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tv   Nightly Business Report  PBS  October 4, 2011 6:30pm-7:00pm PDT

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>> the federal open market committee, the fomc, now expects a somewhat slower pace of economic growth over coming quarters than it did at the time of the june meeting. >> tom: with the recovery on the verge of stalling, ben bernanke urges lawmakers to act. >> susie: then, what comes before 5? 4s-- apple unveils its latest iphone. but for shareholders, it's the wrong number. >> to some extent, that's one of the problems sometimes with being a company like apple-- it's difficult to fulfill everyone's lofty expectations. >> susie: it's "nightly business report" for tuesday, october 4. this is "nightly business report" with susie gharib and tom hudson.
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"nightly business report" is made possible by: this program is made possible by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. captioning sponsored by wpbt >> tom: good evening and thanks for joining us. ben bernanke delivered a grim assessment on the u.s. economy today. speaking to lawmakers on capitol hill today, "sluggish" and "slow" were two words he used to describe economic conditions. >> susie: the federal reserve chairman promised that the central bank will be ready to act, if necessary. but he called on congress to do its part to help the economy,
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specifically coming up with a long-term deficit reduction plan. >> tom: bernanke admitted u.s. policy makers face tough economic choices, but added those choices cannot be "postponed." darren gersh reports. >> reporter: the key part of federal reserve chairman ben bernanke's message today came when he was asked about the impact of operation twist, the fed's program to bring down long-term interest rates. >> i think it'll help somewhat on job creation and growth. it'll be particularly important now that the economy is close... the recovery is close to faltering. we want to make sure that the recovery continues and doesn't drop back. >> reporter: "close to faltering" is not something you want to hear a fed chairman say about the economy. macroeconomic advisers' antulio bomfim says the best word to describe the market's reading of bernanke's testimony-- "sobering." >> it reinforces, to a degree, the sense of worry about the economy.
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so, not a whole lot of... if you are a market participant, you don't come out of this with a very strong feeling. >> reporter: bomfim says bernanke's testimony was filled with reason after reason for worry about the economy. topping the list was sluggish job growth. then, there's the possibility of financial contagion following a collapse in europe. even so, the fed chairman did not signal another round of bond buying -- what markets call "qe-3"-- would be coming soon. >> we never take anything off the table, because we don't know where the economy's going to go, we can't forecast what might happen in the future. but we have no immediate plans to do anything like that. >> reporter: why not? because the fed has already gone much further than former fed officials like bomfim thought it would ever have to go. >> so they are taking very aggressive action. >> reporter: the fed has already pledged to keep interest rates low through 2013. now, add to that operation twist. >> so they are doing a lot. the problem is they don't have
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a lot left, and what they have left has limited powers, at this point. >> reporter: which is why the federal reserve chairman reminded congress today that lawmakers have a shared responsibility to implement policies that support economic growth. the not so subtle point-- the federal reserve can't do it all. darren gersh, "nightly business report," washington. >> susie: stocks mount a late- day turnaround on fresh hopes europe can shore up its banks. the dow rose 153 points, rebounding from a loss of 200 points earlier in the session. the nasdaq added 69 points, or 3%, and the s&p 500 gained 24, despite dipping into bear market territory earlier in the day. >> tom: still ahead-- we go "beyond the scoreboard" with the owner of the miami dolphins. we ask steve ross about the business of football and repairing the economy. >> susie: kraft foods is going on a diet. the company is cutting the fat
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in its mac and cheese and putting more fiber in wheat thins. chairman and c.e.o. irene rosenfeld is trying to whip kraft into shape before its grocery and snack businesses separate next year. she talked to diane eastabrook about the challenges of building a healthier business in an unhealthy economy. >> taking a recess from the executive suite, kraft chairman and c.e.o. irene rosenfeld plays with students at a chicago charter school. rosenfeld came to this charter school to see how the public school integrates health and wellness with academics. in the lunchline you won't find any oreo, only fruits, veggies and lean meats. like the school, kraft wants to be healthier, too. recently they increased the amount of whole grain in wheat thins and honey maid graham crackers. they also removed the transfats from oros an other products.
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rosenfeld told me food companies risk losing customers if they change their flavor. >> it's a challenge, but it's one of the things i'm most proud of. we have terrific individuals in our r&d facility, and they've done an excellent job on products like lunchable, like premium crackers and like our nut products and a number of our other offerings where we've been able to reduce the sodium content without compromising the taste. it's really... they're products selling quite well for us. >> there's been some criticism about u.s. companies exporting obesity to developing countries, and recently the u.n. secretary-general has suggested maybe some sort of global standards around sodium, fats and sugar. do you think this is something that wound likely happen? >> i don't know if it will or it won't. i do know, if, in fact, this were an important opportunity elsewhere in the world, we would like to be at the forefront. we have been leaders in this area, particularly in north america where the approach was
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really begun earliest, and i expect that we will continue to take those practices elsewhere in the world. >> we've been seeing commodity costs increasing steadily over the last year. they've been dipping here and there. what is your outlook for commodity costs over the next six to 12 months? >> they're certainly not going down. i'm not sure they will go up at the same rate we have seen. we are seeing them begin the flatten out a little bit. but we assume that high input costs are here to stay and we've take an number of actions to reduce our costs to increase the value of our offerings to be able to compete effectively in the face of that. i'm quite pleased with our performance. >> you have raised prices on some products this year. do you think you'd have to do it again if we continue to see commodity costs rising? and at what point might you expect to see some sort of pushback from consumers? >> well, we're very sensitive to that, some of our pricing actions we have had to price to recover the input costs, but we're executed the pricing in a number of different ways. in some case we've reduced
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package sizes. in some cases we have been able to reformulate our products. all of which is designed to ensure that we're providing adequate value to consumers when we have to raise the prices. >> we keep hearing about the possibility of a double-dip recession. is craft noticing anything in regards to what people are buying or how much they're buying? >> it's hard to say whether or not we're headed into a recession. i know that consumers around the world are struggling, so our focus has been to ensure that our products are offering adequate value at a time when they are strapped. we certainly see the impact in a number of our product categories, particularly those that are perhaps a little more discretionary. >> ms. rosenfeld, thank you so much for joining us. >> thank you.
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>> it was another day of sharp swings in the markets, triple-digit losses and triple-digit gains. the major market, the dow, at risk of going into bear market territory. >> thankfully the triple digit gains happened at the closing bell as opposed to the opening bell. we pound up putting green on the screen here, susie. let's take a look at where that was in tonight's market focus. stocks dropped into bear market
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territory this morning, but pulled out of it by the close. within the first half hour of today's session, the s&p 500 dropped 2%. that put the index officially into a bear market from its high in april, down more than 20%. but in the final 45 minutes of trading, prices rebounded on reports european finance officials may do more to help stabilize european banks. while the late-day gain keeps the s&p 500 out of a bear market, these sectors remain down more than 20% from april. the financial sector is down more than 28%. materials and energy sectors are down more than 26% each. and those were the sectors where we saw the buying recovery today. financials up more than 4%; materials and energy up at least 3% each. while stocks reversed earlier
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losses on hopes for more help in europe, the u.s. dollar flipped around and closed lower. but only after the dollar index hit its highest level since january earlier in the session. that pushed metal prices lower. gold fell 2.5%; silver and platinum dropped more than 3% each. as the dollar has been trending higher with the european worries, oil prices have sank. crude ended down almost $2 a barrel, settling at $75 dollars and change. this is the lowest price since the fall of 2009. back to stocks-- yahoo shares earned the corporate exclamation mark today, jumping 7% on heavy volume. yahoo's investment bankers are expected to share the company's books with potential buyers soon. last month, c.e.o. carol bartz was fired and the company
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launched a strategic review. another company with an official corporate exclamation point reported quarterly results late today. earnings from kfc and pizza hut owner yum brands came in as expected. china continues to be its bright spot, but weak u.s. operations erased most of its international growth. shares were up 2% during the regular session, but dropped as much as that in after-hours action. despite the volatility, yum stock is up 6.5% from a year ago. finally, american airlines shares bounced 21% after yesterday's massive sell-off over worries about bankruptcy. today, the pilot's union denied rumors some were looking to retire over concerns about amr's finances. also, two analysts upgraded their ratings of the stock. and that's tonight's "market focus." >> susie: uncertainty hangs over
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the 37 cities, towns and villages hit by last spring's tsunami and earthquake in japan. the disaster left about 30,000 people dead or missing, and almost as many survivors have fled the region, perhaps for good. lucy craft spoke to residents who are staying and have their own strategy for revival. >> reporter: even before the tsunami destroyed his sushi shop, owner rikio murakami says business in kesennuma was in free fall. by last year, his annual sales of $3 million had dwindled by more than half. >> ( translated ): our core industry, fishing, was in decline. the economy was terrible. the town had no vitality. and it was a lousy place to run a shop. >> reporter: unexpectedly, the worst tragedy in japanese postwar history has given kesennuma a new lease on life. what the city of 70,000 people does have is an historic and scenic harbor, and its own unorthodox ideas about post- disaster renewal.
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the national government wants to protect towns like kesennuma by surrounding them with seawalls of around 20 feet. but the people of kesennuma say they don't want the wall. they have an idea that's counterintuitive-- instead of barricading the sea out, they want to coexist with it. >> ( translated ): especially because we want to draw more tourists, building a wall to block off the sea is out of the question. tsunami are a natural phenomenon. there's one major tsunami every few centuries. so you insure yourself and figure out how to make it safe to live and work around them. >> reporter: their proposal goes like this-- tear down the scenery-obstructing parking lot. replace it with a park, and surround the port with shops, restaurants and entertainment areas geared to maximize new views of the harbor. even huge tsunami waves couldn't topple most of the concrete- reinforced shops in downtown kesennuma, and floodwaters rose no higher than the second story.
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so, instead of declaring the waterfront off-limits, local businessmen say the disaster has shown how to build smart in a tsunami zone. first and second floors would be reserved for business; third and fourth, for housing, creating emergency refuge when the next tsunami comes to town and injecting new life into a decaying downtown. >> ( translated ): our downtown has become full of vacant shops. our high school grads leave for the big cities. there's nothing to keep them here-- no jobs, little to do. so we need an attractive city, a place where people choose to be. >> reporter: the locals say that resignation immediately after the tsunami has given way to a newfound sense of mission >> ( translated ): the disaster washed away almost all of our shops. even the ones that remained will have to be reconstructed. so we're in the position of totally starting from scratch. this is our one big chance-- the chance of a lifetime to build a new town! we wont have this chance again, so we have to leap at this opportunity.
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>> reporter: the fine print isn't finished, the funds yet to be secured. but amidst the ruins, hopes are already rising for an economic turnaround. lucy craft, "nightly business report," kesennuma, japan. >> susie: one stock that didn't participate in that market rally-- apple. investors were soured by apple's latest version of its popular iphone. they were disappointed to get the iphone 4s when they were hoping for an iphone 5. still, the announcement was notable because it was the first for new apple c.e.o., tim cook. it's also apple's first phone update in more than a year. the iphone 4s will range in price from $199 to $399. it's the first iphone that will be available for sprint nextel, in addition to the verizon and at&t networks. suzanne pratt reports. >> reporter: meet the iphone 4s. yes, it's faster. and yes, it's got a better camera. but it doesn't appear much
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different than the iphone 4. so, will people buy it? >> unless it's such a drastic change, i'm not going to be getting the new iphone. i can wait. i'll wait a bit. absolutely. >> the generation that i'm on is a little older. so always looking for new products out there to help with the information. >> reporter: it's attitudes like that that have helped apple sell 55 million iphones in the last nine months. no matter what the new phone looks like, there will probably be long lines at stores like this one when the iphone 4s goes on sale october 14. that's good news for shareholders, because iphones are apple's most profitable product, and they generate nearly half of company sales. iphone's success has helped apple stock shine in an a down market. the shares are up 15% this year. still, the stock fell today as investors were upset there wasn't an iphone 5. but analyst scott kessler says
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shareholders should be jumping for joy because apple will no longer make separate devices for every carrier. >> that's actually going to contribute to higher gross margins, and so we actually raised our estimates for fy '12, which ends in september, and increased our target price to $495. >> reporter: apple hasn't had a new phone in more than a year, and that has allowed inroads from competitors like android. branding expert david lipkin says staying well ahead of the pack is important to the apple mystique. >> a big part of what people get excited about are new products, new features, updates. it's part of what drives revenue for them. so, in the same way that people like updates to applications, they like new products. it's one of the things that helps keep people loyal. >> reporter: but for apple users, it doesn't matter what you call the newest phone, they already love it.
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>> everything is just simple. i have a blackberry, too, which i hate. i personally think blackberry should go out of business. they don't know how to make media centric products. >> reporter: suzanne pratt, "nightly business report," new york. >> tom: while apple shares were lower, the new iphone's availability on the sprint network gave sprint's shares a boost. the stock climbed almost 5% on word sprint will carry the iconic apple phone for the first time. sprint has reportedly committed to buying 30 million iphones from apple over the next four years. here's what we're watching for tomorrow: we continue asking business leaders how to fix the economy. we'll talk with andrew tisch, co-chairman of loews, which has interests in insurance, energy and hotels. also, we'll take you to one area where bad weather has led to a windfall for construction workers.
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and hilary kramer is back as our "street critique" guest. email questions to streetcritique@nbr.com. >> susie: ford is the latest detroit auto maker to reach a deal with the united auto workers union. ford says the agreement will make it more competitive. the contract will add more than 5,700 jobs and invest nearly $5 billion in ford factories. most of the new hires will be entry-level positions, which will cut the company's labor costs. union workers at general motors ratified their contract last week, leaving only chrysler without a labor deal. it's still in talks with the uaw. >> tom: ford isn't the only company adding jobs. department store kohl's announced 40,000 new positions. the only catch is its seasonal work for the holiday season. it works out to about 35 additional workers in each of kohls's 1,100 stores. the temporary hiring plan is up about 5% from last year's levels. hiring has already begun and is expected to be completed by mid- november.
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>> susie: when what's owed is often far different than what's paid. allan sloan weighs in on corporate taxes. he's senior editor-at-large at "fortune." >> the words "accounting" and
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"simple" rarely appear in the same sentence, but there's a chance to fix that, at least when it comes to figuring out how much federal income tax big companies pay. right now, no one but the company knows what it owes the i.r.s. for a given year. companies have to disclose tons of tax numbers, but that's not one of them. this means the stories you've heard for months about, say, g.e. not paying any federal tax for 2010 are simply wrong. journalists and analysts have taken the tax number companies use to calculate reported profits, and confused it with what they owe the i.r.s. they're not the same. there's a simple accounting fix for this. the financial accounting standards board can require companies to disclose information from their federal tax returns. that way, we'll know what they actually pay. sure, we'll still argue whether that's enough, but at least we'll be using the right numbers, instead of the wrong ones.
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go for it, fazz-bee! i'm allan sloan. >> tom: football is the most popular sport in the united states. tens of millions of television viewers tune in each week for nfl games. but for a handful of people, football is much more than a game, it's a business. real estate mogul steve ross is one of them. three years ago, he paid more than $1 billion for the miami dolphins, the most paid for a u.s. professional sports franchise. but the team has had a rough season. the dolphins have not won a game yet. in tonight's "beyond the scoreboard," dolphins owner steve ross talks with rick horrow about the importance of the current season and the state of the economy. >> it's an important season. i'm more interested in building a franchise that's going to be consistently a winner as opposed to a quick fix and just having, you know, an okay year, 10-6, and then going back and worry about rebuilding. >> i started going to miami dolphin games in september of 1966 when they started and for
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the last 45 years it's been a similar balance of consistency and stability. what are you going to do to get back to that? >> those organizations that win on a consistent basis, you know, have a very strong quarterback. and until we can make sure that we have that franchise quarterback, we're not going to win consistently. i'm hoping chad henny is that guy. >> how important is maximizing the fan experience to you? >> i think more today than ever before. it's very competitive, looking to get fan to come to the ballpark. you really have to induce them and you have to give them an experience they can't get at home, because that's really the enemy of us as owners trying to bring fans to the ballpark. >> again, a guy spending $1 billion to buy a franchise, how comfortable are you with the future of the nfl, including the ten-year labor agreement that was just signed. >> ten years of knowing you're going to have labor peace. it was a great deal for the player. it was a good deal for the owners. and i think that the nfl being the greatest brand in the world
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today, i think it's a question of how you take advantage of the brand that you have. >> "nightly business report" viewers want to know from one poaskt most successful businessmen in the world, is the economy turning around? should you continue to invest or should you put your pennies in your pillows and run like heck? >> these are trying times in the united states. you know, i think we all have a lot of questions. we don't have the optimism we had, you know, five, six years ago. i think this is a great country. americans have been there before with their backs against the wall, and i think we'll succeed, but it's going to take a lot of work. >> what is the future for jobs in america? >> until we can compete globally from a cost standpoint, people will be buying our goods and we can have a manufacturing element in this country, which we kind of lost or allowed foreign countries to take over from us. until we can really be competitive there, which means we're going to have to work with the union, we're go to have to
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change the work rules, it's not so much about the wages, and so we can deliver products competitive with the rest of the world. >> that was miami dolphins' owner steve >> susie: that was miami dolphins owner steve ross. and that's "nightly business report" for tuesday, october 4. i'm susie gharib. good night, everyone, and good night to you, too, tom. >> tom: good night, susie. i'm tom hudson. thanks for joining us. we hope to see all of you again tomorrow night. "nightly business report" is made possible by: this program was made possible by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. captioning sponsored by wpbt captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org 
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