Transcript: Nightly Business Report – September 5, 2019

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

BILL GRIFFETH, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR:  Deal or no deal.  Stocks rally after the U.S. and China say trade talks are on for October.  But is an agreement possible this time around?  

SUE HERERA, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR:  Solid summer in the showrooms. Americans are buying up new cars, and they`re willing to shell out a near record amount of money to get them.  

GRIFFETH:  Where is the beef?  That`s what cattle ranchers are asking about the growing fake meat movement.  

Those stories and much more tonight on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for
Thursday, September 5th.  

HERERA:  Good evening, everyone, and welcome.  

Wall Street was in rally mode, and it was all because of trade.  The stage
is set for a new round of negotiations between the U.S. and China next
month.  Investors view that meeting as a sign of progress in the conflict
between the world`s two economic superpowers and that eventually, it will be resolved.  Trade developments have moved the market both higher and lower in recent weeks.  

Today, stocks rose along with investors` sentiment.  The Dow Jones
Industrial Average rose 372 points to 26,728, the Nasdaq was up 139, and
the S&P 500 added 38.  

Seema Mody was following all of the action from the New York Stock


SEEMA MODY, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT:  For the second straight day, easing global tensions sparked a global rally.  Stocks jumped on hopes that the U.S. and China will come to terms on trade.  Officials from the two countries now plan on resuming high-level trade talks in October.  In response, the Dow rallied triple digits, close its best two-day rally in three months.  A wide range of stocks participated in the rally —
technology, consumer discretionary, industrial stocks like 3M (NYSE:MMM)
and Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) that do business in China, plus a number of
retailers that source, produce and sell their products in China also got a

But trade optimism can be short lived, as we`ve seen in the past, and
that`s why Wall Street strategists are remaining cautious.  But for now,
investors are warming up to the idea that tensions are de-escalating
between China and the U.S.

Tomorrow, traders turn their attention to the August jobs report, which may give some guidance on what the Federal Reserve will do in its next policy meeting.  Economists project 150,000 jobs were added in the month of August.  



GRIFFETH:  But while Wall Street breathed a sigh of relief over trade
today, at least, there is still a lot of work to be done in Washington
ahead of those talks when they are to begin in the next several weeks.  

Eamon Javers has been covering this for us all the while at the White
House.  He`s with us tonight.  

Eamon, what is the mood at the White House and are they trying to provide
guidance on these talks yet?  

EAMON JAVERS, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT:  Yes, Bill, they`re not really providing guidance.  They`re taking sort of a wait-and-see approach here at the White House.  The idea is, they`re going to see if the Chinese bring anything to the table, and you notice that the two statements that we got on Wednesday evening — one from Beijing, one from Washington — were slightly different.  The Chinese side said there would definitely be talks in October.  The U.S. side said there would be talks at the deputy level in September and then they would move up to the ministerial level if they made good progress in those early round of talks.  

So, no guarantee here of really high-level talks in October coming from the
U.S. side, Bill.  

HERERA:  So, who else is the president talking to and hearing from on this?  

JAVERS:  Well, we had an interesting visitor to the White House today, GM
CEO Mary Barra was here.  The White House not reading out what was in that conversation between the two leaders, but presumably, President Trump and Mary Barra talked a little bit about China and trade, given that GM has such a big presence in China and a global supply chain.  The president having the opportunity today now to hear from one of America`s biggest CEOs.  

GRIFFETH:  Eamon Javers at the White House for us — Eamon, thanks.  

JAVERS:  You bet.  

HERERA:  As we mentioned, the trade news lifted the market today, but can
you trust the rally?  

We`re joined right now by Larry Adam, chief investment officer at Raymond James.  

Larry, welcome.  Nice to have you here.  


HERERA:  That is the question.  I mean, investors have really been whip-
sawed with every headline on trade.  How do you feel broadly speaking about the move that we saw in the market today and whether it`s sustainable?  

ADAM:  Well, I do think it`s sustainable because I think by the end of this
year, we`ll be back at record highs, and I think that will continue into
next year.  But I think the biggest part of the story, as you just
mentioned, is that investors need to have a plan.  And if you think back
just over the last couple of weeks, if you`d have gotten out at the wrong
times when we were actually down because of the fears of a recession or
fears of trade tensions, you wouldn`t have experienced this most recent
rally, so sticking to a plan is very important.  

GRIFFETH:  What should that plan include, though?  I agree, you know, you
don`t want to try and time this market and get out at the wrong time.  
However, what do you invest in?  Lately, the defensive issues have been the
strongest in this market.  Clearly, people are looking for safety in this
market, even as they look for long-term growth, right?  

ADAM:  Well, that is true.  And to look at what`s happening tonight with
the NFL and the 100-year celebration, you know, I`m going to borrow a
reference that offense tends to put fans in the seats, but defense wins

And if you look at our strategy, it tends to be a little bit more
defensive, meaning that I like U.S. equities over international equities, I
like large-cap equities, which are the biggest companies in the United
States, over small-cap equities.  And then in the fixed income market, I
like investment-grade bonds over the more risky high-yield bonds.  So
that`s how we`re positioned right now.  

HERERA:  And what about the Fed?  What role, if any, do you think the Fed
will play in this market?  

ADAM:  I think the Fed will have a very important job in this market,
meaning, I think everybody wants to talk about whether or not it`s one cut,
two cuts, three cuts or more.  I think the more important story is can they
cut enough times for this expansion to continue?  And I think that they
will be able to do that, and that`s why we`re more bullish on the equity
markets going forward.  

GRIFFETH:  You`ll like the U.S. market, but what if we don`t see a
breakthrough in the trade talks in the next month or so?  What if the
tariffs do continue to go up and they hamper the growth rate of U.S.
companies, especially those big large caps that you like right now?  Do you
start to rethink it at some point?  

ADAM:  We would start to reconsider that, because if you do see those
tariffs go into their full amount, you`re talking about earnings growth
being driven down lower by about 6 percent or 7 percent, so you`re right,
that could have a meaningful impact.  

However, I still think that those tariffs are not going to be fully
implemented.  I think that they will be postponed.  The president knows
that it`s very important to our economy for those to be postponed.  So, I
just have a feeling that they`re going to be put into next year, or at
least postponed indefinitely, and that will help the markets to rally.  

HERERA:  Larry Adam with Raymond James — Larry, thank you very much.  

ADAM:  Thank you.  

GRIFFETH:  A resolution to the trade war between the U.S. and China cannot come fast enough for some lesser-known retailers because, as Courtney Reagan reports now, the tense economic relationship with China is turning into a big challenge for many smaller retailers.  


COURTNEY REAGAN, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT:  Well, the trade war hurts businesses of all sizes, large retailers like Walmart and Home Depot (NYSE:HD) have the ability to adapt.  It`s harder for smaller
retailers.  And more than 98 percent of U.S. retail companies employ 50
people or less, which means 40 percent of retail employees — 11.5 million
people — work for small retail companies, according to the National Retail

This is United Legwear.  It`s a larger, private company, employs a little
more than 1,000 people with $500 million in annual revenue.  It designs,
manufacturers, and licenses leg wear and accessories for brands including
Puma, Champion, and Skechers.

United Legwear manufactures in a number of countries, but China is its
biggest market, making 270 million pairs of socks there annually.  

CHRIS VOLPE, UNITED LEGWEAR APPAREL CO. COO & CFO:  We`ve moved from a model of being proactive and strategic as a company in the last 18 months to being much more defensive and protectionistic.  It`s caused us to
disrupt our cash flow, our distribution center, operations, as well as our
planning and forecasting forward because of the sporadic and radical
changes that are constantly happening now between Mr. Trump and the Chinese government.  

REAGAN:  Gold Medal International is an accessories, gloves, hats and
scarves wholesaler with $60 million in annual revenue and 50 employees.  
And although it manufacturers in ten countries, China is a significant
portion of its sourcing.  

RAUL ROTSTEIN, GOLD MEDAL INTERNATIONAL PRESIDENT & CEO:  This is a family business.  We`re third generation.  My son is actually overseas in
Southeast Asia at the moment, and he has been here five years.  He got
married three years ago.  He is having — they`re expecting their first
child in December, and the government`s trying to put us out of business.  

REAGAN:  Carlton`s is a single store in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, selling
men`s and women`s wear from brands like Tommy Bahama and Patagonia.  It employs up to 15 people with annual revenues of $2 million to $3 million.  The co-owner Trey Kraus says a 15 percent tariff will increase his prices up to 25 percent, in order to maintain the company`s profit margin percentages.  

He expects higher prices will lower the amount he sells, but Kraus is also
worried about the larger impact tariffs could have on the consumer.  

TREY KRAUS, CARLTON`S CO-OWNER:  My consumer`s having to pay more at the grocery stores, at you know, the hardware stores, et cetera, and then
coming in here with less dollars to pay and to buy something that costs
more.  I`m concerned about not only my business but my next door neighbor and others down our, quote, Main Street.  And you know, the vitality of our community hinges on the success of our businesses.  

REAGAN:  All three testified at the U.S. trade hearings in Washington,
D.C., asking the administration to reconsider its tariff policy.  

For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Courtney Reagan in New York City.  


HERERA:  Some new reports on the economy added to the optimism today.  The services sector expanded at a faster-than-expected pace in August, driven by a rise in business activity and new orders.  The report gives investors a sense of business conditions for things like restaurants, banks, and consulting firms, and the services sector accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity and it`s been expanding for 115 months.  

GRIFFETH:  And the other new report this morning said that private
companies in August added the most jobs in four months.  According to ADP, payrolls grew by 195,000.  That was above the estimates of 140,000.  Many of the new jobs were in the education and health services fields.  ADP is the largest processor of paychecks for thousands of companies and for
millions of workers.  

And then tomorrow, as we mentioned earlier, we are going to get the
government`s monthly jobs report, and it comes at a time when there are
plenty of questions about the health of the labor market.  

Brian Levitt is global markets strategist at Invesco.  He`s joining us to
talk about that right now.  

You know, that is sort of the cornerstone of our economy — as long as the
job market stays good, then consumers continue to consume and the economy remains strong.  So, tomorrow is yet another good indication of how we`re doing right now.  What are your expectations, Brian?  

BRIAN LEVITT, INVESCO GLOBAL MARKET STRATEGIST:  Yes, I expect we`ll see a solid number.  I mean, there was nothing in the ADP report that was particularly surprising.  So, this is an economy that`s producing close to a couple hundred thousand jobs a month, and that`s consistent with a very sound labor picture.  You look at jobless claims that we got this week as well, very in line with where they have been.  

So, so far, the job market`s holding up quite nicely.  Some of the things
you`ll see in that ADP report is the hours worked have gone down a bit, and that to me is part of this larger picture of trade uncertainty, which has
been somewhat hurtful to business investment and is slowing — to business
sentiment and slowing business investment.  I suspect we`ll get greater
clarity from the administration on trade, but we`ll see.  

HERERA:  You know, one of the things that we`ve noticed is that we get
downward revisions frequently in the past, I think, three government jobs
reports.  Does that indicate, perhaps, a dent in the jobs picture?  

LEVITT:  No, I wouldn`t call it a dent in the jobs picture yet, but I think
it`s part of a larger narrative of businesses having a hard time making new
hires or putting together investment plans when they simply don`t know the rules of the game.  So, 2019 has been this story of better clarity from the
Fed, still uncertainty from the Trump administration with regards to trade,
so you would expect to see that show up in some of the numbers.  We`ve seen it in manufacturing.  We`re seeing it a bit in jobs.  

The good news is, we talked about earlier, the service economy remains in
good shape.  I believe that everything we`re seeing is about this
uncertainty on policy.  Policy uncertainty`s near its highest level that it
gets.  I suspect with the Fed easing policy and with the administration
hopefully providing greater clarity, we should start to see a better
picture in manufacturing and a better story coming out of business

GRIFFETH:  Quickly, you mentioned the business investment, and that`s been one of the laggards in this economy right now.  At some point, if that
trend continues, doesn`t that eventually hit hiring as well?  

LEVITT:  Yes, and I think — so, you`re starting to see some hints of it,
but you know, remember, there was nothing inherently wrong with the U.S. economy.  In fact, the U.S. economy was on very firm footing, so what`s
derailed us here is policy uncertainty, which has led to a strength of a
dollar, which has hurt business sentiment, which has slowed investment.  
That narrative can start to shift, even if China and the United States just
simply agreed to continue talking —  


LEVITT:  Agree to continue meeting.  I believe that you would see that
narrative start to change.  

GRIFFETH:  Brian Levitt with Invesco — again, thanks for joining us
tonight, Brian.  

LEVITT:  You bet.  

HERERA:  Time to look at some of today`s “Upgrades and Downgrades”.  

Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) (NYSE:CCS) was upgraded to out perform from perform at Oppenheimer.  The analyst says 2020 is setting up to be a strong year.  The price target is $54.  The stock rose about 2 percent to $46.41.  

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

Match Group was upgraded to buy from hold at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey.  The analyst cites positive traffic on its app and revenue trends.  The price target is $106.  That`s the highest on Wall Street.  But the stock
fell 4.5 percent to $81.74 after Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) launched its own
dating service.  

GRIFFETH:  Coverage of General Electric (NYSE:GE) was initiated today with an equal weight rating, and Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS), the analyst did cite uncertainty about some of the company`s businesses, despite progress on costs, cash flow, and debt reduction.  Price target now at $10.  That stock
rose a penny today to $8.81.  

And Lyft was initiated with a buy rating at Deutsche Bank.  The analyst
there cited an improving competitive environment and a clear path to
improved profitability through lower subsidies and higher prices.  Price
target $70.  That stock rose a fraction to sell at $46.40.  

HERERA:  Still ahead, why ranchers are having a cow over the rise of fake


JANE WELLS, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT:  I`m Jane Wells in Wyola, Montana, where cattle ranchers have a beef with plant-based alternatives.  Coming up, why ranchers remain bullish on the meat market.  



HERERA:  The U.S. government is reportedly moving to block California`s
vehicle emissions rules.  According to “Reuters”, the plan would revoke the
state`s authority to set its own vehicle greenhouse gas standards.  An
administration official says that proposal would ensure a single, national
level for fuel economy standards.  California accounts for about 12 percent
of American vehicle sales.  

GRIFFETH:  And despite concerns about the economy slowing, auto sales in
August actually increased slightly, and buyers are spending more than ever
at dealerships.  

Phil LeBeau has more.  


PHIL LEBEAU, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT:  This is turning out to be a solid summer in showrooms around the country.  Pick-ups, SUVs, and crossover utility vehicles continue to bring in buyers.  In fact, the auto Website Edmunds says the average price paid for a new vehicle in August topped $37,000, close to a record high.  

The strong job market and high consumer confidence explain why Americans are more than willing to take out bigger auto loans.  New data from Experian shows the average customer borrowed more than $32,000 in the second quarter with the average monthly payment hitting a record high of $550.  

The typical loan now stretches out close to six years.  

Welcome news for automakers who have kept assembly lines running at fairly strong clips.  While sales for 2019 will likely be down slightly compared to previous years, demand is still strong, and that`s filtering down to the used car lots.  A slew of models have come off lease and are being snapped up by dealers who know there are plenty of people looking for a three or four-year-old model with low mileage.  

Typically, auto sales slow in September and October before picking up at
the end of the year, but this year, many in the auto industry believe we
could see a strong fall in showrooms around the country.  



HERERA:  Macy`s (NYSE:M) looks to save big, and that`s where we begin
tonight`s “Market Focus”.

The retailer is aiming to save up to $550 million by cutting discounts and
gearing more targeted promotions to consumers.  Macy`s (NYSE:M) also said that it will be testing self checkout lanes and bringing in modernized
devices for its staff to help improve efficiency.  The shares rose about 3
percent to $15.31.  

G-III Apparel posted mixed results, topping earnings estimates but falling
short on sales.  The CEO cited strong performance in its wholesale business
but did say that the retailer would be revising its guidance to mitigate
the impact of additional tariffs.  The stock spiked more than 26 percent to

Telecommunications equipment maker Ciena saw a rise in North American sales and growth in its networking platform business, and that helped the company beat expectations.  But Ciena said its fourth-quarter gross margins was expected to be lower than the third quarter, and that sent the shares down nearly 4 percent to $39.62.  

GRIFFETH:  Signet Jewelers raised full-year guidance after easily beating
analyst expectations.  The jewelry retailer reported a smaller-than-
expected drop in same-store sales and a rise in its e-commerce platform.  
Shares rose almost 27 percent today to $13.97.  

After the bell, Lululemon beat expectations as the apparel retailer saw a
rise in same-store sales and its online business.  Shares initially rose in
after-hours trading this evening.  They closed the regular session up more
than 4 percent at $188.41.  

And the fake meat business is expanding as grocery chain Kroger (NYSE:KR) announced plans to roll out its own plant-based burger patties and other products, and Tyson foods is investing in a plant-based shrimp company now that makes the shellfish out of seaweed, soy protein and natural flavors.  Tyson introduced plant-based chicken nuggets a few months ago.  Kroger (NYSE:KR) rose a fraction to $24.83, while Tyson fell a fraction to $85.26.  

HERERA:  But the fake meat movement is not going over well with the
nation`s ranchers.  The beef industry is trying to figure out how to keep
its market share from slipping.  

Jane Wells is outside Wyola, Montana.  


WELLS:  Brett Crosby`s family has been raising cattle for five generations
across Montana and Wyoming in some of the most beautiful country in

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  All I ever wanted to be was a cowboy.  

WELLS:  But cattle ranchers are facing a rival with a lot of momentum, fake
meat made from plants.  Companies like Beyond Meat are not much of a threat yet.  Revenues are relatively tiny, $240 million this year, compared to a national beef herd worth an estimated $67 billion, but ranchers are taking
notice, and they have a few beefs.  

KEVIN KESTER, CALIFORNIA RANCHER:  We are not against science.  We are not against people wanting to make new products.  We just want to make sure we`re on a level and even playing field where everybody goes by the same regulations and the same rules.  

WELLS:  Beef number one: the meat industry is regulated stringently by the USDA, but plant-based products are regulated by the FDA.  But if fake meat burgers cannot be eaten raw and have to be refrigerated just like meat, Kevin Kester of the National Cattlemen`s Beef Association thinks they
should be regulated like meat.  

KESTER:  We want to have the same inspection processes and have the
consumer and public confidence that those products are safe.  

WELLS:  Beef number two: claims that plant-based meat use a fraction of the land to produce the same amount of protein as cattle.  Brett Crosby says
all land is not created equal.  

CROSBY:  Ninety percent of the land grazed by cattle has no other
productive use.  

WELLS:  Then there`s the beef over whether you can call fake meat meat.  
Thirteen states, including Montana, have passed laws or resolutions about
labeling, saying you can`t call something meat unless it comes off an

But perhaps the greatest long-term concern could be meat made in a lab,
actual meat, not plant-based substitutes.  Who needs an animal?  

Have you tried a plant-based meat?  

KESTER:  I`ve tried them all.  Yes, I have.  

CROSBY:  Are you kidding me?  No.  

WELLS:  Kidding or not, the buzz right now is all about fake meat, and the
beef industry does not want to be left in the dust.  

For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, Jane Wells on the Crow Indian Reservation in Southern (NYSE:SO) Montana.  


GRIFFETH:  And coming up, what the National Football League is doing to
keep fans hooked as its 100th season kicks off.  


HERERA:  Walgreens and CVS (NYSE:CVS) are the latest companies to change their firearm policies.  The stores will no longer allow shoppers to openly carry firearms.  Earlier this week, Kroger (NYSE:KR) made a similar
announcement, as did Walmart, which also said it would no longer sell
ammunition for assault-style weapons.  

GRIFFETH:  So, are you ready for some football?  This season, the pressure
is on the National Football League to score more than touchdowns.  

As Julia Boorstin reports, it`s banking on new innovations to attract new


JULIA BOORSTIN, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT:  When the season kicks off tonight, the big question is whether the league can continue last year`s ratings growth, which followed two seasons of decline.  And it`s not just young stars and high-powered matchups that make the NFL optimistic about the season ahead.  

BRIAN ROLAPP, NFL CHIEF MEDIA & BUSINESS OFFICER:  We`re trying to make the game more interesting to keep people`s attention.  We`re addressing the ad breaks.  We`re trying to take fewer breaks in the game, making sure that there`s less down time between football plays.  

BOORSTIN:  This year, the NFL will enable fans to watch in-market games
through their local team`s app as well as through the NFL and Yahoo
(NASDAQ:YHOO) Apps.  With only about 3 percent of game viewership streamed digitally, the league says it thinks that leaves plenty of room to grow with audiences where they are.  

And to draw younger viewers, the NFL just partnered with TikTok, one of the most popular apps among teens to share highlights, behind-the-scenes
footage and memes.  

ROLAPP:  We`re almost indifferent to where you consume the game.  We`d like you to consume the game.  And we also understand the media environment`s much more competitive.  

If there`s a game on Sunday afternoon that isn`t as close as you would like
it to be, you are one click away from Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX), you are one
click away from YouTube, you are one click away from anything.  We want to make sure we`re providing digital alternatives for you for wherever you
want to watch.  

BOORSTIN:  Now, power players from Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) to AT&T (NYSE:T) to the media companies are watching viewing trends as they evaluate the TV rights that become available after the 2021-2022 season, expected to draw as much as $60 billion up from $42 billion for the last nine-year deal.  

MARC KRISGMAN, SQAD CEO:  I think the NFL has done a good job in putting premium matchups in premium time slots to garner a larger audience, which in return will generate a better performance for their advertisers and allow them to charge more for those advertisers to advertise on those specific games.  

BOORSTIN:  And it`s not just TV rights in play.  DirecTV`s deal for NFL
Sunday ticket expires after the next season and the NFL says it wants to
offer the package as a digital option as well, which could draw interest
from ESPN Plus or Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), which is about to start streaming its third season of 11 Thursday night games.  

We`ll see if it or other tech giants double down on more rights.  

For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Julia Boorstin in Los Angeles.  


HERERA:  Before we go, here`s a look at the day`s final numbers from Wall
Street.  The Dow rose 372 points, Nasdaq was up 139, S&P 500 added 38.  

And that does for NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT tonight.  I`m Sue Herera.  Thanks for joining us.

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


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