Transcript: Nightly Business Report – May 23, 2018

ANNOUNCER: This is NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT with Bill Griffeth and Sue

The trade tit-for-tat, the Fed guessing game, while important, what really
matters to investors is the bottom line. And two companies made that
evident today. And two companies made that evident today.

Europe could start to spread here and make things a little more difficult
for investors.

HERERA: Is the Bakken back? We`re taking a trip to that region that went
from boom to nearly bust to boom again all in just four years.

Those stories and more tonight on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for Wednesday,
May 23rd.

GRIFFETH: And we do bid you good evening, everybody. Welcome.

It turns out earnings really do matter. That was made clear today on Wall
Street when two well-known companies, each operating in very different
industries, both gave investors new information about the thing that
matters most, the bottom line. And both stocks saw very big moves in

Let`s start with General Electric (NYSE:GE). The company`s CEO said today
he sees no profit growth at its troubled power unit this year. As part of
a presentation that was posted on GE`s Website, John Flannery said he
expects the market for heavy duty gas powered turbines to remain weak
through 2020. It was a reminder to shareholders that changes at the 126-
year-old conglomerate won`t happen overnight.

To quote Mr. Flannery, he said, this is not going to be a quick fix. That
sent the stock lower by 7 plus percent today, its worst day in more than
nine years.

HERERA: And now to Tiffany (NYSE:TIF). While it may not be as widely held
as General Electric (NYSE:GE), today it proved that its turn around plan is
starting to sparkle. The sales and profits trounced the forecast, thanks
to strong demand in the Americas and Asia Pacific region. Tiffany
(NYSE:TIF) also raised its annual earnings and revenue outlook.

The company`s new strategy included selling lower priced items which
attracted millennial shoppers and it paid off for shareholders. That stock
surged 23 percent, its best day in more than 17 years.

GRIFFETH: So, clearly, investors were watching earnings, but they also
paid close attention to the Federal Reserve. Stocks turned positive after
the minutes from the central bank`s most recent meeting showed that bankers
would be comfortable allowing inflation to temporarily run above its 2
percent price target.

It`s not often that the Fed move the markets like that, but today that`s
exactly what happened. The stock rose into the close. The Dow finished up
52 points. It had been down 167 points. Nasdaq added 47. The S&P was up
by eight.

Steve Liesman has details now on that big debate within the central bank.


seriously debating a question they usually ask at the end of hiking rates.
How much further to go? The minutes of the Fed`s may meeting show at least
a few central bankers answer the question, not much further at all. They
believe the economy may have changed so much since the Great Recession
that, quote, the federal funds rate could be at or above their estimates of
its longer run, normal level before too long. To be sure that`s only a few
of the 15 members of the committee.

But with the Fed right now at a funds rate of 1.5 to 1.75 percent, it`s an
amazing discussion to be having. Fed funds can normally top 5 percent of
the cycle but it seems unlikely to go there now and that is welcome news to
the stock market.

That wasn`t the only dovish or easy money type comment made by the Fed in
their minutes. It was also noted the Fed could let inflation run above the
2 percent target for some temporary period of time. It didn`t specify how
long. And overall, the Fed saw solid economic growth and a strong labor
market, but it wasn`t too concerned about wage gains driving up inflation.

The Fed did worry though that fiscal stimulus from the tax cut could
overheat an economy already running at potential.

Another concern: the president`s trade policies. Fed officials said in the
minutes that their own business contacts are telling them that the
uncertainty surrounding trade talks could hold back business investment and
reduce business sentiment.

Despite these dovish signals, the Fed also made clear the next rate hike is
likely coming soon and suggested maybe as soon as June. But the bigger
debate now, how many more come after that.

For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Steve Liesman in Washington.


HERERA: There were new developments on the trade front late today.
According to “The Wall Street Journal”, the White House is considering the
imposition of new tariffs on imported vehicles, on national security
grounds. Those tariffs could be as high as 25 percent. The report says
the plan is in the early stages though the idea has been discussed with
industry officials.

GRIFFETH: To the economy now where a new report shows manufacturing
activity is at its strongest level since September of 2014. The so-called
flash survey out today points to strong gains in both production and new
business. It also showed that inflation is rising with input costs
increasing at the fastest rate in nearly five years.

HERERA: Sales of new homes fell at the beginning of the critical spring
selling season. According to the Commerce Department, purchases were down
1.5 percent in April and data from the last three months was revised lower.
Separately, weekly mortgage refinances dropped to an 18 year low. A sharp
rise in interest rates meant fewer homeowners could benefit from
refinancing their mortgage. Total mortgage application volume which
includes purchases of new homes was also lower.

GRIFFETH: Rising oil prices are helping certain parts of the American
economy, especially regions like the Bakken Formation. North Dakota`s oil
production is back near peak levels right now with breakthroughs in
drilling technology contributing to that resurgence.

So is the Bakken back?

Brian Sullivan went to find out.


the most interesting place in America, from boom to nearly bust and back to
boom, all in just four years.

So goes life here in the plains of North Dakota, and the oil formation
known as the Bakken. With oil prices back above $70, drilling activity
which all but shut down two years ago has resumed and with it so, too, its
confidence in the local economy. Still, even if your business isn`t oil,
oil prices are everybody`s business.

MARCUS JUNDT, WILLISTON BREWING CO. CEO: We`re directly tied to the price
of oil and unfortunately we compete in the oil business`s labor market
because we`re — they`re taking our employees. So, yes, we watch oil every

SULLIVAN: After dumping stocks in many of the companies that operate up
here, investors are again becoming bullish. Shares of the biggest producer
in the Bakken, Continental Resources (NYSE:CLR), are up 30 percent this
year. Other big North Dakota players like Hess (NYSE:HES), Whiting
Petroleum (NYSE:WLL) and Oasis Petroleum (NYSE:OAS) have risen more.

Continental CEO spoke with us at a conference in Bismarck and told us oil
prices have hit a bit of a sweet spot.

HAROLD HAM, CONTINENTAL RESOURCES CEO: We felt that oil prices were going
to go up and they have, higher yet, and we still think it`s going higher
yet. But, you know, we`re not looking at $100 oil in the future or
probably $90 oil, but certainly could be in the mid $70s and low $80s.

SULLIVAN: This is good news not just for oil companies but the state and
its taxpayers as well. Oil revenues are a huge part of the state`s budget.

GOV. DOUG BURGUM (R), NORTH DAKOTA: It`s really been transformational for
our state in the last ten years because of the tremendous opportunity here,
the amount of new capital that`s come in from the industry, job creation,
population increase. We`ve gone from having one of the oldest populations
in the country to one of the youngest. New business startup, big increase
in GDP per capita.

SULLIVAN: The only thing most seem to agree on about oil is that it`s
famously difficult, if not impossible, to predict where oil prices are
going. And locales here say that, unlike a few years ago, they`ll be ready
for whatever happens.

BILL HOLLAR, WILLISTON RESIDENT: We`re ready this time versus last time.
We kind of got caught with our pants down last time, and this time, we`re
more prepared for it and in a lot better shape than we were in the past.

SULLIVAN: For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Brian Sullivan, Bismarck, North


HERERA: You know, we often talk about the so-called wall of worry, things
like rising interest rates, trade wars, higher oil prices and inflation.

But now, there`s another wild card to throw into that mix. It is Europe.

Bob Pisani explains.


moving the stock market, but Europe has bigger problems than trade. The
European economy while still growing is much weaker than the U.S. economy.
Recent data show European manufacturing activity falling to an 18-month
low, activity in the services sector at a 16-month low. Earnings growth
has also been anemic. European stocks as a whole are seeing earnings
growth of only about 3 percent in the first quarter, that`s compared to 26
percent in the United States which was dramatically boosted by tax cuts.

The weakness in Europe has been showing up in the earnings report. Tiffany
(NYSE:TIF), for example, reported stellar earnings today. Same-store sales
worldwide were up 7 percent, well above expectations. But European sales
were down 9 percent.

Now, there`s also some political turmoil in Europe, of course. The
election of a government in Italy that has been hostile to the idea of
remaining in the Euro has also rattled markets over there.

You put it altogether and it`s little wonder that the European stock market
has dramatically underperformed the U.S. stock market. European stocks are
essentially flat in the last 12 months. The S&P 500 in the United States,
it`s up about 14 percent. That`s outperformance.

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


GRIFFETH: So, how worried should investors be about Europe`s slowdown?

Joining us tonight to talk about that, Kristina Hooper is chief market
strategist at Invesco.

Good to see you again. Welcome back.


GRIFFETH: As far as Europe goes —

HOOPER: Investors should be —

GRIFFETH: You say be cautious but don`t panic. Why?

HOOPER: Well, for some very good reasons. While there`s this assumption
in a synchronized global economic recovery, the reality is much different.
There are different headwinds and tailwinds for each economy and different
economies are in different stages of expansion.

So, while the U.S. just finished its 106th month of economic expansion, the
eurozone has only completed 60 months of economic expansion. So, one could
argue that it`s still getting its sea legs, particularly given just how
difficult the economic down turn was and that it will take time. We
certainly saw it go through a breather in the first quarter that`s extended
into the second quarter.

But I think we can attribute at least some of that to a rise in input
costs. They`re at a three-month high. Oil is higher as well as concerns
about protectionism. Keep in mind, economic policy uncertainty has a very
negative impact on business investment.

HERERA: Exactly. But when you put together the fact that the U.K. is
having a very difficult time making any headway with the Brexit
negotiations that have been going on. Bob mentioned the situation in
Italy, it seems as though the landscape in Europe has changed pretty
dramatically in a short period of time.

What impact do you think that is going to have on the U.S.? Does it make
it more attractive because it`s a safer haven or are we going to feel some
of the ripple effects of Europe?

HOOPER: Well, this actually makes a great case for diversification because
the U.S. certainly has some drivers that the Eurozone doesn`t, but the
Eurozone offers some opportunities like lower valuations that are harder to
find in the United States.

The Brexit issue is certainly significant. I would argue that the U.K. is
the poster child for economic policy uncertainty and that`s why we`ve seen
growth as low as it is. But I will also argue that there is some potential
in the eurozone.

The European Union has a champion, and that is Emmanuel Macron, the
president of France. He`s articulated a vision for reform of the European
Union, and actually the recent coalition government in Italy, with its
bold, aggressive stance, may just be the catalyst to get the E.U. to start

GRIFFETH: OK. What are those lower valuations that you think are
attractive for U.S. investors, perhaps? Is it by region or is it by
sector? What are you talking about here?

HOOPER: I`m talking about region. If we were to look at the Eurozone
versus the U.S. stock market, valuations are just more attractive on a P/E
basis, where it`s forward or trailing, as well as a price to book basis.

So, there`s opportunity there. Of course, we need to be selective in this
environment, but I would encourage diversification.

GRIFFETH: All right. Kristina Hooper with Invesco, thanks for your
thoughts tonight. Appreciate it.

HOOPER: Thank you.

HERERA: It is time to take a look at some of today`s upgrades and

Nordstrom (NYSE:JWN) was upgraded from buy to hold at Deutsche Bank. The
analyst cites the stock`s valuation and expects many of that retailer`s
initiative to gain traction throughout the year. The price target is $55.
Shares of Nordstrom (NYSE:JWN) rose 4 percent to $47.62.

Shake Shack was downgraded from neutral to buy at Longbow Research. The
analyst cites the 60 percent run up in stock in the past six months and now
is the time to stop buying Shake Shack shares. The firm is telling clients
to wait for a pull back before getting back in. The stock fell just a
fraction to $57.89.

GRIFFETH: Analysts are at odds over Celgene (NASDAQ:CELG). This is a
great story. The stock was upgraded to outperform from market perform at
Bernstein. The analyst there says the stock`s valuation is too cheap to
ignore. Set the price target at $102.

Another analyst though disagrees. Argus Research downgraded Celgene
(NASDAQ:CELG) to hold from buy. The analyst there says the risks outweigh
the rewards given the company`s overreliance on its cancer treatment
Revlemed. The firm also cited setbacks in its product pipeline. The split
call when all was said and done had Celgene (NASDAQ:CELG) shares higher by
more than 1 percent today. It closed at $77.66.

HERERA: Still ahead, real estate goes high tech.

Diana, what`s coming up?

Alexa, what`s next?

ALEXA: Diana, coming up on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, a great story about
how Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) is working with Lennar (NYSE:LEN) on smart home
services like me.


GRIFFETH: Deutsche Bank is reportedly planning to cut 10,000 jobs or a
tenth of its global workforce according to “The Wall Street Journal”. The
decision is part of an effort to buy the bank to reduce costs and
separately “Bloomberg” reported that Deutsche Bank was planning to withdraw
from a number of equities markets across the globe.

HERERA: Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) (NYSE:CCS) is preparing an all cash bid for
the assets of 21st Century Fox. That offer would be a competing and
superior bid to the one Disney (NYSE:DIS) made late last year. Disney`s
bid is valued at more than $52 billion. While Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA)
(NYSE:CCS) says no final decision has been made, the work to finance the
deal is in the advanced stages.

And then late today, a Fox shareholder said he is urging the company to
engage with Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) (NYSE:CCS). For both Comcast
(NASDAQ:CMCSA) (NYSE:CCS) and Disney (NYSE:DIS), Fox`s assets represent a
way to better compete against Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX). Comcast
(NASDAQ:CMCSA) (NYSE:CCS) and Disney (NYSE:DIS) finished the day lower,
21st Century Fox closed higher.

Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) (NYSE:CCS) is the parent company of CNBC which
produces this program.

GRIFFETH: Excuses, excuses. Target (NYSE:TGT) is joining a number of
retailers who are blaming the weather for its quarterly results. The
retailer missed both earnings and sales expectations, and that rattled
investors today. They sent shares down more than 5.5 percent.

But there was some positive news in Target`s report and Kate Rogers
(NYSE:ROG) has those details.


weather. Spring was colder than normal, rainy and even snowy and that
meant people didn`t head out to Target (NYSE:TGT) stores to buy items like
patio furniture and grills, but the retailer said that was offset by strong
sales growth in food, home and beverage.

Target (NYSE:TGT) is also spending a lot of money to overhaul its business.
It`s in its second year of a three year $7 billion investment, one that
continues to weigh on profits. The overhaul includes remodeling stores,
building new, smaller locations, offering lower prices and getting shoppers
their orders faster.

OLIVER CHEN, COWEN: Target (NYSE:TGT) is on a journey to become America`s
easiest place to shop. So, how are they doing it? They`re doing it by
curbside and car pickup. They`re using Shipt which is a service that
allows you to use a person to help you get your goods and they`re doing
same-day delivery in many markets and offering two-day delivery and online
as well.

ROGERS: Target (NYSE:TGT) does expect margins to improve this year, and it
did see a sharp increase in people coming into its stores. And the nearly
30 percent increase in digital sales. Target (NYSE:TGT) is also hoping its
own brands and partnerships will attract new customers.

CHEN: As we think about the future of retail we think a lot about
convenience. Helping customers just save time and money through different
options. We think about product curation, too, and curation matters
because a lot of these products you can`t get in other places.

ROGERS: Also on Target`s radar, ongoing tensions with China over trade.
CEO Bryan Cornell says they`re watching the situation closely and will
continue to be nimble and agile moving forward.



HERERA: Lowe`s also blames the weather for its disappointing quarter.
That`s where we begin tonight`s “Market Focus”.

The home improvement retailer said a late start to the spring season caused
results to miss estimates, but the company did say it`s encouraged by sales
this month and expects that momentum to continue. Separately, “The Wall
Street Journal” reported that billionaire investor Bill Ackman and hedge
fund Z.E. Shaw Group (NYSE:SHAW) has each taken a $1 billion stake in
Lowe`s. It rose to $94.69.

Ralph Lauren reported better than expected profits and improved margins as
customers bought more items a full price. Same store sales are off and
total revenue also beat expectations. And the shares climbed 14 percent to

The health insurer Anthem said it was buying privately held palliative care
provider Aspire Health. The price tag of that deal wasn`t disclosed, but
the merger signals Anthem`s desire to make a bigger push into medical care
services. Anthem said the deal will allow it to provide a larger array of
programs for consumers. Shares of Anthem fell fractionally to $232.06.

GRIFFETH: Cosmetics maker Revlon (NYSE:REV) has appointed its first female
CEO. The company says Debra Perelman will take the helm as chief executive
immediately. She`s the daughter of Ronald Perelman, who`s long been the
majority owner of Revlon (NYSE:REV). Shares of the company fell nearly 7
percent on the news to $17.55.

And then after the bell, the owner of Victoria`s Secret cut its profit
forecast for the year. L Brands down beat guidance overshadowed an
otherwise solid quarter, with earnings topping expectations in that report.
Shares traded initially lower in the extended session, but finished the
regular session up a fraction to $34.05.

Also after the bell, Williams Sonoma reported stronger than expected
revenue and profits. The home furniture retailer said that results were
helped by demand for many of its brands and higher ecommerce sales as well.
The company increased the full year revenue guidance. Shares initially
popped in after hours. They also finished the regular session up nearly 4
percent to $49.18.

HERERA: The biggest name in retail and the biggest name in home-building
are joining forces in a smart way using smart home technology. Amazon
(NASDAQ:AMZN) and Lennar (NYSE:LEN) have developed a new business model
that could benefit both big time.

Diana Olick is in Aldie, Virginia, tonight.


OLICK: What better place to sell smart home technology.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re walking into an Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) experience
center —

ALEXA: Currently, traffic on your commute looks good.

OLICK: — than in a tricked out model smart home.

play, and potentially purchase many of the connected devices that you`ve
heard about and seen on Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN).com.

OLICK: Even if I don`t buy a Lennar (NYSE:LEN) home?

KAISERMAN: You got it.

OLICK: Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Lennar (NYSE:LEN) are teaming up in a show
and sell collaboration, using each other to hawk their wares.

It`s not just gadgets?

KAISERMAN: It`s not just gadgets. The smart home of today is the way
people expect to live, that`s ordering food as easily as it is opening
doors as it is turning on lights and turning on movies.

OLICK: Alexa, movie time.


KAISERMAN: And what you`ll notice is lights will go down, shades will come
down, lighting will go behind the TV. So, this is an Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN)

OLICK: So, those little thingies in there, these — so you have your

KAISERMAN: Yes. And now, that will arrive in your normal Amazon
(NASDAQ:AMZN) delivery. This is the power of working with a company like

OLICK: I never need to go to a supermarket again.

So, whether you come to the home to try the technology or just see the
tech, which is now standard in new Lennar (NYSE:LEN) homes while touring —

KAISERMAN: There`s cross pollination that could happen.

OLICK: And while the gadgetry is cool, it`s the service. Amazon
(NASDAQ:AMZN) Home Services, a growing business at Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) is
selling and Lennar (NYSE:LEN) is including.

KAISERMAN: Smart home is scary to a lot of people. When you put together
all of these incredibly connected devices, a lot of people are saying, I`m
intrigued, but like, how`s that going to work for me. So, when you buy a
Lennar (NYSE:LEN), everything is included home, you get —

OLICK: You get the guy.

KAISERMAN: You get the guy too. And P.J. over here would come and help
you activate your home, teach you about it.

OLICK: And P.J. or whoever from Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) Services works with
you for 90 days to customize it all.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Alexa, turn the lights blue.

OLICK: The home services business is becoming increasingly competitive.
Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) just announced that consumers can now shop for home
service experts through its Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) marketplace. Big names in
a big battle for your home and how you live in it.

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


GRIFFETH: And coming up: getting away this summer. Prepare for packed


GRIFFETH: A rare look at what to watch tomorrow. A number of Fed
officials will be speaking about economic conditions in the U.S. and
abroad. We`ll get the latest read on how many people are applying for
unemployment benefits with the release of the weekly jobless claims and a
look at how many existing homes were recently sold. That is what we`re
watching for on Thursday.

HERERA: Las Vegas casino workers have overwhelmingly voted to strike. The
workers are eligible to walk off the job after June 1st if contract
negotiations aren`t reached before they expire at the end of the month.
There has not been a widespread strike in Las Vegas since 1984.

GRIFFETH: Uber is now being valued at about $62 billion. This after the
ride hailing company said the three investors are looking to buy stakes in
the firm. The announcement comes as Uber reports a 55 percent increase in
gross bookings from a year earlier. Excluding one-time gains, Uber cut its
losses in half from a year ago.

HERERA: If you are planning to fly somewhere this summer, be prepared for
a packed plane. The airlines are expecting to carry a record number of

Phil LeBeau takes a look at the busy summer ahead in the sky.


summer? Join the club. The airline industry is gearing up for an
estimated 246 million passengers from June 1st through August 31st, an all-
time high for those months, up 3.7 percent compared to last year.

SHARON PINKERTON, AIRLINES FOR AMERICA: What that means is at our peak,
and it could be this weekend, 2.6 million people will travel on any one
day. That`s about 100,000 people a day more than last year.

LEBEAU: What`s driving the demand to take off? It`s the combination of a
strong economy, high consumer confidence and relatively low airfares.

In fact, compared to three years ago, airfares are down more than 10
percent, but airfares are starting to move higher, largely because the cost
of jet fuel has jumped almost 50 percent in the last year.

United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz says the surge in fuel costs is worth
watching, but so far, it`s not hurting the company`s bottom line.

A message echoed by the CEO of Hawaiian (NASDAQ:HA) Airlines.

PETER INGRAM, HAWAIIAN AIRLINES: We`re not at a point where the level of
oil is, you know, really a significant threat to the profitability of our

LEBEAU: As long as demand remains strong, airlines will try to raise fares
so they can offset some of the fuel cost increases.

But don`t expect big airfare hikes. After all, competition from low-cost
carriers or between airlines looking to pick up market share in a
particular city means that the price we pay to fly should remain relatively



GRIFFETH: Before we go, here`s another look at the day on Wall Street.
The Dow had been down 167 points but finished up 52 to 24,886, the Nasdaq
was up 47 and the S&P gained 8 points today.

HERERA: Quite a turn around.


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

GRIFFETH: I`m Bill Griffeth. Have a great evening. See you tomorrow.


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) 2018 CNBC, Inc.


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