ANNOUNCER: This is NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT with Bill Griffeth and Sue Herera.
BILL GRIFFETH, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR: Back to basics. Stocks rose on optimism of trade between the United States and China even as the impeachment inquiry divides Washington.
Up in vape. Pressure mounts on the e-cigarette industry. And investors
wonder whether it`s still a viable business.
Sales surge. The housing market heats up, but it could be coming at a
Those stories and much more tonight on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for this Wednesday, September 25th.
And we do bid you good evening, everybody. And welcome. Sue is off
Well, it was another day, another headline and another big market response. At the open this morning, stocks continued to trade lower after yesterday`s selloff ahead of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi`s announcement about an impeachment inquiry. But later in the morning, President Trump made an offhand remark during meetings at the United Stations that a trade deal with China may come sooner rather than later. That`s all it took.
Stocks reversed course and they headed higher again once again. The
industrial average closed up 162 points at 26,970. Nasdaq was up 38. The
S&P added 18.
But the fallout in Washington from the impeachment inquiry was still very
much on the mind of investors. The president did call the inquiry a hoax
and said he supports transparency on whistleblower information and from the Democrats as well.
Ylan Mui has more on the drama in D.C.
YLAN MUI, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: Democrats and Republicans are girding for battle on Capitol Hill as the impeachment inquiry divides Washington. This morning, the White House released notes of President Trump`s July 25th phone call with a leader of Ukraine.
In it, Trump said: There`s a lot of talk about Biden`s son. A lot of
people want to find out about that. So whatever you can do with the
attorney general would be great.
The Justice Department said that President Trump never spoke with Attorney General William Barr about Ukraine, and that Barr has not communicated with Ukraine. But the DOJ said it did review the complaint from the whistleblower who raised concerns about the president`s conversation with the foreign leader and that it determined complaint did not need to be sent to Congress.
Democrats said these new details only strengthen resolve to move forward
with impeachment inquiry.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: What the notes reflect is a classic
mafia-like shakedown of a foreign leader.
MUI: Some Republicans were ruffled as well. There`s bipartisan pressure
on the White House to release more information and Utah Senator Mitt Romney described the call as deeply troubling.
SEN. MITT ROMNEY (R), UTAH: I did read the transcript. It remains
troubling in the extreme. It`s deeply troubling.
MUI: Today, Democratic leadership said there is no set time line for
action but they want to move expeditiously.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Ylan Mui in Washington.
GRIFFETH: Now, many Washington policy analysts do say the impeachment inquiry could endanger the ratification of trade initiatives, including the new NAFTA or USMCA as it`s known. It makes changes to the relationship between the U.S. and Canada and Mexico.
But Democratic leaders today insisted the inquiry will not be a
distraction. They are committed to working on that deal.
Speaking of trade, the U.S. and Japan today announced a limited agreement. The pact will open Japanese markets to American farm goods and it cuts American tariffs on Japanese turbines, bicycles and other goods. The deal was announced when President Trump met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly today.
Now, while chief executives follow trade talks very closely, there is
another country where they see the potential for big opportunity. That`s
India. And today the leaders of some of America`s biggest companies met
with India`s prime minister.
Seema Mody reports tonight from New York City.
SEEMA MODY, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: American companies are looking to expand their operations in India, a growing emerging market with 1.3 billion people. The opportunity to expand into India is so great that top executives including J.P. Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon, Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) CEO Brian Moynihan and IBM CEO Ginni Rometty met for two hours at a private meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
But just as the opportunities are great, so are the challenges. CEOs used
the meeting to voice concerns.
NISHA BISWAL, U.S.-INDIA BUSINESS COUNCIL PRESIDENT: I thought it was a really good conversation. I mean, you had some of the biggest CEOs in the America. Prime minister gave almost two hours of time and listened to a lot of ideas as well as issues. And I think people were quite candid about some of the things they think India needs to do. And he was receptive to hear those.
MODY: The timing of the meeting comes as India`s economy has slowed to a 6-year low and unemployment has risen sharply. According to sources, in
the meeting, Modi tried to calm concerns about the slowdown. Referencing
tax cuts unveiled last week that he says will have positive impact on the
MUKESH AGHI, U.S.-INDIA STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP PROGRAM: I think the prime minister when he walked in, he had the CEOs a bit skeptical to the economy slowing down. And he lifted the mood. And you could see they were excited, positive. And they`d invest more in the country.
MODY: But experts say there are other road blocks like obtaining
construction permits and acquiring land in India. At a recent e-commerce
ruling challenged Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) and Amazon`s growth in the country. But executives remain hopeful that this ruling will be relaxed in the near future.
What did you discuss with Modi today?
DOUG MCMILLON, WALMART CEO: We had a great discussion I`m glad we came to the meeting. We have a tremendous opportunity in India. And it`s great to have this kind of dialogue.
MODY: Do you think he will change the e-commerce ruling to help you guys grow there?
MCMILLOIN: We`ll wait and see.
MODY: Executives also pushed Modi to get a trade deal with the U.S.
AGHI: My thinking is just wait and watch. These are two economies which
are growing together. And the trade deal will happen.
MODY: Any progress made on trade would be welcomed by U.S. businesses that are trying to grow their market share in India.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, Seema Mody, New York.
GRIFFETH: Meanwhile, the housing mechanic here in the U.S. is definitely
reheating. We`ve got more evidence of that today from a new report that
showed a surprise surge in newly built homes in august. But it didn`t come cheap.
Diana Olick explains.
DIANA OLICK, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: New home sales jumped to the second highest level in over a decade in August as buyers took advantage of cratering mortgage rates. The average rate on the 30-year fixed was well over 4 percent back in May but had fallen to around 3.5 percent by August when the contracts on the new homes were signed.
Just one of the reasons for an upgrade of big builders Lennar (NYSE:LEN),
KB Home (NYSE:KBH) and Toll Brothers (NYSE:TOL) by homebuilding analyst Buck Horne.
BUCK HORNE, RAYMOND JAMES: Lower mortgage rates sub 4 percent. Mortgage rates were definitely enough of incentive to go out and buy some houses. And that`s what the data indicated. And that trend appeared to be
accelerate really into July and August.
OLICK: But the action is still on the higher end. Just 1 percent of sales
were for homes priced below $150,000. And just 9 percent were between
$150,000 and $200,000.
The biggest growth was in luxury. Sales of home priced above $750,000 or
up about 60 percent compared with a year ago.
HORNE: The new entry level, the redefinition of it in a lot of markets
starts at $300,000. And that`s for a lot of households still kind of an
aspirational type number to be able to reach.
OLICK: The surge in sales caused the supply of newly built homes to drop
dramatically. And for the first time this year, supply is now lower than
it was a year ago.
Another red flag, falling mortgage rates. They`re not falling anymore. In
fact they moved sharply higher this month and could keep going. That`s
already making that price premium for a sparkly new home even bigger.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Diana Olick in Washington.
GRIFFETH: Boeing (NYSE:BA) today announced settlement in some lawsuit
involving the victims of the 737 MAX crashes. They are separate from the
millions of dollars the company has already agreed to pay out of a victim`s
compensation fund. It`s all an attempt by Boeing (NYSE:BA) executives to
try and just move forward.
Here is Phil LeBeau.
PHIL LEBEAU, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: Nearly a carrier after a Boeing (NYSE:BA) 737 MAX plunged into the Java Sea, killing 189 people, Boeing (NYSE:BA) has settled some of the lawsuit involving that crash. “Reuters” reports the families of each victim will receive at least $1.2
million. Boeing (NYSE:BA) has not commented on the agreement.
They come as Boeing (NYSE:BA) faces dozens of lawsuit involving two 737 MAX crashes. While it could take months or even years to resolve all the
cases, Boeing (NYSE:BA) is also offering additional compensation to the
families of victims. Each is eligible for approximately $144,000. So,
Boeing (NYSE:BA) could pay just under $50 million and families would retain the right to sue the company.
Ken Feinberg, who oversaw the 911 victim fund, says in the Boeing (NYSE:BA) case, families are emotional and weighing their option.
KENNETH FEINBERG, BOEING COMPENSATION FUND: What we are trying to do with these families and the lawyers representing these families in all of these foreign countries is explain to them there really are no hidden agendas here. We are trying to get the money out. Bogey is pushing to get the money out separate from the litigation. There is a deadline of December 31st.
LEBEAU: Meanwhile, Boeing (NYSE:BA) is considering changes to the way it designs and builds airplanes. So there is a greater focus on safety and
All of this comes as Boeing (NYSE:BA) CEO says the 737 MAX could be back in service by the end of the year, meaning we could be just a few weeks away from the FAA recertifying and deeming the MAX safe to fly.
Phil LeBeau, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, Chicago.
GRIFFETH: Still ahead, a road trip in an RV.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FRANK HOLLAND, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: Three billion dollars worth of RV sales are expected over three days here at the annual event where dealers buy new models. This industry has been slumping in recent years, but CEOs of the biggest companies say they`re very optimistic about the future.
I`m Frank Holland. I`ll tell you why coming up on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRIFFETH: The average cost of employer-provided health coverage has hit a record, surpassing $20,000 a year for a family plan. According to the
Kaiser Family Foundation on average employers cover about 70 percent of
that cost. Employees pay the rest. Right now, deductibles rising faster
than premiums and costs for health care are rising faster than wages, and
that has pushed an increasing number of American workers into less
expensive plans that don`t cover as much or they have simply chosen not to enroll at all.
Well, there`s a lot of news in the e-cigarette business today. While
tobacco executives appear the FDA commissioner were on Capitol Hill
testifying about regulations and health issues, leading e-cigarette maker
Juul announced a shake-up and a tenth death tide to vaping was also
Rahel Solomon has more.
RAHEL SOLOMON, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: For Juul, the biggest e-cigarette company in the U.S., Wednesday marked the change at the very top. CEO Kevin Burns was stepping down. Long-time Altria executive K.C. Crosthwaite is stepping in as its new chief executive effective immediately.
Juul has come under increasing scrutiny by lawmakers and critics for
fueling the underage vaping epidemic.
SCOTT GOTTLIEB, FORMER FDA COMMISSIONER: We saw 78 percent increase last year and then about another 38 percent increase this year, on top of that of kids using e-cigarettes. I mean, that`s a crisis borne of the access and appeal of these products have to kids.
SOLOMON: Here on Capitol Hill Wednesday, Altria CEO pushed back on
accusation that Juul alone fueled what some like the governor of
Massachusetts this week called a public health emergency.
HOWARD WILLARD, ALTRIA CEO: The increase started before Juul was a very significant product in the market. As the category started to grow rapidly driven by Juul, the youth issue became a significant issue that I think appropriately caught the focus of the FDA. And I think Juul is committed to building on the actions they`ve already taken to drive down youth use of e-vapor.
SOLOMON: The first of its kind ban, Massachusetts announced Tuesday it was banning all vaping products for four months. Illinois is also considering a ban. The White House has said it`s planning to ban the product until they are reviewed further.
Wednesday, Juul announced it would stop advertising its products and would not lobby the White House administration as it considers that ban.
WILLARD: They, along with others in the industry, are going to have to
ultimately reverse the increase of youth usage of e-vapor products.
They`ve taken some actions already and I have no doubt their new CEO will help them decide what additional actions need to be taken.
SOLOMON: But former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb warns pulling the
product off shelf completely could create another issue.
GOTTLIEB: It`s going to increase the market for the illegal products.
SOLOMON: A CDC representative saying they have more than 100 people
investigating the issue but warned it will take substantial amount of time
before a cause is known.
Altria and Phillip Morris also unannounced today they were ending merger
talks. Altria bought a 38 percent stake in Juul last year, and analysts
pointed to Juul as a potential reason the merger talks ended.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Rahel Solomon.
GRIFFETH: And joining us now to talk about the future of this fast-growing
industry and how likely it is to be regulated, we welcome the man you just
saw in the package, former FDA commissioner, Dr. Scott Gottlieb.
Dr. Gottlieb, thanks for your time tonight.
GRIFFETH: It occurs to me that you can`t regulate a product until you
understand what its purpose is. Are vaping products simply a smoking
cessation system, or is it just another way to smoke?
GOTTLIEB: Well, probably both. I mean, they could be a product that helps
currently addicted adult smokers transition off combustible tobacco.
They`re also products that are helping kids and some adults transition on
to nicotine. Some of those adults might have gone to smoking instead of
choosing to vape instead.
But we know that kids are being initiated on nicotine through e-cigarettes
that wouldn`t smoke. We`ve stigmatized smoking in this country. So, a lot
of these kids who were becoming addicted to nicotine through these vaping
products wouldn`t have turn to cigarettes but for the fact they now have a
GRIFFETH: And what role does THC, the marijuana derivative play in all of
this? I mean, there is the feeling that sort of counterfeit vaping
material that has been other that`s maybe causing this lung disease and
some of the deaths may involve THC. Does that get complicated since
marijuana is not legal federally?
GOTTLIEB: Well, I think we need to be careful to distinguish two problems.
One is that the crisis of an epidemic of teen vaping of e-cigarettes and
now, these acute lung injuries which seem to be driven by counterfeit
products and illegal products that either contain THC or CBD for that
GOTTLIEB: And THC and CBD do fall into a regulatory no man`s land. It`s
not clear who is regulating those vaping products right now. And one of
the things that we saw this past summer was the launch of national brands
of vaporizing hardware that was being marketed purposely and deliberately
for vaping THC and CBD.
So, that popularized the usage of those compounds but those CBD and THC
oils that are being vaped in those products, those tend to be mom and pop
business that are being produced under all kinds of different standards.
Sometimes with what we know are dangerous oils that caused these lung
GRIFFETH: Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) has now stopped selling vaping products. Massachusetts has announced a temporary ban on selling vaping products, in part because of the lung disease and the deaths.
Do you find it ironic that they are banning those products when they sell
GOTTLIEB: Well, certainly is, and I think that a lot of the adults who
potentially were using the vaping products might now some of them with
nicotine addiction might transition to combustible tobacco and while these
vaping products are not safe. We do believe they are less harmful than a
combusting tobacco, lighting a cigarette on fire.
Look, I think we need to be very deliberative about the steps that we take
and I think banning the products is probably going to exacerbate the black
market for the illegal vaping products if we ban illegal vaping products
and could stretch some of the acute lung injuries we are seeing, if, in
fact, many of those injuries are the result of illegal products entering
GRIFFETH: You know, today with all of the talk about the regulations, the
bans, and all that`s going on around this industry, one prominent professor of public health policy said that we might be looking at the beginning of the end of vaping industry, even as Juul is still valued at about $40 billion. What do you say?
GOTTLIEB: Well, look, I think this is an industry in trouble right now.
And I think had they acted more responsibly when the issues around the
youth epidemic first arose in 2018 when we first got the data and didn`t
push back on some of the measures that we were trying to take to restrict
kids access to these products, you wouldn`t see so many people jumping on
and willing to conflate these acute lung injuries with the illegal sold
Now, it may be the illegal sold products are causing injuries but it does
appear that the majority of the lung injuries are result of the illegal
products, THC and CBD products, as well as perhaps some illegal nicotine
products. These illegal products tend to have oils in them that are
harmful to the lungs.
GOTTLIEB: The legally sold products tend to be water soluble. But I think
the industry behaved so badly when they were faced with the first crisis
that now they are facing a second crisis, they are garnering very little —
very little consideration.
GRIFFETH: Former FDA commissioner, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, good to see you
again. Thanks for joining us tonight.
GOTTLIEB: Thanks a lot.
GRIFFETH: You bet.
Elsewhere, Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) is betting on big growth over the next five
years and that`s where we begin tonight`s “Market Focus”.
During its annual investor day, the electronic retailer announced a goal of
$50 billion in annual revenue by 2025, thanks in part to a push into health
services. It`s also targeting $1 billion in cost cuts during that same
time frame. Separately, the company CEO addressed how Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) is dealing with the U.S. China trade war.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CORIE BARRY, BEST BUY CEO: First, we`re trying to figure out what will be
on the list, what`s excluded. Second, to your point, we`re working closely
with our vendors. We`re bringing in product early, talking about
mitigation strategies. You see supply chains move.
I think what you are seeing heading into holiday it`s actually going to be
hard to track directly through a perfect 10 percent or 25 percent tariff.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRIFFETH: Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) shares were down a fraction today to $67.43.
VF Corp, which is the maker of the North Face, Vans and other apparel
brands, also outlined its growth plans today, seeing double digit earnings
growth through 2024. It also expects to return about $10 billion to
shareholders over that time frame, through buybacks and dividends. Shares rose a fraction today to $87.02.
And the FTC is suing the Match Group for allegedly using fake love interest
ads to entice customers to pay for subscriptions for its dating site
match.com. The director of the FTC said today that the site conned people
as he said, knowing the ad messages were from scammers. Shares fell nearly 2 percent to $71.44.
And activist hedge fund Elliott Management sent a letter to Marathon
Petroleum, recommending that it`d break the company up into three separate entities. Elliott suggested that the energy company keep marathon as the refinery business but then split its Speedway Gas Station and its midstream operations into independent companies. Marathon shares rose about 8.5 percent on that news today to $60.15.
So, yes, the economy is solid but slowing, and some say the risk of
recession is rising. But someone forgot to tell the RV industry which some
look to as an economic indicator. The theory is simple. When RV sales are
doing well, the economy tends to follow.
So, we sent our Frank Holland to Elkhart, Indiana, where a large percentage of recreational vehicles are made.
HOLLAND: A motor home with a bedroom that can turn into a garage. It`s
one of the many new models here at the RV open house in Elkhart, Indiana,
where dealers are expected to buy $3 billion of inventory.
MICHAEL HAPPE, WINNEBAGO CEO: My personal feeling is that the American consumer is still pretty solid.
HOLLAND: The CEO of Winnebago, Michael Happe, is optimistic about this
consumer discretionary industry, despite projections that would have sales
falling a third straight year in 2020 after a record 2017.
Thor CEO Bob Martin believes the industry is on the road to recovery.
BOB MARTIN, THOR CEO: Dealers attitudes are great. There is no doom and gloom. They are very positive as they look to next year and even as they look to the fall of this year.
HOLLAND: Sales of Airstream, Thor`s higher end, higher margin product are very close to those 2017 record numbers according to the company. They believe it`s a sign that the consumer economy is still very strong.
MARTIN: We look at millennials as probably the next big opportunity. It`s
a very large group. It`s larger than the baby boomers. They are connected
to social experience, and being outdoors.
And so, for us, if we can start talking to them now and bringing them into
our units, maybe the smaller units as they get started, they`re less
expensive, you know, they may not own a home but they like their
HOLLAND: Winnebago expects tariffs to negatively impact the company by tens of millions of dollars, but happy says historically high consumer
spending and consumer confidence numbers, as well as falling interest rates are just what the industry needs.
HAPPE: I think part of our ascension in terms much number of units sold in the last ten years has been because, you know, financing has been
available, in a very disciplined way, and it`s been affordable. And so, I
think, you know, another quarter point drop certainly would be beneficial.
But I think the industry is healthy.
HOLLAND: Another bright spot for the sector, the number of households
camping more than three times a year has increased 72 percent since 2014.
In Elkhart, Indiana, Frank Holland, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT.
GRIFFETH: And coming up, advertisers finding new ways to get your
attention and it`s raking in the cash.
GRIFFETH: If you want to work at McDonald`s (NYSE:MCD), you can now ask Alexa or Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) assistant for help. The so-called smart
speakers now allow job seekers to start an application by simply using
voice commands. McDonald`s (NYSE:MCD) says it`s the first direct employer to use the platforms in this way. And it allows the fast food chain to stand out in a tight labor market.
It`s also part of broader effort by McDonald`s (NYSE:MCD) to incorporate
more technology into its operations.
Speaking of which, as hiring goes high tech, so does advertising. And the
industry`s innovative push was on full display during this year`s Adweek
Conference in New York City.
Julia Boorstin has more.
JULIA BOORSTIN, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: Billboards and radio spots may seem old fashioned compared to Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and Instagram ads. But new technology is digitizing traditional formats and jump starting growth.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Alexa, can you tell me about the new McDonald`s
(NYSE:MCD) skill (ph)?
ALEXA: Happy to.
BOORSTIN: With the explosion of home speakers, streaming music services such as Spotify and Pandora, as well as podcasts, the digital audio market drew to $2.3 billion last year, a 23 percent increase from the prior year.
EMILY ANTHONY, MERKLE SENIOR DIRECTOR: Given that smart home devices are driving the growing and the digital audio environment right now it makes a lot of sense, that Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) has moved forward with a digital audio product, given that they support Alexa, which is the largest smart home device currently on the market.
BOORSTIN: And now, Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), the third largest ad giant, is using digital audio ads in the ad supported music service to drive that
ANTHONY: A lot of what has driven brands to look at digital audio
advertising is the ability to target customers more specifically in the
digital environment. But Pandora, Spotify rely largely on third party
data. Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) has a vast amount of first party data that they can use.
BOORSTIN: Meanwhile, outdoor advertisers are benefitting from new digital tools as well, while the overall ad market has grown just 4 percent a year over the past decade, digital billboards are responsible for 55 percent of that growth, now comprising a fifth of all outdoor ad revenue. One startup bringing billboards online is called Ad Quick. It aggregates the inventory billboards and the like from 1,000 media owners nationwide, including Clear Channel and Lamar, enabling buyers to target zip codes and measure the impact of the ads based on increases in web traffic from different locations.
In the more traditional billboards are converted into digital displays, the
more opportunities for brands to tap into the potential to swap out
messaging and customize ads based on the zip code.
For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Julia Boorstin.
GRIFFETH: Finally tonight, we learn that GM and the UAW are reportedly
close to a tentative deal to end that strike. So that will be a focus of
tomorrow`s market after today`s gains.
That is NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for tonight. I`m Bill Griffeth.
Thanks for watching. We`ll see you tomorrow.
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