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Markets End Yo-Yo Week; Berlusconi's Balancing Act

Aired August 12, 2011 - 14:00:00   ET


RICHARD QUEST, CNN ANCHOR, QUEST MEANS BUSINESS: Whew! They're up again, markets end a yo-yo week. And it is on a high, but don't be fooled. Volatility, troubled banks, slower growth, they all spell trouble.

And in Italy, Berlusconi's balancing act, tonight Italy gets ready for deep cuts.

It maybe the end of the working week, I'm Richard Quest and I still mean business.

Good evening.

Few of us will forget this week in a hurry. Fear, rumors, uncertainty, (DESK BELL CHIMES) have become the bedfellows of the global supermarkets, and stock markets, and wiped out the years' gains.

Tonight we look at the action taken to control the markets and where we go from here. For now it is time to take off the neck brace and the crash helmet.


As we enter the last few hours of Wall Street trading. We are up 174 points, 11,317. We are easing away from the neck wrenching seesawing affects of recent days. There were more big moves on European stock markets to end one of the most volatile trading weeks. The numbers in Europe were up sharply. Best gains were in Europe. The SMI was up 4.3 percent, Paris up 4 percent, Xetra DAX-you don't need me to tell you the numbers. They were all very sharply higher.

So, to Wall Street and what is happening with New York. Alison Kosik joins me from the New York Stock Exchange.

We were just joking, although there is nothing funny about this. About which one of us could put two words together and make sense.


Because it has been such a week. We had good numbers in some ways, and bad in others today. What is the driving force of this gain?

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I think the good numbers that you are talking about is this retail sales number, Richard, that is definitely keeping stocks in the green today. It shows that consumers, while they are not going on a huge shopping spree at this point, they are still out there spending. They are not completely gone. The other report that we got today was on consumer sentiment. It showed that it dropped to a 30-year low. So, while we did gain that 0.5 of 1 percent in retail sales, consumer sentiment is still pretty darn low. But you can't blame consumers for feeling that way, especially in light of the debt ceiling debate, the S&P downgrade, those already damaged confidence that was already fragile, after getting this litany of weak economic reports here in the U.S., Richard.

QUEST: All right. Alison Kosik joining us from the New York Stock Exchange.

And before the end of the program I will update you on how this all factors in to the totality of the week, and the year to date.

The core question is, have we seen what we've seen this week, is it just a blip or an aberration? Or are we now seeing the syndrome known as the canary in the mine? You'll be familiar with this idea, the canary is taken into a coal mine and it falls off its perch, or drops dead, or tweets loudly, if and when there bad gas that could be lethal.

So, are we seeing the same canary in the mine as it relates to the markets? Well, let's look at what has happened this week. For the first time ever, there were four consecutive sessions of more than 400-point movements when the Dow this week started to move so aggressively. We had the Monday move, which of course, was on the back of the U.S. downgrade. You then had the high move upwards when the Fed said it was raising or keeping interest rates high-low, I should say-until 2013. That, I meant to say, sent the market higher. And then we had France rumors and what was happening in the French downgrade, which didn't happen.

The point to bear in mind, with all of these, is that over the course of the week, we have seen a trading range of at least 500 points. That is a whopping 500 points up and down, over the course of the week. And that is just about the first time that we have ever seen anything of that sort of movement and that sort of range. These were the reasons and the rumors, combine that with the volatility. Societe Generale, was there actually problems with their refinancing? The bank says, no. You had the Fed and the FOMC statement saying, "considerably weaker" growth, considerably slower growth. You had the ECB saying exceptional, financial market circumstances, and then buying Italian and Spanish bonds.

All in all, what is the canary trying to tell us? Or are they just unrelated incidents as we come out of one of the worst financial recessions known in modern times. Was the canary singing? A question for Ken Rogoff, professor of economics and of public policy at Harvard University, formerly chief economist at the IMF. Ken joins me from Cambridge.

Ken, the syndrome, you are familiar with it, of the canary in the mine. What we've seen this week, is it telling us something of which we need to be-that it is dangerous?

KEN ROGOFF, ECONOMICS & PUBLIC POLICY PROFESSOR, HARVARD UNIVERSITY: Well, I think it is certainly saying that there is a loss of policy anchor, and investors are very uncertain of what is Europe going to do about the euro crisis, what is the United States going to do about its debt problem. And frankly, the past couple months have not been very inspiring.

And you throw in these lower growth numbers we particularly saw for the United States, but slowing in China, France not growing, Germany is slowing a bit. And people are nervous. They say, well, OK, maybe growth isn't going to be so great, but what is next? And I think the big thing is the loss of policy confidence. That needs to be rectified quickly.

QUEST: Ken, the policy response that we are getting. The ECB buying Italian bonds, I mean a bit of QE from the side, maybe, from the Fed. None of it is bold, yet. I mean, none of it is the bazooka, to quote the ECB. And I wonder and worry that until we do get that boldness we are stuck in the mud.

ROGOFF: I'm completely with you Richard. I think that we have not see a defining change. It is not sustainable, especially, Europe. And the ECB has buying, the question, how far will it go? It if it doesn't go very far we will quickly be back in the soup. If it does go far it is going to still have to get backed up by a political response. The ECB can't just sit there holding all the debt of Italy and Spain, and the southern periphery countries.

So the central banks are taking leadership, but a little bit timidly, I would like to see a more aggressive response. But it at the end of the day, particularly in Europe, this is a political problem.

QUEST: Right, Ken, will I just look again at the markets. Do you want to have a look?

Has your microphone fallen off? I'm just wondering, the microphone on you tie. We'll look at the markets while perhaps you just see if your microphone has actually.

We look at this market and you start to get a vision of how the Dow Jones has moved so dramatically over the course of the week. These 500 point moves, up and down, that we have seen.

Ken, coming back to you, to put this into perspective, Ken. Oh, I think the microphone is still being returned.

ROGOFF: It's on. It's on.

QUEST: Excellent. Are we now destined, do you think, for more weeks of volatility? And I'm being very careful not to ask you to forecast whether the market is going up or down. But whether we get-

ROGOFF: Thank you for that.


QUEST: But whether we get this volatility?

ROGOFF: Yes, because I just don't see a decisive end to it. Until the Eurozone decides is it going to get married, or is it going to split up, that uncertainty is going to be there. And in the U.S., well, the Federal Reserve could do more. But as far as fiscal policy we are waiting on this super commission, this 12-person Senate, House of Representative group that is going to make all these (AUDIO GAP)

QUEST: Oh, my word. Well, never mind his microphone. We lost the whole line there. It just shows you, never mind-the volatility of the week, and it just keeps going right the way through.

Stop the speculators, stop the sell off, that is what Europe hoped to do today. Did it work? We'll explain the long and short after the break.


QUEST: So, the effects of what's been happening and the rumors in the markets. France has been on the ropes with a downgrade rumor. And the plunging stocks knocking confidence. Today we got undeniable proof that France's economy is wobbling along with the usual European suspects. French GDP growth, in Q2, was zero, now the major disappointment after Q1. However, there was some good news, more jobs, apparently, are being added, 68,000 jobs in the second quarter. Better than Q1, not good enough to really get unemployment down.

The Greek economy improved last quarter. It is terrible. GDP fell 6.9 percent, on a year on year basis in Q2; that is 7 percent, that is awful. But it does compare to 8.1 percent fall in the first quarter. And there are still some who say that Greece will be positive in growth by the end of 2011.

To Portugal, where the IMF has given a green light to the next tranche of rescue package money, around $16.5 billion. The IMF, the EU, ECB, troika says Portugal is on track to meet deficit targets. And the IMF's Poul Thomsen says the situation is in Portuguese hands.


POUL THOMSEN, HEAD OF IMF, PORTUGUESE MISSION: The ball is in Portugal's court. This will succeed if the reforms are implemented. Because Europe will do whatever it takes as long as-as-as Portugal persevere (ph) with the reforms. This is, this is very good news since we were here last.


QUEST: Now the European ban on short selling of certain financial stocks will last at least 15 days in France and Spain. There is debate over how useful banning short selling really is; in the past bans have been blamed, actually for making the stock perform worse. So, what is short- selling really all about?

This lunchtime I want around the QUEST MEANS BUSINESS newsroom and I did a bit of short selling of my own.


QUEST (on camera): The concept of short selling sound complex, but actually it is rather straightforward. Imagine I believe the price of oranges is going to fall. And I want to sell oranges, because I want to make money. But I haven't got any oranges to sell.

So, I immediately come to my good friend Leone, and I say, can I borrow your oranges? And I'll pay you a fee afterwards.

I then take these oranges, and I sell them to Max, for $20.


QUEST: $20, that is the going price.

FOSTER: They'd better be good oranges.

QUEST: They're very good oranges. I've got $20. And I'm right! The price of oranges does fall. It halves, in fact. So, now I can take $10. I can go into the market and buy some oranges, which I then give back to Leone, with $1 fee. And I've made $9 profit. That is short selling. And those who believe in it say I have smoothed out the peaks and the troughs. I have reduced the volatility of the market.

FOSTER: I've got my oranges.


FOSTER: Expensive, very good oranges.


FOSTER: You've made some money. What has Leone gotten out of it?

QUEST: Leone-

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I get my oranges back. And that is what is key.

QUEST: She got her oranges back. And she got-


QUEST: A fee for me borrowing them. Who lost out? The market.

In that example, straightforward short selling the market was always secure. There was always oranges moving around. And the only person at risk was me, if things went a bit off. What about naked short selling? Now, I'm going to sell you oranges for next week. But I'm not going to deliver them. And I haven't got any oranges, and I'm not going to borrow yours.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've got my oranges.

QUEST: You are keeping your oranges. I take your $20.

FOSTER: $20 again.

QUEST: And I hope to go into the market and buy the oranges cheaper to pay-to give to you.

Suddenly, bad weather, and the price of oranges rises dramatically. I have to go into the market and buy them, at $30 a bag. I owe him oranges, I haven't borrowed any here. I don't have any assets, I have no where to turn, if enough people are doing this, then suddenly the market volatility becomes extreme. Everybody wants the asset of oranges. And I haven't got the money to pay. Perhaps in that situation, maybe, banning naked short selling is worthwhile.


QUEST: Now you understand the concept? The naked, and the real, of the short selling market.


It has been week to remember on Wall Street. Even Disneyland doesn't have a roller coaster like this. You will hear from some of the traders who were strapped in for the ride.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What is next on your list for the final minutes of trading?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, so what is next on my list, is I'm going to run around to all the stocks that we're in today. I'm going to get those final-I'm going to get these looks.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You are hearing a lot of traders now, yelling, buy everything, buy everything. We've got five minutes left in the trading day.


QUEST: President Obama has been meeting business leaders at the White House. Chief executives from American Express and U.S. Steel are among those having talks with Mr. Obama. Our Correspondent Dan Lothian is in Washington and joins me now from the White House.

Is this just a publicity stunt, at a difficult time? The White House says, according to what I'm reading, that they are there to discuss the ongoing efforts to create jobs. Public relations stunt?

DAN LOTHIAN, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, I think if you look back over the president's term he has at various times invited executives from big companies to come here to the White House, to talk about the economy. To talk about jobs creation; to talk about their particular sectors, especially during the time when you had the meltdown on Wall Street. And so the White House will point out that this is just part of the ongoing effort; the outreach between the White House and the business community.

But there are questions being asked about whether or not this is in direct response to what we have been seeing happening in the overall economy. And certainly what has been happening on Wall Street. What the White House will say, specifically, is that the president invited them here so that he could hear what their concerns are. The wants to know how his down turn in the economy is impacting their companies, if they have any ideas at all, and for the president, again, face to face, to lay out to them, in person, what his ideas are for turning the economy around, Richard.

QUEST: Dan, you obviously are very well in tune with the underbelly, and undercurrent of what is happening at the White House. Are they seriously, or secretly, or even marginally concerned that what they are seeing in the market is going to destroy confidence in the U.S.?

LOTHIAN: Well, first of all, they will point out that, in fact, when people are skeptical and when there is not a lot of confidence out there. There is a real reason for that. That people have a reason to be concerned. Whether behind the scenes, deep behind the scenes, they are showing more concern themselves, perhaps than they are publicly, is unclear.

The president has talked about how he is confident that the economy will turn around, but that things will be difficult for quite some time. Yes, there is concern here at the White House that things have not been able to sort of-the rubber, maybe not really hit the road and take off at the speed that a lot of people expected. So there is a concern about that. And that is why you will be seeing more of the president going out trying to sell his message to the American people. He hits the road next week in a three-state bus tour, Monday through Wednesday. And the president is promising that over the next several weeks we will also be unveiling various different ideas that he believes will help to stimulate the economy and create jobs.

So there is sort of this sense of urgency here and to an extent a concern that they need to act now to prevent the situation from getting any worse.

QUEST: Dan Lothian is at the White House for us tonight.

The U.S. consumer confidence, as measured by the University of Michigan, has plunged to its lowest level since 1980. Felicia Taylor is in New York, where people are shell shocked about the events of the past week, as indeed, are the rest of us. But this particular number? I mean, three decades, as I read the number, it is one of the worst that has ever been seen.

FELICIA TAYLOR, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, no kidding. This is a bit of a shocker, frankly. And that the market isn't paying that much attention to it, is interesting to talk about as well. This is a number that fell from 63.7 to 54.9. Expectations were more like about 61. So, you are right. These are levels we haven't seen since 1980.

There was a little bit of good news. And that is what the market is focusing on, is the retail sales number. It came in right in line with expectations. Up a 0.5 a percent, but ex-autos, it was also up a 0.5 a percent. And that was better than expected. So that is what the market is focusing on today.

But when it comes to the consumer, it makes up two-thirds of the economy. If they don't feel confident about this turn around actually happening, they are not going to be spending money at all the stores that are around me right now. I had a chance to go out and speak to some of the people a little earlier today.


TAYLOR (on camera): Just talking to people about the economy.


TAYLOR: That is quite a reaction.


TAYLOR: How are you feeling?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Freaked out, scared, terrible.

TAYLOR: Have you thought about curtailing your own spending habits, and making different decisions as a result of this?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely. But the problem is once you get, you get into a certain lifestyle, and you get used to certain things. And it is so hard to stop doing things that you have become accustomed to doing. I think the whole country, like every body is going to have to get used to doing things differently. And it is going to be very, very hard.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This past year I have cut out spending. I haven't hardly bought any clothing. I don't buy any luxury make up brands anymore.

TAYLOR: Do you feel a little bit more nervous, not only about your portfolio, but just everyday spending.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't feel more nervous. I feel like everyone just kind of needs to relax and take a step back and think about it. Like it goes up one day, it goes down the next day. It will even out if everyone just chills out.

TAYLOR: Are you feeling a little bit more nervous about things?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, sure. I see my portfolio go up and down everyday, for the last week. It has been hair raising, but it is just a repeat. I feel like deja vu from 2008.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm hoping. If it doesn't turn around then everybody is going to be in the same boat.

TAYLOR: That doesn't sound too good.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have to be optimistic about this.


TAYLOR: So, you know, it is pretty depressing. I mean, there are certain people out there that don't even want to look at their 401(k) and to see how much losses they have had in the last, you know, seven, eight trading sessions. Even the luxury market is getting hit. You've seen stocks like Saks Fifth Avenue, Tiffany & Company, Coach, down double digits in the last eight or nine trading sessions. So, it is of concern. If the consumer doesn't feel confident to get out there and spend money, how are we going to get growth? We saw numbers in France that were, you know, abysmal, and Hong Kong as well.

The one bit of good news, though, Richard, is executives have stepped back into the market place and they are picking up their own stock. So that is a measure of confidence. And a little bit of good news as we head into the weekend.

QUEST: And judging by what you have got around your neck, the jewelry, you'd be back in the market as well, after that gold session yesterday.


QUEST: Picking up on a couple of baubles.

TAYLOR: Got to keep it sparkling.


QUEST: Always.

TAYLOR: Why not?

QUEST: Go and buy a hot dog-go and spend a $1 on that hot dog stall behind you and don't put it on your expenses.


Felicia Taylor is in New York.

I ask you, whether you could sum up the markets, this week in the markets in a sentence. Let's read some of your Tweets, @RichardQuest, that you sent.

Could you sum it up in a sentence?

"RTW flights, shilly-shallying, Regatell (ph), "high frequency trading rocks", "stupefied lemmings," from Flower Holder Bar (ph), "bloody" from TGO5.

"The markets are very fluid." Massive understatement from Deepak Aguala (ph).

"Up and Down". "It's been one crazy roller coaster ride, who is knowing where the next dip is."

Now, I love this one. This one comes from RevisRetort (ph): "What goes up, must go down, and go up, and come down."

"A fool and his money are soon parted." "Bad mood quotes".

And finally, what I thought it was. "When it was up, it was up. When it was down, it was down. And now they neither up, nor down."

Coming up after the break, by the way, if you want to have your sentence read, @RichardQuest is the Tweetera and Tweetaroo. (ph).

Italy's economy is going under the knife. In a moment we'll ask Silvio Berlusconi's latest cuts mean for the country and how it plays into the rest of Europe, QUEST MEANS BUSINESS.


QUEST: Hello, I'm Richard Quest, QUEST MEANS BUSINESS, this is CNN. And on this network the news always comes first.


QUEST: A wild week of ups and downs on the markets. And Wall Street currently is -- it is up 113 points, at 11260.

The major European markets closed well in the positive territory, up 3 to 4 percent when all was said and done.

Silvio Berlusconi has been discussing his latest round of cuts, currently meeting with the cabinet, the Italian prime minister is ramping up his austerity plan by slashing local government budgets. He's also going to raise taxes on the rich.

Fabrizio Mattesini at the University of Rome Tor Vergata joins me now from CNN Rome.

Fabrizio, what's going to be the -- the hallmark?

How much has he got to save before the markets will simply say Italy is out of danger?

FABRIZIO MATTESINI, THE UNIVERSITY OF ROME TOR VERGATA: Well, I think that if Silvio Berlusconi is able to cut taxes, to income taxes and cut the budget the way he says he's going to do, it is about 45 billion euros in two years, I think the markets are going to be reacting very well.

The problem is that there's going to be a lot of unrest in the country and a lot of concern because the country hasn't been growing very well and these cuts are going to be pretty heavy for the whole economy, the Italian economy.

QUEST: If we balance between spending cuts, which will be part of this, and tax rises, where do you think this -- this balance will finally come down?

Because the reports that I've seen suggest that both have to be part of the austerity package.

MATTESINI: Well, yes, the -- we don't have the details now on what's going on exactly in the cabinet meeting. The -- the -- the idea is that there's going to be a cut in local budgets. And already the governors and the mayors are preparing to discuss. And also, there are going to be some tax raises. They said that's going to be an extraordinary tax and riches, that is on people having more than 90,000 euros. And apparently, the big discussion now is whether to have -- to try to cut spending on retirement, on pensions, that is, to increase, for example, the working age even up to 65 years.

And this balance is a difficult balance. And -- but I think it's, in some senses, the right balance.

The problem is that there are many problems in Italy. The economy has not been growing. And, therefore, this is going to further depress consumer confidence and consumers' spending.

QUEST: Fabrizio, we'll leave it there for the moment.

Many thanks for joining us tonight, Friday night, from Rome.

It has been a gut-wrenching week in the markets. Confidence has been tested. Stocks and crashed one day and surged the next.

On the markets themselves, what's it like if you're in the eye of the storm?

Poppy Harlow had a firsthand look at some angst. In other words, the sturm und drang, to use the Wagnerian phrase, that emotion that only comes from extremes -- Poppy.


You know, so much of -- of trading these days is done electronically, by computers, not using humans whatsoever. But the New York Stock Exchange still, of course, does exist. And this week, it was certainly in full swing.

We spent the last half hour of trading on Thursday on the floor literally running after a trader, trying to get a sense of what this week has been like for them.

Take a look.


KENNETH POLCARI, MANAGING DIRECTOR, ICAP EQUITIES: I because I've got to go over here to Citibank for a minute. Because of the electronics, I don't necessarily have to go and stand in the crowd anymore. I get all the information I need right here in my hand now.

HARLOW: But don't -- don't you get something from being in the crowd?

POLCARI: Yes, you do and you get something from being in the crowd?

POLCARI: Yes, you do. And you get something from being in the crowd right on the opening and you get something right on the close.

DOREEN MOGAVERO, PRESIDENT & CEO, MOGAVERO, LEE & CO.: This week has been unusual. I mean, we had orders through -- Monday through yesterday all day long, all day long.

HARLOW: What's next on your list for the final minutes of trading? POLCARI: OK. So what's next on my list is I'm going to run around to all those stocks that I was in today and I'm going to get those final -- I'm going to get these looks.

HARLOW: You're hearing a lot of traders now yelling, "Buy everything! Buy everything!" We've got five minutes left in the trading day.

MOGAVERO: You see that some of the brokers are running around checking the prices. For us today, we're good.

POLCARI: Because what I do, that's part of my job, is to be the eyes and ears for the customer.


Hold on. See, I'm getting another order.

MOGAVERO: Well, on a day like yesterday, I only had time to execute all my orders because the orders were coming in so quickly yesterday. Today, not so much. I'm getting some now, as you see. But on the days where the orders are -- I'm really getting some.

HARLOW: What traders, what Kenny is doing right now, he's looking at imbalances in the stocks that he holds, the stocks he's trading. He's looking to see if there's more sell orders and buy orders. That's going to help him determine whether or not that stock is going to close higher or whether that stock is going to close lower.

POLCARI: If I go to Bank America, you can see that there's no imbalance. In fact, there's 6.2 million paired off, which means there's 6.2 million to buy, there's 6.2 million for sale. So if nothing changes, the stock will not close at the last sell. It's not going to close up, it's not going to close down.

The stock is trading below our limit at the moment. There is a little bit -- there's 100,000 to buy in the bell. I'm way away with my order. My order is -- this stock is trading 30 cents below my limit. There's no way I'm going to make that sale, unless a buyer should come into the stock in the next three minutes and take it up.

So I'm going to go hang out over there so I can just make sure that that's not going to happen without me knowing it.

MOGAVERO: I think most of the people on the floor are very prepared for the volatility. I mean, that's what we do.


HARLOW: We'll take this day. The Dow industrials ending this session up about 400 points.

MOGAVERO: That's it. Gaining. We're done.

POLCARI: We sold off 100 points. And when you first got here, remember...

HARLOW: We did.

POLCARI: It was up 500.

HARLOW: We were up over 500 points.


HARLOW: And this last half hour of trading, we sold off more than 100 points.

POLCARI: We sold off 100 points. Now, you saw that.

You were here when that happened, right?

It wasn't panicky by any stretch. You almost didn't even feel that we sold off 100. But the fact is that's how -- that's how seamless it is.

MOGAVERO: We're back. Another day.


HARLOW: And, Richard, if there's any consistency to this wild market, it is that the last half hour of trading is when you see a big move to the down side or a big move to the up side. We're already seeing the down side move now in the US. The Dow just broke through 100 now, just about at the 100 level after being significantly higher, Richard.

But that's about all you can say to any rationality in this market -- Richard.

QUEST: Poppy, one question. You and I have been analyzing and commentating and some people would say pontificating, in my case, about the market for -- for years, certainly in my case -- Poppy, when you're on the floor and you see the people actually engaged in it, you and I don't buy and sell...


QUEST: We just watch. There is a fascination with what they are doing.

HARLOW: Absolutely, there is a fascination. And what I found most interesting was -- was still the interaction with the client right?

You just think of how much trading has left a place like the New York Stock Exchange, Richard, how much is handled by computers, how little is handled by humans.

The trader that we followed, Kenny, you just saw him in that story, he's writing and doing it all from his tablet. He could stay at his post, but as you heard, he said I need to get into the crowd, I need to feel what they're saying at the Citigroup post, what they're saying at Bank of America or at Barclay's. I need to feel that and sense if they are -- if they are nervous, if I should wait, as a buyer, if they're going to sell lower and lower and lower and if I should wait to jump in, Richard.

So there absolutely is that feeling that still exists that it just doesn't happen if you don't have traders doing it, if you're not right there on the floor.

QUEST: One word -- one word, Poppy, up or down at the close tonight?

Go on. It's a Friday. You can't do much damage.

HARLOW: Well, we're up.

QUEST: Up or down at the close?

HARLOW: Up. Up. I wore -- I wore my green, up, higher.

QUEST: Poppy Harlow in New York for us tonight.

The markets are up now, but up now for how long?

Poppy thinks they're going to stay that way. The latest from Wall Street at the end of the final hours of trading of a week of dizzy highs and dismal lows.


Good to have you.


QUEST: The weekend weather.

Guillermo is at the World Weather Center.

We need you to give us some good weather this weekend after this week in the markets.

GUILLERMO ARDUINO, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Actually, it's improved a lot, Richard. And I see that especially England, the Midlands had really nasty conditions yesterday, but now it's much better.

Also, I'm very happy to see that something is going on in Iberia, where we have been without any rain for two months or so. Also, I want to check out what's going on in Istanbul, remember?

I was emphasizing on the fact that there was a storm there and the Aegean Sea. And now it's moving away. So the Black Sea is when we have the problems. The Bosporus is much better.

So Scotland, not in good shape once again, but overall, conditions have improved. We have that jet there that is bringing the storms in the north. The south looking fine. The Mediterranean Sea continues to be OK. Temperature-wise, we are on average. It's still quite warm in Madrid for Saturday, at 34, the high; 21 in London. Istanbul, things go back to normal. Anywhere from Cyprus into Sicily, the Balearics, everything is fine. Airports are not going to be affected by bad weather.

The area in Schleswig-Holstein and Northern Germany/Southern Scandinavia is getting better.

The heat is now going away in the Southwest in the States. New York is going to get some rain on Sunday, if you're coming to the States and you are thinking that New York is going to be fine, hurry up. Saturday is the only nice day that you have left.

And the -- the golf championship continues to take place in Northern Atlanta. And we see OK conditions. the forecast continues to be like one or two rain showers here. On average, warm, nice. The wind is going to be fine. So no excuses. They must succeed -- have a nice weekend.

QUEST: And to you, Guillermo.

Come back to us in one piece safe and sound on Monday.

ARDUINO: Yes. I will.

QUEST: The market numbers -- we'll head to the market numbers that you need to just have a quick look at. And the Dow Jones Industrials, well, we were under 100 a second ago. We're now up 109 points. It is looking a little bit fragile. The markets are up again. Traders are wary. It's been a week driven by fears, rumors and uncertainty.

Over the course of this week, we've brought you some of the biggest and best names trying to make sense of it all.


ROBERT DOLL, CHIEF EQUITY STRATEGIST, BLACKROCK: Markets, when they get damaged, since this one have been on the down side, tend to have pretty vicious reflex rallies but then turn around and come back and test the lows to make a foundation before they're able to move back higher. And it will take a verification of the prior fundamentals to get there.

And -- and that's going to take some time.



WILBUR ROSS, CHAIRMAN & CEO, WL ROSS & COMPANY: People shouldn't be too preoccupied with day to day fluctuations, even though the ones we saw the last couple of days were obviously pretty extreme. You really shouldn't be trying to second guess what's the absolute bottom. My experience is anybody who tries to figure the exact bottom or the exact top never gets it right anyway.



MORT ZUCKERMAN, CEO, BOSTON SECURITIES: ZUCKERMAN: You don't think I'm going to predict where the stock market goes, do you?

I'm not that stupid. But I will tell you, what I do see is an economy, we're going to have unemployment is going to go up. The stock market, I believe, is going to go down.

QUEST: All right...

ZUCKERMAN: Our political system is going to be -- it will loose credibility, unless they actually join together and do something, because only if both parties share the blame then will they be able to do what we have to do.


QUEST: Mort Zuckerman there.

And that is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS for tonight and for this week.

Thank you, as always, for making time to join us on our nightly digest of the world of business.

I'm Richard Quest in London.

Whatever you're up to in the hours ahead, I hope it's profitable.




I'm Robyn Curnow.

And this week, we're inside one of South Africa's macro stores, a warehouse selling in bulk just about everything, from sporting goods to food.

Now, you can see there's already a vast selection here. But prices could become cheaper because of the recent merger between macro's Massmart and the U.S. retail giant, Walmart.

But even though the deal has been signed and sealed, the South African government isn't quite on board, as Nkepile Mabuse now reports.


NKEPILE MABUSE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For South African consumers, cheaper goods could not have come at a better time. But Walmart's acquisition of a controlling stake in local group Massmart has the government here seeing red.

The company is known for paying low wages and negotiating tough with its suppliers. The retail giant's revenue is bigger than South Africa's GDP.

And that is a big problem for these cabinet ministers.

EBRAHIM PATEL, SOUTH AFRICAN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT MINISTER: It has a procurement muscle that no one else has. And that procurement muscle, if misapplied, can have damaging effects on the South African economy.

MABUSE: The minister of agriculture has even gone as far as labeling Walmart's buying power a threat to food security.

TINA JOEMAT-PETTERSSON, SOUTH AFRICAN AGRICULTURE MINISTER: We cannot further decreases the opportunities for commercial farmers to have access to market.

MABUSE: These three ministers are leading government's core challenge to get more binding commitments. Walmart has promised to create 15,000 jobs and purchase the majority of its goods locally. And South Africa hasn't seen much of that lately.

(on camera): But in 2009 and last year, South Africa's foreign direct investment dropped by 70 percent. High labor, electricity and transport costs have made doing business here more expensive than in many other African countries.

(voice-over): Economist mike Schussler says South Africa should focus more on the benefits.

MIKE SCHUSSLER, ECONOMIST: Some of our manufacturing is excellent and we'll get worldwide contracts from a Walmart.

MOELETSI MBEKI, POLITICAL ANALYST: Now, because we are not investing...

MABUSE: Moeletsi Mbeki believes the government's opposition to the deal has more to do with politics than jobs.

MBEKI: Walmart has paid up the money already. So there's nothing that they can do, which is why this is all theater. It's about dramatics, you know, making theater and making the poor black workers believe that their interests are being looked after.

SCHUSSLER: Foreign investors must be thinking, why would I want to go to South Africa?

These guys would make -- shoot Karl Marx if he came around, because they have gone so left, it's unbelievable.

MABUSE: Unemployment has been growing in South Africa and so has the pressure on the state to address it. For years, government has presided over shrinking industries and massive job cuts.

So even if South Africa gets better guarantees from Walmart, the real issues behind widespread unemployment and poverty will not go away.

Nkepile Mabuse, CNN, Johannesburg.


CURNOW: Some economists say that the South African government's opposition to the Massmart-Walmart deal is sending mixed messages to much needed investors. A recent U.N. report says that South Africa lags behind countries such as Liberia, Nigeria and the Congo, in terms of attracting new business. The report says that South Africa is the tenth largest recipient of foreign direct investment in Africa and 128th in the world. And last year, foreign direct investment dropped 68 percent here in South Africa.

So head over to our Facebook page and join the discussion on the Walmart-Massmart merger.

What kind of effect do you think Walmart will have on the South African economy?

Do you think it will create new jobs?

Let us know your thoughts.

South Africa is open for business, but how easy is it once you get through the door?

Our next guest walks us through it.


DAVID OFOSU-DORTE, AB & DAVID LAW FIRM: The challenge with Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, is that unlike other advanced countries where the regulations is maybe at the tap of a button and you should be able to find out what regulations regulates what, the challenge is that you may not necessarily find these very easily, and, therefore, the bureaucracy then makes the issues more complex. And if you don't get somebody who understands how to ask his way move around ---

CURNOW: Work the system, basically?

OFOSU-DORTE: It's only to work the system, yes. Then becomes a much more bigger challenge than it ought to be.



CURNOW: Global players such as the American retail giant, Walmart, see Africa's emerging middle class as a great business opportunity. Of course, though, the challenges to doing business on the continent, often cited, red tape, bureaucracy and confusing laws.

Well, our next guest on FaceTime is David Ofosu-Dorte.

He is a Ghanaian lawyer. And he helps investors navigate the regulations in West Africa.


DAVID OFOSU-DORTE, AB & DAVID LAW FIRM: The challenge with Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, is that unlike other advanced countries where the regulations is maybe at the tap of a button and you should be able to find out what regulations regulates what, the challenge is that you may not necessarily find these very easily, and, therefore, the bureaucracy then makes the issues more complex. And if you don't get somebody who understands how to ask his way move around ---

CURNOW: Work the system, basically?

OFOSU-DORTE: It's only to work the system, yes. Then becomes a much more bigger challenge than it ought to be. That's what it is.

CURNOW: Do you think that it's got worse, doing business in Africa, easier, over the years that you've been a lawyer?

OFOSU-DORTE: I think it's got much, much easier over the past 14 years that my firm has united. But I think this business has got easier by the day. And if you look at it, doing business in Africa index, or doing business in the world index, Ghana, for example, keeps improving on its position every day. It's gotten much, much easier. It's much easier to assess regulations. It's much easier to know things. I mean, and I think it's getting better by the day.

CURNOW: What do you think is still one of the major challenges?

If somebody wants to invest -- obviously, Ghana has just come online with some major oil finds.

How -- how do foreign investors particularly, or investors from elsewhere in the continent, what is the biggest challenge that they maybe face, in addition to regulations?

OFOSU-DORTE: Political (INAUDIBLE) has reduced increasingly. What (INAUDIBLE) you can...

CURNOW: Phenomenally so...

OFOSU-DORTE: Yes, phenomenally...

CURNOW: -- because (INAUDIBLE)


CURNOW: -- in a place like...


CURNOW: -- it's a huge success story...


CURNOW: -- when it comes to that issue.

OFOSU-DORTE: Exactly. But what's increasingly important is to then look at which -- which (INAUDIBLE) political risk (INAUDIBLE) -- they're frequenting (INAUDIBLE) laws and how these laws would affect businesses and their forecasts for profitability, taxation, issues like that.

So the more you improve on these, for example, I can tell you in Ghana, the registration of business has reduced from over 100 base to as short as about three (INAUDIBLE)

Business register. So...

CURNOW: That's better than South Africa, I think.

OFOSU-DORTE: Well, I mean it depends, of course, I must say on the intermediary you are dealing with anyway. But you can't -- you can't have...

CURNOW: Well, you still need to go through somebody to help facilitate the process?

OFOSU-DORTE: You have to go through the registrar general's office. But not facilitation in the sense of are they paying bribery (INAUDIBLE). But if you go to the registrar's office, the law requires five days. But it gets done in three days these days.

CURNOW: We -- we're kind of touching on the issue of facilitator and we sort of both smile wily. I mean the issue of corruption and deals under the table and facilitators is still very much a reality of doing business in Africa...


CURNOW: Isn't it?

OFOSU-DORTE: It is. It is. And -- and the more complex the bureaucracy and the more difficult it is to have access to laws and regulations, the easier it is for public officials to then demand bribes. Increasingly, foreign businesses are becoming wary of paying bribes and are consulting to make sure that they do things ethically. So the incidence of bribery is reduced. And, again, if you check the -- the corruption index that is published, I mean annually, you will see that African countries are increasingly beginning to do better on the index there.

CURNOW: How does a country like Ghana avoid the oil curse?

OFOSU-DORTE: A difficult one. I think we shouldn't forget the other sources of taxation. The -- the other thing, also, is to ensure that we have a tight local content policy regime. It took Nigeria many years to get to it, but which, unless we have the example of Nigeria to learn from. So if our political teachers, we learn from that, that's, of course...

CURNOW: Do you think they will?

Do you think -- do you think -- do you think Ghana...


CURNOW: -- can -- can chart this path in a different way to Nigeria or any other country?

OFOSU-DORTE: I think so. And over the last two governments, the previous government as well as this government, I see some fair amount of consistency in making sure that we do the right thing. And I think there is a large class of civil society and public officials who just want to make sure that the right thing is done.

I mean Nigeria is next door and we have seen their lessons. If Nigeria was to the point when about 90 percent of their taxes were coming from the oil sector.

We have had the reverse. Ghana had oil revenue and immediately take the oil revenue that we are getting, because we don't expect to get more than $400 million in a year. That's insignificant if it comes to the amount of money we get, for example, from (INAUDIBLE).

So I don't think we'll get to the Nigerian situation. Of course, we all have to make sure that we don't get there.


CURNOW: David Ofosu-Dorte there.

Now, here's what's trending this week.


CURNOW (voice-over): China plans to deepen its ties to both Sudan and South Sudan as the Asian powerhouse continues to push into Africa's resource sector. On a recent visit to the region, China's foreign minister vowed to support the recently (INAUDIBLE) nations and help develop their oil industries. Sudan has said it will grant China more oil exploration rights.

And a joint venture company, Agrisol Energy Tanzania, plans to invest more than $100 million over the next 10 years in the country's farms. It's one of the latest groups taking advantage of Tanzania's recent land offer. The East African nation is leasing nearly two million hectares of land to foreign investors to set up large scale farming projects. Agrisole plans to invest in maize, soy and poultry production.


CURNOW: That's it for this week's show.

Please go to our Web site, All of our stories and interviews are online, as well as a link to my blog and Twitter page.

I'm Robyn Curnow.

Thanks so much for watching.

See you again next week.