Transcript: Nightly Business Report – August 29, 2019

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

BILL GRIFFETH, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR:  Stocks levitate.  An olive branch from Beijing gives investors hope that the trade dispute with China will be resolved, and the market responds.  

Tug-of-war.  Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) says tariffs are creating uncertainty.  
But in California, a surfboard shop owner is petitioning for more.  

Tricky talks.  Federal agents search the home of the UAW president just as
contract negotiations with the big three automakers heat up.

Those stories and more tonight on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for Thursday, August 29th.  

And we do bid you good evening, everybody, and welcome.  Sue is off

It was up, up and away.  Today, stocks moved higher, sharply higher on a
familiar theme: trade.  Chinese officials were quoted as saying they wanted
to resolve the current trade conflict in the U.S. in a calm manner.  Some
took it as a sign that the Chinese government will not retaliate against
the latest round of U.S. tariffs and so, the bulls ran with it on Wall
Street.  The Dow Industrial Average was up 326 points to 26,362.  The
Nasdaq added 116 and the S&P gained 36.  

But as Bob Pisani reports, this rally does not have the certainty of some


BOB PISANI, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT:  The rally rolls on. Stocks ended yesterday`s gains after Chinese officials set a positive tone for U.S./China trade talks.  A spokesman for China`s ministry of commerce said China is willing to resolve the trade conflict with a calm attitude, hinting that it has no plans to retaliate as of now.  

The statement comes just three days before the next round of tariffs are
slated to go into effect on both American and Chinese products.  Now, that
happened well before the opening bell rang and stocks were higher, and were higher throughout the day.  Trade-heavy industrials like Boeing (NYSE:BA) and Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) were up.  Tech names like Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Alibaba were up.  Even oil stocks like Halliburton (NYSE:HAL) and Hess (NYSE:HES), they all got a boost.  

These are names within the cyclical sectors which have gotten badly beaten up this month.  On the flip side, defensive consumer groups like utilities, consumer staples, they were lagging for a change.  Many believe today`s rally may be tentative at best.  The market is stuck because traders can`t figure out what the earnings outlook is for the next six months due to
trade uncertainty and the direction of the economy in Europe and China.  

Right now, earnings look roughly flat for the year, up or down a couple of
percent. AND therein lies the problem.  Rallies like we are seeing today
feel fragile because nobody knows how the trade wars are going to end and
how it will impact corporate America`s bottom line.  

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


GRIFFETH:  Meanwhile, a new report out this morning said the U.S. economy grew at a revised rate of 2 percent in the second quarter.  That was lower than the first quarter, but it was pretty much in line with earlier
estimates for the second.  Strong consumer spending helped offset a decline in business spending.  

A separate report showed the number of Americans filing applications for
unemployment benefits rose 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 215,000 for the
week, a sign the labor market is still very strong right now.  

Pending home sales, which are signed contracts to buy existing homes, they
reversed course and declined in July despite lower mortgage rates.  Diana
Olick explains what`s behind those weaker numbers.  


DIANA OLICK, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT:  Home buyers in July were not so eager to make a deal.  Pending home sales, which measure signed contracts for existing homes, fell 2.5 percent in July compared with June, according to the National Association of Realtors.  They were also slightly lower than July of last year.  This came after strong gains in May and June.  

Lower mortgage rates may have helped end the spring season on a high note as they began falling at the start of May, but they did tick slightly
higher in July before turning lower again in August.  Today`s buyers,
especially on the low end where demand is strongest, are most sensitive to
the smallest moves in rates.  The reason behind falling rates, which is
concern over the economy, also doesn`t help.  

DARYL FAIRWEATHER, REDFIN CHIEF ECONOMIST:  There`s more activity right now than I think there would have been if mortgage rates had stayed high, but there is a lot of uncertainty in the economy right now.  People are worried about the recession.  That`s showing up in consumer sentiment data and it might be holding back what would have been a larger surge in demand.  

OLICK:  Pending home sales fell across the nation, but most steeply in the
west where home prices are highest.  The steeper drop in mortgage rates in
August could help liven up the falling market, but there are too few homes
for sale and supplies are no longer improving as they were earlier this

FAIRWEATHER:  New listings are down right now according to our data, and eventually with more buyers out there and fewer listings, buyers are going to be competing for home and we`re going to see more bidding wars.  

OLICK:  More bidding wars will mean higher prices, yet again, not exactly
what this market needs as affordability is already stretched to the limit.  

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


GRIFFETH:  Our country`s trade deficit with the rest of the world narrowed in July from the prior month.  According to the Commerce Department, exports picked up.  They were led by consumer goods and automobiles, while imports fell on a decline in capital good sales.  

Economists say that the lower deficit is a positive though for the third
quarter gross domestic product numbers.  

Well, when it comes to trade and the trade war specifically, we have heard
from a number of business groups who are urging the White House to postpone new tariffs or cancel them all together.  That`s not what one business owner in California wants.  He`s petitioning the president for more tariffs.  

Ylan Mui has the story tonight from Manhattan Beach, California.  


YLAN MUI, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT:  These California beaches are the epicenter of American surf culture, and President Trump`s trade war with China is making big waves here.  Surfboards are on the list of Chinese goods that will be hit by the next round of tariffs.  They start taking effect on September 1st, and one legendary board maker tells me he`s totally stoked about it.  

DENNIS JARVIS, SPYDER SURF FOUNDER & CEO:  I`m a proponent for as high as possible because then it becomes competitive for me.  

MUI:  Dennis Jarvis is a former pro-surfer and founder of Spyder Surf.  His
workshop is not far from the beach and he makes boards for celebrities like Keanu Reeves and Taylor Swift.  

At its peak in the 1990s, his shop was churning out 15,000 boards a year,
his signature on every one.  Now, he only does about 1,000, as the market
is flooded with cheaper boards from overseas.  

JARVIS:  It`s a business that you have to really love to continue to chase
it, and what`s happening is because of the low cost of the imports, these
guys that are trying to make a living doing what they love, they no longer
have the rack space to be able to sit on a retail store.  

MUI:  The industry estimates one-third of surfboards sold in America are
made overseas.  Government data shows the U.S. imported more than 900,000 surfboards last year, most of them from China.  

Overall, the surfing industry is against the tariffs.  In a letter to the
Trump administration, its trade group warned that tariffs will lead to
higher prices, lower sales and lost jobs.  

SEAN SMITH, SURF INDUSTRY MANUFACTURING ASSOCIATION:  So we do agree that a new trade agreement is to our industry`s benefit, but at the end of the day throwing tariffs on all of these goods to achieve a balanced trade agreement, we don`t agree with that.  

MUI:  Jarvis will feel the pain from the new tariffs as well.  In addition
to his workshop, he runs three retail stores out here that sell clothes,
gear and, yes, even Chinese surfboards.  But he said this fight is not
about personal gain but preserving a way of life.  

JARVIS:  The surfboard is the nucleus of so many factors.  You take in
skateboarding, derived from a surfboard.  Snowboarding, derived from a
surfboard.  Music, Beach Boys.  When you change the nucleus, what`s going to happen to the rest of the industry?  

MUI:  Jarvis has even started a petition to take Trump`s tariffs on
surfboards all the way up to 70 percent.  He says he has 100 domestic board
makers behind him, thousands of customer signatures, and he`s even built a custom Make America Great Again surfboard in hopes of getting the
president`s attention.  

JARVIS:  I don`t have all the answers, I`m just trying to shake the tree to
see what falls out and try to work with people that are compassionate about people that are losing their livelihoods and having to leave towns or even California to find work.  

MUI:  For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Ylan Mui, in Manhattan Beach,


GRIFFETH:  Elsewhere, one day after the FBI raided the home of the
president of the United Auto Workers, the question being asked right now is how will the probe impact upcoming trade talks with the big three

As Phil LeBeau reports, that contract is up in two weeks.  


PHIL LEBEAU, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT:  When UAW president Gary Jones marked the symbolic start of contract talks with automakers by shaking hands with the leaders of GM, Fiat Chrysler and Ford, he said the negotiations would be all about getting more for members.  But the FBI`s expanded investigation of corruption at the UAW is now hovering over these talks, especially after FBI agents raided Gary Jones` home looking for information about corruption at the union.  

Over the last two years, seven people, including former UAW leaders, have
been convicted of receiving pay-offs from vendors of training programs.  
After the FBI raid, the union issued a statement saying: The UAW will
continue to cooperate with the government in its investigation as we have
been doing throughout.  

But with more UAW leaders being questioned about corruption, will it impact how union members respond to contract offers?  Many rank-and-file members are frustrated with the big three.  GM workers in particular are not happy the automaker idled plants in the U.S. while building the new Chevy Blazer at a plant in Mexico.  

It`s been more than 20 years since the last extended strike by the UAW, and
few of the workers who walked the picket line back then are still on the
assembly line today.  

But whether they are old or new, UAW members believe they should get more from the big three.  The U.S. is the most profitable part of the
automaker`s global operations.  

But auto executives are quick to point out they already share some of those
profits with UAW members every year, and they warn if labor costs rise and the auto market overall slows down, then there could be smaller profit
sharing checks in the future.  



GRIFFETH:  Still ahead, there`s a game-changing way for people with
disabilities to save.  So, why are so few taking advantage of it?  


GRIFFETH:  Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) is the latest company now to express
concerns about the trade war with China.  The electronics retailer this
morning reported earnings that were better than expected, but revenues were a bit light and the company did lower its annual sales forecast.  And that sent the stock about 8 percent lower on a big up day.  It turned out to be
the worst performing stock in the S&P 500 as a matter of fact today.  

Courtney Reagan has details for us.  


COURTNEY REAGAN, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT:  It was a mixed quarter for Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) under new CEO Corie Barry, with uncertainties surrounding tariffs and consumer sentiment, weighing on the reps of the year and beyond.  The consumer electronics retailer grew
comparable sales for the tenth straight quarter, just not as much as
expected.  Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) raised its full-year profit forecast but
lowered its expectation for sales.  

MICHAEL LASSER, UBS:  There`s a lot of tariff exposure.  Sixty percent of
sourcing from China means that it adds a whole lot of uncertainty to the
situation, particularly for 2020, because this tariff uncertainty is going
to weigh on 2020 even more so than it`s going to weigh on the fourth
quarter of this year.  

REAGAN:  Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) CEO reiterated several times on the earnings call that just because 60 percent of its goods are subject to tariffs,
mitigation strategies and the company`s negotiation power will make the
overall impact, quote, substantially less.  

CORIE BARRY, BEST BUY CEO:  Our teams are doing excellent work with
mitigation strategies, and at the same time we`re already seeing a lot of
our vendors make some moves and move considerably some of the product.  I mean, current — we talk about our current percent of cost.  We think next year, the percent of cost could be more like 40 percent.  

REAGAN:  Some vendors are moving manufacturing, but others are changing the products themselves to lower costs.  One such vendor is JLab.  One hundred percent of its products are made in China.  It`s working to manage the higher costs from tariffs with some creative solutions.  

WIN CRAMER, JLABS CEO:  We`re trying to find ways that we can both trim
cost to ensure the U.S. consumer doesn`t get — doesn`t get burned as much.  
So, if you think about it, all of the JLab products come with a charging
cable that is three-feet long.  Can we trim that charging cable to one

REAGAN:  In addition to the tariff concerns, Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) expects
the gaming category to continue to be soft through the year.  It was one of
the weaker categories this quarter.  

But not all analysts are concerned about Best Buy`s ability to succeed.  

ANTHONY CHUKUMBA, LOOP CAPITAL:  I feel like this happens pretty much every single time Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) reports earnings.  These were not mixed results.  These were good results.  For my perspective, this is a buying opportunity.  I`m pounding the table with both fists.  This is a company with a long track record of under-promising and over delivering.  

REAGAN:  So, while there`s a lot of uncertainty ahead for both Best Buy
(NYSE:BBY) and how tariffs could change the consumer landscape, the
ultimate outcome remains difficult to forecast.  

For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Courtney Reagan.  


GRIFFETH:  And you would think that tariffs would really have an impact on stores like Dollar General (NYSE:DG) and Dollar Tree (NASDAQ:DLTR) because of their slimmer profit margins, but it turns out that`s not necessarily the case.  Both discount retailers reported faster than expected rise in same-store sales and both raised their guidance.  Dollar General (NYSE:DG) surged more than 10 percent, and as it happens it made it the best performing stock in the S&P 500 today.  

And after a 4 percent pop at the open, Dollar Tree (NASDAQ:DLTR) trended
lower through the day and closed down about 2 percent.  

The strong sales from the dollar stores coupled with strong numbers
recently from larger retailers like Walmart and Target (NYSE:TGT) just
drive home that middle class consumers have money and they are spending it. But for how long?  

Joining us you saw Michael Lasser in Courtney Reagan`s report.  He is back
with us now, the retail analyst at UBS.  

Michael, thanks for joining us tonight.  

LASSER:  Good evening.  Thanks for having me.  

GRIFFETH:  I think about Target (NYSE:TGT) CEO saying he thinks it is the
best retail environment he has ever seen, but Macy`s (NYSE:M) CEO warned that consumers have no appetite for higher costs.  And if the tariffs
looming out there were going to mean higher cost, what happens to the
middle class consumer who`s spending so much right now?  

LASSER:  Yes, there`s going to be some pressure from all of the price
increases associated with the tariffs, and it`s going to come at an
unfortunate time because it will hit right around the peak of the holidays.  
I think we have yet to see the full burden of these tariffs come through,
but that`s going to start in the next couple of weeks given that the flow
of inventory will start to hit store shelves.  That`s going to impact how
the prices that we as consumers see over the holiday.  

GRIFFETH:  What are the dollar stores doing right now that brings people
in?  Why are they doing better than some of the others right now?  

LASSER:  Bill, what they do well is they offer very effective prices.  So,
compelling, low prices in convenient, easy-to-navigate formats.  We`re all
as consumers are time starved, and those stores are relatively easy to get
in and out.  

And when you can couple that with getting good deals, that`s what they`re
doing quite well.  And it`s showing up in their growth, and it`s in turn
making them good stocks to own.  

GRIFFETH:  And how do you rank them when you consider the big box retailers that are also doing well right now?  We heard great numbers from Target (NYSE:TGT) and from Walmart, to name a couple as well.  

LASSER:  Yes, we have buys on Dollar General (NYSE:DG) and Dollar Tree
(NASDAQ:DLTR).  We like these stocks right here, especially over a multi-
year time horizon.  

What they have as an advantage that some other big box retailers don`t have is they`re still opening stores.  In the case of Dollar General (NYSE:DG), they`re opening 6 percent to 8 percent new stores per year.  They`re coupling that with same-store sales growth and returning cash back to shareholders to drive double digit earnings growth.  That makes it a very compelling investment at this level.  

Dollar Tree (NASDAQ:DLTR) is also opening stores, but some of its
businesses are in the midst of a transformation, like this Family Dollar
had underperformed for a while.


LASSER:  And it`s starting to get better.  And we think that that`s going
to make a compelling investment as well.  

GRIFFETH:  Michael Lasser with UBS, again, thanks for joining us tonight.  

LASSER:  Thank you very much.  

GRIFFETH:  You bet.  Thanks.  

Abercrombie and Fitch (NYSE:ANF) feels the pain of the China trade tensions and that`s where we begin tonight`s “Market Focus” with the apparel company reporting a decline in revenue and it lowered its full-year forecast due mainly to the tariff impact.  To protect its profits though from new tariffs, Abercrombie is looking to cut the amount of goods that it sources from China.  Shares slid more than 14 percent today to $14.45.  

But it was all around good news for Burlington.  That apparel retailer
easily topped Wall Street earnings and revenue estimates.  Burlington says
it has not been greatly affected by tariffs because only about 6 percent of
its total sales are from imported goods.  As a result, that company was
able to raise its full year guidance.  And shares soared more than 18
percent today to $205.42.

DSW (NYSE:DSW) Shoes parent company Designer Brands saw a decline in
revenue, but its earnings were in line with analysts` estimates.  The CEO
is aiming to improve that company with new ventures which includes the
acquisition of Camuto Group and the expansion of its Canadian chain, The
Shoe Company.  That stock was up more than 3 percent today to $15.50.  

And then after the bell tonight, Ulta Beauty reported weaker than expected
earnings in revenue.  The company also lowered its full-year outlook citing
broad headwinds in the U.S. cosmetics industry right now.  And shares
dropped in initial after-hours trading today.  It closed the regular
session though up more than 2 percent to $337.45.  

As we all know, saving money is a real challenge for many Americans.  It
even makes it even harder for those with a disability.  But there is a
program that could help families who face this financial dilemma.  

Sharon Epperson is in Lincoln, Massachusetts, for us tonight.  


SHARON EPPERSON, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT:  Rain or shine, Brian Guay is hard at work, caring for his friends at Berryfield Farm in Massachusetts.  The 25-year-old who has autism is feeding horses and his bank account.  He works three jobs and saves over $1,000 a month with one goal in mind.  

BRIAN GUAY, ASPIRING FARM OWNER:  I`m saving my money for to buy the farm.  I`m going to name — the farm is going to be the Little Patch of Heaven.  

EPPERSON:  As he saves money to buy his own farm, Brian and his parents are also hoping he will have enough money to pay for day-to-day expenses down the road.  Together, they`re putting money away in a special savings
vehicle designed for people with disabilities called an ABLE Account.  

ANN GUAY, BRIAN`S MOTHER:  It was a bit of a game change for folks because for so long you were told you can`t save, don`t have any assets.  

EPPERSON:  Until ABLE Accounts were created in 2014, individuals with
disabilities had to have less than $2,000 of savings in their name to
qualify for federal programs like Medicaid, supplemental security income
and other services.  ABLE accounts removed that cap, allowing those with
special needs and their families to contribute up to $15,000 a year in an
ABLE account and still receive benefits.  

MARTY GUAY, BRIAN`S FATHER:  This gives us more elbow room and gives Brian the ability to save and to plan and to do what he needs to do to take care of himself, just like everyone else has to.  

EPPERSON:  Few who qualify are taking advantage of these accounts.  The
ABLE Resource Center estimates 8 million people are eligible for these
accounts, yet as of June, just under 46,000 had been opened.  

Financial advisor Charles Mossimo says many families don`t know about these accounts or understand how they work.  

CHARLES MASSIMO, CJM WEALTH MANAGEMENT CEO:  With an ABLE account, if you go over the $100,000 maximum contribution, you`re going to start to lose your governmental benefits.  So, you really have to manage that account to make sure it stays under $100,000 throughout the life of the account.  

EPPERSON:  The great farmer.  

B. GUAY:  Yes.  

EPPERSON:  That`s you.  

B. GUAY:  That`s me.  

EPPERSON:  That is you.  

For Brian, his ABLE Account gives him a chance to save for his dream, but
also the reality of being able to help provide for himself when his parents
no longer can.  

A. GUAY:  There`s an expression in the disability community, oh, I can
never die, I have to be here forever.  None of us will be.  

M. GUA:  It empowers Brian and gives him more freedom.  

A. GUAY:  And that`s what I love about this.  I hope it will help other
families start thinking about it sooner than later.  

EPPERSON:  For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Sharon Epperson in Lincoln, Massachusetts.  


GRIFFETH:  And coming up, it is the most expensive residential listing in
the U.S. and tonight, we are taking you inside.  


GRIFFETH:  Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) is part of an investor group that has
purchased a stake in the Yes Network, which broadcasts New York Yankees
games.  The group also includes the Yankees and Sinclair broadcasting.  
That stake was sold by Disney (NYSE:DIS), which had agreed to sell the 22
regional sports networks owned by 21st Century Fox as a condition of
Disney`s acquisition of 21st Century Fox.  

Finally tonight, a look inside a California mansion made famous more than
50 years ago when it was the fictional home of TV`s “Beverly Hillbillies”.  
Now, it`s back in the spotlight as the most expensive residential listing
in America.  

Robert Frank takes us on an exclusive tour.


ROBERT FRANK, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT:  This $195 million residence sits in one of L.A.`s most rarified neighborhoods.  

GARY GOLD, HILTON & HYLAND:  This is the Chartwell Estate, owned by the late Jerry Perenchio, who`s an iconic media mogul.  

FRANK:  And this is first time TV cameras have ever been invited inside.  

Back in 1986 the former Univision chairman purchased the Bel-Air mansion.  And after a five-year gut renovation transformed the interior into an authentic replica of an 18th century French chateau.  

GOLD:  Mr. Perenchio loved to entertain, so he built this 40-car motor
court and above it, he built a beautiful rose garden.  

FRANK:  The billionaire businessman filled the 25,000-square-foot mega home with rare European antiques and made some significant modern-day additions.  

GOLD:  The grand ballroom is designed for entertaining.  One of the special
features of the property is with the flick of a switch, it becomes a

Now, I`m not going to drop names, but on this very stage, you would have A-list performers who are used to playing in arenas playing here for an
intimate gathering of 100 guests.  

FRANK:  One level below is the estate`s massive wine cellar.  

GOLD:  It is completely climate controlled and can hold 12,000 bottles of
wine.  You heard me right, 12,000 bottles.  

FRANK:  Buried underneath the chateau are two tunnels, original to the
home`s 1935 construction.  

GOLD:  And this particular tunnel takes you to the spectacular pool and
pool house.  Pavarotti who was a friend and guest to the estate used to
stay here often and he would come to these tunnels and he would practice
because the acoustics are so great.  Figaro.  

FRANK:  The billionaire added a giant`s head to the mouth of one of the
tunnels and a massive steel-and-wood sculpture shaped like an oversized
bird cage that`s surrounded by private gardens and ponds filled with Koi

Back in the `80s, the owner bought three neighboring properties which
expanded the estate to more than ten acres.  He converted one property into a 5,700-square-foot guest house.  The other two he bulldozed to make way for a dramatic private driveway and grassy helipad.  

A grand fountain he built in the backyard is flanked by a pair of
staircases, each with its own cascading waterfall.  

And while redwood trees are usually only found in northern California, that didn`t stop the TV titan from transplanting dozens of majestic sequoias to create a private redwood grove in his own backyard.  

GOLD:  Not only is there nothing like this in Los Angeles, I don`t think
there`s anything like this in the country.  



GRIFFETH:  Wow.  Before we go, a final look at the day on Wall Street.  The
Dow was up 326 points as trade tensions appeared to ease.  The Nasdaq added 116.  The S&P was up 36.  

That is NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for tonight.  I`m Bill Griffeth.  Thanks
for watching.  See you tomorrow.  


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