Transcript: Nightly Business Report – September 20, 2019

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

SUE HERERA, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR:  Bumpy week.  Stocks turn lower after reaching for records, as investors are reminded of the risks to the market.  

BILL GRIFFETH, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR:  Risky business.  A Fed official makes an unusual call, highlighting the rise of co-working spaces as a new source of financial instability.  

HERERA:  Timeless treasures.  Used watch sales are booming and now, elite
brands want a piece of the pre-own profits.  

Those stories and more tonight on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for Friday,
September 20th.  

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

It was an eventful Friday that capped of an eventful week, one that saw the
Federal Reserve cut interest rates for a second time this year, and an
attack on the center of Saudi oil production that boosted crude prices.

But through it all, the stock market`s major averages continued their climb
toward all-time highs.  And early on today, it looked like that might
happen but it didn`t.  A headline this afternoon related to the trade war
between the U.S. and China reminded investors once again that risks still
remain.  And stocks reversed course and headed lower.  

The industrial average by the close was down 159 points to 26,935.  Nasdaq
was down 65 and the S&P was down 14.  And with today`s selloff, the major averages snapped their three-week win streak.  

Bob Pisani reports tonight from the New York Stock Exchange.  


BOB PISANI, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT:  Stocks failed to close higher for a fourth straight week, but Dow and S&P is still just shy of new highs.  The markets are clearly still fixated on trade developments.  That was amply demonstrated today.  The S&P lost nearly 20 points in the middle of the day on word the Chinese officials would be cutting their trip to the U.S. short without giving any real reason.

So, predictably, we saw a global farm heavy industrials like Caterpillar
(NYSE:CAT) and Deere selloff, along with other trade related movers like
semiconductors over fears that U.S.-China trade talks may not be going as
well as some were anticipating.

Still, the market has proven remarkably resilient.  The S&P is little
change this week despite a string of other potentially bad news besides
trade.  The Iran sanctions, the surge in oil, and very poor China
industrial production and retail sales numbers.  That was earlier in the

But investors remain cautious about chasing new all-time highs ahead of
pivotal trade negotiations we saw that today.  The Federal Reserve remember also seems to be moving to the sidelines on any rate action for the moment.  

Cyclical sectors that are sensitive to the global economy that had rallied
in prior weeks, well though back down this week including industrials and
metals and mining retailers and regional banks.  Next week, we`ll get no
shortage of potentially market moving catalysts including another look at
second quarter GDP, international trade, personal income, consumer
confidence, all coming.

We`ll also get plenty of commentary from Fed officials and a host of
housing data which has been much stronger than expected lately.

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


HERERA:  And joining us now to talk more about the market is Jack Ablin, he is the founding partner and CIO at Cresset Capital.

Good to see you, Jack.  Welcome.


HERERA:  You know, it`s been an interesting week to say the least.  We made little progress on trade, with the Chinese.  Especially with what happened today.  But we did see a move to the downside in interest rates by the Fed. So, how do you feel on this Friday about the market?

ABLIN:  Well, I think the Fed is as probably as confused as the rest of us
you know you`ve got this data dependent Fed in a headline driven market I`m data dependent too and I have a real difficult time getting my bearings on where this market is headed.

So, I can — I certainly can sympathize with some of these Fed
policymakers.  They did reduce rates.  The market really didn`t react that
much and I think they`ve more or less expressed to the market for now that they`re done for a while unless conditions change.

You know, at least one Fed official said this week that as long as the
consumer is still there this economy will be fine.  And you have to admit,
I mean, that has been the strength of this economy lately, right?

ABLIN:  Absolutely.  You know, we did have a little bit of scare earlier in
the week with the — you know, the 10 percent spike in oil prices remember
in recessions past it was spike in energy prices that really drew away from
household expenditures because people have to get to work and buy it you
know pay for gas.  That, you know, quickly reversed on Tuesday and it looks as though the consumer is still very healthy.  In fact, if you look one of
the statistics that we track is how many miles can you drive on one hours
worth of work and it`s still over nearly 300.  So, it`s a very strong
number right now.

HERERA:  The market still would like to see lower interest rates from the
Fed, but you make the point in your notes that you say low rates are self
defeat — self-defeating she tried to say.  What do you mean by that?

ABLIN:  Sure.  So what`s going on Sue is we`ve now made borrowing so easy among corporate America that even companies that shouldn`t be in business are in business.  Take, for example, Sears (NASDAQ:SHLD).  Sears
(NASDAQ:SHLD) has been struggling for more than a decade and even with the these lower interest rates allow a company like that to stay in business.

Now, perhaps on the surface, it seems like a good thing.  They still
operate, you know, nearly 400 stores.  They`ve got 23,000 employees.  

But what they`re doing is they`re taking productive capacity away from
profitable businesses and they`re also competing with profitable businesses and then holding prices down in productivity down.  Two key ingredients that the Fed would like to see higher.

HERERA:  All right.  Jack, thank you very much.

Jack Ablin with Cresset Capital.  

ABLIN:  Thank you.

HERERA:  Bill?

GRIFFETH:  Well, we heard from a few Federal Reserve officials today after
this week`s split decision to cut short term interest rates by a quarter of
a percent.  Vice Chair Richard Clarida, who voted for that cut said the
consumer is in excellent shape which will help the economy along.  But he
said risks do remain.


RICHARD CLARIDA, FEDERAL RESERVE VICE CHAIR:  We clearly have a slowing global economy that the OECD just this week marked down its global outlook. Obviously, the U.S.-China relationship is important but there`s a broader global slowdown.  There`s a slowdown in global capital spending, in global manufacturing, and there also some pretty important disinflationary forces.


GRIFFETH:  Now, James Bullard who`s the president of the St. Louis Fed said the manufacturing sector already appears to be in recession which is part of the reason why he wanted a deeper half percent cut at this week`s

HERERA:  But the call that really caught our attention is not one usually
heard from a Fed official.  This warning had to do with co-working spaces,
companies like WeWork and the risk that they pose to the economy.

Steve Liesman explains.


STEVE LIESMAN, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT:  Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren explaining his decision to vote against the Feds rate cut this week said his big concern is keeping interest rates too low for too long could lead to financial instability and bubbles in asset prices
created by those low rates and Rosengren singling out a business model used by WeWork as a possible source of future losses and instability.  The
Boston Fed president said low rates can encourage excessive risk-taking
create too much leverage or debt in the system and caused investors to
reach for yield.  

One example he said, the real estate model known as co-working space used by WeWork which Rosengren did not specifically name.

SCOTT CROWE, CENTERSQUARE INVESTMENT:  Very aggressive monetary policy has probably birthed some of the issues that we now have at this point in the cycle with respect to firms like WeWork.  I think the question we need to ask ourselves, is WeWork just the tip of the iceberg?  Does that call into question the valuation of all these other unicorns?  And then does that then have a flow-on effect into the real economy in terms of investment spending and growth that then could lead to some kind of unraveling of this cycle?

LIESMAN:  Under the co-working space model, WeWork rents vast amounts of space from landlords and becomes a major leasor an important commercial real estate markets like New York and Los Angeles and even Boston.  It then subleases that space to tenants.

So, what`s Rosengren`s problem with all this?  He says the co-working model involves short-term leases to small less mature companies that are going to be the first ones to go under in a recession.  Landlords and banks are potentially at risk because they don`t have a lot of recourse in their
agreements back to the parent company of WeWork.

Cities also with a of co-working firms in it can face more defaults because
of the concentration.

Rosengren doesn`t believe that WeWork model will create a downturn, what he`s saying is that it could make a downturn worse once it happens.



GRIFFETH:  In other news, the White House today imposed sanctions on Iran`s central bank in retaliation for those attacks last weekend on Saudi
Arabia`s oil facilities.  The Trump administration believes that Iran was
responsible for those attacks.  The Iranian government though has denied

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said that the new sanctions were designed to cut off the last remaining source of funds for Iran.

HERERA:  As we reported, those weekend attacks knocked out half of the
country`s oil supply.  Today, Hadley Gamble got a look at the fields where
the repair work is now underway.


HADLEY GAMBLE, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT:  Nearly a week after the worst terror attack Saudi Aramco has ever seen, an assessment of the damage.

Now as you can see behind me, significant damage to one of four
stabilizers.  This is just one of four locations within Khurais that were
under attack around 3:40 a.m. in the morning over the weekend.  

Aramco telling us that they were able to put these fires out within three
to four hours of the attacks but that didn`t stop at least 1.2 million
barrels per day from being knocked out of production.

Khurais is just one of two massive facilities now under repair, with the
government hoping to get back to full production as soon as possible, and
crews working around the clock to get the company back on track.  Earlier
this week, Saudi defense officials showed evidence of what they say was
Iran`s direct involvement.

So, according to Saudi defense officials, 18 UAVs were launched at Abqaiq.  
Now, behind me is one of eleven spheroids that were hit in the attack and
this is a plate from one of those spheroids and you can just see how
massive the damage that was done.

So, again, UAVs were fired at this facility alone, and also seven cruise
missiles were fired supposedly according to Saudi defense forces at both

Known as the mother ship, Abqaiq is the largest oil and gas stabilizer in
the world.  And just days following the attack, this facility already back
to two million barrels per day and the oil minister says they`ll return to
full production by the end of the month.

But the charge spheroids and stabilization columns many with gaping holes punched through their steel casings serve as a grim reminder of what using oil as a weapon can look like.

For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Hadley Gamble in Saudi Arabia.


GRIFFETH:  And in the news tonight, the devastation caused by the remnants of former Tropical Storm Imelda, that storm has flooded parts of Southeast Texas, dropping 40 inches of rain, making it one of the wettest storms in U.S. history.  It`s already being compared to the devastation caused two years ago by Hurricane Harvey.  Officials though are still trying to assess the full damage.

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

Etsy was upgraded to outperform from sector perform at RBC Capital Markets.  The analyst cites recent initiatives that will have a positive impact on the company`s performance.  The price target is $68.  The stock rose 2
percent to $60.41.

Coverage of Roku was initiated with a sell rating at Pivotal Research.  The
analyst cites increasing competition in the streaming device business,
which he says could drive the cost of such devices down to zero.  The price
target is $60.  The shares fell 19 percent to finish at $108.05.

GRIFFETH:  Still ahead, a high-tech prognosis.


BERTHA COOMBS, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT:  I`m Bertha Coombs in Boston.  Coming up tonight on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, Humana`s new digital hub feels an awful lot like a tech startup and that`s the point, as the Medicare giant makes a big push into digital health.



HERERA:  California and 22 other states are suing the Trump administration. The states are challenging the White House decision to revoke a rule that allows California to set tougher car emission standards, something we reported on earlier this week.  

California has been able to set its own rules since the 1970s because it
has the most cars on the road of any state and it struggles to meet air
quality standards.

GRIFFETH:  Health insurers are always looking for ways to make health care costs more effective and Humana (NYSE:HUM) thinks that the answer may lie n Boston which has become a hotbed for health tech startups.

Here`s Bertha Coombs.


COOMBS:  Humana`s new digital health hub in Boston has a look and feel of a tech startup.

BRUCE BROUSSARD, HUMANA PRESIDENT & CEO:  Personalizing it to the members so that we can use their historical information.

COOMBS:  For CEO Bruce Broussard, that`s very much the point.

BROUSSARD:  We`re trying to bring different disciplines together to wrap
around the whole idea of this agile development and the ability to have
consumer design individuals, analytics capability, data scientists.

COOMBS:  The company has hired 75 developers in the new unit over the last few months, and already, the team has helped build out one of the insurers first digital projects, a virtual primary care service with telemedicine provider Dr. On-demand that launches in January.

HEATHER COX, HUMANA CHIEF DIGITAL HEALTH & ANALYTICS OFFICER:  We give you these tools that you can utilize through the phone, through the iPad, where we`re monitoring your health and a signal is created we can bring that back to your doctor.

COOMBS:  It`s a big investment for Humana (NYSE:HUM) but the Medicare giant is hoping the new hub will help it better compete with rivals like CBS
(NYSE:CBS) which is betting on its retail health clinics to improve care
and upstarts like Haven, Amazon`s health venture with J.P. Morgan and
Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.A), also based in Boston, which aims to lower costs through technology.

With the area`s bustling health tech startup community, the Medicare giant presents a chance to develop services that can go national quickly.


(NYSE:HUM) is doing some really cool things with their digital health and
analytics group to be able to integrate those entrepreneurs much in the
process.  So you`re seeing a lot tighter collaboration which should
ultimately compress the time it takes to bring a startups company to market and scale.

COOMBS:  For Humana (NYSE:HUM), speeding up the time it takes to develop technologies that can leverage better care and lower cost for its members is the key to holding on to them for the long haul, in what is increasingly a very competitive Medicare advantage market.

For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Bertha Coombs in Boston.


HERERA:  There`s a driving force behind many of this year`s big IPOs and
it`s called Stripe.  Stripe handles all of the technology that allows
companies to accept online and mobile payments.  

And as Deirdre Bosa tells us, it has a wide reach and it`s growing fast.


DEIRDRE BOSA, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT:  You can`t see stripe and you probably haven`t heard of it.


REPORTER:  The app Stripe?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  App Stripe?  No, what is that?



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  The Stripe app?  No.

BOSA:  But it is right here in your pocket and behind some of the biggest
apps on your smartphone.

The San Francisco startup processes hundreds of billions of dollars in
payments annually for some of the biggest companies in the world.  It was
founded in 2010 by Irish brothers Patrick and John Collison who moved to
the U.S. for college.  They went on to create Stripe which quickly became
the payments infrastructure behind a generation of rising tech power houses from Lyft to Instacart to Doordash.

Less than a decade later, it also counts large established companies like
Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Target (NYSE:TGT) as customers.

Stripe is now one of the highest valued private tech companies in the
world, also known as Unicorns, having just announced a round of financing from some of Silicon Valley`s most prestigious venture capital firms.

For the next phase of its life, Stripe may be taking on more risk.  It`ll
use the fresh funds to expand into new international markets and into new
businesses like lending, putting it in competition with other more
established companies like Square and PayPal.

For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Deirdre Bosa in San Francisco.


GRIFFETH:  McDonald`s (NYSE:MCD) hikes its dividend and that`s where we begin tonight`s “Market Focus” with the fast food chain raising its
dividend by 8 percent to $1.25 a share.  Company CEO Steve Easterbrook said today that the hike reflects the company`s continued focus on driving long term value for all stakeholders.  Shares though fell a fraction with the
rest of the market to $209.39 today.

Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) shares took a hit today after a note from analysts at
Evercore said that international growth could slow which it has been doing
since July.  This comes as Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) faces stiff competition
this fall as the likes of Disney (NYSE:DIS) and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL)
launched their own streaming services.  Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) shares fell
5-1/2 percent today to $270.75.

HERERA:  The FDA approved the expansion of two of Merck`s HIV treatments for adults who are, quote, virally suppressed.  The expanded label now gives certain HIV-1 patients the choice to switch their current therapies. Merck (NYSE:MRK) rose about one and a half percent to $85.16.

Walmart will stop selling e-cigarettes due to the growing global health
concerns of vaping.  The retail giant plans to continue to sell its current
batch of e-cigarettes until the inventory runs out.  The news did not
impact Altria, which owns a 20 percent stake in Juul, as shares were up
nearly 2 percent, while Walmart dropped just a fraction.

GRIFFETH:  Time for our weekly market monitor.  He has three picks for us
this week that he says can thread the needle between risk awareness and
steady growth.  

Joining us this week, Mike Bailey.  He`s director of research at FBB
Capital Markets.

Mike, thanks for joining us this week.


GRIFFETH:  You`ve got two defensive plays and then a growth play.  First,
defensive play very much a household name, Clorox (NYSE:CLX).  Why that

BAILEY:  So, Clorox (NYSE:CLX), some of our picks this week are relative to
compared to something.  So for Clorox (NYSE:CLX), one thing we like, we
like the space.  So, if you want to be defensive, consumer staples great
place to be.  What do you want to own?  Do you want to own you know the
highest quality name or maybe something, you know, that`s a little bit

So, for us, Clorox (NYSE:CLX) actually has gotten a bit cheaper relative to
some of the others.  So, for example, Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG) a very
nice company`s been around for a long time.  That one has actually gotten
pretty expensive.  So, we think in the space, you want to own high quality
company that at a discount.  

Clorox (NYSE:CLX), interestingly, is a lot smaller.  So they actually
benefit from sort of the law of small numbers which means they can grow
nicely for a number of years.  So I think as you think about Clorox
(NYSE:CLX) versus a bigger competitor, you want to stick with something
that`s a little bit more attractive in terms of valuation.

HERERA:  Next on the list is Eli Lily.  It`s a defensive play in your book
but it also offers growth at a reasonable valuation.  

BAILEY:  That`s right.  So, again on that theme of sort of relative, Eli
Lily interestingly is kind of turning the corner from a boring sort of slow
gross drug company, they`re actually starting to speed up.  They`ve got
some interesting diabetes drugs and drugs for cancer.  In some ways, the
new Lilly is sort of like the old biotech.  So in the good old days, five
ten years ago by big biotech companies were growing 15, 20 percent a year,
and they had being expensive valuations.  

Lilly actually is starting to turn into that.  It`s a big company.  It`s
going to be growing very quickly and we think the valuation is actually
pretty reasonable.  In fact, you`re sort of paying the same price as you
would for the whole stock market for a company like Lilly, it`s got a nice
dividend.  It`s growing much faster but we think that`s pretty compelling.

GRIFFETH:  Now, your growth play is, and, of course, the
pioneer in customer relationship management.

But as a growth play, does that mean if the economy slows down, so does
this company?

BAILEY:  Well, it could, it certainly could.  If it`s a high-growth company
now, if you`re seeing layoffs and things across the board, certainly this
company`s going to feel a little bit of heat.  

Again going back to that theme of thinking from a relative basis, if you
already own some defensive maybe slower growth names, you want to kind of jazz it up and add a little bit of growth to it.  So, this is a higher
growth company.

You`re right.  If we hit a recession in the near term, a big growth company
like Salesforce, they`ll slow down a bit.  However, we think some of that
you may be skepticism may be a little bit overblown.  So they sell a lot of
software into governments, into nonprofits, into areas that you know we
think even in a recession, you`re going to still see some spending.

So, additionally, if you`re looking to save costs, if you`re a big bank or
something, if you cut off your Salesforce business, that`s what actually
drives new customers.  So it seems like that`s something you probably want to stick around with even during recession.

HERERA:  In the 30 seconds we have left, Mike, do you feel as though we`re
headed for a recession or do you think the economy is really doing pretty

BAILEY:  I think we`re in pretty good shape.  For what it`s worth as an
anecdote, I just passed the Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) Store on the way here,
there`s a line out the door.  There`s new Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) phones coming through.

So if you think about the consumer, they`re in pretty good shape.  There`s
some other risk factors out there.  I think you really have to balance that
out.  I think we`re in pretty good shape for a few more quarters until you
start to see a slowdown.

HERERA:  Uh-huh.

GRIFFETH:  Mike Bailey with FBB Capital Partners — good to see you again,
Mike.  Thanks for joining us.

BAILEY:  Great, thank you.

HERERA:  Coming up, the big profits being made in pre-owned luxury goods.


HERERA:  Here`s a look at what to watch for next week.

On Tuesday, Dow component Nike (NYSE:NKE) reports earnings.  We`ll find out if tariffs are impacting its business.  

There`s been a lot of focus on the housing market, and on Wednesday, new
home sales for August will be released, and also on Wednesday, a House
panel holds a hearing on the recent surge in vaping-related illnesses.

And that`s what to watch for next week.

GRIFFETH:  Finally tonight, though, the market for used luxury cars usually
referred to as certified pre-owned, that`s become a very big business.  And
now, there`s a big market for other pre-owned luxury goods like high-end

Robert Frank has our story.


ROBERT FRANK, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT:  The luxury watch industry is under pressure from slowing growth and trouble in Hong Kong, the world`s largest Swiss watch market.  But one segment is booming, online sales of pre-owned or used watches.  Analysts say pre-owned sales are now growing twice as fast as new watch sales and will soon top the $20 billion a year in Swiss watch exports.

So, watchmakers — well, they`re fighting back.  Audemars Piguet, one of
the most elite and profitable brands, is launching a new program to buy and sell pre-owned watches in their retail stores.  They will buy a watch back from a client who may be trading up.  They`ll refurbish and repair it and then offer it for resale with a warranty.  It`s a bit like certified pre-
owned cars because like cars, new jewelry and certain watches can fall
percent or more in value once they leave the store.

Now, Audemars is starting small, given the cost and time of restoring
watches.  The company says the move is less about added profits and more
about better serving clients, cracking down on counterfeits, and managing
resale prices for watches that can cost six figures.

FRANCOIS-HENRY BENNAHMIAS, AUDEMARS PIGUET CEO:  Brands only to care of their first child and never the second one.  So, basically, we the whole watch companies, left the secondary, the pre-owned business to outsiders.  And I think it`s about time that we are bringing these back home.

FRANK:  Watchmaker MB&F is now offering it`s pre-owned $70,000 watches on its site.

And Richemont which owns Cartier, Panerai and IWC acquired online seller Watchfinder for over $100 million, giving Richemont a platform to sell its own pre-owned brands.

Rolex, which drives much of the pre-owned market, declined to comment on its plans.  But others are likely to follow, as younger buyers are changing
the pace of watch-buying.

BENNAHMIAS:  Twenty years ago, you could have bought a watch for your life. That was one watch.  That was your life.  

Today, people trade sometime over three months, six month.



HERERA:  And before we go, here`s another look at the final days numbers
from Wall Street.  The Dow fell 159 points, the Nasdaq was down 65, and the S&P 500 slid 14.  With today`s selloff, the major averages snapped their
three-week win streak.

And that is NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for tonight.  I`m Sue Herrera.  Thanks for joining us.

GRIFFETH:  I`m Bill Griffeth.  Have a great weekend.  See you Monday.


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