upbeat about the prospects than others, especially
since Flannery also said he would shed another $20 billion of assets over
the next several years.

SCOTT DAVIS, MELIUS RESEARCH CEO: If he can do anything at all to create
value, it`s a $30 stock. I mean, it`s as simple to that. Honeywell was
the same way, I mean, bee-lined straight $20 to $30 once Dave Cote got the
train was back on the tracks.

BRENNAN: What GE will spin off remains a mystery, at least until next
month, but analysts are already pointing to health care, transportation,
and GE`s oldest business, lighting, as possible candidates.



MATHISEN: And as Morgan pointed out, it began literally with the light
bulb. General Electric (NYSE:GE) formed in 1892, when Thomas Edison`s
General Electric (NYSE:GE) Company merged with Thomas Houston Electric.

In 1896, GE joined the newly formed Dow Jones Industrial Average. And now
it is the last of the original 12 Dow stocks still included in the index.
Two decades ago, it was a high-flying stock with a profit performance to
match. Those days are long gone.


MATHISEN (voice-over): No matter the product, from light bulbs to
household appliances to power generation and locomotives, even jet engines,
if you bought GE, for decades you were buying a or the world leader. And
for years, the same could be said of its shares.

Retail and institutional investors came to see GE as a bellwether of the
global economy. By 1952, it was the country`s fourth most widely held
stock, and for good reason — earnings just about doubled in the `50s, but
GE`s stock price rose by a factor of five. No wonder its TV ads were a
part of everyday life.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At General Electric (NYSE:GE), progress is our most
important project.

MATHISEN: Ah, but growth stocks, they have to keep growing. In the 1960s,
GE became one of the eight major computer companies, joining the likes of
IBM, Honeywell and RCA. But the 1970s brought economic turbulence, and
GE`s stock stagnated along with the economy.

In 1981, Jack Welch began a 20-year reign as CEO. The company made 600
acquisitions, including NBC parent RCA in 1986.

Welch became famous for streamlining operations, and GE would sell many RCA
properties, but it hung on to NBC, even as Welch shifted the bulk of GE`s
business away from old-line manufacturing and into financial services.
Critics were puzzled about GE`s change of direction. It became one of the
country`s biggest banks.

Under Welch, GE went from a $14 billion market value company to one worth
almost $500 billion. Its stock reliably moved with the market or outpaced
it. But when Jeff Immelt replaced Welch in 2001, GE`s hot stock run ended.
Since then, it`s down roughly 35 percent, and it`s not even 1 of the 20
most widely held shares anymore.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: GE, light bulbs were the day. I don`t know about

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They`re known more as a light bulb company, and people
are not using incandescent light bulbs anymore.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m not worried about it, because I don`t own it!

MATHISEN: Immelt largely unwound the house that Welch built. GE`s
financial businesses paired way back. NBCUniversal sold to Comcast
(NASDAQ:CMCSA) (NYSE:CCS). Oil services behemoth Baker Hughes (NYSE:BHI)
bought, just as oil tanked. The stock is this year`s worst Dow performer,
its dividend now in doubt.

STEPHEN TUSA, JPMORGAN: It`s bad, and I believe it`s getting worse. My
model says it`s going lower.

MATHISEN: Others say this might be the time to buy GE. Its price is low.
Its new CEO, John Flannery, determined to bring good things back to life at
one of America`s most storied companies.


MATHISEN: And here to discuss what is next for the company is Max Wolff,
chief economist at Disruptive Technology Advisers.

Welcome, max. Always good to see you.

So, which is it? Is this company a buy or is it just going to get worse
and you wouldn`t touch it right now?

here. Always great to join you, Tyler.

MATHISEN: Good to see you.

WOLFF: Look, I think this is an oil tanker, and watching that turn is not
beautiful, it`s not a ballet, and it`s not fast, but I think there is some
evidence that this oil tanker is being turned, if slowly. I don`t think
we`re out of the woods here, but I think we`re starting to see the kind of
moves that we saw work, if slowly, and sometimes frustratingly, at some of
the other names. Some that you mentioned, the Honeywells and IBMs.

And it`s a big job, because this is a tech 1.0 company that sort of became
a financial conglomerate that has to be a new, sleek tech conglomerate
that`s tech 2.0. I think it can get there, although I don`t think we know
for sure that it will and I think we do know for sure that we`re not done
turning the tanker.

MATHISEN: Will it ultimately five years from now be a smaller company and
maybe a more profitable company?

WOLFF: Yes. We know that`s the plan. We have no reason to doubt it.
When you`re talking about shedding billions of dollars in costs and maybe
tens of billions of dollars worth of units, I think we know you`re going to
be a smaller company.

I think the only way this turns around really, really fast and sort of
whip-saws the bears in the name, which is possible, is if you see a real
recovery in the oil and gas investments that, unfortunately, the company
made at a rather unfortunate time in the market. We don`t think that comes
back fast enough, but we do think that comes back a little, and we do think
it becomes an industrial technology company, a pared-down conglomerate for
the next set of challenges for the next 50 years.

MATHISEN: So, it sounds like you`re saying, this company is — it is a big
oil tanker that`s about to turn or is initiating a turn. So, I sense that
you would not be jumping into the shares with both feet at this point.

WOLFF: No, I think jumping off an oil tanker is probably something for
someone more adventurous and more coordinated than myself. But I don`t
know that this is such a terrible story, either.

I think the story kind of gets stuck in this war of extremes of terrible,
death trap for money, or immediate turnaround, huge up side. I do think
that it`s going to be a little while to get there, but I don`t see there`s
a reason to not think we get there.

Also, I would point out that we have a new CEO. He`s also kind of going to
talk about everything that`s going wrong to give himself a chance to
rebuild off reasonable expectation, but I think he knows the company,
because last time I checked, I think he`s been there for a couple decades,
so he is not starting from zero.

MATHISEN: Yes. Let`s talk a little bit about the dividend. What ought to
happen there or what do you expect to happen there?

WOLFF: So, I do think there is some risk, although not immediate or for
sure. I think there is some risk that we see the dividend maybe taken down
a bit. We did see that when the financial units got in trouble at the 2008
period, and we didn`t see it rise right back up.

The truth is, if you`re a long-term investor in the name and they`re really
having trouble sustaining an $8 billion total cash dividend payout and you
really are long-term-minded, you want to see this thing turn, then you
probably do want to give up a little bit on the dividend. So, there`s
enough cash flow for them to make the investments and do the kind of things
they need to do, and that really is going to hinge on — whether that has
to happen is going to hinge on how quick and how much of a cost-cutting, if
they can get a little relief on the somewhat troubled power generation
business, and the significantly troubled oil and gas businesses.

MATHISEN: All right, Max. Thank you so much. Great to see you. Have a
great weekend.

WOLFF: Thank you. Always a pleasure.

MATHISEN: Max Wolff with Disruptive Technologies.

As we mentioned, stocks finished the day and the week at records, much of
that due to Senate approval of a $4 trillion budget measure paving the way
for a possible move on tax reform. Now, that prospect lifted bank stocks
and sent the bank ETF to a ten-year high, and that boosted the broader
market along with it.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 165 points to finish at 23328, on
its way, maybe, to 24,000? Nasdaq up nearly 24 and the S&P 500 added 13.
For the week, all of the major indexes saw gains as the Dow blew past

And late last night, the Senate did approve a budget blueprint that would
project a $1.5 trillion tax cut — protect it, I should say, from a
Democratic filibuster. The budget resolution was narrowly approved by a
vote of 51-49. The House will take it up next week, allowing for a tax
overhaul possibly to move ahead and maybe even swiftly.

John Harwood has been covering this story for us from Washington tonight.

John, that is the slimmest of margins. What does it suggest about this tax
cut or tax reform debate that we seem to be about to embark upon?

the Senate passage of that budget resolution that you mentioned and the
revelation of a deal with the House, that means the House is simply going
to pass the Senate budget resolution, they`re not going to debate it. That
is a positive sign for tax reform. That means that they have removed one
of the hurdles facing them because they had to get that done. And if they
took away that disagreement, that helps them.

However, the hurdles that remain are larger than that one. And that is,
what is it going to do to the deficit, and also what is the nature of those
tax cuts? Where do they go? To the middle class, to the wealthy? Those
are things that simply haven`t been worked out.

MATHISEN: This was essentially a party-line vote, nothing too surprising
in that, but there was one defector from the GOP.

HARWOOD: Rand Paul opposed the budget on the grounds that it spends too
much. He is a small-government Republican. Now, the big questions going
forward, assuming the house indeed takes this Senate budget resolution, is
what is the nature of the eventual package that is done, and will people be
able to swallow at the end of the day the idea that debt and deficits are
going to go up by $1.5 trillion over ten years to make these tax cuts

The proponents argue that growth will make up some or all of that money,
but others are skeptical of that argument.

MATHISEN: Yes. And so, you`ve really only got a couple of other votes in
the Senate, and you may lose some of those deficit hawks, both in the
Senate and in the House.

HARWOOD: Bob Corker of Tennessee, who voted for the budget resolution,
said if this final proposal, in his estimation, when they take a count of
dynamic scoring, if that adds one penny to the deficit, he`s going to be
against it. You`ve got concerns on the left of the Republican Party,
people like Susan Collins, about both the deficit and who gets the
benefits, and you have some concerns on the right as well.

MATHISEN: John, thanks very much. Have a great weekend.

HARWOOD: You bet.

MATHISEN: John Harwood in Washington.

And still ahead, the city that is surprising the housing market.


MATHISEN: Well, the president has not yet picked the person to head the
Federal Reserve, but the White House said there is one scenario under
consideration. President Trump could nominate Fed Governor Jerome Powell
and Stanford University economist John Taylor for the two top positions at
the Central Bank, chair and vice chair. It remains unclear which role
either might get.

There are also reports that the president says he likes, really likes the
current chair, Janet Yellen, likes her a lot. Her term ends early next
year, and a decision is expected in the next couple of weeks.

Well, sales of existing homes inched higher in September from August but
remained below 2016 levels. A low supply of homes and high prices continue
to keep a lid on sales nationwide, but there was one surprising exception,
and Diana Olick will tell you what it is.


Sunday open house in the nation`s capital, things were pretty open.

KATHLEEN EDER, COMPASS REALTY VP: I think it`s a little bit of the fear of
the market, the bidding wars, maybe what they`ve been told is out there.
And maybe the disappointment in not getting what you want.

OLICK: Just one couple came to take a look, millennials Rachel Johansen
and Andrew Bracken, who are currently renting a small studio. What they`ve
found so far is just too expensive.

RACHEL JOHANSEN, PROSPECTIVE HOMEBUYER: Feeling like we are having to get
a little creative. There`s definitely stuff available and stuff around. I
think it`s just going to take, like, hitting it at the very right time.

OLICK: Both sales and prices in D.C. are starting to fall for the first
time this year.

EDER: I think some buyers have been priced out of the original markets
they were looking towards.

OLICK (on camera): Home prices here in D.C. had been hitting record highs
in the first half of this year, likely overheating due to the lack of
supply. The same is happening in markets like Seattle, Denver, and much of
California, but one surprise in the September sales report, Houston.

(voice-over): Barely six weeks after the flood waters receded, Houston
home sales are up a surprising 4 percent compared to a year ago, that after
falling 24 percent in August. Some of that may be delayed closings pulled
forward, but there is something else at play.

what may be occurring is that there are many investors looking to buy
property as is, damaged property, at discounter prices, and there were some
home sellers willing to take that bite.

OLICK: Both small investors and large, single-family rental companies
increased their purchases, some quite dramatically, in September. While
that will help homeowners who didn`t have insurance recoup some of their
losses, it will not help the fact that supplies of homes for sale in
Houston and the rest of the nation continue to fall.

For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Diana Olick in Washington.


MATHISEN: Sales growth is slow at Procter and Gamble, and that`s where we
begin tonight`s “Market Focus.”

Overall revenue at the consumer products company fell short of expectations
as customers pulled back spending on personal grooming products. Earnings
edged past estimates, and the company said it is on track to meet financial
targets for its fiscal year. P&G faces pressure to increase sales
following a bitter proxy fight with the billionaire investor Nelson Peltz,
who`s been an outspoken critic of the company`s performance. Shares fell
more than 3 percent to $88.25.

Honeywell raised its full-year revenue outlook after seeing strong
performance in its aerospace division was the driver behind higher sales in
the latest quarter. Profit also rose, and the company reaffirmed its
earnings guidance for the full year, and Honeywell shares, well, they were
up 1 percent to $145.35.

Schlumberger (NYSE:SLB) warned that analysts may have unrealistic
expectations for the oil field services company`s fourth-quarter earnings.
The company said results would be impacted by a decline in producer
spending in the U.S. In its latest quarter, Schlumberger (NYSE:SLB)
reported a rise in profits and revenue. Shares fell 2 percent on the
session to $63.15.

Well, despite facing service disruptions due to Hurricane Harvey, regional
railroad operator Kansas City Southern (NYSE:SO) (NYSE:KSU) reported
stronger-than-expected profits, but the company said it expects a decline
in some shipments in the fourth quarter, cited the uncertainty over the
future of the North American Free Trade Agreement. But today, shares
finished up more than 1 percent at $105.19.

And now to our weekly market monitor who likes tech, biotech, areas where
he sees growth this year and next.

Last time he was on, back in October of last year, he recommended Facebook
(NASDAQ:FB). It`s up 37 percent, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), up 38 percent,
and Salesforce, which is 40 percent higher. So, you`d better listen up.

He`s Mark Lehmann. He`s president of JMP Securities.

Mark, good to have you back. Let`s go for that kind of performance again,
30s and 40s. How about it?

MARK LEHMANN, JMP SECURITIES PRESIDENT: You know, look, we can do this one
more time, Tyler, that be great. The market obviously was —

MATHISEN: I`m coming to work for you.

You still like Facebook (NASDAQ:FB). You think it`s got more room to run?
You`re not worried about any sort of government concerns or regulation of
it, among other things?

LEHMANN: I worry about everything. So I`m worried about that as well as
other specters, but fundamentals, obviously, are more important, and the
fundamentals are advising growth is accelerating.

I think what you`re seeing in some of their businesses, like core like
Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), Instagram growing, and the number of advertising
really doubling in the last six months, what they`re about to do in video.
They`re going to grow their EBITDA by north of 50 percent in this quarter,
and I still think that`s a must-own stock that has up side. We have a
price target just shy $200 for that stock and expect a good third quarter
when they report that shortly.

MATHISEN: A real good core holding if there ever was one.

You had a couple others in the health and biomedical sciences area. One
company I`m not so familiar with is Esperion. Tell me who they are, what
they do and what you expect from them.

LEHMANN: So, Esperion is a really interesting company that works on a very
common, unfortunate side of statin intolerant, people who cannot tolerate
statins. We all know the crisis and benefit of statins. They work for
people who statins just don`t work for, gives people who can`t take the
normal statins.

They`re building a drug for those people that we have — reaching billions
dollars and sales north of — $1 billion in sales after 2020. It`s a
really well-run company, somewhere we`ve followed for a long time. It`s
had its ups and downs with approvals and regulation, but we expect a good
pathway to approval in 2020. Some good news for the next few years.

It`s not a stock you look at day to day and see going up $1 a day. It`s
something we think has material up side, but you need to be patient, but
this is a big audience and they are going to —

MATHISEN: But it has pretty much going up $1 a day this past year, it`s up
nearly 300 percent.
Should I worry about that? Very quickly.

LEHMANN: It has.

MATHISEN: Am getting in too late?

LEHMANN: Like any biotech, it`s a biotech that has binary results, but we
expect positive results. It`s also risen a great deal, it`s also down 50
percent from its peak, Tyler.


LEHMANN: But we see that kind of up side if they get the results in the
next few years.

MATHISEN: All right. Let`s go to Wave Life Sciences, quick thought there.
Why you like it?

LEHMANN: They`re playing a big neurodegenerative disease market. It`s not
got about a $600 million market cap, so it`s not quite as large as the ones
we`ve just discussed, but they`re playing in a sphere if they get some
approvals, some of their peers have gone to a $10 billion valuation. And
I`m certainly not calling for that.

But you look at the regulatory pathways, you have many more drugs are
getting approved than the complete response letters that takes drug stocks
down. We expect good news there. And the biotech index has had great
success this year. This is one that if they have the success, the stock`s
going a heck of a lot higher.

MATHISEN: Mark, continued performance to you and your customers. Mark
Lehmann with JMP Securities. Thanks again.

LEHMANN: Thank you.

MATHISEN: Well, coming up, second acts. A basketball all-star, and I do
mean one of the greatest, his second career as a businessman.


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

On Tuesday, more big earnings are due out. We will hear from Dow
components 3M (NYSE:MMM), Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT), McDonald`s, United
Technologies (NYSE:UTX). A total of 12 Dow components will report next

On Wednesday, we`ll check in on the housing market with the release of the
new home sales numbers. And on Friday, the first estimate for third-
quarter GDP growth is due out.

And that is what to watch on a very busy week next week.

Well, when you think of retired athletes, you probably picture them on the
golf course or in the broadcast booth, but not Kobe Bryant. He`s taking
his second act to the board room.

Eric Chemi introduces us to the basketball legend turned business.


Bryant has long dominated the hardwood. Now, the basketball legend is
chasing a new dream, businessman.

As part of that plan, the five-time NBA champion is the third largest
investor in sports drink company BodyArmor.

KOBE BRYANT, BODYARMOR INVESTOR: In 2025, we want to be the number one
sports drink, right? That means we`ve got to roll up our sleeves and we
got to get after it, and we`ve got it make sure that the market, we`ve got
to make sure other athletes understand that there`s a better option out

CHEMI: BodyArmor was founded by the beverage icon Michael Repole. He`s
known for creating Vitamin Water and Smart Water, billion-dollar brands
that Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) purchased in 2007. Repole and Dr. Pepper Snapple
Group are the two largest investors of BodyArmor.

The sports drink category has remained stagnant over the years. Pepsi`s
Gatorade has long dominated the market, followed by Coca-Cola`s Powerade.

BodyArmor has just 3 percent of the market, but a new deal with UFC and 110
percent annual growth may mean there`s an opportunity.

BRYANT: Innovation is the key to everything. As you come out with a
great idea, but if the idea lacks substance, lacks originality, lacks
innovation, you`re not going to get anywhere. We have innovation.

MIKE REPOLE, BODYARMOR CHAIRMAN: And Gatorade hasn`t innovated in 55
years, the same beverage that we drank in 1965 is the same liquid that`s in
there today.

CHEMI (on camera): But they have other colors.

REPOLE: Yes. They`re called artificial colors. They`re called red 40,
yellow 5, and who really wants to give red 40 and yellow 5 to athletes and

BRYANT: I can call you from a rotary phone, but I`m probably not going to
do that.


CHEMI (voice-over): The former Lakers star says basketball has given him
unique access to some of the greatest minds in business.

BRYANT: Elon Musk is, I`d say a genius by all accounts. But his
commitment and his work — I asked him one time about how does he learn,
and the amount of research and the amount of study that he does is unheard
of, but he`ll always say, the most important thing is imagination.

So, you can learn anything that you want to learn, study all these things
that you have in a book, but if you don`t have your imagination to then
take it to another level, it doesn`t mean anything to you. And I think
Elon, I sat down and spoke with Elon for a couple hours. It was really,
really a joy.

CHEMI: Kobe himself is much more than a pitchman. He has coordinated
sponsorship deals, leads the creative direction on their commercials, even
helps with flavors. Whether Bryant`s skills translate to the business
world is yet to be seen, but so far, analysts are impressed with
BodyArmor`s rapid growth.

For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Eric Chemi in Chicago.


MATHISEN: To read the full interview with Kobe Bryant, you can head to our

And that is NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for tonight. I`m Tyler Mathisen.
Thanks for watching. Have a great weekend, everybody, and we will see back
here on Monday.


Nightly Business Report transcripts and video are available on-line post
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