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Another Volatile Day On Wall Street; Oil Prices Are Up After OPEC Struck A Deal To Cut Supply Although The Gains Are Not As Big As They Were

December 10, 2018



<Date: December 7, 2018>

<Time: 16:00:00>

<Tran: 120701cb.k27>

<Type: SHOW>

<Head: Another Volatile Day On Wall Street; Oil Prices Are Up After OPEC

Struck A Deal To Cut Supply Although The Gains Are Not As Big As They Were

Earlier In The Day; The Bail Hearing For The Chief Financial Officer Of

Huawei Is Happening Right Now In Vancouver, Canada; European Powerhouses,

Each Face A Crossroads Of Their Own Domestic Issues; Sources Tell Cnn

Mueller’s Team Questioned John Kelly; U.S. Economy Adds 155,000 Jobs in

November; Altria Invests $1.8 Billion in Cannabis Firm Cronos; Former

Mexican President Vicente Fox Eyes Future of Cannabis Industry; U.S.

Employment Rate Unchanged at 3.7 Percent; New Program to Offer Single Moms

Basic Income; Dow Ends the Week Down Around 500 Points. Aired 3-4p ET - Part 1>

<Sect: News; International>

<Byline: Eleni Giokos, Kaitlan Collins, Paul La Monica, Richard Quest,

Alison Kosik, John Defterios, Scott McLean, Jim Bittermann, Erin

McLaughlin, Fred Pleitgen>

<Guest: Stephen Moore, Diane Swonk, Alexander Novak>

<High: It’s been a volatile end to a very volatile week. The major indices

are all down around 2% or more in this final hour of trading. 1.2 million

barrels a day equates a cut of 2% to 2.5% per producer depending on who

that producer is. So far, we know nothing about why Meng Wanzhou was

arrested only that the U.S. wanted her extradited. Paris is shutting down

its shops and attractions as it braces for the fourth weekend of protests

as well as violence. In Great Britain, the Prime Minister is still trying

to sell her Brexit deal just had a tough week, lots of negotiating and even

losing key votes in Parliament this week. Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer has

been tapped to replace Angela Merkel as head of the ruling Christian

Democratic Union Party. Sources tell Cnn Mueller’s team questioned John

Kelly. U.S. economy adds 155,000 jobs in November. Altria invests $1.8

billion in cannabis firm Cronos. Former Mexican President Vicente Fox eyes

future of cannabis industry. U.S. employment rate unchanged at 3.7 percent.

New program to offer single moms basic income. Dow ends the week down

around 500 points.>

<Spec: Bob Mueller; John Kelly; U.S. Economy; Altria; Vicente Fox; U.S.

Employment Rate; Magnolia Mother’s Trust; Stock Market; China, Huawei,

OPEC, Oil, Russia, Huawei, Canada, Brexit, Backstop, France, Germany,

Angela Merkel>

<Time: 15:00>

<End: 16:00>

ELENI GIOKOS, CNN HOST: Another volatile day on Wall Street. We are in the last hour of trade. The Dow is down over 600 points. Just a putter of slack in the green and just plummeting as the day went on. It’s Friday, December the 7th. Market sell-off confusion among investors as they juggle trade fears, jobs, geo politics. It’s all a mixed bag of problems. An oil deal reached. OPEC agreed to cut output by 1.2 million barrels a day. We’re live at the talks in Vienna, and up in the courts, a bail hearing for the Huawei executive that’s rattled markets this week. I am Eleni Giokos, this is “Quest Means Business.”

Hello, a very good evening to you. It’s been a volatile end to a very volatile week. The major indices are all down around 2% or more in this final hour of trading. We saw some green earlier in the day after that U.S. jobs report. Now, the optimism was quickly outweighed by the new fears on trade.

Hard line China critique as well as presidential adviser Peter Navarro can take some of that blame. He spoke with CNN just before markets turned negative. Navarro warned if the U.S. and China can’t strike a deal in 90 days, the U.S. will move ahead with tariff increases.


PETER NAVARRO, U.S. WHITE HOUSE TRADE ADVISER: China is at a point now, at an inflection point. It either has to change itself structurally and come into the world of free trading nations and be peaceful, or it can continue doing what it’s doing. If it’s going to continue doing what it’s doing, we have a President who is going to stand up to that for once and the American people should be appreciative of that.


GIOKOS: Well, some Americans may appreciate it, but investors not so much. So we’re going to Alison Kosik now. She is at the Stock Exchange for us standing by to give us a little bit of insight into all the various dynamics playing havoc on the markets today.

So we had the jobs report, not what people had expected and hoped, and then you’ve got this renewed fear on how this trade truce versus trade war scenario is going to play out. What is adding pressure as we head towards the close of trade?

ALISON KOSIK, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: You know what, I think we’re going into the weekend where anything could happen. I think that’s kind of adding to the pressure and you make a good point, this is a jobs day. This is a day we got the November jobs report, usually a focal point. But traders are focusing on anything but.

Especially when you showed very nicely how the White House is putting out these conflicting messages about the unresolved trade situation between the U.S. and China. You have got White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow sounding optimistic on CNBC about how talks are going with China and then you’ve got Peter Navarro warning of these higher tariffs if issues aren’t resolved in 90 days.

So all of this confusion, it’s really helping to juice the volatility in the markets and increase the anxiety. And you see how the day has unfolded. It started out flat. The weaker than expected jobs report, you know, it got some thinking that the Fed may decide to slow down its interest rate hikes next year or maybe not even hike as much as it had initially planned. That kind of thing would be reassuring to investors.

But then came those conflicting headlines and the markets right now, Eleni, are so fragile that every headline that comes out about trade, if it is not positive, it winds up being very volatile for the markets and you usually wind up seeing this kind of sell-off.

You know, right now, where we stand, all the major indices have wiped out all of their gains for the year. And if you look at a Dow chart, all of the 30 Dow stocks, all of them, each one of them is in the red -- Eleni.

GIOKOS: Alison, yes, and don’t forget we also had that tweet from President Trump earlier in the day saying you know, China trade talks are going quite well. So talking about these conflicting headlines, what I find fascinating, if you drill into the jobs numbers. I mean, people are expecting an increase of 200,000 jobs in November. It seems they’re viewing 155,000 pretty solid and they just are focusing on that unemployment rate that is unchanged but it’s at historic lows. So are they focusing on the positives there or are they seeing some negative numbers coming out as well?

KOSIK: I mean, I think the way the market is looking at that jobs report, is it’s kind of looking at it as a solid report, only because you look at that slowdown in the jobs market, it’s kind of understood that something like that would happen because the phenomenon that’s happening in the labor market is it’s hard to find skilled workers to meet the jobs that are open and that could really be the issue there.

I don’t think that - I think the market was actually looking at the jobs report as a positive because of how the Fed would react to it. So if the Fed does in fact pull back from the number of interest rate hikes or lessen the amount of each hike, I think that would be a big positive for the market.


KOSIK: Meantime, we expect the Fed to go ahead and raise interest rates at its next meeting coming up later this month -- Eleni.

GIOKOS: Thanks so much, Alison. Much appreciated. Have a great weekend.

KOSIK: You, too.

GIOKOS: All right, so oil prices are up after OPEC struck a deal to cut supply although the gains are not as big as they were earlier in the day. This is how Brent crude and WTI are trading right now. Let’s look at those numbers, Brent crude is up over 2%. It was up almost 5% earlier in the day, and so was WTI crude. And that’s shortly after the cartel agreed with its partners that it’s going to be cutting supply to try and a little bit of support to that Brent crude price that has been so volatile over the last few months.

We’ve got John Defterios covering all the news that maters in Vienna, Austria, where OPEC was meeting. John, yesterday we spoke, we weren’t feeling that optimistic. Today, we finally got a deal, take us through the details.

JOHN DEFTERIOS, EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR, CNN: Well, Eleni, in fact it was two days of nasty, somewhat intense negotiations with a lot of arm twisting according the sources I’ve been speaking to, but by the close of business here in Vienna, they have something that looks pretty credible, 1.2 million barrels a day equates a cut of 2% to 2.5% per producer depending on who that producer is. But let’s be realistic, it’s 700,000 barrels plus from Saudi Arabia and Russia.

So I asked the Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak how did they land on this magic number of 1.2%. Let’s take a listen.


ALEXANDER NOVAK, RUSSIAN ENERGY MINISTER (Through a translator): First of all, I think that the market was actually expecting us to cut 1 million to 1.2 million barrels per day and making any more aggressive moves than this was not necessary in our view as there are too many uncertainties in the markets.

We don’t want to act now and have to make a completely different decision, 180-degree turn in a few months because the market changes. It may look like the market has stabilized over the past years, but in fact, I think that there are many more unpredictable factors and uncertainties affecting it at the moment.

And to name just a few, I mean, trade wars intensify and get lack of clarity as to which direction they move in, the sanction policy of various countries also being unpredictable and unsystematic.

So overall, I mean, I think we have made a balanced right move.

DEFTERIOS: You have this situation where you have OPEC, non-OPEC cooperation but you have a U.S. President, President Trump, trying to intervene in the activities and calling for low prices. Is it actually detrimental to the process, or can you shut out the noise from the U.S. President?

NOVAK (Through a translator): When we make decisions, we, of course, first of all look at the interest of our country, of the Russian Federation and what is best for our economy and for the market at the same time. So we’re looking in the supply and demand balance, hence we are trying to find ways which in accordance with the agreements - the international agreements we make would help us alleviate the challenges and difficulties which the market currently sees, be that over supply or under supply or like now, you know, when we have to cut to avoid mounting surplus. So that is why we are more driven by fundamental factors.

DEFETERIOS: And not the U.S. President.

NOVAK (Through a translator): I’ve mentioned that before in one of the interviews that our decisions, we try to base our decisions on more fundamental factors than tweets.


DEFTERIOS: Alexander Novak, the Minister of Energy, Eleni. You really got the sense now that they’re celebrating two years of this OPEC/non-OPEC agreement, they clearly wanted to stand up to the U.S. President and say they will stay the course despite the noise to keep production higher from Washington.

GIOKOS: So Iran is really interesting because they were talking about flexibility and exemptions as well. Was that one, one of the big sticking points and how was that then resolved?

DEFTERIOS: They had to land on a number and they did get to 1.2 million as you suggested. Khalid Al-Falih, Saudi Arabia suggesting last night he wasn’t confident they would get a deal. Then I found out from other sources that a lot of the haggling was over getting Iran to be part of the agreement even though they’re faced with U.S. sanctions. So Iranian sources told me to the bitter end, they were not going to cave in to the pressure. They even had Brian Hook here, the special representative for the U.S. to Iran putting pressure on the other producers to make sure that Iran was in.

Here Bijan Zangeneh, is the Minister of oil for Iiran.


BIJAN ZANGENEH, IRANIAN OIL MINISTER: I don’t know when President Trump and the U.S. administration wants to learn that it is not acceptable for OPEC to put pressure on this organization publicly. And when Mr. Brian Hook was here, I thought that he wants to submit the request of the United States to be a member of OPEC.


ZANGENEH: But after some discussion, I understood that he’s put pressure on OPEC to squeeze Iran. But it seems it has no result.


DEFTERIOS: Once again, Bijan Zangeneh of Iran and I think this is as close as you can get to a win-win, Eleni, trying to get 25 players between OPEC and non-OPEC on the same page and they did it, even Khalid Al-Falih of Saudi Arabia said, “Look, even the U.S. energy producers should be happy because this stabilizes prices for their production which is nearly 12 million barrels a day now.” Back to you.

GIOKOS: Yes, coordinated action, right. That’s what we need to see and hopefully they comply. Thank you so much for this incredible insight, John, of the last few days. Appreciate it.

All right, so at any minute, we could learn more about the arrest of a Chinese businesswoman that rattled world markets this week. The bail hearing for the Chief Financial Officer of Huawei is happening right now in Vancouver, Canada. So far, we know nothing about why Meng Wanzhou was arrested only that the U.S. wanted her extradited.

CNN’s Scott McLean was outside the courthouse just a short time ago.


SCOTT MCLEAN, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: The CFO of the world’s second largest smartphone maker will be inside of a Canadian courtroom today asking for her freedom. This is a bail hearing while her extradition process makes its way through the Canadian ports which could be a lengthy process.

The United States has to show the Canadian authorities that she should be standing trial in the United States. It has 60 days to do that and it’s not even clear whether that’s been done.

The Canadians have 30 days to make a final decision. This is appealable right up to the Supreme Court of Canada. In the extradition case which has not yet been scheduled, U.S. authorities or the Canadian judge in this case will have to decide whether this is also a crime in Canada, whatever it is that she’s been accused of, and whether or not the penalty for it is more than one year.

Because of a publication ban, outlets like CNN are not allowed to discuss the charges or the evidence being presented in this case. So “The Wall Street Journal” reported earlier this year that the United States Justice Department was looking at Huawei and whether or not it had violated sanctions against Iran. Canada for its part does have its own sanctions against Iran as well.

Now, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, he addressed this yesterday. He said that this arrest last weekend at the Vancouver Airport was completely apolitical though he acknowledged that he did have advanced notice of it. Scott McLean, CNN, Vancouver, Canada.


GIOKOS: All right, coming up on “Quest Means Business,” three leaders, each European powerhouses, each face a crossroads of their own domestic issues. Find out how they’re tackling them next.


GIOKOS: Welcome back. So Paris is shutting down its shops and attractions as it braces for the fourth weekend of protests as well as violence. Some of the capital’s most famed sites like the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre and of course, the likes of the Opera House will be closed over the weekend and just take a look at the most important landmarks that are going to be impacted over the weekend.

Now since the start of the yellow vest movement, the French retail sector has lost more than $1 billion. Last night, France’s Deputy Tourism Minister told me that the government is doing its very best to help retailers stay open.


JEAN-BAPTISTE LEMOYNE, FRENCH DEPUTY MINISTER FOR TOURISM: I know some shops and retail sectors of course are affected because people are preparing Christmas and December is crucial for them. December is a month that is the double from a normal one in terms of business for them. So we are entering that they can’t open on Sundays what is not authorized everywhere in every case usually. But we are doing that, so that they can have other business during Sundays in order to recover quickly because, of course, retail is important for the country.


GIOKOS: CNN’s Jim Bittermann has more on the preparations for this weekend’s protests.


JIM BITTERMANN, EUROPEAN CORRESPONDENT, CNN: This time around, French authorities are taking no chances. In Mantes-la-Jolie, a suburb of Paris, police arrested over 140 demonstrators outside a school amid fears of escalating violence on the streets of the French capital.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These are not student movements but rather urban violence.


BITTERMANN: The students, he says, were joined by others intent on causing damage. The small town’s police force only had 12 officers on duty and had a hard time dealing with a mass arrest. It’s scenes like this the government is determined to stop.

Every Saturday since November 17th, hundreds of thousands of protesters have taken to the streets across France with increasing ferocity. Four people have died and over 1,500 have been injured. The so-called yellow vest movement began as a protest against higher fuel taxes but has morphed into a broader campaign against Emmanuel Macron’s government.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (Through a translator): We’re calm, we’re pacifists. We are here for the same reasons as everyone else, higher taxes, higher fuel prices, lower pensions, higher CSG. There’s nothing right. And then there’s a President who ignores us.


BITTERMANN: The government announced concessions on the fuel tax hike and other measures, but it hasn’t been enough to calm the anger and in the face of more protests this weekend, the government has vowed to use all means available to prevent violence.


CHRISTOPHE CASTANER, FRENCH INTERIOR MINISTER: And I call on reasonable demonstrators, those who do not support violence, to break away from extremists and not to reconvene in Paris next Saturday.


BITTERMANN: Paris City officials have removed street furniture over concerns it could be used as projectiles against buildings and police. Shop keepers have been told to board over their windows to try to weather the expected trouble on the streets.

Tourists, too, are being warned to stay away from Central Paris. Key sites like the Eiffel Tower will remain closed to visitors on Saturday. Events are being canceled. A dozen museums will be closed as will both Paris operas. The French Retail Federation estimates losses since the protest began at a billion euros even before Saturday’s protests.


GIOKOS: All right, so from France to here and Great Britain where the Prime Minister is still trying to sell her Brexit deal just had a tough week, lots of negotiating and even losing key votes in Parliament this week. In the meantime, Vice President Mike Pence has just tweeted, he’s talked with British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt. He spoke of the country’s strong partnership and a shared interest in a post Brexit trade deal.

This is the tweet that he posted a little earlier today. So it’s been a cloud of uncertainty that’s hanging over Britain as it hurdles towards Tuesday’s Parliament votes on Brexit. It is going to be really important and it’s one of the most decisive issues that is called the Brexit backstop.


GIOKOS: Which deals with a difficult question to resolve. What to do about the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. That’s the only land border between the EU as well as the UK.

Now, right now, the EU single market makes it quite easy for people and goods and services to flow across the border, but when Britain leaves the EU, all of that could fundamentally change. That is where the Brexit backstop basically will be coming in.

It is a fall back plan to ensure that trade doesn’t grind to a physical halt or checks or infrastructure along the divide and the draft withdrawal agreement, the UK would follow current EU custom rules to keep the border open, but the backstop faces a lot of criticism. The biggest complaint, some MPs are wary of being subject to such levels of EU regulations after the likes of Brexit.

So as Erin McLaughlin reports from Belfast, the proposed solution so far have left many confused about what that future will actually look like.


ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Belfast is a city that knows division. And when it comes to Brexit, there are new fissures over Theresa May’s deal. Many say they are more confused than anything else.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: See, like I understood that at the start of the Brexit thing, but now I just don’t understand what’s happening any more. So, yes.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I understand some of it, but not at all, I honestly say and I think the powers that be don’t understand that much themselves, either. So it’s better for liquor sales, you know?

MCLAUGHLIN: Isn’t that concerning?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That is concerning, yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is. It does - that’s the world we live in, isn’t it?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It’s concerning. We don’t know where we’re going. We don’t know what the future will hold.


MCLAUGHLIN: Then there are those with a more definitive view. They say the controversial backstop drafted to for the return of a hard border means weakening the union between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is it keeping us more in the EU than with Britain?

MCLAUGHLIN: And that bothers you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, Because we’re British, we’re not Irish.


MCLAUGHLIN: The Democratic Unionist Party feels the same. The DUP holds the keys To Theresa May’s minority government and vows to vote down her deal next week.


NIGEL DODDS, DEPUTY LEADER, DEMOCRATIC UNIONIST PARTY: Northern Ireland will treat Great Britain as a third country. How can you possibly stand here and recommend this deal?


MCLAUGHLIN: But where the DUP sees a threat, brewer Niall McMullan sees opportunity. If activated, the backstop means Northern Irish businesses will be able to trade both in the EU and the UK friction free.


NIALL MCMULLAN, HERCULES BREWING COMPANY: As I say, we could actually benefit from inward investment, you know, being in this unique situation where we can play with both markets.

MCLAUGHLIN: So it must be surreal to see arguing against a backstop that you see as a potential opportunity.

MCMULLAN: Yes, it doesn’t really make an awful lot of sense to me.


MCLAUGHLIN: The City of Belfast has known relative peace for the past 20 years. With Brexit, there’s new found uncertainty and plenty of confusion. Erin McLaughlin, CNN, Belfast.


GIOKOS: Well, so as Theresa May marches on, the power of Germany’s Angela Merkel is diminishing. Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer has been tapped to replace her as head of the ruling Christian Democratic Union Party. In Hamburg earlier, mrs. Merkel delivered an emotional farewell speech to members of her party.


ANGELA MERKEL, OUTGOING GERMAN CHANCELLOR (Through a translator): And now it’s time for a new chapter. Today, at this hour in this moment I’m filled with one overriding feeling, gratitude. It was a great pleasure. It was an honor, thank you.


GIOKOS: When Mrs. Merkel steps down, it will be the end of an era for Germany. Angela Merkel has been chancellor since 2005, the first female to hold that position. If she finishes her fourth term, she will equal Helmut Kohl as the longest serving chancellor. During her tenure, Merkel left an indelible mark on Europe.

Now, she played a key role in tackling the euro zone debt crisis and the European migrant crisis. Her open door migration policy sparked a fierce debate and in October of last year, she agreed to limit on Germany’s refugee intake.

We have got Fred Pleitgen covering Merkel’s career for many years and now joins me. Fred, this is basically going to be an end of an era. I guess the question is, she has found a successor. Is this going to be a carbon copy of what we’ve seen coming from Angela Merkel or could we expect change to occur within the highest ranks in that party?


FRED PLEITGEN, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Yes, hi, Eleni. You’re absolutely right. I mean, it’s certainly is the end of an era and I remember being a cub reporter in Berlin in the year 2000 when Angela Merkel had just taken over as the head of the Christian Democratic Union and to see the way that she has evolved and been in power for those 18 years, I do have to say that that is something that certainly transformed a lot of things in Germany.

So certainly, I think a lot of people tonight are saying “Hats off to Angela Merkel, to all the things she’s achieved.” But certainly, it is time at least to a certain extent for a change in Germany. Many people have been saying and many people in her party had been saying as well.

And now you have Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, who you know, she is a disciple of Angela Merkel to a certain extent. She was in favor of a lot of the policies that Angela Merkel put forward, like for instance, taking in those refugees in the year 2015, also allowed the economic policies as well. However, I would say that on certain issues, she is, I would say a bit more conservative than Angela Merkel.

If you look at the reaction to the refugee situation in Germany now, she does have some harsher methods that she is in favor of like deporting people who become criminal in Germany quicker than, for instance, the Angela Merkel government had been doing in the past.

Also on some social issues as well, she is a bit more conservative and, for instance, on same sex marriage which still is not fully legalized in Germany, she is against that.

So in certain respects, she is a bit more conservative than Angela Merkel, but on the whole I would say very much someone that is very similar to Angela Merkel and certainly, the favored candidate that Angela Merkel had in mind to succeed her as head of the Christian Democratic Union, Eleni.

GIOKOS: Fred, as you say, you’ve been covering her for so long. It was interesting to see an emotional farewell and I wonder if this means she’s going to be finishing her term. I mean, what are you reading into it? And was it one of the first times you’ve actually seen this kind of emotion coming through from Merkel?

PLEITGEN: Yes, well you know what, I would say three weeks ago when she was really in political trouble in Germany, when she lost some regional elections, I don’t think people were sure whether or not she would finish her final term, which she says is going to be her final term.

Right now, with the fact that she said she wasn’t going to run again for the head of the party, which obviously, you have someone new since today, she’s gotten herself a little bit of breathing room. Things have quieted down in Germany a little bit. She’s not as unpopular in a lot of the polls as she had been. So does seem to have at least a chance to finish that term.

However, there are a lot of factors that are still in play. We have to keep in mind that the party that is in a coalition with her, the Social Democrats, have been immensely suffering, have become very unpopular, and they have matured, whether or not they want to continue this coalition, so there is some uncertainty about whether or not she might finish this final term, but certainly at this point, I would say that she is sitting on that chair more solidly than maybe she was just a couple of weeks - just a couple of months ago and she certainly does have a chance.

On the whole, German politics isn’t necessarily prone to quick and dynamics changes. I think a senior German politician once called German politics like a tanker. It doesn’t move quickly. It doesn’t change direction quickly. So don’t look to major political changes in Germany. It is something that could happen, but right now, I think Angela Merkel at this point in time pretty secure in her office, Eleni.

PLEITGEN: Thanks so much, Fred, for that update. Fred Pleitgen there. Now after the break on “Quest Means Business” we continue to track the selloff in the last hour of trade. AS you can see we started with a little bit of glimmer of hope this morning, and now we’re down 560 points. We were putting the U.S. economy to the test. We’ve got Dianne Swonk as well as Stephen Moore joining us right after this.

Update hourly