tv Street Signs CNBC April 30, 2013 2:00pm-3:01pm EDT
right now on "street signs" the s&p is flirting with a record high again, with just 24 hours under the fed decision. how long can this ironman market hold on? we're going to head live to the white house in just a second for a first on cnbc interview with blackstone's ceo steve schwartzman, the biggest owner of houses right here in america. does he think there's a new real estate bubble? plus the big initiative to high america's heroes. and steakhouse starts, are they prized picks. and could comic relief be --
the big story this hour is breaking news, apple's bond sales, sending apple stock at this hour to the highs of the day. i'd like to get to bob pisani. i think this is the largest non-bank bond sale. >> and made it just by $500 million, the biggest dormant ave the list, that's what we do here. pfizer had one a while ago, and ge capital, but there's your record right now, what's it mean for the corporate bond market? i'll tell you the most important thing. there's not a lot of tech corporate bond offerings, even in general, so it will change the allocation model on a lot of corporate bond funds, and etfs, one that will be buys is the
largest corporate bond etf, the i shares of etfs out there. maybe 23 billion in assets. they're going to be big buyers along with other index bond etfs. it's pretty important. that's pretty good for corporate bounds overall. meantime, just quickly on the stock market, kind of meandering around, when you haveelecom and technology as market leaders sort of in the same group, that's not a clear trend here. consumer staples and materials both to the down side. nonetheless, relentless move to the up side. we always start the day on the bottom and move relentlessly toward the up side. 1597.35 would be the intraday high. we're only essentially a point away from that. >> indeed we are. an incredible winning streak. you this not the 16th up tuesday
for the dow jones industrial average. >> all year. >> all year. incredible, isn't it? let's get out to rick santel santelli. i would like to know the impact on the treasuries. >> well, if you're going to buy appearing, you probably want to hedge it. you do it by offering i'm offering treasury futures. indeed we did see it trade from slightly under 164 to currently at 167 1/2. another issue, as everybody debates, do you want to do stock or bounds with apple, one topic isn't coming up. i had a large institutional fixed-income manager. he said if central banks every lose the glitter of the magic of merlen, maybe diversification of fixed income will include corporate securities. i would be happy to diversify into a name like apple. i think that is why this is so over-subscribed to. >> well, obviously apple is the big story of the day.
i want to also ask about what kind of impact we're seeing from the very fact this is fed week, is it not? >> it is. i why hard-pressed to tell you that there's an impact on the beginning of a two-day meeting or what ultimately we see in the statement tomorrow. the treasury boys don't think there's any surprises in terms of the programs or the rate or the language. they do suspect deflation will get more words in tomorrow's statement, but then the issue becomes, is the medicine working? and is deleveraging more of what's going on in deflation? or having a much bigger impact on hedging for apple? >> well, you're a smart man. recently when we've been having fed days. there's been a lot of discussion about whether or not the fed is in a position to be able to consider start tapering off its monetary policy stimulus. do you think that's going to be something on the table this week as well? >> i think we know the fed will
be doing in my opinion, and at least under ben bernanke. i don't see any changes of any type. maybe programs may actually get bigger. >> indeed. rick santelli, thank you. we have another very big guest today. we have the chairman, ceo and cofounder of blackstone, his name is steve schwartzman. he joins you in a first on cnbc interview. steve, a real pleasure to have you on our show today. i'm going to get to your hiring heroes initiative in a second, but first of all, the big story is apple's record debt sale, $17 billion. you've had a lot of experience in the debt markets, so i would like to pick your brains. do you think this was a smart move by apple to take advantage of the record low rates? do you think other companies will following apple's footsteps? >> it's an interesting situation. apple, of course, has huge amounts of cash, but by the same
token, the cost of borrowing now is so unbelievably low that issuing long-term bonds and gives its cost of quapt is a very smart thing. >> do you think we'll see other companies follow in their lead? it's a little bold. apple is bold and a little innovative, but i think companies should think about something similar. we did. we issued 30-years bonds, which was it is first financial since the crisis to do that. >> i would like to see back to why you're at the white house today. i was very impressed that you are committed to hiring 50,000 vets over the next five years. what made you decide to do that, steve? >> well, it was an interesting background on that, amanda. i was at a business round table meeting and michelle obama was speaking about the issue and t importance of it. i got to thinking, because i've
been following the whole veterans issue. as you probably know, there are 28 military people wo take their own lives every day. clearly something is really wrong with i situation. and i thought that if there's any way we could help at blackstone, that we should really try to do that. we have a total of 730,000 people who work at our portfolio company, and taken together, we would be the 14th biggest company in the country. as we startedsurveying, the heads of our businesses, we realized there were a lot of businesses where we could hire and do hire a lot of people annually. if we can make the effort to include the veterans in that mix, it was a good thing for us, and telle it will about a good thing for them. >> and a lot of other people in america need a job, which is
interesting versus hitting almost records every day in the stock market. what do you think about the make roe investing environment? do you think that stocks, as we are at these near records are fairly valued? or have we got a long way to go? >> well, i don't know how long we would have to go. i know we've come a long way we have an economy that is growing somewhere in the 2% area, which isn't so high. we've got record low interest rates, but one thing that most people forget is that foreign investors are really very biased toward the u.s. now, in large part because of the major change in the energy complex. if the u.s. is going to be, which we probably are, energy self-sufficient over the next 7 to 10 years, then it's a change and makes the u.s. an extremely interesting and important place to be investing.
it should increase over time our growth rates and our able to hire people. people outside the united states seem to understand that in a more profound way than all of us do living here. >> i'd like to switch topics, and it is another great initiative, that you've recently announce add scholarship fund in china, kind of like a rhodes scholarship of the east. with all due respect, i want to ask this, the chinese government lost a lot of money in the ipo, was this kind of like to soften the blow, if you like? >> well, no, not really at all. this was designed really to help americans and other people outside of china understand china for reasons that were good and sound. in that regard it's important to understand a country that's growing at three times the rate of your own country, to learn
lessons, and also to figure out how to deal with that phenomenon and keep the world basically in a stable position, to minimize any trade tensions or economic tensions or military tensions. in fact, you know, in terms of the chinese government investing in our stock earlier, they're getting closer and closer to getting their money back, so it's not a big thing. >> talking of china real quick here, you have massive real estate investing in china like commercial real state, investments in shanghai, also massive investing here in the united states. two quick questions -- there a problem with property you see in the chinese market? and is there a mini bubble here in the united states's housing market? >> that's an interesting question. let's take the u.s. first. housing has gone up, but it's
gone up from being down 35 to 40%. there are a lot of people who still want to buy houses, but with a 20% down payment, it's really out of their reach. right now at blackstone, we're the largest owner of houses, and we'rerenting those houses mo walery can't be in them in other ways. so i expect that housing prices will continue to go up and it's not really a bubble. in china there are a variety of different types of real estate some of which have gone up fast and somewhat in senior plus. i think government is putting in policies to deal with that. their housing prices have come down a lot already, and that double is on its way to being deflated. >> understood.
take a look at the new york stock exchange this morning, that's ironman, robert downey jr. we've got that n old-time high yesterday, plus a rally that just won't quick. so is this the ironman market. let's ask barclays steve. what do you think, ironman, teflstifflo teflon, zombie market? what do you call it? >> well, i like the -- two statistics i heard this morning. the longest period we've ever gone into a year without at least three down days in a row, and like the 16th or 17th tuesday if up we'll set a record beyond 1927, which we tied last tuesday. so an incredible rally, with very little volatility. >> is that a problem?
>> in the short term, i think the market is extended here. i think psychology has gotten very positive. i think we are susceptible to any kind of negative news that could potentially prompt a decline, but from the intermediate and long-term basis, as long as central banks continue the policies, i think money will continue to flow in the stock market, and stocks will achieve a very rich valuation just based upon the comparison of short-term interest rates. >> do you agree with that, barry? if we talk about the potential of negative news, what could they possibly be? the market seems to shrug it off. >> i think your guest just hit on a key point. monetary policy has been making stocks more expensive, but making parts of the stock market that look most like the bond mark more expensive, not so much the cyclical parts. so what we would expect is once
we get past month end, if the market continues higher, it can only really likely be on the back of these, what we've been calling stocks with bond characteristics, the high dividend payers, which is very unusual for those to be leading a rally.kn, i think there's a chance on the back of this we can push higher. even the most leading indicators, and the equity mark is ronly unprecedented, and make the risk rewards pretty poor here. for example, could they possibly refer once again they are
considering scaling back, or do you think the data is sufficiently weak to keep them on track? >> i think the chance of them talking about scaling back is pretty close to zero. if they were to say something along those lines, there would be your negative stories. if there was any hint they would take the foot off the accelerator, the market would decline quickly and significantly. they're well aware of that. it doesn't -- it dawns on them as well what kind of impact they're going to have, this is one of the few things they've got going, the fact they've been able to push security markets higher. it's the only thing they've had a huge impact on. economic activity continues to be dull at best. the one thing they have going is securities market. i don't think that happens at all. >> barry, steve, got to leave it there. thank you for joining us. >> thank you. remember the fear and loathing about the sequester and urgent calls for budget cuts. it turns out at least according to the new survey, that a lot
that bluster was just a bunch of hot air. steve is here to explain. hot air? >> mandy, a real rethink going on of aitude toward the sequester and deficit reduction, as that deficit reduction begins to hurt the economy. our survey, 46 responsibilitiants this time around in the month of aim. we asked them about the deficit and how urgent they saw it to be. 80% in january, 67 in march said we need a plan now. only 25% says the u.s. -- a couple years, 4% said no need. look at the april results. a big change here. 52%, gone down from 80 to 52. those who say the u.s. has time to enact it, up to 39%. even some talk in here, not a lot, just 9%, but higher than it was. it starts to rival this 52%. big change in the attitude
towards the deficit. how about attitudes toward the sequester and congress? you could see here pretty much the way it was. should they continue it as it is? this is the april results. 35%, continuing but change the makeup. still the same as it was back march compared to april. now take a look at what they're saying. a little bit more support, and less support. i think that's the key right here, less support from 20% to 9%, say we need more cuts now. a lot of guys wrote in, a lot of folks wrote in, a surplus of opinions about the deficit. joe maro if. f says this is your policy if you think -- we got a lot of comments like this. this is interesting here. we need a ten-year plan. we need to get serious. he's at wells. jim paulson says the u.s. runs a
risk -- he also went on to say the emergency about the deficit is no longer an emergency. we are picking up, mandy changing attitudes on wall street towards qe, but also towards the deficit. maybe more concern about the economic impact. mand,? >> that just goes to prove, why worry? everything is fine. thank you very much, steve. don't forget to tune in tomorrow with the fed's decision with our instant analysis. by the way, at 2:00 p.m. eastern. coming up next, the big, the fat, thin mint economy. an inside look at how the girl scouts keep crushing it year after year. also where is the beef? which steakhouse is the best bet for your portfolio. "street signs" is back after the break.
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we've also gotten -- for the steakhouse sector, why is that? and what did you think of their earnings this morning? >> thanks. good afternoon. i thought the earnings this morning looked good. so what we're most excited about is the current trends senior in positive comp territory. >> i believe that's a high correlation when it comes to some of these. and if you listen to some of the stories, corporates these days have captured a burn.
at least some exposure to the high-end consumer, but on the restaurant side del frisco is the best pick. a lot of those travel metrics like rev par, like corporate travel spending, they bottomed. since that inflection point, it's been a positive impact, again action backdrop for the high-end dining. >> i've got to ask about some of their input costs. what's that done to beef prices? and what it means for del frisco's if they have a portfolio approach. and only one of them is tied to only prime beef. one is tied to choice cuts, which isn't up or inflating as
much, and the grill is less tied to the beef inflation. so they're better off than some of their fine dining peers. >> understood. nicole, thank you so much for joining us today. well, it's time for dessert. the girl scout cookie season is thankfully over, and it will once again rake in record revenues. those girls mean serious business. kayla tausche is inside to take us inside the economy. were you a girl scout? >> i was not. i always wanted to be, but i never was. >> i understand you were? >> i was back in australia. >> most people mandy don't realize the scale of the girl scout economy. 3.2 million girls strong, roughly the size of the department of defense. cookie, though, are big business. when the season wraps up this week, they'll have sold some $800 milt onin cook juries narrowly beat out by the or i don't. but as america's youngest sales force, financially savvy.
i visited one troop in manhattan to find out. >> do you think the big banks are good or bad? >> maybe they could be bad like if a meteor was falling. >> reporter: is a credit card expensive? >> well, if you find it on the ground, you can't use it. >> reporter: do you think the economy right now is doing well or doing poorly? >> what's an economy? >> reporter: hence why the ceo launched a financial literacy program where girls can earn up to 26 badges for things like building good credit, running profits and acing a profits and losses lesson. >> it's really teaching them about money is, how you save it, how you physically count it, which is important, as we have gotten into credit cards and debit cards. sometimes girls don't understand that money is a physical thing and that you need money in a bank to actually spend it. so we're teaching them those
concepts. >> as adorable as they are, the concepts already ever more important when they take their cookies sales online. a lot of people will be excited about that. >> big e-commerce opportunities. i was thinking when i'm watching that, they've come a long way. when i got badges they were things like cooking, sewing, tying a knott. >> these girls are amazing. they're using a cookie app. where they post their location and people wo want to buy cookies can find them. some are even accepting credit cards. it's mind-blowing to think about what they're doing, but important to know the nuts and bolts of the business. could comedy be the cure in a nokia has been looking for? plus the big headline that could signal better days ahead for best buy. ♪
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sweet talk time about some important stocks. pfizer is the first one. it is moving lower today. >> pfizer having a tough day. basically first quarter results disappoint. analysts also talking about the that was unimpressive. let's look at what's going on with avon, moving higher, better than expected. >> it is a turnaround. a nice day here. first quarter profit jobs. also revenue in brazil, and russia up 4%. that stock is now off about 60%, just so far in 2013. >> just a moment ago we were talking about steakhouse stocks. >> same-store sales rise 5.74%, that they tell me implies 3.5 gain which is your best in class. >> berm just talking about the
massive debt sale by apple. this is sort of a halo story, nuance? >> speech software makers. guidance analysts were say it was breathtakingingly weak, in their words. carl icahn carved out a 9% stake, now people are wondering after these results, does carl go from passive to active on that name? >> just to reiterate why this is an apple story? their software is siri in the iphone. pitney-bowes is getting decimated. >> that price tells the story. first-quarter proving down nearly 60%. full-year adjusted earnings generally missing what the street wanted to say, top it off. slashes their different. >> thank you for stepping in today. always a pleasure. best buy shares are soaring as the company announces an exit from europe. the stock is up nearly 7%.
let's bring? everybody is pleased about the exit from europe. >> this puts an end to the long-suffering joint venture between best buy and carphone warehouse which was signed in 2008. >> which is online and excuse in the stores. >> in terms of getting rid of anything downsizing, becoming leaner and meaner, what do you think else is on the to-do list for best buy? >> sure, there is the analyst bucket list that they were looking for, and certainly this was one of them, also on the bucket list, look at china, look at the canadian operations. we could potentially see china divested down the road. the company did say don't read
into anything today with the european divestiture, but i think the focus is conversion rates on the online business are so far below the competition. if they can just get that. >> there's a big push to have the online sales tax, right? how great would that be? might that be a case of a little of too little too late for the company? >> no, i think it would be great for everybody in the brick and mortar business, from walmart to best buy action it makes sense to level the playing field. some states have already done it, but you certainly want to level the playing field. there is still a differential between price points at amazon and certainly the competition, if you include taxes, but now with the price matching programs, that will take away that difference, so the consumer can go in and feel confident that they're getting the best
prices. best buy has told us one of the big obstacles is a third of the people they survey is higher. >> that's a huge deal. or do you think when you consider we're to date it's it's up. it's hard to believe. do you think about a lot of the good news is already priced in, stacy? >> sure. well, the stock is up over 100%, as you said year to date. to get in front of it now when, let's say that a l of the things on the bucket list have started to be checked off, and the team has done a great job in doing these things ahead of schedule, so i think going forward, now the real key is can they get the consumers online? can they get the conversion rates up? can they stabilize margins? will we see sales stabilize for the long term? that's the next leg of the story. that may be a bit harder that
divesting operations. >> and i bit brian every time he looks at the share price, he's kicking himself, because it was his draft pick last year. >> if he had just held on. >> thanks a lot for that, stays,. coming up next, the earnings squad will take over with a preview of the biggest names reporting after the bell today. later on, blackberry's ceo says the tab lett will be dead in five years? really we'll debate that. first to bill with a preview of what is coming up on "closing bell." bill? >> of course the tab lett will be dead in five years, because i love my tab lett. it works that way everybody single time. not a weak -- an all-star panel of market experts place, where you can still find value. also famed venture capitalist is with us. an early investor in facebook and twitter.
4 and house majority leader tells us whether congress will be able to compromise on the sequester and get our fiscal house in order. we look forward to seeing you from both coasts of the country coming up at the top of the hour on "closing bell." in the meantime, more "street signs" after this. she knows you like no one else. and you wouldn't have it any other way. but your erectile dysfunction - you know, that could be a question of blood flow. cialis tadalafil for daily use helps you be ready anytime the moment's right.
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i'm melissa lee, along with my squad partner herb greenberg. in a name that's reporting tonight. >> and you have marriott after the bell. just one thing that struck we, very strong in north america, which is something we've seen a lot, but they pauk about revenue per room. i want people, if they want to think this is a trend, look for tomorrow.
pretty pricey pes, but you know what? if they all report good business spending, i think this is a good trend. >> if you look at what they talked about last quarter, they didn't didn't talk about it the same way as starwood. >> it's always great when you have a batch of these companies reporting around the same times, as opposed to one outliar, because you can get a sense -- internationally there are some weak spots out there. any commentary for the entire sector. we're all chatting about this action and how this company was left for dead so many times, especially with the advent of the functionality. >> such a remarkable turnaround, but last quarter did it, and
then you have the company talking about personal navigation devices. you want to watch the tone they give you this time. their strong market share couldn't offset secular declines, when we talk about the impact of the smartphone and others. it's like netfl dvds business. >> look at netflix noun now? >> we had this pitney-bowes conversation, too. we thought they had sort of transformed. they have a 5% yield, they should be a growth company, but yet they're not. >> talking about transform answer, let's move to western union. this is yet another company where investors will get a glimpse into whether or not a turnaround is under way. it will report in a few hours from now. analysts expecting a drop as the company is struggling to -- a move to additional business, because obviously money transfers these days, their bread and butter with transfers with cash to an actual location, typically to mexico where
immigrants been sending money home, but now with digital, that's where they want to move their business. a small slice of the business, but typically bringing in a new customer. 80% are performed by people who had never used western union before. one analyst is calling it a referendum on this turnaround, so this could be key here. >> the company said this turnaround, what you're seeing is an impact in trying to spend money in the future. they have the big dividend, or people giving them the bye this time. >> and citi didn't wait around. they have a 15 p.t. that's the earnings squad for today. if you want to join the conversation, tweet us. of course we are all on twitter, so let us know what you think. i know. we'll be back tomorrow morning with more updates, and "street signs" continues right after this.
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microsoft hoping to get new windows mobile users by pitting apple against samsung in an absolutely hilarious ad. check it out. the question, though, is will it all work? let's bring in jonathan geller, and the lead mobile analyst at p.c. mag. maybe even a reflection of real life. there are only like two people in the room actually using the nokia lumia phone. >> it's actually true to life. >> yet, is it going to work? >> they've spent so much money, in terms of promoting this. they've been practically bribing people at carrier stores to push their phones. it hasn't worked. i think the numbers are 10, 20 billion. they're spending so much money. >> sasha, look, a lot of people say and i think ryan analysisha
nokia, too. it doesn't have a huge -- >> in our study, we did a huge survey and found that windows phone 8 had top customer satisfaction. people actually like these phones more more than samsung or apple owners like their phones, but nokia's been crippled for the past two years by the fact that its flagship phone is only available on one carrier. it's only been available on at&t, they haven't been able to open it up to the broader market. and that kind of strategy just doesn't work anymore. they've locked out 75% of the u.s. from even considering their phone. >> why haven't they been able to get it out to the broader market? what's stopping them from still doing that? or is it just too late at this stage, sasha? >> well, verizon is probably going to launch a nokia flagship phone soon. that's going to help. but a lot of it has been around nokia thinking that this old, the carrier is going to market my phone model is going to work for them, is going to help push
marketing when, in fact, it looks like it just didn't push the phone into consciousness. it hasn't jump started the ecosystem. and relying on the carrier that much, to market and promote your device, just isn't the way to go anymore. >> well, let's switch gears, guys. we've got blackberry ceo, tustin heinz. they came into the tablet market a few years ago with an unfinished product. the blackberry playbook was an alpha product, released on to the market without a proper ecosystem, without even all of its features baked in, and it pretty much failed. and since then, blackberry has had all of this turmoil, has developed its new operating system, but they don't have a tablet play right now. >> andion probably knows details about this even better than i do. so what he's saying right now is there's an area where we're not
successful in, so we don't think it's a big business. >> so how serious should we take thorsten heins' prognostication seriously. >> i agree with sasha, they're not a good business and not a good business for blackberry. is it conceivable in the next five years, tablets might not be as important as they are today? sure. but in the day, you know, this is coming from blackberry and black berry is a company that just came out with two new smartphones that still are not as good, i believe, as any other product. they've had all this time to make up for their shortcomings in smartphones and they still can want. let alone get into tablets and other peripheral devices that other companies are still right to work towards. >> do you think we'll still be using tablets in five years' time? >> understand, but i don't think we'll be using blackberries. >> some say google glass is the next big thing in tech. >> this thing has the potential
to be a platform, certainly as big as the smartphone. a range of things people will be able to do. think of every emt, medical professional in the world having live up to minute and life diagrams for every medical procedure they could do in their field of vision and imagine that in every category of human activity. it's a really big deal. >> do you agree or disagree, jonathan? >> it's too early to tell. it's very conceptual, only out to 7, 8,000 people. i think a watch a little more -- >> wouldn't you say socially, lots of boundary, because it looks geeky. >> you have a camera that's facing out at all times. there's privacy issues. you have google now, sensing exactly where you're going. in the future, they'll be able to market to you and know where you've been and put it in your eye. these are things that people need to work through first. and the technology is definitely not there yet for mass market consumers. it might be. >> maybe in a few years' time. sasha, what do you think about google glass? >> there's definitely uses for wearable gadgets.
there are various verticals, as mark said, medical, transportation logistics, et cetera, et cetera, even retail. where people want to keep both hands free and still have access to some information. so this could be a really useful tool in a lot of situations. but as john says, it is way too early to see how this thing is going to develop. and right now, it is this parade of balding middle-aged white mens taking self-ys in the shower and being impressed with themselves and the hysteria needs to calm down so that the serious people can get to work making applications for this device. >> i want to know, though, i mean, if not google glass, what could be the next big thing? we talk about all these gadgets, for example, you know, smart watches, you know? that people like apple are working on, supposedly. if not google glass, if not watches, then what, is atha, do you think, is going to be the next big thing in a few years' time in terms of consumer gadgetry? >> i think what google glass and watches both are, and the segment that is expanding very
quickly right now is this idea of wearables and, especially, devices that are on you or attached to your body in some way all the time, are providing information, and have sensors. and we see this through all the body-monitoring gadgets that are out there right now, this through the s-health feature in the new samsung galaxy siv. there's going to be more connectivity attached to our bodies in the near future. and that's where all of this is going. >> or maybe inside our bodies in the further future. to both of you, thank you very much for joining us. jonathan and sasha. coming up next, dr. pepper's secret revealed. this is $100,000. we asked total strangers to watch it for us. thank you so much. i appreciate it. i'll be right back. they didn't take a dime. how much in fees does your bank take to watch your money?
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jane wells have been snooping around the secret recipe vault at dr. pepper's headquarters and she joins us now. what have you dug into, jane? >> reporter: mandy, i'm in plano, here's all i've got. roll the video, it's behind this door, on a vault, handwritten on a piece of paper. there's 22 ingredients, some natural, some artificial. that's all i've got. number one, this perennial number 3 dwarfed in sales is doubling down on marketing in the current quarter with new initiatives for snapple and new ten-calorie sodas. >> we have to think differently, as kind of that trojan horse in the beverage industry, we have to be creative as to how we approach things and take a little bit more risk. >> even so, all of these companies are seeing a drop in sales volume for carbonated drinks in the u.s. and the ceo here says it's going to take a while for the economy to get back on its feet. >> we watch quick-serve restaurant and convenience and gas very close.
we're see traffic up, we're seeing spend come up a little bit, so we're cautiously optimistic. you know, it's not going to be back where it was, but we think it's starting to improve. >> reporter: mandy, i asked here in the lab, they are not working on a bacon dr. pepper. i tried to talk them into it, but so far, no go. >> you keep on trying, jane. >> reporter: billion-dollar idea. >> thanks for watching "street signs," "closing bell" is next. hi, everybody. good afternoon! welcome to the closing bell. we're into the final stretch of the day. i'm maria bartiromo from los angeles coming from the global conference sponsored by the hilton institute. >> you have that glow about you, maria, you must be in los angeles. i'm bill griffeth here at the new york stock exchange. markets are closing out the month kind of flat right now. we're waiting for the fed meeting tomorrow. we'll get some more guidance there. earnings this morning from the likes of pfizer, sent