Transcript: Nightly Business Report – August 2, 2018

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

history. Today, it became the first publicly traded American company to be
valued at $1 trillion.

bookings are down at some hotels, but is this just a blip on Sin City`s

HERERA: Lemon squeeze. Record-breaking temperatures are pushing higher,
leaving customers with a sour taste.

Those stories and more tonight on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for Thursday,
August 2nd.

GRIFFETH: And we bid you good evening, everybody, and welcome.

So, the race to $1 trillion finally has a winner. Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL)
today became the first publicly listed U.S. company to achieve a total
market value of $1 trillion. That number, by the way, is the result of
multiplying the stock`s price by its number of shares outstanding.

Now, the milestone underscores the device maker`s longtime growth and
highlights its role not just in the technology industry, but also in our
everyday lives. Apple`s stock today was up about 3 percent to close at
$207.39. The company`s shares have risen more than 20 percent this year,
getting an extra boost on Tuesday after reporting better than expected
earnings and revenue.

But, you know, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is not the first Dow component to make
valuation history, and it won`t be the last, but Bob Pisani takes a look
now at the companies that came before it.


trillion today marks the latest milestone in the corporate race to sky high

You know, the runner-up, of course, is the company that has its hands in
virtually every industry and I`m talking about Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN).

The very first one company, though, to hit the $1 billion mark, you`re
never going to guess it. It was U.S. Steel all of the way back in 1901,
right at the start of the 20th century when the demand for raw materials
paved the way for that company`s success.

The race for the first $10 billion company, though, was a really tight one.
General Motors (NYSE:GM) became the first to cost $10 billion in 1955.
DuPont, AT&T (NYSE:T) and Standard Oil were not far behind.

After that, the first company to hit $100 billion was IBM. That was in

The first to hit $500 billion? Software giant Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT).
That was 1999, right on the brink of the dotcom bust. Both IBM and
Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) were well ahead of the next three largest

Now, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) was actually the sixth firm to hit the $500
billion mark. That was in 2012. After the likes of ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM),
Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Intel (NASDAQ:INTC), all of which had fallen
well below that mark by the time Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) got there.

By the way, it`s worth noting that Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and Amazon
(NASDAQ:AMZN) only had $500 million last year, along with Chinese
communications giant Tencent. That`s the first Asian tech firm to reach
that valuation.

Keeping track of all those numbers?

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


GRIFFETH: Yes, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) was not the first company to ever hit
$1 trillion. In Asia, Petro-China briefly passed the level back in 2007.
But in the subsequent year, it was worth less than $260 billion.

HERERA: On Wall Street, Apple`s climb was not enough to give the market
overall a big lift. Investors remained concern about trade, especially
with China and that kept a lid on the gain. The Dow Jones Industrial
Average fell seven points to 25,326. The Nasdaq added 95. The S&P 500 was
up 13.

GRIFFETH: It is still unclear where trade relations with China are headed,
but there appears to be some movement on trade with Mexico. A delegation
from that company arrived in Washington today to discuss changes to NAFTA,
where the focus has been on sticking points like autos and possible wage
hikes. But there clearly is no deal yet. Mexico`s economy minister was
quoted as saying, everything will fall into place or nothing will fall into

HERERA: Well, now that summer is about half way over, we thought it would
be a good time for our viewers to take a closer look at their portfolio and
make sure it`s well-positioned for the fall.

Joining us to offer his insights is Mark Luschini. He is the chief
investment strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott.

Good to see you. Welcome back.

you, Sue.

HERERA: I can`t believe how fast summer is going. So, as we approach the
fall, what are the key issues that you`re looking at and that viewers
should pay attention to if they do need to reposition that portfolio?

LUSCHINI: Well, Sue, for us, of course, is — are we going to continue to
see the same strength in the U.S. economy as we`ve seen over the first half
of the year? And I think that`s an unambiguous yes in our view that we`ve
seen this inertia carried through the remainder of this year and going to
2019. So, that`s support of corporate assets overall.

Secondly, of course, as we`re moving past earnings season and we have this
void of new information and the next Fed meeting in September, they`re
likely to hike rates. In addition to that, we`re coming closer to the
midterm elections and, of course, the Iranian sanctions being re-imposed.

And so, there are still some geopolitical and outright political —
domestic related political issues lurking out there that I think are going
to be potential landmines for investors, that they have to watch for how
things evolve. But between now and then, I think the environment for
stocks by way of the prospects for corporate earnings remains very good.

GRIFFETH: OK. Let`s take — unpack some of that. The Iranian sanctions,
the possibility and that theoretically would push energy prices higher.
You like energy stocks then, right?

LUSCHINI: We do, Bill, and not just because of that. I think it`s an
asymmetrical outcome that we project that the risk for oil prices to go
much higher as a consequence of Iranian retaliatory actions and perhaps the
collapse of oil production in Venezuela, we think oil prices remain
elevated just because the oil supply demand imbalance tilting toward
greater demand and supply is likely to keep prices elevated which should be
profitable and therefore for particularly exploration and production
companies who are seeing for the major integrateds, budgets expand, and
they should stand to benefit from the spend.

HERERA: So, let`s take a look at your top picks and one of them is in that
area. Pioneer Natural Resources (NYSE:PXD), and you`ve just mentioned the
reasons why you like that, but also you like PNC Bank (NYSE:PNC) and
Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT). Why?

LUSCHINI: Absolutely, sue. Domestic economic conditions, of course, are
supportive for general business activity, particularly lending in the
commercial and industrial space. PNC is kind of an upper tier super
regional bank that benefits from some capital market activity, but more
principally commercial, general banking activity which the raise in
interest rate — the rise in interest rates on the short end continue to
provide a cushion for the net interest margins.

And as for Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), of course, the company`s done very
well-being picked up, along with the rally and technology stocks, giving
back a little bit here of recent, but nonetheless, as businesses continue
to spend and we saw great numbers coming out of the second quarter GDP
report that showed business investment up over 7 percent on an annualized
basis, software and technology tends to be the disproportionate beneficiary
of business spending on productivity. And so, we think that`s a winner.

HERERA: Excellent. We`ll leave it there, Mark. Thank you so much. Mark
Luschini with Janney Montgomery Scott.


LUSCHINI: You`re welcome.

GRIFFETH: Well, ahead of tomorrow`s monthly employment report, another
report out this morning showed so-called jobless claims inching higher but
still clinging to a 45-year low. The number of workers filing for new
applications for unemployment benefits rose by 1,000 last week, a small
increase. Economists still say this is the strongest labor market the U.S.
has seen in decades.

Tomorrow`s monthly jobs report is expected to show a rise of 190,000 non-
farm payrolls and for the unemployment rate to come in at 3.9 percent.

HERERA: The gaming business in Las Vegas remains in focus. Yesterday, it
was because of what Caesars Entertainment said about its outlook for the
Strip. Today, it was MGM`s turn. The company warned of waning demand at
the Las Vegas casinos, tighter margins and it missed both earnings and
revenue estimates for the current quarter. The stock traded lower most of
the day. It rose a bit going into the closing bell.

GRIFFETH: So, is Las Vegas experiencing a bump in the road or is there
something else going?

Joining us tonight, Dan Peltier is a reporter for the travel website Skift.

Dan, thanks for joining us tonight.

DAN PELTIER, SKIFT REPORTER: Thanks for having me, Bill and Sue.

GRIFFETH: Vegas has changed its spot so many times over the decades and
the gaming Mecca, a family destination for conventioneers, for just
outright tourists. What`s moving the needle for Vegas right now and how
healthy are things?

PELTIER: What I`ve noticed in recent months is that convention business is
really doing astronomically well year to date and even later last year.
It`s growing double digits, and that`s really what`s key for Las Vegas
right now. You know, leisure travel in general is down about 1 percent in
recent months, as well as last year, but the convention business is
soaring, and that`s really what`s most important.

Convention, you know, goers and business travelers spend more. They`re
more valuable. So, that`s a great sign for Vegas and what`s driving them
right now.

HERERA: So, we`ve seen the stock of MGM and Caesars fall in the last
couple of days and a lot of volatility. Are the issues that they`re
talking about them in your opinion, specific to those companies and the
rest of the Strip and the rest of the city is pretty healthy?

PELTIER: That`s right. I think it`s very specific to Caesars and MGM. I
mean, with Caesars, they`re coming off of bankruptcy, you know, escaping
that and MGM, unfortunately had that horrific shooting last year. So I
think those two anomalies.

Other hotel, resorts and casinos have strong earnings for this quarter, and
I think we`re going to see a rebound as the year continues even for those
two companies.

GRIFFETH: Sports betting. The Supreme Court said it`s OK now. So, many
states are adopting it right now. It could be argued that that`s going to
dilute some of the interest in Vegas as a gaming Mecca.

You don`t agree with that, though, why?

PELTIER: You know, Bill, I don`t because really when you think about it,
where else in the world can you get the iconic, time-tested, full
experience that Vegas offers? I mean, really nowhere. I mean, you have
tribal casinos in California trying to challenge Nevada and Reno and Vegas,
but really, they don`t have what Vegas has.

There`s even arguments, you know, I`ve heard that the stocks and gaming
still continue to flow through Vegas because that`s where all of the
knowledge is and all of the books are. So, you know, Vegas is still the
center of the universe for gaming.

GRIFFETH: We`ll know this fall when football season gets under way.

PELTIER: Exactly.

GRIFFETH: Dan Peltier with Skift, thanks for joining us tonight.

PELTIER: Thank you.

HERERA: It is time to take a look at today`s “Upgrades and Downgrades”.

The Dow component Nike (NYSE:NKE) was given an overweight rating in new
coverage at Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS). The analyst says Nike (NYSE:NKE) is
positioned to increase its share of high growth global active wear market.
The price target is $88 and the stock rose more than 1 percent to $78.65.

Tesla was upgraded to outperform from perform at Oppenheim following its
earnings report that we told you about last night. The analyst cites gross
margins for the Model 3 and says that average selling prices remain stable
and elevated. The price target is $385. Shares soared 16 percent to

GRIFFETH: Mining company Freeport-McMoRan was upgraded to neutral from
outperform at Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) Merrill Lynch. The analyst cited
the stock`s valuation and a better outlook for copper prices. The price
target $17. But despite that upgrade, the stock closed down about 1
percent at $15.43.

Wendy`s was downgraded to neutral from buy at Kalinowski Equity Research.
The analyst cited the channel checks that it`s been doing and expectations
for same-store sales. Wendy`s is scheduled to report earnings next week.
The stock fell about a fraction today to $16.65.

HERERA: Still ahead, fees fight. Why it`s costing less and less to


GRIFFETH: CBS (NYSE:CBS) reported better-than-expected earnings and
revenue for the second quarter today, thanks to growth in its streaming
services and higher ad sales. The result, however, were, of course,
overshadowed by the recent sexual harassment allegations against CEO Les
Moonves which, it turns out, were not addressed during the conference call.
Despite the better-than-expected result, shares fell in extended hours
trading tonight.

Julia Boorstin joins us now from Los Angeles.

I mean, the earnings call was pretty much business as usual. Is that what
was expected?

call was very much business as usual. The company`s head of investor
relations opened up the call by saying that because of pending litigation,
there would be no comment on anything but the quarterly results because Les
Moonves had responded to the allegations that were reported in “The New
Yorker” article with a comment, many people including myself thought that
he would make some sort of comment on the earnings call, but it was perhaps
the surprise to myself and others it was all business as usual.

GRIFFETH: And what did he say? How is business for CBS (NYSE:CBS) right

BOORSTIN: Well, CBS` earnings per share grew 6 percent and the revenue
grew 6 percent, and it was a hair stronger than expectations. But Moonves
focused most of his comments on the company`s digital growth, the fact that
they`re growing their over the top direct to consumer streaming services,
CBS (NYSE:CBS) All Access and Showtime OTT, stronger than expected.

A lot of focus on how he`s helped grow the company and built the company to
be prepared for the digital future. But again, no reference to either of
those allegations of sexual misconduct or the pending litigation with Shari

GRIFFETH: Julia Boorstin in Los Angeles, thanks, Julia.

HERERA: Stronger demand helps Dow DuPont beat expectations and that`s
where we begin tonight`s “Market Focus”.

The chemicals producer said higher prices and the rise in sales for feeds
and insecticides helped drive its earnings. Not everything in the report
was good news, though. Dow DuPont said higher raw materials costs and
industry headwinds as a result of trade tensions would cost growth to slow,
and shares fell on that downbeat outlook, and they were off 2 percent to

Aetna`s decision to exit the Affordable Care Act`s health insurance
exchanges led to a drop in overall cost. The health insurer which topped
both profit and sales expectations also said it kept expenses in check.
Shares of Aetna (NYSE:AET) were up a fraction to $187.05.

Gross margins came under pressure over at Clorox (NYSE:CLX) as that company
faced higher commodity costs. Clorox (NYSE:CLX) did say it does not expect
margins to deteriorate further. It is forecasting flat or modestly higher
margins for fiscal 2019. That guidance came after the company topped
profit expectations, but missed on sales. The shares climbed 6 percent to

GRIFFETH: Kellogg (NYSE:K) also said its margins got hit, but for a
different reason. The maker of Frosted Flakes said that lower prices and
increased spending on marketing and transportation is what hurt its
results, but the company topped analyst expectations due to the Pringles
Chips and those popular Eggo Waffles. Kellogg (NYSE:K) also raised its
sales guidance for the full year. Shares rose a fraction today to $69.88.

Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) has struck a partnership with Chinese tech giant
Alibaba to expand the coffee chain`s digital and physical footprint in
China. Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) saw outperformance in the region slow
recently and it expects this new collaboration to give the business an
extra jolt.


KEVIN JOHNSON, STARBUCKS CEO: Most of the growth of transactions in
China`s coming from our new store growth. Now, yes, we did have a negative
2 percent same-store sales comp last quarter, but you know, if what I look
at what we`re doing here with Alibaba and the digital flywheel and enabling
delivery, this is like rocket fuel for the digital flywheel in China and
this will be an accelerator for our business, no doubt.


GRIFFETH: Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) shares fell a fraction today to $51.68.
Shares of Alibaba were down 1 percent to $182.60.

And wireless speaker company Sonos made its market debut on the Nasdaq
today. A big one, the company priced its IPO at $15 a share. That was
below its earlier target range of $17 to $19. Competition is intense in
that business, but Sonos said it partners with its competitors and
executives say it is the strategy that is working.


PATRICK SPENCE, SONOS CEO: Now, what we`re doing is riding the wave of
streaming. So, this rise Spotify, Pandora, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) Music has
been fantastic for us. Over the last six months, we have added million
households in the fastest time yet. Nobody thought we could put off all of
the competitive services on one platform. We have Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN)
Alexa on the platform today. We have Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) assistant coming
later this year.


GRIFFETH: Well, shares spiked 32 percent today to $19.91. Something`s

HERERA: Something`s working indeed.

A growing number of investors are using ETFs as a way to put money into the
market and they`re relatively easy to understand and they`re cheap.

And as Bob Pisani reports they`re getting even less expensive.


year, ETF investment flows have been strong, but it`s not like 2017, $148
billion has flowed into the U.S. ETF business in the first seven months of
the year. That`s a respectable 4 percent increase. But that`s a far cry
from last year when roughly $280 billion came in during the first seven

Now, the wider inflows are due to that hiccup in volatility we had in
February. Remember that? So, while U.S. equity continues to see inflows
of $53 billion, that`s a respectable number, investors haven`t given up
their fixed income. $50 billion went into U.S. fixed income, a large part
of that, though, was high yield.

Now, that`s not surprising. And think about it, the primary risk in high
yield is not interest rate risk. It`s credit risk. And with the U.S.
economy so strong, credit`s holding up very well.

But inflows aren`t really the hot topic in the ETF business. You know what
is? It`s the fees and they just keep dropping. Many platforms now offer
commission trading under certain conditions. Platforms like Fidelity and
Vanguard, for example. But yearly fees have also been dropping.

Average ETF fee in the major platform over to iShares has dropped 25
percent in a few years and it`s even lower at Vanguard. Now, even the
lower cost index funds are starting to cannibalize each other and lower the

So, where is this all going? My bet is that before too long, we will see a
zero fee ETF, zero, which will be a loss leader that will sell people
higher value services. This is great news for consumers but it`s making
the consumer investing advice business a lot tougher. Shares of many big
names like Federated, Franklin, like Mason, they`re down more than 20
percent this year.

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


HERERA: Todd Rosenbluth joins us now to talk more about Fidelity`s move to
lower fees and no fee funds and what it means for you. He is the director
of exchange-traded funds at mutual fund research at CFRA.

It`s great to have you here, Todd. Welcome back.


HERERA: So, where is this going? We posed the question in our meetings
whether this is kind of a race to the bottom in this particular part of the
financial services industry. What do you think?

ROSENBLUTH: Yes, well, we`re there. So, Fidelity offering a zero fee
mutual fund. There are two of them that are going to launch tomorrow is a
big deal. The asset management industry has not wanted to break the seal,
but they have done so. And now, if you`re a mutual fund fan, you can get
for free and if you want other product, the fees come down sharply at
Fidelity. The same way it has at other firms, which is great for

GRIFFETH: Great for investors because there is the move and has been for a
number of years now toward passive investing, index investing as opposed to
active management.

What happens to active management now?

ROSENBLUTH: Well, we think they really need to differentiate themselves.
One, we hope to see fees coming down for actively managed mutual funds.
You really need to price yourself against a zero or near-zero benchmark
that`s out there and you need to justify why you`re different based on the
holdings inside the portfolio, what makes your mutual fund unique, not just
based on its track record, not just based on its fees, but really what`s
inside that portfolio.

HERERA: You know, it seems to me it`s also about grabbing market share and
how big your footprint is. Fidelity has a big footprint. You know,
vanguard has a big footprint. Is that what this game is ultimately about?

ROSENBLUTH: Yes. So it would be great to continue to gather assets for
new products. What we`re really seeing is the goal to retain existing
assets on the Fidelity platform, on other brokerage platforms, be able to
provide additional services to customers outside of that zero fee product.

So, Fidelity has really been the first to do that. We would expect to see
additional pricing coming down across the index mutual fund landscape.
There`s a lot of products out there that charge way too much money for
investors when they can get something for a lot less.

GRIFFETH: That I get. But I`m skeptical enough to ask if I`m paying
nothing, am I getting my money`s worth? And I`m going to be paying for
something somewhere along the line. There is no free lunch.

ROSENBLUTH: There is no free lunch, but if you want a low-cost diversified
index fund that holds Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), that holds Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN),
that holds Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO), as well as some small and midcap companies,
you can now get that for zero from Fidelity. You can get that for a near
zero for Vanguard and Schwab in the mutual fund world, and from iShares and
State Street (NYSE:STT) and other firms in the ETF world.

So, you can get that. You just have to decide if that`s all you want. If
you`re in the door, you got to stay in the door sometimes.


HERERA: Here we go.

GRIFFETH: Very true.

HERERA: Well said.

Todd, thank you very much. Todd Rosenbluth with CFRA Research.

GRIFFETH: Coming up, when a heat wave gives you lemons —


GRIFFETH: The Trump administration is proposing a rollback of federal
emissions standards. The White House wants to freeze a rule mandating that
automakers make cars more fuel efficient. The move sets up a showdown with
the state of California since new federal standards would theoretically
supersede that state`s own strict emissions rules that have been in place
for a long time.

HERERA: Fiat Chrysler is recalling more than 1 million Ram pickup trucks.
The automaker wants to fix a defect that could result in the tail gate
while moving. The company says there haven`t been any injuries or
accidents connected to the defect.

GRIFFETH: A longtime staple of the American mall has filed for bankruptcy
again. Brookstone, famous for its massage chairs and gadgets that we
didn`t know we needed, plans to close all 100 of its remaining mall stores.
This is the company`s second bankruptcy filing in four years. The plan now
is to keep its Website up and running, along with some airport outlets as
it looks for a buyer.

HERERA: And finally tonight, a heat wave in California is causing that
state`s lemon harvest to finish on a sour note. A decline in supply is
driving prices up, squeezing the consumer.

Aditi Roy has the story for us from Somis, California.


on the trees at Underwood family farms right now appear right on schedule
for harvest next year, but just a few weeks ago, the trees weren`t as

CRAIG UNDERWOOD, UNDERWOOD FARMS: And then the hot spell hit and that`s
really impacted our season.

ROY: An unforgiving heat wave shear through Ventura County, with
temperatures as high as 120 degrees. Citrus officials say it knocked down
up to 15 percent of the region`s lemon crop at the tail end of the harvest.

Craig Underwood has been growing lemons for 50 years and says he lost about
half the fruit that was still on trees.

UNDERWOOD: Fruit that was still not picked, if it was yellow, it fell on
the ground. If it was small, it also fell on the ground.

ROY: As lemons dropped, prices soared. The shortage which was worsen when
Mexico, Chile and Argentina reported their own supply issues had driven up
wholesale lemon prices more than 60 percent since the beginning of June.
Industry watchers say prices are the highest they`ve seen in a decade.

Now, customers are getting squeezed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This one was 87 cents which seems like a lot.

ROY: Retailers have either been hiking prices or simply removing lemons
from store shelves, and that`s left some lemon lovers sour.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I notice there aren`t as many in the stores and they
don`t seem to be as good of quality.

ROY: But looks can be deceiving. This one is a bit small and shriveled on
the outside, but on the inside — tastes just fine.

Still, one major distributor sent out a tweet encouraging customers to
switch to lime, but that`s proven to be a touchy subject.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, I`d use a lime.

UNDERWOOD: If you want a lemon, buy a lemon. If you want a lime, buy a

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, of course, there`s a difference, but, you know,
we must be adaptable.

ROY: For those lemon purists, relief is several weeks away. Prices are
expected to go down in September or October when the region`s next harvest
will take place.

For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Aditi Roy, Somis, California.


GRIFFETH: Well, before we go, let`s take a final look at the day on Wall
Street. The Dow was down seven points, even though Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) was
its best performer and hit a trillion dollar market value today. Nasdaq
added 95. Technology strong, S&P up 13 points today.

HERERA: And that will it do it for us tonight. I`m Sue Herera. Thanks so
much for joining us.

GRIFFETH: I`m Bill Griffeth. Have a wonderful evening. We`ll see you


Nightly Business Report transcripts and video are available on-line post
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Business Report is not and should not be considered as investment advice.
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