<Show: NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT> <Date: June 25, 2013> <Time: 18:30:00> <Tran: 062501cb.

118> <Type: SHOW> <Head: NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for June 25, 2013, PBS> <Sect: News; International> <Byline: Susie Gharib, Bill Griffeth, Eamon Javers, Jon Fortt, Eunice Yoon, Jane Wells> <Guest: Steven Harper> <Spec: Consumers; Financial Services; Housing; Real Estate; Business; China; Chip Starnes; Hostages and Kidnappings; Agriculture; Products; Technology> <Time: 18:30>

ANNOUNCER: This is NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT with Tyler Mathisen and Susie Gharib, brought to you by --


SUSIE GHARIB, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOR: Realty check. Home prices are jumping, but so are mortgage rates. And with supply tight, what a buyer to do?

BILL GRIFFETH, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT ANCHOPR: Trapped. Imagine being held hostage by your own employees at your own company? That`s exactly what`s happening to an American businessman in China.

GHARIB: Food fight. Would you eat food knowing they are made from genetically altered seeds? It`s a multi-billion-dollar industry that finds itself at the center of an even bigger controversy.

We have all that and more tonight on NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for Tuesday, June 25th.

GRIFFETH: Good evening, everybody. I`m Bill Griffeth, in for Tyler Mathisen this evening.

American consumers, well, they are feeling more confident these days, pretty surprising given the turmoil and uncertainty in the stock market recently.

For the third straight month, a closely watched confidence index rose sharply, hitting a fiveyear high. The conference board said today that its survey shows people are feeling better about their jobs and financial situations, and that confidence is also showing up in the housing market.

Sales of new homes rose more than 2 percent in May to the highest level we`ve seen since 2008, and home prices jumped a record 12 percent in April according to the latest S&P CaseShiller Index of 20 cities.

That positive move carried over to the markets as well. The Dow rose more than 100 points, the NASDAQ 27 and the S&P was up almost 15 today.

GHARIB: Well, with all that enthusiasm in the housing market come new concerns. There is shrinking supply of homes on the market and mortgage rates are edging up, too.

Diana Olick takes a lot how all those changes are impacting home buyers.


DIANA OLICK, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A few months ago, the Diederichs family sold their home in Menifee, California, and it could not have gone better.

ALICIA DIEDERICHS, OCEANSIDE, CA (NASDAQ:CA): We listed our home for one weekend and had 20 offers and they ended up offering 20 over asking. So it was great.

OLICK: But the tables have turned on this family of five, who are in a temporary rental.

Now, they are the buyers facing a sudden spike in both home prices and mortgage rates.

DIEDERICHS: I`m afraid we`re going to miss the boat. I feel like if we get priced out of the market in a few months and, you know, depending on the mortgage payments, whether we could afford it if the interest rates go up much more.

OLICK: Mortgage rates are up a full percentage point since May with huge jumps in the past two weeks. This as home prices in the nation`s top 20 markets saw record moves higher between March and April, and double digit gains from a year ago.

GLENN KELMAN, REDFIN CEO: We had people calling in tears saying, oh, my gosh, I have to lock in a rate right now. And so, the people who have been on the fence, some of them have stepped back, but some of them jumped off the fence in the other direction and really want to buy a home before rates go up further.

OLICK: And sellers have seen a swift change as well, as rising rates chip away at purchasing power.

BOB BALKINS, HOMEOWNER: It eliminated a couple people who were highly interested in buying, and so, there`s been a lot of anxiety, I think, associated with it.

OLICK (on camera): All the housing numbers lately -- sales, prices and supply have been pretty bullish, but they`ve also been backward looking before the spike in rates. As investors move out of housing, regular buyers are moving in and they rely on mortgages. Affordability is still good now, but unlike the rest of the market, it is falling fast.

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


GHARIB: Also on the housing front, a bipartisan group of lawmakers introducing a bill to shut down government-run mortgage guarantors Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. They`ve proposed replacing them with another federal reinsurer designed to back stock more private money in the event of another housing crisis.

Republican Senator Bob Corker is one of the bill`s sponsors and says there is an appetite to get this done.


SEN. BOB CORKER (R), TENNESSEE: I think everyone knows that Fannie and Freddie, the way they were set up with private gains and public losses was not a fair deal for taxpayers. This is a change that keeps liquidity in the market. Hopefully, we`ll be successful. I do think there is energy here in congress to take this on, and hopefully, we`ll do something that certainly moves us away from the status quo.


GHARIB: You`ll remember that bailing out Fannie and Freddie during the height of the financial crisis cost American taxpayers more than $187 billion.

GRIFFETH: Also in Washington, the Senate is a step closer to a final vote on that comprehensive overhaul of the nation`s immigration laws after passing a key hurdle Monday evening. A bipartisan majority approved a compromise measure that beef up border security, paving the way for final passage that could come as early as Wednesday.

Republican Senator John McCain who is voting for final passage of the overhaul, he appealed to business leaders for their support.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I have heard of a lot of commitments on the business community, whether be high tech or others, that frankly, I haven`t seen the results of their commitments yet. So, I hope that they will understand how important it is for them to be involved.


GRIFFETH: If the bill clears the Senate later this week, it`s expected to, then it heads to the House where it`s expected to face significant hurdles from conservative lawmakers.

GHARIB: The Senate also confirming a new secretary of commerce. Chicago billionaire Penny Pritzker was elected to the post by a 97-1 vote. She`s been a long-time supporter and fundraiser for President Obama.

GRIFFETH: And a major speech from the president today, calling for new legislation to combat climate change, besides the expected calls for renewable energy and limits on dangerous emissions. Mr. Obama revisited the contentious political debate over the Keystone oil pipeline.

Eamon Javers has more on that.


EAMON JAVERS, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT: Under a scorching gun at Georgetown University, President Obama called for sweeping regulatory changes to deal with global climate change, including telling the EPA to establish carbon pollution standards for both new and existing power plants.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As a president, as a father, and as an American, I`m here to say we need to act.


I -- I refuse to condemn your generations and future generations to a planet that`s beyond fixing.

JAVERS: The president`s plan includes making up to $8 billion in loan guarantee authority available to efficiency projects. He`d also direct the Department of Interior to permit wind and solar renewable programs on public lands to power more than 6 million homes by 2020, and he said he would only authorize the controversial Keystone pipeline if building it generates fewer greenhouse gases than the alternative.

But some environmentalists rallying in the nation`s capital today want more.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s taken some baby steps. He`s got to take some giant steps.

JAVERS: Business advocates said the president`s plan risks American jobs. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said, "The president`s plan runs a serious risk of punishing Americans with higher energy bills, fewer jobs and a weaker economy, while delivering benefits to the environment.

DIANE FURTHGOT ROTH, MOTHER: I have six children, I have a husband, I need to run my home. I don`t want high utility bills.

JAVERS: But the president said critics have been wrong before.

OBAMA: What you`ll hear from special interests and their allies in Congress is that this will kill jobs and crush the economy and basically end American free enterprise as we know it, and the reason I know you`ll hear those things is because that`s what they said every time.

JAVERS (on camera): Tellingly, the president`s plan revolves around executive action and those are things that he doesn`t need approval from a reluctant Congress to actually accomplish.

For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Eamon Javers in Washington.


GHARIB: Turning now to our "Market Focus", we begin with a management shakeup at the world`s largest cruise ship company. The CEO of Carnival (NYSE:CCL) Cruise Lines is out. Micky Arison had been running Carnival (NYSE:CCL) for 35 years but he will stay on as chairman.

The change comes after a series of mishaps involving Carnival (NYSE:CCL) ships, from the Costa Concordia to the Triumph.

Also today, Carnival (NYSE:CCL) reported better than expected earnings but said bookings and prices for the rest of 2013 are lower than last year.

But despite all that mixed batch of news, Carnival (NYSE:CCL) shares rose 5 percent to $34.89.

Walgreens reported earnings that missed analysts` estimates. The nation`s largest drugstore chain cited a weak economy, declining customer traffic and sluggish non-pharmacy sales.

To reverse the trend and get more people back in the stores, Walgreens said it`s changing its pricing and promotional strategy. The stock closed at $45.22, down almost 6 percent.

Barnes & Noble (NYSE:NE) (NYSE:BKS) reported another quarter of weak results, much worse than Wall Street expected. The book store chain said sales of nook devices dropped 34 percent and e-books fell 9 percent. As a result, the company plans to end the manufacturing of its own tablets in favor of co-branded devices made by a third party.

At the close, shares fell more than $3 to $15.61. That`s a drop of almost 17 percent.


GRIFFETH: Meantime, a good day for Pandora shareholders. The online radio company said that its service is now available in more than 100 car models, that doubles the number from a year ago. Overall, more than 2.5 million listeners use Pandora in their cars now. Shares rose 8 percent today, to $16.41.

And the board at Men`s Wearhouse is offering a few more insights into last week`s termination of George Zimmer, the founder, executive chairman, and basically face of the company. According to the board, Mr. Zimmer wanted to take the company private and he raised concerns over the CEO Doug Ewert`s compensation.

That stock ended up more than 5 percent today, to $37.13.

And Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) shareholders have overwhelmingly approved that company`s $21.6 billion deal, with Japan`s Softbank. About 80 percent of the shares were voted in favor of the deal. It ends a drawn-out fight for the third largest U.S. carrier between Softbank and DISH.

Now, just one more hurdle remains. That`s the approval from the FCC, which is expected in July. Sprint finished the day fractionally higher at $6.88.

GHARIB: Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) shares surged almost 4 percent as CEO Marissa Mayer delivered a strong report card at the company`s shareholder meeting today. Since Mayer took over as CEO about a year ago, Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) stock surged 60 percent.

So, how do shareholders think she`s doing? And what do they think about her vision for Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO)?

Jon Fortt has more.


JON FORTT, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It`s been quite a year for Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) and now CEO Marissa Mayer.

And today, she made the case to investors that the Internet giant is finally back on track. At the annual shareholder meeting in Silicon Valley, Mayer emphasized the idea that better products will bring in more advertisers, who will spend money to reach Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) customers.

(on camera): To show that Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) is on the way toward delivering those results, Mayer had three product managers take the stage and do demos and offered stats to suggest they are well on their way.

(voice-over): Flickr photo uploads have increased 300 percent since the service moved to a free terabyte of storage. Shareholders at the meeting offered positive reviewed.

DANIEL GOLDSMITH, YAHOO SHAREHOLDER: They reenergized the company, the products, the demos that were done were really on target to show that.

SHELDON EHRLICH, YAHOO SHAREHOLDER: I think the most important thing they are doing is hiring and inspiring talent.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do we want?

CROWD: Free speech!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When do we want it?


FORTT: Not everyone who came to the meeting was a shareholder, a group of former Walmart employees protested that retailer`s treatment of striking workers who are trying to unionize.

Mayer is on the Walmart board.

MARIE ANNE ROBERTI, FORMER WAL-MART EMPLOYEE: When we heard she goes to board meeting, you can say, hey, this is what is going on with Wal-Mart

(NYSE:WMT) associates. They are having complaints. Let`s see what we could do.

FORTT: Mayer focused on what Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) has to do if it`s going to grow.

Mobile analyst Rocky Agrawal said she still has her work cut out.

ROCKY AGRAWAL, ANALYST: I would say for PR, she`s done a fantastic job. That`s an A. In terms of really moving the company forward, I think it`s probably a C with judgment to be really reserved. There`s been a lot of flashy stuff like acquisitions, but there are still a lot of knots and bolts blocking and tackling that`s not being done.

FORTT (on camera): For now, investors were happy, stocks up better than 60 percent since Mayer took over about 11 months ago.



GHARIB: Still ahead on the program, an American business executive held hostage in China by his own employees. It`s a story you don`t want to miss.

But, first, let`s get a check on the international markets for today.


GRIFFETH: As you know, concerns about a credit crunch in China has led to a sharp sell off in the Chinese stock market over the last few days. It`s fallen to a more than 4-year-low.

Well, now, China`s central bank is trying to calm investors. The People`s Bank of China is now promising it won`t tighten rules for banks too much as it tries to curve private bank lending in order to shore up economic growth.

GHARIB: We all know about the challenges of doing business in another country, dealing with foreign governments, exchange rates and different regulations, but what about the boss being taken hostage?

Well, that`s happening right now to an American in China.

Eunice Yoon has more.


EUNICE YOON, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It`s not often you`re a prisoner in your own company but that`s happening to Chip Starnes. The American CEO of Specialty Medical Supplies has been held captive at his factory in China since last Friday, by workers who have been with him for nearly a decade.

REPORTER: Did you ever think you would be in this situation with so much experience in China?


YOON: Starnes was at the center of a worker revolt, not uncommon for China but rare for an American boss. With wages here rising, the 42-year- old decided to move part of the business to India. He laid off 35 workers, paid them severance, but then rumors started he was closing the factory, which he says he was not.

STARNES: They`re demanding severance pay and -- but they still have a job and that`s the problem.

YOON: The workers won`t let Starnes out but would let us in.

STARNES: I just thought I would have a little bit more support from the outside --

YOON (on camera): Are you going to keep this business in China?

STARNES: I mean, yes. I mean, I was operational seven days ago.

YOON: So, the workers are saying that Mr. Starnes actually isn`t being detained here. They say that he`s free to walk around the grounds but that`s very different from being held hostage.

(voice-over): Not to Starnes.

STARNES: The first couple days were very, very tough, nothing physical, more mental type of stuff going on. Standing around you anywhere you walk, 14, 16, 18 people following you.

YOON: His lawyers are negotiating -- so far, no deal.

REPORTER: What`s the first thing you`ll do when you get out of here?

STARNES: First, I want to take a shower and shave. I`m only 42 but I know I`m looking a lot older than I am. I`m solid gray.

YOON: Held up in his Chinese factory.

(on camera): The president of the American Chamber of Commerce said that this type of situations with hostage takes happen on occasion but are very rare and made a point of saying that this is not a major problem for the international business community.

For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, I`m Eunice Yoon, in Beijing.


GRIFFETH: Think about that, hostage taking happens from time to time.

GHARIB: Imagine it happening in the United States. >>

GRIFFETH: I could not.

GHARIB: And you don`t see security officials there.

GRIFFETH: And look how much they were taking it in stride, as well. It`s almost like, don`t take this personally.

GHARIB: I mean, is this just like a strike by a union and you go back to work and business as usual?

GRIFFETH: I guess. Crazy.

GHARIB: To be continued.


GHARIB: Well, Weil, Gotshal, one of the most prestigious law firms in the country, announced massive layoffs this week, saying it was essential to retain its, quote, "historic profitability in the new normal".

Well, what does this mean for the legal profession?

Joining us to talk about this, Steven Harper, he`s law professor at Northwest University and author of "The Lawyer Bubble: A Profession in Crisis".

Steven, let me just ask you, you know, during the financial crisis we saw Wall Street firms and big banks scaling back, we saw corporate America, a lot of big firms also cutting back and making changes and it seems like the legal profession was somewhat unscathed until now. Is this just a short-term problem for Weil Gotshal, one law firm, or is -- do you see fundamental changes coming to the profession?

STEVEN HARPER, AUTHOR, "THE LAWYER BUBBLE": I think the answer is both. There are some unique things about Weil. Over the last few years, it benefitted greatly from some enormously lucrative bankruptcy matters, including Lehman Brothers, for example, that allowed it to really thrive in various areas of its business, and as those large bankruptcy matters have winded down, I suspect they are finding themselves with -- well, I don`t suspect, it seems clear they are finding themselves with not enough work for the people who no longer have their work to do.

But there is something broader happening in the profession, and that has to do with the evolution of the profession from what, at least, it historically has been a profession as distinct from what it is becoming, at least in the big law segment, which is a collection of short-term profit maximizing businesses.

GRIFFETH: Yes, we don`t often think of the law industry in profit and loss terms. It`s more about winning and losing cases. But you made an intriguing point there. There`s not as much business. Are we less of a litigious society now?

HARPER: Oh, no, I don`t think so. I think --

GRIFFETH: This is ironic, isn`t it?

HARPER: Well, it`s ironic in some ways, although it`s predictable in others. There have been tremendous changes. Technology, for example, has made changes in terms of the kinds of things you no longer need lawyers to do. If I can -- if I`m a client and I can have a choice of either running a computer program to separate out documents or paying some associate who is right out of law school, $300 or $400 an hour, it becomes a pretty easy choice. So you have that sort of thing happening.

But then you also have a different kind on attitude that`s set in that has to do with what`s happening in terms of how people choose to lead their firms. And it`s not uniform. It`s not universal. There are firms that are exceptions.

But the prevailing model is focused on short-term thinking. And as you mentioned, Bill, in an era where there is big law firms in particular, in terms of the high end, although there`s lots of litigation and the society, the demand for high-end work is actually been flat for the past several years, and in that climate, law firms are trying to essentially buy top-line revenue growth by rating each other`s partner.

So that creates a further need to make sure that you are continuing to have lots of profits for your firm and your partners, so you can attract that kind of talent.

GHARIB: You know, Steven, you were a practicing an attorney at a prestigious firm in Chicago for many, many years. I think 30 years. And you`ve written a critical book about the profession and yet, now you`re a law professor.

So, what do you tell your law students who are aspiring attorneys?

Choose another line of work?


HARPER: Yes, well, the ones I teach as an adjunct in the Northeastern trial of advocacy program, there isn`t a lot to tell them because they`re already there. So, all I can do for them and what I`ve been doing in 15 or 20 years that I`ve been part of that program is to try to help them develop the best possible advocacy skills.

The other course that I teach though is at the under graduate level where students are tracking themselves. It`s an advanced seminar. They are tracking themselves into law school but without any real clear notion of why or what it will mean or what the career really will be. And, you know, the media images from Alicia Florrick at "The Good Wife". I mean, who wouldn`t want to lead that life?

GRIFFETH: Right, right.

GHARIB: Right.

HARPER: But that`s what frames a lot of expectations of these under graduates.

GHARIB: Well, you`ve given us a good picture, a snapshot of what`s ahead.

Thank you so much, Steven, for coming on the program. Steven Harper --

HARPER: Thanks for having me on.

GHARIB: -- law professor at Northwestern.

GRIFFETH: You bet.

Coming up, genetically altered seeds. It`s a multibillion-dollar industry. But now, there`s a growing movement to have them banned and what happens next could have wide-ranging implications. We`ll get to that.

But, first, a look at how commodities and treasuries and currencies fared today.


GHARIB: The Federal Reserve Bank of New York is not happy, and that`s because $1.2 million that was on route to the bank from Switzerland is now missing. The FBI along with local officials in New York City and Zurich say the money disappeared somewhere between being put in the cargo area of a flight that left Zurich on Saturday and when it landed later at New York`s JFK airport.

GRIFFETH: Well, there is something else that appears to be missing. That`s car payments in some areas.

Credit rating agency TransUnion says that more Americans are falling behind on their auto loan payments, and it`s blaming a rise in some prime borrowers. But the company says the delinquency rate right now is still a lot better than it was a year ago at this time.

GHARIB: And, finally tonight, there is a growing food fight over the safety and transparency of genetically modified grains in what we eat. While some genetically altered seeds and plants have been consumed here in the U.S. for years, other countries banned so-called GMO foods, despite increasing demand for more efficient and drought-resistant crops.

Jane Wells has more on this controversy.


JANE WELLS, NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A multibillion-dollar industry is based on a kernel of controversy.

MICHIEL VAN LOOKEREN, SYNGENTA: We need to feed 9 billion people in this world. We need to do that on less land.

WELLS: American agriculture demands on genetically modified seeds. For 17 years, they allowed farmers to grow more with less, credited with saving farmers during last year`s drought. But so-called GMO seeds are banned in parts of Europe and they face a growing protest movement in the U.S.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Chemicals and things in your food, we need something else we`re not sure about, you know?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it`s basic right to know what you put in your mouth and your body.

ALAN MCHUGHEN, UC RIVERSIDE PLANT GENETICIST: In all of the years of genetically modified foods, there is no documented case of harm to any human or animal from their consumption.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And so, you can see how the leaves are beginning to burn.

WELLS: Scientists who work for Speed Giants are starting to speak out.

RENEE LAFITTE, PIONEER HYBRID RESEARCH: What worries me the most is when we restrict access to technologies that are actually planet- preserving.

WELLS: At Pioneer, owned by DuPont, research fellow Renee Lafitte is testing 200 new genetic traits for drought-tolerant corn.

LAFITTE: I as a consumer much more worried about excessive use of pesticides, about excessive use of fresh water. And so, those to me are greater environmental concerns and even health concerns around agriculture than are GMOs.

WELLS: The biggest player and biggest target is Monsanto (NYSE:MON), where seeds are a $10 billion-dollar business last year. Marches have been organized against the St. Louis company. Unapproved Monsanto (NYSE:MON) GMO wheat recently showed up at a farm in Oregon under what the company calls suspicious circumstances.

Yet, Monsanto`s chief technology officer just won the World Food Prize for pioneering work with GMO soybeans.

ROBB FRALEY, MONSANTO CHIEF TECHNOLOGY OFFICER: It`s time for a new, fresh, conversation around that balancing act between the demand for food and the tools and technologies that we use to meet that demand.

WELLS (on camera): But farming and politics don`t always mix. Eight countries in Europe have banned GMO products. But Brazil and Argentina are embracing them. And China has just approved Monsanto`s new GMO soybean seeds.

(voice-over): Still many American consumers are skeptical. Several states are passing measures to label GMO foods, even though such a law failed in California.

Ken Oneto switched to GMO corn two years ago to cut down spraying near conventional tomatoes and wine grape.

KEN ONETO: We`re still spraying what we`re spraying with round up. But still using chemicals that are a little bit hasher on the environment, harsher on our people, be able to use softer (ph) material and safer stuff.

WELLS: But if labeling happens and he can`t sell his corn, Oneto says he`ll have to switch back.

For NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, Jane Wells, Woodland, California.


GHARIB: And that`s NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT for tonight. I`m Susie Gharib. Thanks for watching.

Great having you, Bill.

GRIFFETH: Always great to be here. I`m Bill Griffeth. Tyler Mathisen will be back tomorrow night, though.

Have a great evening.


Nightly Business Report transcripts and video are available on-line post broadcast at http://nbr.com. The program is transcribed by CQRC Transcriptions, LLC. Updates may be posted at a later date. The views of our guests and commentators are their own and do not

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