tv Bloomberg Markets Americas Bloomberg July 28, 2020 1:00pm-2:00pm EDT
>> it is 1:00 p.m. in new york, 6:00 p.m. in london, and 1:00 a.m. in hong kong. i am taylor riggs. welcome to bloomberg markets. here are the top stories we are following from around the world. as lawmakers in dizzy look to hash out the next stimulus agreement, the fomc begins its two-day meeting. the central bank announcing an extension of most of its emergency lending programs. the fiscal and monetary policies coming out of washington. mcdonald's is reflecting economic needs for stimulus efforts. the restaurant chain reporting its worst global sales declined since at least 2005. the numbers brought down by more than 40% plunge in international group. morgan stanley says walmart could be the next sleeping giant and health care. we speak with analyst behind the call. let's take a look at the markets.
it sums up everything that you need to know in the markets. equities are down, which means you are getting a flock into full faith and credit. you are getting massive dollar weakness for three straight days. the weakest we have seen on the dollar since 2018. the story of the week, all about gold. investors watching back in as a hedge against low rates. big concern about the trajectory of this economy. as i mentioned, some of that trajectory is coming from the fed. they are extending most of their emergency lending program until the end of the year in an effort to support the economy amid the pandemic. the fomc kicks off their two-day meeting in washington with a rate decision due tomorrow. we are joined by kevin nicholson riverfront investment group, global fixed income ceo. i love days like this where i
can get a fixed income guy talk about equities. you are talking about the tactical favoring of equities. how much is relative value, where a dividend yield is worth it to basis points on the 10 year treasury? right.absolutely when you look at the dividend rate on the s&p, trailing 12 is about 187. basis points. you are getting a pickup of 138 basis points. it makes it easy to rotate out of fixed income into equities, especially since the fed will keep rates lower for longer. taylor: in that lower for longer, i was looking at investing great spreads, 130 high-yield spreads, 500 basis points over treasuries. is there further room to run given the fed's involvement? kevin: i definitely think there
is room to run. when you look at investment grade credit, credit spreads were around plus 100. you can get back to that level and may be slightly overshoot that. as far as high-yield is concerned, high yield is relatively expensive right now, especially with the level of defaults rising. however, we are seeing high-yield being supported by the said being in the market. you have seen considerable spread tightening over the last month or so, has re-accelerated. spreadsile, high yield had a tightening, and then over the past two weeks, you have seen them come in by 100 basis points. taylor: we know them on track, don't fight the fed, but you also want to be aware of
extremes and positioning. which of these is the most driving factor? kevin: for us, the trend is very important. we like to use all three of them together but you definitely don't fight the fed. when they are in the market, you tend to go with whatever they are doing. on the fixed income side, short-term corporate bonds, because that is what the fed was buying. on the equities side, the trend is really driving things. --n you get a positive trend and we define it as a 200-day moving average on the s&p 500 -- that typically means that in , the oddsme horizons of having a positive return go up. right now, for us the trend is really being driven -- and
-- rising at an annualized 9% rate. this is giving oxygen to the market. this is why we have seen a rebound in the s&p 500 from , werelaws we saw in march within 5% of the all-time highs. you talk about the rebound we have seen in the domestic equity market, but when we say don't fight the fed, a lot of it is massive dollar weakness, which makes the case for international equities. where are you in the u.s. versus the rest of the world? kevin: we are still overweight the u.s. versus the rest of the world. the reason for that, going into , the u.s. was much stronger from the balance sheet standpoint, when you looked at the economic data coming out of the u.s., it was stronger.
to be honest, the fed has done lating andrms of re-f supporting the economy. international counterparts have also done that. we believe the fed would prop up the economy long enough for us to get it reopened. that has been a bit of the problem here. opening as is not fast as people would have thought. that is why there has been a rotation into international. however, if we don't have a lot of fatalities go up in the next couple of weeks, that sentiment will change and people will revert back to the u.s. taylor: not to be overshadowed by the fed, there are also some big tech hearings. some frustration about the narrowness of the rally. if you take tech out of the
picture, the rally looks a lot worse. does that make you nervous? kevin: it doesn't make me nervous. what that means to me is that the market is not nearly as overvalued as everyone says it is from a valuation standpoint. it means there are opportunities out there, if we get this economy restarted, that we will have the potential to see some of these smaller companies, these value names that actually toate into more cyclical, make the economy go further. our outlook for the end of the highs, to test those old closing high of 3386. i don't know that it will come before the election, but by the end of the year, that may be where we are heading. nicholson, thank you as always for your time.
stay with us tomorrow for the full coverage of that fed rate decision beginning at 2:00 eastern time. thelet's get a check on headlines with mark crumpton and first word news. mark: attorney general william barr is defending himself before house democrats who say he abused his power and politicized the justice department to help president trump and his associates. president has not attempted to interfere in these decisions. on the contrary, he has told me from the start that he expect me to exercise my independent judgment, to make whatever call i think is right. mark: the attorney general also rejected a claim by jerrold nadler that an operation to deploy federal agents to u.s. cities, particularly in portland, oregon, was an effort to boost the president's reelection campaign. is gone butnnah some texas residents are still dealing with the storm's aftermath. grounded medical
transport helicopters four days, leaving doctors with no ability to airlift the most critical coronavirus patients to treatment. governor greg abbott says he is worried the storm forced people together indoors, which could lead to more virus spread. one-day debts from coronavirus has reached a new record in florida. the state reported another 186 fatalities. overall cases are up 2.1 percent, below the previous seven-day average. the daily positivity rate has picked up a bit from yesterday to 11.7%. global news 24 hours a day, on-air, and on quicktake by bloomberg, powered by more than 2700 journalists and analysts in over 120 countries. i'm mark crumpton. this is bloomberg. ♪
taylor: this is bloomberg markets. i'm taylor riggs. of the hour,k mcdonald's, off 2.5% after reporting second-quarter results this morning. kailey leinz has more. it was same-store sales that seem to be driving the stock lower. kailey: driving it to the worst -- as you alluded to come it was the same source dale smith's that was the problem. 23.9% in thell quarter, more than estimated. that was the worst performance in our data going back to at least 2005. the big driver of this was the international market. they make up 60% of the
company's revenue. they saw comps plunge 41%. you can think that pandemic for that. the u.s. domestic market is holding up better, only saw isps down by 8.7%, that thanks in large part to the strength of drivers, which made up 90% of sales in the u.s. u.s. comp sales were down only 2.3% last month and had turned positive in july. although that recovery is slow or elsewhere. june international comps still down by double digits. think that weakness in china and europe is likely to linger. taylor: we are also seeing a rebound in some of the virus cases here in the u.s. what is the company saying about a potential rebound if we start to shelter-in-place again? addressed bymost the ceo. he noted that they have been
polling customers and they say they are worried more about the economy than any health concerns. you see that reflected in the consumer confidence data we saw in july, dropped for the first time in three months. mcdonald's is making some plans, they say they are looking at affordability and value, looking to see how they can win over customers who are struggling financially. fast food tends to fare better in recession scenarios than dine-in because customers can actually afford it. we may see some deals coming in the next couple months. cut its marketing spending by about 70% in the second quarter. they are now sitting on with the ceo calls a war chest for marketing, so we may see a lot of advertisements in the back half of the quarter. taylor: we will look for those ads on the sides of the roads.
thank you. mortgage backed securities were to blame in the 2008 market collapse at this time they represent value. mike exclusively discussed with us the valerie in buying nonagency mortgages and why he is willing to take the risk. on the 22nd of march, on that sunday, we saw a lot of reits that could not reach margin calls. things develop quickly into a cash grab. there was a lot of indiscriminate selling. unlike 2008, mortgages were not a part of the problem, nor would selling them be a solution. this was a classic case of the baby being thrown out with the bathwater. since then, we put $3 billion to work at mortgage securities since that third week of march.
there is a lot of dispersion of value in the market, and that is where you need expertise and alternative data sources and things like that, but there is a tremendous amount of value. the fed has been aggressively buying. so if you look previous two other quantitative easings, they have increased mortgage holdings by over 500 billion. the fed owns about 30% of the $6.7 trillion agency mbs market. tremendous support to this market. ,ven compared to other times you have seen is buying from zero in march 11, to almost $2.5 trillion in assets in three or four months. >> the question is what did you buy, what did you sell? march was a scary time for investors and nobody knew that the fed would step in the way they did. you took a big risk.
now what are you doing? basically, you have to have some dry powder for these sort of events. this was the third or fourth one we have seen, including my time in wall street. it was not as bad as other ones, you just need to manage tail risk. if you have cash and you ask clients, come along and raise some money, we put money to work as opposed to selling. most of what we bought were nonagency mortgages. we bought reits. i can talk a little bit about each of those investments. reits in particular took a beating in march. it's the beginning of 2019, if you look at the mortgage real that hasf,, ref, dropped about 40% in price. this is a composite agency of
hybrid and commercial reits. as interesting as that is the price-to-book of the nonagency reits, the constituents in that index, have dropped from over 70,from about 90 to meaning not only other prices down but the discount to the underlying value of the portfolio is also down. we see tremendous value there. has fallen about 20% price-to-book. >> let's talk about the nonagency part. agency you get the backing from fannie and freddie, more palatable to take that kind of risk. there? you find value if we don't get another round of stimulus, a solid extension of on implement benefits, does your view change? >> it doesn't a lot.
and good question, you are right. there is no implicit or explicit backing to legacy nonagency mortgage securities. theser, keep in mind loans have been outstanding on average for about 15 years, and these homeowners have paid through 2008. they want to hold onto their homes. we feel there is very little downside in these security because of the low loan to value in the valleys that backed the securities. residential mortgage-backed security's have housing price appreciation loan to values of about 50%. for the typical borrower, the loan outstanding is only about half of the home's value. investors are most likely going to get their money back at par, if they buy securities backed by these loans. taylor: that was the founder and .eo of ellington management from retail to health care.
taylor: this is bloomberg markets. i'm taylor riggs. finding an opportunity to expand in health care by opening walmart health clinics. ceo doug mcmillon talk about the company's vision with david rubenstein. >> we think that physical presence, those clinics, combined with digital capabilities in the future, will enable us to lower the cost of health care. preventative, high quality accessible health care for americans. s,ere may be other bolt-on including some forms of insurance that we could offer to make it more effective for customers. taylor: joining us now is a morgan stanley analyst. walmart is a says
sleeping giant in health care sector. the last time we spoke was in 2018 at the annual shareholders meeting. two years ago, you were also optimistic on the company. talk about what they have done in the past couple of years that really makes you even more relatively bullish on walmart. scale: besides being a leader and/or winner in this growing multichannel market, they are starting to knock on the door of health care. we have talked about this in bios us of retail and health care over the past couple of years, the idea of, is there a way to lower cost of health care to customers and employers? walmart is one of the largest employers in the world. we have seen some steps to this. if you go back to their saidage, 1991, sam walton
we wanted to bring more transparency to health care cost. the underlying message is we want to lower cost to consumers. they seem to be taking steps in the health care world. we think there's a lot of synergy in that and what they're trying to do in the retail world. taylor: talk about their transition. they are looking at a membership program that would be similar to amazon prime, is a scripture service, to make some of those options free, to take on amazon prime. what announcements are you expecting from that? mostly speculation, but the speculation is that they will launch a membership program that would be similar to what prime looks like today. shockt think it will anyone, it should be a natural extension of walmart's extension into multi channel over time. unlimitedled an
membership program last year, and this is a part of that. the idea is for walmart to be the large-scale there it is, to not have membership data to create more ways to find loyalty with the customer, grow wallet share. it is necessary and almost inevitable for walmart's long-term strategy to play out. the program can be announced at a time now, that could look ,imilar -- maybe a $98 fee services closely associated with their assets, and eventually a health care angle. uplor: so much has been set on amazon being the structural winner in this pandemic. where are walmart in this camp? simeon: we put them in the winners camp. the balance sheet has been healthy. certainly have been a beneficiary early on from a sales growth perspective, being
a consumable retailer and having the online presence. we think they will take the moment to invest in their business, get stronger membership, role in that out, and investing in health care. we think they will continue to gain from these strengths. taylor: always grateful for your time, simeon gutman. chief executives of amazon, facebook, alphabet, and apple are scheduled to testify in washington. we will have live coverage starting tomorrow at noon new york time. this is bloomberg. ♪
optimistic that the world will have answers about a coronavirus vaccine by late fall. abcanthony fauci also told 'sat he agrees with the fda guidance that hydroxychloroquine is not effective against the virus. overnight, president trump retweeted a series of tweets advocating for the drug. transmission rate has climbed to the highest level in 13 weeks. governor phil murphy says he fears about flareups at house parties, including one that drew 700 guests to a rented mansion on july 19. the federal reserve is extending its emergency lending programs by three months through the rest of 2020. the programs were open to pump liquidity into short-term credit markets and extend credit to businesses and local governments hit hard by the pandemic.
the facilities have the potential to deploy trillions of dollars but so far have only about 100 billion in outstanding loans. has fired a missile from a helicopter targeting a replica aircraft carrier in the strategic strait of hormuz, according to iranian state television. it is the latest move in growing tensions between tehran and washington. a navy spokesperson says the u.s. is not seeking conflict that is right to defend american forces and interests from maritime threats in the region. global news 24 hours a day, on-air, and on quicktake by bloomberg, powered by more than 2700 journalists and analysts in over 120 countries. i'm mark crumpton. this is bloomberg. ♪ amanda: live from toronto, i'm
amanda lang. welcome to bloomberg markets. taylor: i'm taylor riggs in new york. we are joined by our bloomberg and bnn bloomberg audiences. here are the top stories we are following from around the world. stimulus talks underway. negotiations over the next stimulus package continue in washington with senator schumer and house speaker pelosi set to meet with steven mnuchin later today. the sides are looking to find common ground after loc called the recent proposal pathetic. private credit out of the shadows. lenders take on a risk-averse banks to provide funding amid the pandemic, with some deals reaching billions of dollars. the race for commercial space. we speak with the chief space officer of virgin galactic, as the company unveils the interior space vehicle. are a littlets
lackluster today, the s&p 500 right around breakeven. materials giving a ground today, so maybe a touch of profit taking. we are getting earnings, and that is in the mix. in terms of leadership, it is real estate and utilities moving higher. energy and materials are the big weak spot. at the bottom of the screen, we heard anthony fauci expressing some optimism that we may will be looking at the early stages of vaccine i late fall. pfizer in the hunt with its partner biontech. montana and others are also seeing positive activity, so we see some momentum in the markets for what a vaccine could do. one thing that it would do is smooth the way to reopening economies. there is concern across north america about what that looks like.
today, senate republicans talking about a trillion dollar package that they are proposing to help continue the stimulus. it is a plan the democrats have called pathetic, but mitch mcconnell says it would include direct payments to americans, but also money for schools and small businesses. >> we have one foot in the pandemic, one foot in the recovery. the american people need more help. they need it to be copperheads of, and they need it to be carefully tailored to this crossroad. that is what this senate majority has assembled. we welcome now james lucier, managing director at capital alpha partners. it does seem that both in the u.s. and canada and elsewhere nearly stages of this crisis took the partisan out of the mix , the urgency was so alive, the
stimulus packages flowed a little more easily. now with partisan politics back in the mix, are you optimistic about a stimulus package coming that will give the right kind of support or the american economy? optimistic a stimulus package is coming and i'm optimistic that we would get it by august 10, if not august 8. i think we are looking on the order of $1.2 trillion. the quantity of dollars will be there. the reality is this package is, frankly, pathetic, as pelosi said. i don't often agree with her. but this is a mishmash of random , a dumpster fire of elected proposal. a lot of this has to do with interference from the white house. they are going back to the days in march, because when congress was unable to meet, you had steve mnuchin and mark meadows
meeting directly with speaker pelosi, cutting out senate republicans in the process. not only are we in a more partisan environment now, but the white house has blindsided the senate, has interviewed, and you don't have a coherent package that senate republicans are supporting. the bottom line is they will do something but, really, in terms of anything more than the individual tax credit -- which is not the best way to spend the finely- i don't see calibrated effort to your at all -- here at all. amanda: what would you like to see that would be more finely calibrated, less of a mishmash? bees: clearly, we would looking at something that would be adding up to a trillion dollars to provide support for state and local governments. projecting about $400 million going to state and local.
i think that will be in the mix at some point. a more credible tax package would have been more targeted toward the lower income people, the people really very the brunt. business tax credits would be a small part, making them refundable. they probably should have dropped the ui component altogether and had some sort of back to work bonus. you could have come up with a lot of things that would represent a rational effort to direct an adequate amount of money to the places where it is most needed. instead, we have a fragmentation inb that is simply going off all directions and probably will not have the affect that we need, precisely because there is no central focus, no rhyme or reason behind it. taylor: what does your research tell you about where we are in the debate behind the extra $200 in unemployment insurance and $600, and where that puts people
in terms of their incentives, staying home or going back to work? james: the incentives are pretty clear. sixfound that five out of workers make more with the federal unemployment package than they would in their regular work. there was a morgan stanley paper several months ago that said the combination of state plus federal unemployment package was more than the average wage in 35 states. there is a lot of anecdotal evidence. high unemployment is probably preventing people from going back to work. on the other hand, you have state lockdowns that are preventing businesses from reopening. so it is a catch-22. you will not reopen until you begin to phase out in a reasonable way the unappointed benefit, especially federal supplement. on the other hand, you need states opening, too, so that businesses can hire people. taylor: thinking long-term, is
anyone worried about higher deficits, debt, that we need to raise taxes in the future to pay for this? i am pretty sure that my kids and grandkids will be paying this off for years to come. james: we are. chris edwards at the cato institute calculated that as a result of the spending already baked in the kit, we are adding an additional $6 trillion to the u.s. public debt. you could argue that we could timeps sustain this in a of globalization, low interest rates, low inflation. u.s. andem is the china are decoupling, we are getting warnings that we can no longer count on this era of low inflation and low interest rates because there could well be supply shocks coming up. we don't know when, if we will be able to go carrying a .apan-style loaded debt
perhaps we will be ok for the next three years, but sooner or later, the shared amount of debt we are piling up is likely going to be a problem. absolutely you are right, i would worry. taylor: i hear that more and more. thanks as always to james lucier. coming up, we are looking at how that fed policy is changing the direct lending market. this is bloomberg. ♪
changing the shadow lending market, the size of the borrowers and the deals are swelling. scored a, but barnier loan worth $1 billion, making it a new benchmark for megadeals in the market. kelsey butler joins us now with the story. it seems like a simple question. just wondering if this is all due to the fed. it definitely contributed. overall as we saw interest rates below, investors have put more money into private credit in a hunt for yield. of continues, we see cash going into the asset class. credit managers need to put it out at a faster clip. the best way to do that is by doing these jumbo deals. amanda: bombardier caught our
attention because it has been around for a long time, has some deep relationships with some canadian pension funds. it was surprising to see it go to this big headline player from new york. in terms of the terms, should we assume bombardier needs to be a covenant light in ways that big players cannot stomach right now? kelsey: what happened with the bombardier deal, it was a bridge for them to sell a unit. what was interesting about the terms of the transaction, it was a little shorter than we would typically see in the syndicated loan market. i believe a three-year deal. when you go the private route, you can have things be a little bit more bespoke, customized. their private equity backers like the private market. taylor: more so than the public
market, even if the public markets could be easier? besey: even if it could cheaper to go the public route, some like going private because they don't have to be subject to the scrutiny of their financials going out, or potentially having a flex during the sales process of some debts. once you sign on to a private deal, the terms are what they are, and you don't have to potentially open yourself up to a bruising syndication process. amanda: it really harkens back to taylor's first question about the fed. we were already looking at incredible competition in private credit before covid-19. has it only intensified now because of the role of central banks globally, and what does that mean for central banks, and what they have to do for deals? for traditional lenders,
it will be a time where they will see private credit take more and more share. some of my sources said over the next few years we could see as much as 10% of the leverage loan ball -- volume go to private route. private credit shots, they see the competition listening. there is only a handful of players that can put out billion dollar checks and still feel comfortable about the risk they are taking on. amanda: great to have you with us, appreciate it. that is kelsey butler. the race for space is heating up . are talking to the chief space officer of virgin galactic. this is bloomberg. ♪ ic. this is bloomberg. ♪
amanda: welcome back to bloomberg markets. i'm amanda lang in toronto. alongside taylor riggs in new york. plays, rick isce hoping to launch its first space flight this year. it recently unveiled the interior cabin of the ship that could take customers willing to pay $250,000 to space. george whitesides is the chief space officer for virgin galactic. thank you for being with us. firstu on track for that spaceflight, can we expect that in 2020? we are really excited to be able to carry off to the below glide flights in the last quarter. we have our earnings call on monday, so i'll be careful about how i present things. we are excited to get to our first space flight from mexico -- new mexico to our spaceport. that will be our first test.
if that goes well, we will be making really good progress flight,ichard branson's which is the main thing we are working toward. to aheadry not to get of myself, but assuming we get that first one up and running, what is the demand that you see further out, the second, third, flights?ace not only your ability, but the demand side, people who are eager to do this. the amazing thing about this business is we will be supply constrained for a long time to come. that will make for a really great business. if you look at the number of millionhat worth $10 and above globally, you are talking several million people. globally, you up are talking tens of millions of people. we think all of those people could potentially afford a flight with virgin galactic. the margin will be tremendous.
it's a question of how we can scale up. that is something that we will do step-by-step. we will scale up in a safe way. that is by adding additional ships will be important through the coming year. spacex in talks for fresh funding. is that something you are looking for, should we expect to see a capital raise from virgin galactic? as always, we are looking at our options. we will see where things stand. best wishes to the folks at spacex, they are doing a great job. we wish them well. race toin terms of the get there, how long do you think there is a genuine space tourism business? in other words, not these expensive one-off, even second or third? than 600 people in human history have ever been to space. that is an incredibly small
number of people. have 600 people signed up in our customer group, small00 people in our step community, people that say they want to buy a ticket once we reopen sales. around 10,000 people have said they would like to buy a ticket at some point. we want to get to that place where many people can fly. it will start out fairly expensive and that is ok. that is the way a lot of these experiences started off. the first flights across the atlantic were very expensive and then it became more affordable for people. that is definitely the long-range vision of our company. taylor: even though you talk about being supplied constrained and demand, given economies of scale, you expect prices to go up? george: i think you'll see the price going up for a period of time but the long-term goal -- and i'm talking years, decades
-- is really to make this something that a lot of people can experience. believe it will not just be fun, but it will improve the planet. face,eople experiencing seeing the fragility of our planet, will help to solve some of our world challenges. taylor: i want to switch gears and talk about the business as a whole. we know that a few weeks over you became the chief space officer, you had an incoming ceo who used to run disney parks. entertainment and adventure perspective that he can provide. what does he bring to the table that makes you more optimistic about this business going forward? george: we could not be more thrilled to have michael on board. he is an incredible business leader, the right leader for the next 10 years. i've been doing it for about 10 years and i can focus on future stuff. he is a master of building up experiential businesses from the starting point of $2 million
finish lines. the market reaction is terrific and people are excited. feets already gotten his wet and is doing a great job. we are excited to be working with him. amanda: you did also make the move from ceo to chief space officer. how does that affect when you are focused on now? are excited we about internally, and the investment community is excited about, our suborbital business will enable thousands of people to experience space. it will be tremendously profitable as we scale it up, and we could scale to other parts of the world. is also exciting is the potential for applying some of the technologies and learnings from the score businesses to future business areas. the things that i'll be thinking about our point-to-point high-speed travel, which is getting a lot of attention,
including orbital spaceflight, which is also getting attention. they are not our number one focus right now but will be an increasing part of my energies. everyone is looking forward to weighing in on that as well. taylor: what is the timeline for those? george: orbital spaceflight is happening today. working with partners, we recently signed an agreement with us on this. there is a lot of near-term opportunities in the orbital space. saying tomorrow, but over the coming few years, some interesting opportunities. high-speed point-to-point travel is a little bit beyond that, but it is an even bigger market. if you look at the transportation or luxury or higher and transportation market, hundreds of billions of dollars of annual revenue are captured in that market. if we can capture a bit of that, particularly in a future where people want to go faster, spend
less time on planes, that will be a really exciting business area. taylor: always great to get you on the program. thank you for speaking about all of those new endeavors. that is george whitesides, virgin galactic chief space officer. inyou look at where we are the markets, i was joking with the producer earlier, it looks like the most boring chart, but everything you need to know about the markets. yields stillr, near a record low, further dollar weakness. really incredible as we look forward to those tech hearings and the fed tomorrow. dollar weakness is clearly the story. from new york and toronto, this is bloomberg. ♪ hey, kids!
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it is been a rough quarter. mcdonald's, 3m, harley davidson reporting.nies trading, u.s. stocks swinging between gains and losses. stimulus debates in congress and the fed. ounce fored $2000 per the first time. republicans are trying to give the restaurant industry a boost. surprising tax breaks that made it into the stimulus bill. >> i am already on my second martini. 500 -- questions need to be answered.