TYLER MATHISEN, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR: Still on edge. After days
of intense volatility, a relative calm fell on Wall Street. But could a
key economic report tomorrow bring back the big moves?
SUE HERERA, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR: Takeover talk. Walgreens
reportedly eyes a major drug distributor to fend off new threats. It`s a
hyper-competitive fast consolidating industry.
MATHISEN: One trillion dollars and climbing. A new report shows the
mounting costs of the opioid epidemic.
Those stories and more tonight on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for Tuesday,
HERERA: Good evening, everyone, and welcome.
An odd feeling hung over Wall Street today. Odd because it felt quiet.
Even more odd perhaps because at one point the blue chip Dow index was off
triple digits, but compared to what we`ve been seeing lately, it hardly
registered. Some say investors took a much need breather after the recent
bout of heavy volatility.
But whatever the cause, it was the third consecutive session of gains. The
Dow Jones Industrial average closed higher by 39 points to 24,640. The
Nasdaq added 31. And the S&P 500 rose about seven.
But as Bob Pisani reports, both the bulls and the bears are trying to
figure out what might happen next.
BOB PISANI, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: The Dow moved in a 280-
point range from today`s high to low. Yet compared to the last two weeks,
it just seemed quiet. It`s amazing.
So, are things finally starting to settle down? Volume today was well
below the recent average. Remember, the S&P 500 traded three times normal
volume for much of last week. What a titanic week it was. Now that the
Dow recouped roughly 40 percent of its losses from February 1st, the big
debate is what happens next?
The bulls would argue the correction was technical, whatever that means,
and there was no fundamental driver behind it. They say earnings are
growing and the global economic backdrop is solid. That`s true. Many
traders were forced to lighten up their exposure to stock in the middle of
the chaos last week, but the bulls believe the short covering is slowly
starting to wind down.
But the bears say the recovery happened far too quickly, this correction is
only seven days old. And it started, by the way, with a fundamental
concern — fear of inflation from higher wages. Remember that?
Citigroup`s Tobias Levkovich says euphoria is still the underlying culprit
invading the market. He says investors are still kind of itching to buy
here. One thing is for certain, those who argue that the correction was
not technical but fundamental, that it was a response the better jobs and
wage growth, they are going to be watching tomorrow`s lead on January
inflation very, very carefully.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Bob Pisani at the New York Stock Exchange.
MATHISEN: So, could that inflation report that Bob just mentioned
determine the direction of the market tomorrow and in days forward?
Joining us to talk about that, Stephen Wood. He`s the chief market
strategist at Russell Investments.
How closely will you be watching this consumer price index number tomorrow
morning as a confirmation of what we saw in the jobs report a couple of
STEPHEN WOOD, RUSSELL INVESTMENTS CHIEF MARKET STRATEGIST: I think very
closely. The spark that set the flame a number of trading sessions back
was an inflation report. And the basic underlying idea is that the economy
is doing well. And now that we`ve got stimulus coming in not only from the
tax cuts but there could be infrastructure spending, and there is
repatriation of foreign earnings that have been sitting abroad for some
So, when we look at the fundamentals in the United States, we can subtract
off how the Federal Reserve will act. So, I think what really got the
market nervous is that the Federal Reserve has been accommodating for a
long while. They`re beginning to tighten into mediocre environment. But
if they think the inflation and the growth environment is actually good,
the Federal Reserve might either tick quicker and higher.
HERERA: There is also the unknown of what the new Fed chief is going to do
with the board, what his attitude is on inflation and things like that.
That`s another layer, I guess, of uncertainty.
WOOD: I think so. I think what we are going to get is initially there
will be a smoother transition. I think a lot of the stated policy
statements by Chair Powell will be similar to Dr. Yellen. So, I wouldn`t
expect there to be a dramatic departure, but the data are changing
underneath this current chairmanship. So, I think you can expect the
policy response, even if Yellen had been brought in, would be very, very
similar, so that inflation reports is going to be important. I think the
earnings and the economic reports are probably going to be pretty certain
with what —
MATHISEN: So, that number that comes out tomorrow, for you, what would be
the goldilocks number, not too hot, not too cold? And what would be the
one that would make you go ooh?
WOOD: I think that if we have a report that`s above 2 percent and the
internal components of a 2 percent, let`s say 2.2 or 2.3, which I don`t
think it will be. But if it were in the solid 2 percent plus and the
internals think — say to the Federal Reserve that this is not going to
disappear any time soon. And the biggest component is going to be wages,
to the extent that wages are increasing the Fed is going to see that as a
sign of inflation beginning to brew.
MATHISEN: Because it`s usually wage growth that leads to higher inflation
down the road of Steven, thank you for your explanation tonight. We
WOOD: Thank you very much.
MATHISEN: Stephen Wood of Russell.
HERERA: And speaking of the Fed, the new chairman of the Federal Reserve
is watching the market`s ups and downs. Today, Jerome Powell said the
Central Bank will, quote, remain alert, end quote, to any emerging risks to
the stability of the financial markets. He also backed the idea that the
Fed is in the process of gradually raising interest rates and that his goal
is to normalize policies in a way that will extend the recovery.
MATHISEN: And the Federal Reserve Bank of New York reported that household
debt rose for the 14th straight quarter in the final three months of last
year, totaling a record of more than $13 trillion mostly driven by an
increase in mortgage debt, which remains below, however, prerecession
HERERA: Whilst most economists are not concerned about the rise in the
level of consumer debt, a top intelligence official is warning that the
U.S. national debt is unsustainable. The director of national intelligence
told lawmakers it represents a threat to our economic security.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAN COATS, NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE DIRECTOR: The failure to address our long
term fiscal situation has increased the national debt to over $20 trillion
and growing. This situation is unsustainable, as I think we all know, and
represents a dire threat to our economic and national security.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HERERA: The statement comes one day after the White House submitted a
budget that adds to the deficit.
MATHISEN: And that budget proposal submitted yesterday includes a plan to
make over part of the federal food stamp program. The idea is to replace
food stamps with actual boxes of food. The government estimates it could
save billions of dollars this way but how would it work?
Ylan Mui takes look.
YLAN MUI, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: The White House wants to
radically reshape America`s social safety net by replacing some food stamps
with an actual box of food that`s delivered right to your door. Currently,
more than 16 million low income households receive at least $90 a month
from the government to help pay for food. Under this new program, about
half of that money would be replaced by an America`s harvest box shipped
straight from Uncle Sam.
This box would include non-perishable items like cereal, pasta, canned
meat, and peanut butter. The program is projected to save the government
so billion over the next decade. The White House budget director Mick
Mulvaney compared this program to Blue Apron, the meal kit delivery
service, and he calls it an innovative idea.
On Capitol Hill today, he defended the proposal.
MICK MULVANEY, OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET DIRECTOR: We do some
tremendous I think new ideas on things like food stamps and the farm bill,
other mandatory spend. There are some good ideas out there in this budget
that the legislature could take up to get real long term savings.
MUI: The Agriculture Secretary Sonny Purdue promised that the food would
all be homegrown by American farmers and producers, and it would be worth
just as much as households are receiving now. But Washington is skeptical.
The Republican leaders of the agriculture committees in Congress pushed
back against any cuts to food programs.
The grocery industry is also against it, warning that delivering government
food boxes would be inefficient. Stacy Dean of the Center for Policy
Priorities worries that the end results would be fewer benefits for the
people who need them the most.
STACY DEAN, CENTER FOR POLICY PRIORITIES: I don`t think that snap
participants are spending 40 to 50 percent of their benefit on pasta,
powdered milk, and canned tuna. So, what they were talking about putting
in the box doesn`t reflect with what I eat or what I think SNAP
participants are eating and has enormous administrative costs.
MUI: The White House would need Congress to turn this idea into reality.
So, for right now, America`s harvest box is still half baked.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Ylan Mui in Washington.
HERERA: It is time to take a look at some of today`s upgrades and
Dow component JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) was upgraded to outperform from market
perform at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods. The firm says the recent pullback in
the stock price has created an opportunity to buy what it calls a best in
class stock. The analyst has $127 price target on that stock. Shares rose
fractionally to $112.43.
Fellow Dow component 3M (NYSE:MMM) upgraded to buy from hold at Deutsche
Bank. The firm says the strengthening global economy will help accelerate
3M`s earnings. The price target was raised to $275. Shares of 3M
(NYSE:MMM) were up about 1 percent to $231.36.
MATHISEN: Beazer Home upgraded to outperform from neutral at Wedbush. The
firm says the stocks decline was overdone and that an improving balance
sheet will be a catalyst for further growth. The analyst set a $22 price
target there. Shares of Beazer rose 4 cent to $15.95.
And Quest Diagnostics (NYSE:DGX) upgraded to outperform to neutral at
Credit Suisse. The firm cites growth opportunities at that medical lab
operator. The price target raised to $118. Quest up $2. It finished at
HERERA: Still ahead, why two health care heavyweights may want to tie the
HERERA: The CEO of Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) downplayed the possibility that the
company might issue a special dividend. At its annual shareholder meeting,
Tim Cook said he`s not a fan of them when asked if he would issue one
following the recent changes to the tax code. But Cook did say that the
board is committed to annual increases in its regular dividend.
MATHISEN: Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) reportedly expanding into the medical
supplies business. According to “The Wall Street Journal”, the online
retailer is looking to establish a marketplace where hospitals could stock
up on supplies for emergency rooms, operating rooms, outpatient facilities.
The report rippled through parts of the medical supply industry today,
sending stocks like Owens&Minor, Cardinal Health (NYSE:CAH) and McKesson
HERERA: Meantime, shares of Cardinal Health (NYSE:CAH) and McKesson
(NYSE:MCK) also came under pressure from a report that Walgreen`s is in
talks to buy drug distributor AmerisourceBergen (NYSE:ABC). Such a deal
would accelerate the consolidation already underway in that industry. The
report sent shares of AmerisourceBergen (NYSE:ABC) up 9 percent. Walgreens
Boots Alliance fell just a fraction.
Bertha Coombs has more on what a potential tie up might look like.
BERTHA COOMBS, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: Walgreen`s already
has a stake in AmerisourceBergen (NYSE:ABC), one of three major U.S.
wholesale drug distributors. But now the drugstore chain is talking about
buying its supplier outright, according to the “Wall Street Journal.”
Analysts say the move could help Walgreen`s drive down costs.
ROSS MUKEN, EVERCORE ISI: I`m not sure it`s nearly as transformative as
other transactions in health care but certainly something where you would
formalize what has already sort of been put into place.
COOMBS: It wouldn`t be as transformative as CVS`s $69 billion deal to buy
insurer Aetna (NYSE:AET), to bring together pharmacy and health benefits
and affordable retail clinics under one company. In this case, a deal
would put Walgreen`s in charge of its drug supply chain and it could also
deal to thousands of drug stores, while also fending off the threat of
Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and its new health venture with Berkshire Hathaway
(NYSE:BRK.A) and JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) aimed at cutting costs.
DAVID FRIEND, BDO CONSULTING: The supply chain in health care is really
now up for grabs. And I think it`s pretty clear that Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN)
is going to get into this business. If you look at the deal now with
JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) and Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.A). And they are a
great master of disrupting supply chain and dis-intermediating it.
COOMBS: Walgreen`s was blocked from acquiring all of Rite Aid (NYSE:RAD)
pharmacies on antitrust grounds. It`s not clear it will strike a deal to
buy Amerisource, but if it does, it could raise concerns about the impact
on independent drugstores. Still, it would come as businesses the
government are trying to rein drug costs.
FRIEND: To a degree, we see the government push back and the government is
going to ultimately have to have a better solution than what we have today
in terms of how we lower health care cost and keep the system more
COOMBS: A deal could contain costs in the system, saving money for large
employer and government health plans. But ultimately, Walgreen`s may have
to make the case that those savings would actually benefit consumers at the
end of the line who are grappling with high out-of-pocket costs.
Bertha Coombs, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, New York.
MATHISEN: Strong international demand drives sales at Under Armour
(NYSE:UA), and that is where we begin tonight`s “Market Focus”.
The athletic apparel maker said strength in overseas markets help the
company return to growth and deliver results that topped expectations.
Under Armour (NYSE:UA) forecasts sales this year to rise at a low single
digit percentage rates. Shares up 17 percent to $16.70.
PepsiCo also said strong demonstrated overseas help to offset weakness in
its North American market. The beverage giant reported better than expected
profits and said it was going to raise its dividend by 15 percent to $3.71.
The company says it is remaining competitive in a crowded market.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HUGH JOHNSTON, PEPSICO CFO: We`ve been averaging about 3.5 percent, 4
percent revenue growth. Approximately 1.5 of that revenue growth has
actually been coming from innovation. If you think about PepsiCo`s revenue
growth compared to most consumer products companies and most food and
beverage companies, we have been exceeding by about 1.5 percent.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATHISEN: Shares finish the day up 21 cents at $112.14.
The buildings materials company Martin Marietta reported better than
expected earnings, thanks to the new tax law. The company, also helped by
pricing improvement, said it believes the U.S. is in the midst of a multi-
year construction recovery. The stock was up 2.5 percent to $218.41.
And a vitamin and supplement company, GNC, has entered into a partnership
with a Chinese pharmaceutical outfit which will invest $300 million in GNC
and manufacture and sell GNC products in China. The small cap stock saw
big gains, up 18 percent to $4.95.
HERERA: One of Xerox`s largest shareholders is suing that company,
attempting to block its proposed $6 billion merger with Japan`s Fuji Film.
The shareholder called the deal fraudulent, adding that it dramatically
undervalues Xerox (NYSE:XRX). Meanwhile, Xerox (NYSE:XRX) said a merger
with Fuji Film is in the best interests of the company and its
shareholders. The shares were off more than 2 percent to $29.17.
MetLife`s quarterly profit fell more than 30 percent in the most recent
quarter because of changes to the U.S. tax law and a charge for failing to
pay some workers pension. The insurance company previously reported that
the SEC was looking into that matter. The stock was volatile in after-
hours trading. It finished the regular season up more than 1 percent to
Chipotle has a new CEO. The former head of Yum Brand`s Taco Bell unit will
leave the fast food casual chain. They will take over for founder Steve
Ells on March 5th. The stock soared in after-hours trading. Shares of
Chipotle finished the regular session down 3 points to $251.33.
MATHISEN: A new government report alleges that five of the largest opioid
manufacturers paid patient advocacy groups millions of dollars to promote
the use of the painkillers. The Senate investigation examined the
financial ties between the companies and patient groups between 2012 and
2017. And according to the report, Purdue Pharma, Janssen, Mylan
(NASDAQ:MYL), Insys and Depomed downplayed the risk of addiction and
lobbied against restrictions on over-prescriptions.
HERERA: The growing opioid crisis has cost the United States $1 trillion
since 2001. That`s according to new analysis from the non-profit health
care research firm Altarum. And while that financial figure seems high,
the company expects it to keep growing, forecasting an additional $500
billion to be spent on the issue through 2020.
Here to discuss the report`s finding is Ani Turner, Altarum`s co-director
of sustainable health spending strategies.
Ani, welcome. Nice to have you here.
ANI TURNER, ALTARUM CO-DIRECTOR: Thank you. Thank you.
HERERA: It`s a very sobering report to say the least. And I guess one of
the questions that I have, among many is who bears the cost of all of these
TURNER: Yes. These costs are borne by individuals and their families, and
by employers, and by taxpayers through what we are paying for services such
as police and emergency response and the loss in tax revenues. So, really,
across the board.
But what we find, interestingly, is the majority of the costs we estimate
are borne by individuals in the private sector in the form of the lost
productivity and the lost wages from both people dying prematurely of
opioid overdoses and the lost productivity of those who are living with
MATHISEN: So how fast is the cost curve steepening?
TURNER: How fast is it steepening?
Well, what we saw between 2016 and 2017, we are estimating about a 20
percent increase. Back in 2001, we estimate the cost to the U.S. of the
epidemic was about $30 billion. By 2017, in the same year`s dollars, 2016
dollars, we estimate $115 billion. And it`s been accelerating. So, every
year, it seems to be growing faster and faster. And unfortunately the
deaths from opioids are growing faster and faster.
HERERA: You know, Ty and I were talking before we started the show. What
about the cost of treatment? Because it can be extremely costly.
HERERA: Is that factored into these cost estimates? Or is that a
completely separate cost?
TURNER: For the most part, it`s a separate cost because what we are trying
to do is show that if you are looking at the value of investments in
preventing opioid addiction, and in helping those who are suffering from
addiction, you want to know what the value of that investment would be.
So, you want to know what we are already paying, what it`s costing us
We do include in those costs some health care costs, though. So costs of
people in the emergency room suffering from an overdose, and the associated
hospitals costs. As well as costs of increases in conditions like HIV and
hepatitis that are a result of this epidemic. But these burdens then
should be weighed against the costs of treatment, as you said.
HERERA: All right. As we wrap it up, I`m just going to list quickly the
three things that you recommend that lawmakers should focus on, prevention,
treatment, and recovery.
HERERA: Ani Turner, thank you so much for joining us. We really
TURNER: Thank you.
MATHISEN: Coming up, why the business jet market is taking off.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PHIL LEBEAU, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: Those who buy business
jets call the new tax law a Christmas gift. Why? We`ll explain when
NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT returns.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATHISEN: Main Street is feeling pretty good according to a new survey.
Small business owners across the country say this is the best time in
decades to expand and hire. The monthly report from the National
Federation of Independent Business also puts the level of optimism near
records following the passage of the tax law.
HERERA: In a tight labor market, some employers are having a hard time
finding qualified workers. And that is especially true when it comes to
law enforcement, where demand for new officers is quite high.
Kate Rogers (NYSE:ROG) traveled to Houston to report on where the jobs are.
JASON CISNEROZ, HOUSTON POLICE OFFICER: You have got to go the extra step
and maybe shake a hand or maybe just say good morning. And I think that
goes a long way.
KATE ROGERS, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: Jason Cisneroz was
born and raised in Houston. After serving in the Army Reserves post-9/11,
he decided to answer the call of service in his hometown, as a patrolman
with the Houston Police Department.
CISNEROZ: I love serving. And I love giving back. And so, I wanted to do
that at the city level. That`s why I joined the police department.
ROGERS: But Jason`s department says it`s short as many as 2,000 officers
for the city`s current population.
CISNEROZ: It can be overwhelming pause you want to do your part and want
to do what you can, but you are only one person.
ROGERS: The department says a lack of funding for new hires and overtime
coupled with high-profile police involved shootings in recent years have
made recruiting a challenge. The Houston Police Department or HPD has been
deploying officers strategically and changing its recruitment technique,
offering shorter academies for those with prior experience, as well as
marketing with the military, high schools and colleges to apply.
Even with the addition outreach, it`s not easy to make the cut. Only 10
percent of applicants are accepted.
ART ACEVEDO, HOUSTON CHIEF OF POLICE: In order get people with the
character the history, the education, the work history, the credit history,
the psychological mindset, we`ve got to go through a lot of people in order
to get the best of the best.
ROGERS: The issue extends beyond Houston, to rural areas in other large
cities like Atlanta, Philadelphia and San Jose. A number of police
departments across the country are losing manpower, in part because the
economy is improving.
LOUIS DEKMAR, INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF CHIEFS OF POLICE: Recruitment
is always correspondingly more difficult when the economy is thriving
because of the nature of the benefits and pay that private sector can
ROGERS: Recruitment challenges vary from department to department, but
many are offering incentives like tuition reimbursement, signing bonuses
and some are even retooling policies on prior experimental drug use to find
Officers like Cisneroz are hopeful young talent will want to join the
CISNEROZ: Maybe optimistic to say but the change you want to see. If you
think things can be different, then come on and join the ranks.
ROGERS: For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Kate Rogers (NYSE:ROG) in
HERERA: To the private jet market now, which is once again taking off.
Entrepreneurs, corporate executives and those who are well-off are sparking
a resurgence in demand for business jets, both old and new. For that, you
can thank both the growing economy and that new tax law.
Phil LeBeau is in St. Petersburg, Florida, for us tonight.
LEBEAU: Marcus (NYSE:MCS) Adolfsson is a CEO who believes in flying
himself on business trips. These days, he`s piloting an Embraer Phenom 100
jet bought for $1.7 million late last year, after the new tax law was
MARCUS ADOLFSSON, MOBILE NATIONS CEO: This kind of came as a Christmas
gift. I was already in the process of doing the pre-buy on this plane when
I read through the tax law, and I thought, hey, 100 percent bonus
appreciation on new and used aircraft? Well, merry Christmas.
LEBEAU: The change in the tax law is significant. What was once a 50
percent write-off for the cost of a pre-owned jet used for business is now
a 100 percent deduction.
Marcus (NYSE:MCS) Adolfsson is not the only business jet owner using the
new tax law to justify buying a pricier set of wings. In fact, brokers who
buy and sell used business jets say the new depreciation tax break has
sparked a wave of interest they haven`t seen in years.
JetAviva, which buys and sells used business jets, has seen the supply of
some models plunge in the last six months.
CYRUS SIGARI, JETAVIVA CEO: Now that we`re seeing inventory levels go down
and prices per month, people are feeling more competent to make a capital
purchase because they`re not worried about the values being reduced nearly
LEBEAU: Adding to the resurgence is what analysts are starting to see in
corporate America, a rising capital expenditures for major investments like
SHEILA KAHYAOGLU, JEFFERIES: I think that the biggest issue companies are
looking at tax reform and feeling as if they have more to spend.
LEBEAU: A welcome sign for the private jet market which has faced
turbulence since the recession, finally gaining altitude thanks to buyers
looking to take off in their own jet.
Phil LeBeau, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, St. Petersburg, Florida.
MATHISEN: And before we go, let`s take another look at the day on Wall
Street, a calmer day it was. The Dow did close higher by about 39 points.
That`s it`s third straight day of gains. The Nasdaq added 31, the S&P 500
rose about seven.
Tomorrow, a key inflation report is due out. That is one to watch. It
could move the market.
HERERA: Which is will you will have to come watch NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT
That does it for us. I`m Sue Herera. Thanks for joining us.
MATHISEN: And thanks from me as well. I`m Tyler Mathisen. Have a great
evening, everybody. We`ll see you tomorrow.
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