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Stocks Tumble; Spanish Prime Minister Denies Secret Payments; Watching Wall Street; Randgold Results; Anglo-American Mining Losses; Canadian Penny Dropped; Dollar Mixed; Obama's Gun Control Plans; Ambitious Agenda; British Banking Break-Up Threat

Aired February 4, 2013 - 14:00   ET


RICHARD QUEST, HOST: Political turmoil, stock market tumbles, global share prices are sinking. Look at the Dow Jones.

Scandal in Spain. The prime minister fiercely denies allegations of corruption.

And tonight, Randgold's chief executives tells me mining is not for sissies.

I'm Richard Quest, the start of a new week and, of course, I mean business.

Good evening. Across Europe, nervous investors have been pushing stock prices lower. It is a very different sense, perhaps a lack of optimism, to that which we have experienced in recent days, as markets like the Dow Jones go over 14,000. And in Europe, the markets hit multiyear highs.


QUEST: Join me over at the super screen, and you see for yourself, index after index, deep into the red. And of course, there are a variety of reasons. In Spain's case, it was the political turmoil and the uncertainty that caused an effect.

In Milan, the sharpest falls of all, the index off some 4.5 percent, that was already playing and fraying nerves in that particular market, down 4.5.

Even the major markets, like the FTSE, just look at that. It was a solid, constant source of decline right the way through the session with, frankly, very little appetite for risk, a difference of what we have seen, maybe, in recent weeks and months. Whereas you can see the one-month trend has been quite higher.

So, let's go back to Spain, where we see Mariano Rajoy's embroiled in allegations about a slush fund scandal, which he denies. In Italy, the issue is Silvio Berlusconi's resurgence in the opinion polls, and that's worrying investors.

All in all, you get a vision of Europe with even the Zurich SMI just off the tops of the day, to New York, where the Dow Jones Industrials is down 122 points, off nearly 1 percent. We're into 13,900. The mark hit, of course, 14,000 that we hit on Friday.

The story is Spain, where the prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, met with Germany's chancellor in Berlin. They were speaking after the meeting, and Angela Merkel said she still has the confidence Spain will do what it takes to get the economy back on track.

And even in Berlin, Mr. Rajoy was unable to sidestep questions about the slush fund scandal back home. Al Goodman is our correspondent. He is in Madrid for us this evening. Good evening, Al. Hoping you can hear me.

Now, is this -- I can't gauge, looking at the markets, the market --- the Spanish market off 4 percent. But I -- what I can't gauge, Al, is whether this corruption scandal is growing and engulfing or is likely to peter away?

AL GOODMAN, CNN MADRID BUREAU CHIEF: Well, it seems to be growing a bit this day, because in addition to the IBEX 35 or the Madrid Stock Market going down almost 4 points, which you just mentioned, the yield on the 10- year Spanish bond against the German bond has gone -- is snaking up to nearly 5.5 percent. That's the highest it's been, now, in weeks.

So, there seems to be some jitters in the market, but clearly, the prime minister repeating in public today before the journalists for the first time five days after this scandal broke in a newspaper here, what he said on the weekend that basically it's all bunk, this is not affecting him.

He did remind his opponents that he's got a stable government and a majority in parliament, so the calls on Sunday for him to resign, you're not going to expect him to walk away from this right now. And his party is pulling out their own guns, mounting their own counter-offensive. But we haven't see the last of this. Richard?

QUEST: And that's, really, the question, Al. Is the fear that it paralyzes the existing government of Rajoy, or is it that it causes the government to fall with the uncertainty that that would bring about?

GOODMAN: More like the uncertainty of the paralysis of the existing government, especially if they have to try to do further reforms and tackle further things.

Now, polls over the weekend, snap polls, are showing 97 percent of the Spaniards in this one poll want tougher transparency laws and a majority abroad, majority don't believe the explanations they've heard from the ruling party and the prime minister so far about how this corruption supposedly came about. Richard?

QUEST: Al -- this may seem a naive question, but I think fundamentally what this comes down to is, is Rajoy in trouble over this?

GOODMAN: Yes, he's clearly in trouble, and it may not be from the opposition parties, but there's wide reports of a -- sort of a mutiny within his own ranks.

Some leaders who were not tarnished by these alleged payoffs who were not in the party directorate at the time of these payoffs who, according to news reports here, are really watching to see if this is the moment when they might leap and be able to force him down.

So, you have pressure from the outside, pressure from Europe, pressure from the markets, but his toughest pressure might be from right inside his party, from his rivals there. Richard?

QUEST: Al, on another occasion I will ask you -- not tonight, it's too soon in this crisis -- but I will ask you on another occasion, does Rajoy survive? Al Goodman, who is in Madrid for us tonight.

Why should the Dow finish over 14,000 last week, and everybody's in the bon ami and off to the races and jolly good markets are we, and today, we're off nearly one percent? The Dow Jones is firmly in the red. It's a question for Alison Kosik at the New York Stock Exchange. What did you touch? What did you do wrong that sent the market in the opposite direction today?

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: I'll tell you what, so close yet so far. And how fleeting that 14,000 was, wasn't it? But hey, it was kind of fun on Friday, Richard, watching the Dow hit 14,000, even go past that for the first time in five years.

But -- unfortunately, now, we see red on green. We saw that Dow rise that quickly on Friday because of a generally upbeat jobs report in January.

QUEST: Right.

KOSIK: But now come the questions. Now, Wall Street is saying hm, wait a minute. Is there really good reason why the market should really be this high? There are questions about this being over-bought, there are questions about this market really being supported by the Fed --

QUEST: Good.

KOSIK: -- and not by strong economic signals, Richard.

QUEST: Good grief, Alison, it normally takes a few weeks before a bull market is discounted in terms of over-correction and sentiment. This is happening in a matter of days and hours. And before you answer that or take that onboard, how is volume? Is anybody actually doing deals or doing --

KOSIK: Let me look.

QUEST: -- trading at these prices.

KOSIK: I'm going to turn my head -- volume looks pretty light, and that could be adding to the volatility today, the volatility that I saw on the screen -- the volume, rather.

Also, you have to keep in mind, Richard, it would be a little worrisome and you'd really have to really take a step back if you just saw the market continue to go up. So, it's healthy to see these pullbacks.

In fact, I was walking on the floor earlier, and one trader said, you know what? We could see the Dow hit 14,000 and go way higher than that, he thinks within a couple days. But then again, he's more of an optimist.

QUEST: All right, Alison Kosik, who is in New York for us this evening, watching over the markets. Very busy day in terms of trading and activity, although perhaps not that many deals or that much selling taking place, but prices being pushed down by market makers.

When we come back, after a year of operating in a war zone like Mali, Randgold's chief exec says mining in the sub-Saharan African continent isn't for the faint-hearted. Mark Bristow on QUEST MEANS BUSINESS after the break.


QUEST: Randgold's chief executive says the crisis in Mali has reached a tipping point. Randgold has resources and operations in the country, which were affected. Even so, overall, they exceeded expectations despite the military action and the unrest. And the chief exec Mark Bristow told me the outlook for this year is bright.


QUEST: Overall profits last year up 16 percent. At the same time, production rose some 14 percent. Mark Bristow said mining in sub-Saharan African certainly isn't for sissies, and I asked him how he sees the current Mali unrest affecting business this year.


MARK BRISTOW, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, RANDGOLD RESOURCES: We've had, as you can imagine, many discussions with the Malians. There's a great need for money and financial support, and we've pointed out that it's so important for the economy for the mining industry to continue to operate as normally as possible.

And certainly, throughout this crisis, we've had that ongoing discussion, and in return, the Malians really appreciate that and, as you can imagine, Randgold being such a big part of the economy, its taxes and royalties to the treasury of the Mali government, it's critical for it to at least make a contribution to that effort to restore the country back to normality.

QUEST: Mark, I've got some bad news for you. Credit Suisse, in its latest report, says the gold bull run is over, and gold is over-valued.

BRISTOW: Well, I don't know where they got that from, Richard, but I disagree with it completely. I think the -- the gold industry itself for the first time is showing evidence of elasticity as the -- the industry struggles with keeping up with demand and battles, as you've seen over the last ten years, to contain costs with the challenge of mining lower and lower grade ore bodies.

And I think -- we've got -- I've got no doubt in my mind that the industry itself might be under a lot of pressure, but the opportunity to create value in the gold industry is great. And as you know, we've never built our company on blind faith on just the gold price.

QUEST: But even if we now have a more settled eurozone and the US might, may, possibly solve its debt ceiling issue, is not the risk on downside?

BRISTOW: No, I don't believe so, Richard. I think there's still, if you look at the unbalance in the global economies, where the money sits and what inherent risk there is to the emerging world, which sits with all the money, it's still got to manage its currency risk. And so, I expect a reserve bank purchases of -- or central bank purchases of gold to continue.

At the same time, on the tipping -- the other side of the seesaw is that as the emerging market, and particularly Asia, grows, the demand for gold in its -- on its own is important.

So, I don't see any change in the overall scenario of the gold market at the moment. Certainly not enough for it to put downside risk on the plus. Maybe it takes away a bit of the upside risk, but downside risks has got a long way to go.


QUEST: That is Mark Bristow -- excuse me -- the chief executive of Randgold, talking to me from Capetown.

In South Africa, the world's largest platinum producers reporting a loss for last year. Anglo-American platinum, also known as Amplats, says operating loss topped $700 million -- excuse me. Compare that to a profit of $900 million the year before. Struggling with mining strikes as well as what it calls subdued global economic environment contributed to the weak results.

You will forgive me this evening, or I ask for your forgiveness and indulgence at having been out filming over the weekend a little bit chesty. There's a lot of it about.

Now, Canada is saying adieu, au revoir, and good-bye to its lowest denomination coin, the humble penny. The Royal Canadian mint -- it stopped distributing the one-cent coin today. There are about 6 billion left in circulation. Shop owners will decide whether to accept them. Otherwise, cash totals at the till will be rounded up or down. The government says keeping the coin, pointless.


SHELLY GLOVER, CANADIAN PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY: Think about it for just a second. What can a penny buy in today's stores, like this store? What can a penny buy? Well, nothing. The costs of handling pennies, sorting, rolling, and redeeming, demands far too much time for far too little return on our small business owners. And most importantly, they cost too much. In fact, it costs 1.6 cents to make a single penny.


QUEST: And our Currency Conundrum: Canadian shops will round up or down depending on the amount. What will they be rounded by? A nickel, 5 cents? A dime, 10 cents? Or a quarter, 25 cents? What's the rounding from the old penny? We'll have the answer later in the program.

The dollar is up against the euro, down against the pound and the yen. Those are the rates --


QUEST: -- this is the break.


QUEST: President Obama is due to speak about pushing tougher gun control measures in the United States. The president's in the northern city of Minneapolis, and our correspondent Dan Lothian is there as well. Joins me now.


QUEST: Dan, I don't know whether we're on a two-minute warning for the president yet, so tell me if you need to stop, but the gist of what we're going to hear from him is what?

DAN LOTHIAN, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think it's more of what you've been hearing for -- from the president over the last couple of weeks, and that's continuing to push his proposals of these universal background checks, of banning these high-capacity magazines of more than 10 rounds, and the assault weapons ban. That's part of the overall package that the president's pushing.

Some of the thing that the president is supporting need congressional approval, but there are also about two dozen things that the president wants to get going on his own. And so, that's why the president is here, to meet with local law enforcement officials, other local and state officials, to talk about his proposals, to gain support behind his proposals.

But also to listen to what they've been doing in this state and in this city in particular. This is a city that back in the mid-90s or so was really dealing with a crisis when it came to gun violence, murders, record number of murders.

But they've been able to reduce those numbers over the years because of a number of initiatives, such as beefing up the background checks, but also some youth violence initiatives, which involves a mentoring program, and they've seen their numbers come down.

It's not perfect -- they still have some problems here in Minneapolis, but certainly much better than it was back in the mid-90s. And so, the president is here to shine the spotlight on what they have done, but also to gain some support, some momentum behind his proposals that he's pushing right now, Richard.

QUEST: Now, I can understand that the gap between the president and the NRA may be -- cataclysmically large and almost the width between me and you of the ocean, but what about the width between the White House and more rational, moderate members of Congress, who are prepared to see something done, they're just not sure how far?

LOTHIAN: Well, I -- you bring up a very good point. The gap is not as big when it comes to some issues, such as universal background checks. On the assault weapons ban, that is something that even some Democrats have said that they're not willing to embrace. So, I think that the gap is a little smaller when you're talking about some of the particular issues that the president's pushing.

But the NRA, there's still this wide gap, because they believe that a lot of these proposals won't really get at the problem. That you should look at issues such as violent video games or violent movies or spend more time focused on mental health issues. They think when it comes to universal background checks --

QUEST: Right.

LOTHIAN: -- that criminals have always been able to get around this, and they will continue to do that, no matter how tight you have it.

QUEST: So, we have an ambitious agenda from a newly-elected president. Last week, this big speech on immigration. Now, we have gun control very much at the agenda. You've covered the White House -- this White House since it started. What's your gut feeling for the priorities of the agenda, bearing in mind the political capital that the president will be prepared to expend?

LOTHIAN: Right. Well, I think -- it's very clear that immigration reform is at the top of the list. Certainly, the president is juggling these two, and aides will say that he wants to do at this -- focus on both of these issues at the same time.

But immigration reform is something that you do have political support for, and you just have to look back to the election, where the president won more than 70 percent of the Hispanic vote, and almost immediately afterward, you heard Republicans talk about how they needed to do something or they were not going to be able to win elections in the future.

And so, there's a lot of softening of hard positions that Republicans had on immigration. Though that seems like it will certainly see some movements, will not be easy, and the White House aides will tell you that there will be some roadblocks along the way, but that seems to be at the top of the agenda.

Nonetheless, the president is trying to get as much done as he can on the issue of gun violence. And as I pointed out earlier, some things will require congressional approval, but the president pushing through some things on his own. One of those, the president naming someone to head the ATF.

QUEST: Right.

LOTHIAN: His name is Todd Jones. He, by the way, is the US attorney in the state of Minnesota. He will be here today taking part in that roundtable, so the president trying to get some things done on his own, but also hoping that Congress will act as well.

QUEST: Excellent. Good to talk to you, Dan Lothian. We'll let you get back to your duties. We'll wait for the president. As soon as we see him -- as soon as we see the president, we will bring that to you.


QUEST: To the big board, the market's open. We do need to keep a very, very close watch on these markets. Difficult times, mainly because the enthusiasm and exuberance has been so rapid, and now we're seeing the air coming out of the balloon.

But of course, a one-day rise does not a swallow make, a summer does not follow with the winter of the fall. Or something like that, you get the gist. It'll all become clear later.

When we come back in a moment, the press conference with President Obama. This is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS and you are most welcome.


QUEST: Hello, I'm Richard Quest. More QUEST MEANS BUSINESS in a moment. This is CNN -- excuse me. On this network, the news always comes first.

We are just moments away from President Obama giving a speech. The president is giving a speech on gun control in Minneapolis, and we're expecting him to give further details or at least give a more rounded view on his views on expanding background checks and limits on ammunition in rifles.

But we will await the president. It looks as if they're just getting their final people in place. We'll be there as soon as the president starts speaking.

In Berlin, Spain's prime minister has denied accusations he accepted secret payments. After meeting with the chancellor, Angela Merkel, Mariano Rajoy told reporters his party's looking at possible lawsuits against those who made the allegations.

Talking, walking, and well on her way to recovery. The teenage Pakistani activist Malala Yousufzai is speaking publicly for the first time since militants tried to kill her. Doctors say Malala will not require any further surgery after her two operations over the weekend.

In American football, Baltimore Ravens fans are celebrating a hard-won Super Bowl victory. Their team had to endure an unprecedented power outage and a last-minute comeback attempt before they defeated San Francisco 49ers 34 to 31 at the New Orleans Superdome. Meanwhile, the NFL's commissioner says the halftime show did not cause the blackout.

A major international investigation says it suspects as many 380 football matches across Europe were fixed. The European Union peace unit Europol says some World Cup qualifiers, European Championships games, and two matches in European football flagship events, the Champions League, are all under suspicion. Excuse me.

A 500-year-old mystery has apparently been solved, and it took modern science and DNA to do it. The tests confirmed that the human bones discovered under a car park in England are those of Richard III. The king died in 1485 in the Battle of Bosworth Field. Scientists matched his genetic material with that of two living descendants of the royal Plantagenet dynasty.

British banks may be broken up if they do not separate their investment and their retail arms. The British finance minister, George Osborne, said the public was still angry with the industry years after the financial crisis, unveiling legislation --


QUEST: -- the chancellor said, "I understand that anger. I feel it too. But anger can be a negative, destructive thing if it's not challenged -- channeled into change." And so now, an electric fence is the challenging answer to change.


GEORGE OSBORNE, BRITISH CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER: My message to the banks is clear: if a bank flouts the rules, the regulator and the treasury will have the power to break it up altogether, full separation, not just a ring fence. We're not going to repeat the mistakes of the past. In America and elsewhere, banks found ways to undermine and get around the rules.

Greed overcame good governance and we could see that again, so we are going to arm ourselves in advance. In the jargon, we will electrify the ring fence.


QUEST: George Osborne, the U.K. finance minister. The E.U.'s top banking official says the capitalist system has gone off the rails. It's worth repeating what Michel Barnier told me in Davos. The Europe's commissioner for internal markets and services says it would take time for regulation to kick in.


MICHEL BARNIER, EUROPEAN COMMISSION, INTERNAL MARKETS AND SERVICES (through translator): We have to be cautious, after all, look at the recent LIBOR case. No one would have imagined four years ago that we would have discovered what we have discovered now.

So it is only right and fair that rules applying to the financial sector should now be applied in order to bring about greater transparency and more moral attitude to improve the conduct that, after all, caused so much damage over 15 years. All these rules which have been called for by the G-20 still have to be put in place. They're not all yet effective and they have to be.

QUEST: You've used the word "moral." Is that what is lacking, do you think, in the banking sector, in the financial world, an industry that is driven by money, motivated by profit and needs to reestablish ethics and morality?

BARNIER (through translator): I know many bankers and heads of enterprises who do their work and make profits and trade perfectly honestly. What I have found and what I would like to address, what I challenge is all the sorts of manipulations and toxic products and excessive bonuses which can hardly be justified that we've come upon over the last few years.

We've seen the liberal system, the capitalist system go off the rails and become a caricature of itself. We've got to bring it back on track and ensure that financial services, the financial sector, worked for the economy and for regions. Liberalism and trade can certainly justify the work towards profit, while at the same time respecting a moral code and ethical code.


QUEST: That's Michel Barnier, the European commissioner, well worth hearing from him again.

The Spanish prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, met Germany's chancellor in Berlin. After the meeting, Angela Merkel said she has confidence Spain will do what's necessary to get its economy back on track.


ANGELA MERKEL, CHANCELLOR OF GERMANY (through translator): We have a very close relationship based on trust. I'm under the impression that the entire government of Spain, including the prime minister, work on reducing the unemployment to make the structural reforms work.

So Spain can go back to its strength, the prime minister has told us again about the successes, about balanced trade record. And I'm convinced that the Spanish government and Mariano Rajoy as the prime minister, will rectify this issue. And Germany will support him.


QUEST: Now the prime minister, Rajoy was unable to sidestep questions about that slush fund allegation back home in Spain, money that it's alleged by newspaper was paid to the prime minister and other members of his party. The prime minister insists he had nothing to do with it.


MARIANO RAJOY, SPANISH PRIME MINISTER (through translator): The things that I'm accused of are not true. I said that before and I'd like to repeat that today.

And as I said last Saturday, I have the same joy, the same enthusiasm, the same strength, the same courage and the same determinations that I had when I became prime minister, to overcome one of the most difficult situations Spain has been in in the last 30 years.


QUEST: Now what is clearly becoming obvious, the new year may have begun and there was this wave of optimism, but as European investors hit the sell button on Monday, well, that optimism may have been tarnished if it hasn't actually disappeared.

And Italy's main index was, by far, the biggest casualty. Look at that, 4.5 percent it was down. We showed it earlier. It's now at its lowest point this year, all right; it's only February. But having had such optimism in January, best result for many markets for years, this is a reversal of fortunes. UniCredit was the index's main horror story, down more than 8 percent.

In the first of a series of reports on retailing around the world, we are going to start tonight in Italy, as our correspondent Ben Wedeman found out, multinational chains are sounding the death knell for small businesses.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Luigi D'Urso is closing up his wine shop near Rome's Piazza Novena (ph) for good. His father opened up in January 1960 and made a decent living selling to tourists and local residents. Fifty-three years later, Luigi (ph) is succumbing to the pressures of an economic crisis that is devouring small businesses at an alarming rate.

"The government has flooded us with new taxes," he says. "Everything is more costly; expenses never end. There's always less work and people aren't spending. There just isn't any money."

He's selling the premises to an America sandwich chain. Down the street, the French-owned Carrefour supermarket is doing steady business. Luigi says he can't keep up with the new competition.

"They sell at low prices," he tells me, "even below cost, just to keep things going. But we small businesses can't do that. We're falling behind."

WEDEMAN: The Italian retailers association, Confcommercio, says that consumer spending in 2012 was the worst it's been since World War II, and their forecast for this year, like the weather here in Rome, is gloomy.

WEDEMAN (voice-over): It may be a while before things get better.

This, I think, we have to wait almost two years.

WEDEMAN (voice-over): Giuseppe Roscioli of Confcommercio in Rome sees glimmers of hope. But the horizon remains dark.

GIUSEPPE ROSCIOLI, CONFCOMMERCIO ROMA: We are waiting to be more possibility to the family to spend money. And this is possible only where taxes can go a little bit down.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Very famous painting.

WEDEMAN (voice-over): Francine Berting has run an art gallery in the Transavia (ph) district for the last eight years. She can't wait that long. She's closing down in March.

We were in her gallery for an hour. No one even popped their head in.

FRANCINE BERTING, GALLERY OWNER: I am afraid to get worse. And it will probably start getting better in two or three. How --


WEDEMAN: Two or three years?

BERTING: How can it possible be earlier? There are people that like me, I'm not spending any more.

WEDEMAN (voice-over): Business is also slow for Pina and her sisters at their shops specializing in food from Sardinia. They're fighting to stay open.

"The crisis is also felt here," she says, "but we're trying to get through it, because this is a business that took 20 years to build up."

Many years to build up so many small businesses in Italy, but just a few years of crisis to destroy them -- Ben Wedeman, CNN, Rome.


QUEST: The story of what's actually happening on the High Street in the capitals of Europe. We'll have more of those reports in the days ahead. QUEST MEANS BUSINESS back in a moment.





QUEST (voice-over): And now the answer to tonight's "Currency Conundrum," we asked you by what amount will cash transactions be rounded at the till now that Canada's doing away with the penny?

The answer -- bling! That's the cash register. It's a nickel or five cents, because, of course, if it's $0.01 or $0.02, it'll go down to zero. If it's $0.03, $0.04, it will go up to $0.05. This is only for cash transactions; doesn't include cashless transactions.


QUEST: So advertisers paid around $126,000 a second -- a second -- so hand it over here; I think we just (inaudible) half a million in the time I've been talking just now -- for their slots in last night's Super Bowl.

When the stadium's power cut out unexpectedly, it could have been a disaster. Some savvy marketing men used it to their advantage. Look at this. This was Oreo's, "You can still dunk in the dark." Absolute -- people are talking about Oreos because of this. We had Tide, the detergent, you -- "We can't get your blackout, but we can get your stains out." This is clever stuff.

And as for Walgreens -- that's the pharmacy -- Walgreens tweeted, "We also sell lights. We do carry candles." I think of these three, the ones I still prefer best is the Oreo cookies. But in any event, Jason Carroll now takes a look at the winners and losers of the ad Super Bowl.


JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When it comes to Super Bowl ads, the field is wide open. Very little is off limits, not even the controversial subject of gun control.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The NRA once supported background checks.

CARROLL (voice-over): Many may not have caught this ad called, "It's Time." It only aired in the Washington, D.C., market. The ad, bought by the group Mayors Against Illegal Guns, features children and the NRA's executive vice president, Wayne LaPierre, in a video from 1999, testifying he supports background checks.

WAYNE LAPIERRE, EVP, NRA: We think it's reasonable to provide mandatory and state criminal background checks for every sale at every gun shop.

CARROLL (voice-over): The ad created to put pressure on lawmakers to fall in step with the overwhelming majority of Americans who polling shows support background checks on all gun purchases.

Politics aside, the most sentimental spot goes to Budweiser.


CARROLL (voice-over): The spot is called "Brotherhood." Ace Metrix, a company that rates ads by polling consumers, says it was one of the highest rated ever.

PETER DABOLL, CEO, ACE METRIX: They killed it. As we've said that a couple things that make a Super Bowl ad great, humor, animals, obviously the Clydesdales was an emotional ad, but great story line, very high likeability and attention scores.

OPRAH WINFREY, TALK SHOW HOST: You've been missed.

CARROLL (voice-over): Another sentimental favorite, the Chrysler Jeep spot, honoring U.S. soldiers, narrated by Oprah Winfrey.

WINFREY: We are a nation.

CARROLL (voice-over): But bold ads are also about food and fun.

Whether it was Oreo cookies, the Doritos or wild seniors parting for Taco Bell, all were Sunday night hits.

Then there's the ad that was critically well received, but not without controversy. It's called "Farmer," a Dodge Ram ad, using the voice of the late broadcaster Paul Harvey.

PAUL HARVEY, BROADCASTER: So God made a farmer.

CARROLL (voice-over): The problem, critics say: it lacked originality as it closely resembles a YouTube video released in 2011.

And then there were the losers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There are two sides to GoDaddy.

CARROLL (voice-over): The GoDaddy spot, showing a model kissing a nerd was an epic fail.

Volkswagen missed the mark with its spot, featuring a white man with a Jamaican accent.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The land of 10,000 lakes.

CARROLL (voice-over): And sex clearly doesn't always sell, a model gyrating in his Calvins turned viewers off, instead of having them tune in.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thought it was kind of a weak crop this year. I guess overall, but, you know, pretty much the same.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some of them were real bad. Some of them was good, but not really -- not really good as the previous years.


QUEST: What does it say when -- never mind what happens on the field, it's all about what happens in the advert. I suppose that one pays for the other.

Jennifer Delgado is with us at the World Weather Center this evening.

And Jennifer, before you start, I will apologize in advance, if I have to interrupt you because we are awaiting President Obama.

JENNIFER DELGADO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Absolutely. And you know what, I appreciate you giving me fair warning. So I will be sure to actually listen to you when you interrupt me.

All right. We are going to talk about the windy conditions as well as snow moving through parts of northwest Europe. Well, what we're dealing with is a low spinning up towards the north. And that is bringing that winter precipitation for areas like Scotland all the way up towards north. And some areas really just dealing with the cold rain.

But you can see for yourself, for areas like Ireland, Northern Ireland, you're going to be looking at the wet stuff as we go through the next 24 hours. Though here's our low, all the way up towards north.

Now what this is doing, it's producing very strong winds. And it's going to stay that way for the next couple days. It's going to be affecting northwestern parts of Europe and then for Russia, yes, for Moscow, you're going to be dealing with some snow and also spreading into areas like Ukraine as we go through, say, as well as tomorrow.

So here's the setup, here's our low, bringing scattered showers as far down as the Alps, affecting parts of Germany. And with that low dropping through -- and it gets very close to the North Sea, that's when we're really --

QUEST: Forgive me --

DELGADO: -- and take it over.

QUEST: Forgive me. President Obama's speaking.