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Quest Means Business
Online Traders Fume as Brokers Block GameStop Trades; U.S. Economy Suffers Worst Year since World War Two; AstraZeneca Defends Efficacy of Vaccine in Elderly Population. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired January 28, 2021 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
RICHARD QUEST, CNN BUSINESS ANCHOR: An hour before the trading bell or the closing bell on trading, and if you look at the markets and the Dow, it has
roared up. Down sharply yesterday, back up over one and a half percent today, still under 31,000. But it is the best day of trading since October.
The markets are all over the place and these are the main events.
Brokers are stopping trades in the Battle of Wall Street. The users are outraged, and GameStop trades are now blocked in many cases.
Germany says it can't recommend AstraZeneca's vaccine to the over 65, at least not yet.
And on this program, EasyJet's chief executive will tell us there's still hope for a good summer season.
We are live in New York. It's cold, but it is Thursday, it is the 28th of January. I'm Richard Quest and I mean business.
Good evening. In the Titanic fight between the retail investors and the hedge funds over GameStop, well, it appears that hedge funds might have
lost that battle, but they would appear to be winning the war.
Game Stop is falling sharply. It was up 13 percent, now, it's down 28 percent. Okay, it's still up 1,700 percent year-to-date but GameStop's fall
is because of what the brokers are doing.
Before the opening bell, Robin Hood, the online broker that caters to millennials and says it will democratize finance, Robin Hood announced
trading restrictions. It cited recent volatility and the app will now only allow users to close out positions. In other words, sell stocks in
GameStop, AMC, and Best Buy.
The company affirmed, "We fundamentally believe that everyone should have access to financial markets." However, you can't buy. This is my
postscript, if you like, you can't buy, you can only sell if you've already got an existing position.
Our markets guru is needed more than ever. Paul La Monica. All right, so let's not just focus on GameStop, per se, but this raft of stocks that have
become enmeshed in this and the decision by the brokers to restrict trading.
PAUL LA MONICA, CNN BUSINESS REPORTER: Yes, it is very curious that Robin Hood is doing this because obviously you could argue that Robin Hood
benefited from the flood of money coming into the firm by younger investors who are out there and maybe they're tired of just blindly buying an S&P 500
index fund that's kind of boring. Yes, you got exposure to Apple like everyone else on the planet, they're looking for a little bit more
And they are day trading things like GameStop, and in the process, hurting some of the big hedge funds out there. But now all of a sudden, you have
Robin Hood saying yes, maybe this is getting a little bit too much out of hand, so we're going to restrict some of the trading only letting people
close out positions.
That may not necessarily be a free market, and amazingly enough, you have people on both sides of the aisle politically agreeing on this, Alexandria
Ocasio-Cortez had a pretty strongly worded tweet saying that she's not thrilled with this. Ted Cruz of all people then agreed with her and she
shot back on Twitter saying thanks, but no, thanks. I don't want your support after what happened at the Capitol. But all that being said,
strange bedfellows, indeed, Mr. Quest.
QUEST: Indeed. And the reason, of course is that the one thing market besides certainty, the markets don't ever wish to become unruly. Hence, for
example, we do have circuit breakers if the market was to be in a flood. And I'm just wondering whether Robin Hood is really just doing something
commonsense like, in a sense, it's putting its own circuit breaker in or rather a dramatic one, because -- and I'm not taking sides here -- but the
retail side did allow the market to become unruly.
LA MONICA: Yes, I think it is legitimate to make that case. But all that being said, Richard, this is supposed to be a free market, which means that
people in theory should be free as grown adults to make their own decisions, even if they may be irresponsible.
And I think the problem here is that you have investors that are being frozen out. It's not a unilaterally made decision because we are halting
trading entirely so that no one can make a move. It would be one thing if an exchange came in and stepped in and said, you know what, we got to
freeze GameStop for a little bit and figure out what's going on here before we can, you know, have trading again.
LA MONICA: This is a case where people that want to sell their GameStop and get out of it are being allowed to do so, but people that want to buy and
support the stock, they're not being allowed to do so and that's not exactly capitalist.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, and of course, you could sell -- as more than one person - - as one of our guests later in the program says, it's a better shot on the stock at $300.00 than it was when it was down at $10.00.
Thank you, Paul La Monica.
Now, just to put this in perspective, though, we're not just talking about penny stocks of small companies with no significance. American Airlines is
one of the companies caught up in this tug of war between Wall Street and Main Street.
Americans shares popped some 30 percent. In the tug of war, Robin Hood has suspended trading on the stock. Around 25 percent of shares outstanding,
American is the most shorted U.S. airline carrier. It's been struggling obviously because of the pandemic and it hasn't -- it's not a has-been like
GameStop, Blackberry or Blockbuster.
American reported earnings today fourth quarter revenue, about $4 billion-- $4 billion down from last year, still better than expected. And just
remember in this tug of war, you're dealing with companies that have got job creators and are industry vitals for growth.
American employed more than 133,000 people. It has more than 600 planes and averages on good times, six and a half thousand flights a day.
Sam Stovall is the Chief Investment Strategist at CFRA Research. He joins me now.
Sam, this is -- one of the reason I really wanted to talk to you on today's program, because the morning papers and the sort of morning reads are
painting this as a titanic struggle between retail investors and institutional investors, hedge funds and the like.
But we've seen this sort of thing before -- dot-com boom and bust, '87 program trading, it's not new.
SAM STOVALL, CHIEF INVESTMENT STRATEGIST, CFRA RESEARCH: No, it's not new, you can even go back to the early 1970s and look at what was called the
nifty 50 or the late 1970s with oil stocks. So basically, what you find is that every so often, there is a frenzy that occurs around a specific theme
or particular sector that tends to play for a while, causes investors and regulators some concern and then typically ends up blowing up and leaves
those holding the bag and therefore experiencing the losses.
QUEST: And today, for example, those -- all right, I accept the institutions will have lost because the hedges will have lost because of
the rising price that squeezed their short. However, now that Robin Hood et al have stopped trading, it's more likely -- more likely to be the retail
investors on the other side of this.
I mean, it's not quite pump and dump, but certainly the price is going to suffer, but will bear the loss.
STOVALL: Well, I think that what Robin Hood is attempting to do is to sort of protect themselves from future lawsuits that if you found somebody who
really was not a sophisticated investor who ended up buying GameStop at 400 plus dollars per share, only to lose everything. You know, I think what
they're trying to do is to play fiduciary and try to stop these unsophisticated people from hurting themselves.
So, you know, obviously, you have both sides of the equation, we are saying no, it's a free country, you should let people learn through their mistakes
or be able to profit from it. So we'll see how it all shakes out.
QUEST: With your years of experience, I mean, the short side, the shorting by the institutions, I've never been a huge fan of it. I mean, people sort
of say, shorting serves a good purpose in that it keeps stock prices honest.
I don't know whether I believe that. But if it's true, then what were the retail investors doing?
STOVALL: Well, shorting, yes, I think is adding an additional level of risk making investing seem more like gambling, et cetera. It certainly does put
unlimited risk because prices can go to the moon upside and you can lose that amount if you are to short that stock, whereas a stock can only go to
zero if you buy it and you lose money.
So, I think what we're finding now is that the attempt is that regulators wanted to satisfy both sides in which to make a profit, and now are
questioning whether they should be putting additional restraints.
QUEST: Talking of questioning, the next head -- there is some breaking news. The next head of the Senate Banking Committee says there will be
hearings on the stock market volatility. It is the Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown, who has made the following announcement. He says, "American
workers have known for years the Wall Street system is broken. It's time for S.E.C. and Congress to make the economy work for everyone, not just
The problem here is, I'm not sure I can work out from the senator's statement, which side of it is broken? Is the broken bit that institutions
could short in the first place or that individual investors could cause such volatility? Or that the platforms could shut the doors?
STOVALL: Well, I think that's a good question, Richard. I don't really know what. I mean, if we are allowed to short, if individuals are allowed to
buy, if the platforms are allowed to sort of regulate, who does buy and sell. Those all have to be looked into.
I think it's basically because it's a brand-new phenomenon, instead of crowdfunding it is crowd trading. And I think the stodgy regulators aren't
really aware of this kind of activity, and want to make sure that they are aware of it, learn more about it and don't regard it as market
manipulation, which is the primary concern.
QUEST: Final question, Sam, and feel free to disagree with me. But do you agree with me or disagree that, you know, the professionals, the
institutions, the hedges, they may have lost the battle on GameStop, but they'll win the war in the market?
STOVALL: I think you're right. I hate to agree with you, but I think you're right. That essentially, you know, late in a bull market, you traditionally
have unsophisticated investors wanting to get in on the action. People getting phone calls from relatives who have never purchased a stock before,
and it sort of reminds me of Joseph Kennedy or Bernard Baruch who got stock market advice from their shoeshine person.
QUEST: Sam Stovall, always good to have you, sir. I appreciate it. Thank you.
A day before E.U. regulators could decide whether to approve AstraZeneca's vaccine, Germany is recommending against giving it to a key part of the
And the Chair of PricewaterhouseCoopers says upskilling unemployed workers is key to the COVID economic recovery.
Bob Moritz will explain what he means and the logistics of upskilling in such a difficult and poignant situation. QUEST MEANS BUSINESS, good
QUEST: Now yesterday, of course, the market was very sharply down. It was because of this tug of war that was going on. Now, the Dow is roaring back
from the selloff. Roaring is -- it is scaling up a bit. We're up over 500 points nearing 31,000. We were off two percent yesterday.
Much of today's boost is in consumer goods and tech. The outlier is Apple, despite posting its best quarterly revenue of all time. But you have Disney
really on a tear, Disney Plus and the results from there and you see that there is broad based strong market reaction.
And yet at the same time, America's economic recovery appears to be losing steam, U.S. GDP grew at a rate of four percent in Q4, that's a sharp drop
from the third quarter and the economy shrank three and a half percent over the course of the year, worst decline since 1946.
That said, it was better than perhaps people had thought. The Chairman of PricewaterhouseCoopers says retraining unemployed workers is the key to
Bob Moritz is with me. Bob, it is good to see you. Thank you. You're joining us from Naples in Florida.
You know, I get this upskilling and this report that you've done with WEF. I understand it and in many ways, it is an acceleration of that which we
knew was going to be necessary for the fourth industrial revolution, Bob, but I don't know whether it can happen.
BOB MORITZ, GLOBAL CHAIRMAN, PWC: The challenge, as you say, Richard is this was already happening well before COVID. COVID just accelerated the
concern and expanded the enormity of the challenge. As you look back over the last year or so, 1.6 students, those that are in an elementary and
middle school, high school or higher education lost out and that's only when focusing on our youth.
So, this concept of more need, for more public private partnerships to try to go after this issue will do two things. One is it will give people the
opportunities for their own personal prosperity and job opportunities. Second, by doing that, as we said in the report, we have the ability to
create new jobs and by creating the new jobs, we have the chance for economic expansion.
And that's going to be so needed as we think about the repair of the damage that's been done with the debt that we've incurred with stimulus, the
issues of the healthcare crisis and the broader slowing economy that you just mentioned.
QUEST: But why is this not the 1970s all over again, or even the 80s with the first computer age? Which as you know, you and I are of an age where we
can remember, it left a vast swathe of people unemployable because of lack of skills. And I remember people talking about retraining, reskilling,
upskilling, and it never happened.
MORITZ: Yes, you have two things that are phenomenon right now, Richard, one is the speed at which the work that we have today is being transformed.
We just went through the biggest case for change and the biggest experiment in terms of everybody around the world going digital. So how do you
redefine what work of the future looks like?
The second reality here is the stakeholder community, the broader group of stakeholders is demanding we do more. Society is demanding we do more,
they're expecting more from governments. They're expecting more from business in a big time way. And they have a voice now through social media
and otherwise. And if you're not able to meet those expectations and meet the demand, we see the social unrest that's coming.
We see people walking away from organizations and the concept of institutional investor activism is going to be replaced by employee
activism and consumer activism going forward.
QUEST: Are we seeing an example of this on a smaller scale of what you're talking, not just institutional activism, but investor activism, this
business with GameStop and all the other stocks that are being wrapped up in it? How do you see it?
MORITZ: Well, look, the GameStop is one very specific example. And I know you just had a long conversation about that in terms of the retail investor
versus the institutional investors, but step back for a second what the business community is focused on is long term value and long term creation
of value over time.
The reality is, in the past, it was always focused on the broader shareholders. The change that we've seen over the last couple of years now
is the focus on broader stakeholders and broader society going back to the U.N.s ESGs that are out there today.
Upskilling, equal pay, all those issues are front and center and what we've got to do is make sure our governments and our businesses are reporting
that information, demonstrating progress and being held accountable, because as we know, the world itself cannot solve these problems without
government and business working together.
QUEST: Completely. And we have we've had Brian Moynihan, we had Prince Charles and we had other people all sort of saying, you're in good company
on this. I'm just cynical that it ever gets done when the bottom line comes under pressure. At the moment, it's vogue and it's perceived to be right.
But the stakeholder economy has been around -- the free stakeholder has been around quite a while and it's really not meant much for a long period.
MORITZ: The reality is that you've heard from Brian or Prince Charles or others, the difference this time around is the economic system being our
investor groups actually are participating in this change.
You see with the amount of ESG funds that are focusing on and making changes. You see it in the financial institutions that are making different
decisions based upon not only the short term results from a financial perspective, but also what people are doing around the areas of climate, or
social or other aspects like that.
So the convergence of stakeholders with shareholders is what's so important right now and is opening up the door for the opportunity to minimize that
cynicism that clearly is out there. But let's not kid ourselves, Richard, you know, this as well as I, if we don't take these challenges on, as I'm
sure others spoke about. You're going to have more disruption, more asymmetry and more social unrest, which is something we've got to avoid and
step up to as a group of leaders.
QUEST: We would indeed. Let me ask you, I trust you in the family are all well, Bob, in Florida, and you're keeping well.
MORITZ: Thank you very much, Richard, great to see you again.
QUEST: Good to see you. Thank you.
Now, Germany says AstraZeneca's COVID vaccine should not be given to people 65 and older. It says there is insufficient data to assess the vaccines
effectiveness in that group. The company of course, disputes that and Britain is among half a dozen countries that have approved the vaccine for
The E.U. is expected to weigh in tomorrow. The Prime Minister of the U.K., Prime Minister Boris Johnson says U.K. health experts believe it's
effective in all ages. Our senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen is in Atlanta.
Okay, let's take this point by point. Because, firstly, it's bizarre that the German regulator has spoken before the E.U. has actually given its
Emergency Use Authorization, which is expected they do tomorrow, because you could end up here with even within the E.U., the main regulator saying
it's fine, and Germany saying, oh, we're not happy.
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Richard, I don't know much about politics. And I certainly don't know much about European
politics. But I do know a little something about data. And what science and data say is, if you didn't study vaccines in the elderly -- if you didn't
have enough elderly in your trials, how do you know that it works for them?
It's very simple. Vaccines sometimes are less effective for elderly people than for other people. That's true, for example of the flu vaccine. So if
you didn't include enough elderly people in your trials, how do you know that it actually works for them?
Let's take a look at different statements that we've seen on this because something that AstraZeneca gave us today really contradicts some other
statements. So AstraZeneca, telling CNN today, the latest analyses of clinical trial data from the AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-19 vaccine support
efficacy in the over 65 years age group.
However, here's what the U.K. regulatory agency had to say the equivalent of the U.S. F.D.A., they say there is limited information available on
efficacy in participants aged 65 and over, which definitely begs the question, then why are you giving it to people who are 65 or over when
there might be a better vaccine for them?
Also, here is a statement from two professors at the University of Oxford. I don't know how connected they are to this vaccine, but the University of
Oxford developed the vaccine. These two professors say, "This data tells us very little about the vaccine activity in this older age group, it is
unlikely that the study was designed to be large enough to assess the effect of the vaccine in this age group separately.
So Richard, you can look at this two ways. You can say, well, we don't know if it works in elderly people, but let's just give it to them. We also
don't know if it's safe for them because we maybe didn't test it in enough people. But let's assume that it is and let's just give it to them. Or you
can say you know what, we didn't test it out in a lot of elderly people, so we're not going to give it to them as a gigantic post marketing experiment
QUEST: We'll talk more about it, Elizabeth Cohen. Thank you.
Now, droves of frustrated retail investors today. They woke up to find they couldn't buy into the market action. They could sell, but not buy. We'll
talk more about Wall Street bets in just a moment.
QUEST: Hello. I'm Richard Quest. There is more QUEST MEANS BUSINESS in just a moment. I'll be speaking to a Wall Street trader who says retail
investors buying into GameStop gold rush aren't getting the respect they deserve.
As Europe tightens travel restrictions, EasyJet's chief executive tells me pent up travel demand is growing, therefore expecting a good recovery.
Before that, this is CNN and on this network, the news always comes first.
Joe Biden has signed two Executive Orders and reversing Donald Trump's policies on healthcare. One order gives Americans a new opportunity to sign
up for coverage from the Federal Affordable Care Act exchange, another lifts restrictions on Federal funding for international nonprofits that
provide abortion counseling.
The House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says U.S. lawmakers are facing an enemy within and may need more security. She says some Members of Congress want
to bring guns inside the Capitol and have threatened violence against other members. Pelosi says a security review is underway.
A protester in northern Lebanon has died from gunshot wounds after the third night of clashes with security forces in Tripoli. Demonstrators are
protesting against poor living conditions, also gathering in defiance of a national lockdown because of COVID.
Online brokers like Robin Hood have restricted trading in certain stocks because of the recent volatility. Now, some of the stocks heavily promoted
on Reddit, not surprisingly taking a beating by the way lawsuits have been issued about the decision by Robin Hood.
It is in companies like GameStop, AMC and Nokia that you're seeing steep losses. Look at Nokia down 26 percent. AMC, off 51 percent.
Now the amateur day traders, some not so amateur though, are outraged by the interventions. Their comments on the Reddit sub-group WallStreetBets
show a sense of betrayal.
The group's founder says retail traders have more information than ever and they can swim with the sharks.
He spoke on "First Move."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAIME ROGOZINSKI, FOUNDER, WALLSTREETBETS: There's a lot of talk about how this resembles the '90s and how there was the dot.com bubble and how there
were chat rooms those days and people would discuss things in a similar fashion.
But this is fundamentally different because no longer are these people placing bets on a sports game or a horse race, they're placing bets on a
market in a way that they're actually affecting the odds of the outcome.
The numbers are so big and the access, which is the key to your question, is the biggest part. Because this is so easy, free, readily available,
completely gamified on peoples' cellphones, they're able to instantly get in there and participate and start using these sophisticated leveraged
tools that they're able to exploit the asymmetry of money. Right?
Lot of people, little money but they're forcing the big guys to -- they're forcing the hands of the big guys.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
David Pakman is a partner at the venture capital firm, Venrock. Had some very good (inaudible). Before we get this -- do you agree -- would you
agree with that position? Because it often seems to me like it is the '90s, not exactly again but the fundamental principle remains the same?
DAVID PAKMAN, PARTNER, VENROCK: I think there's a pattern here worth observing, Richard. Whenever a legacy industry is confronted by a new set
of technologies or a new distributed way of gathering people together, they're often dismissive of it and they move to restrict it.
I'm thinking of the music industry confronting .mp3s and digital downloads or the television and movie industry laughing at YouTube or dismissing
Netflix. Social media being dismissed as nothing more than a place that we take pick of our lunch and post pictures on.
Dating apps having a stigma. Electric cars being laughed at by the automotive industry. And now the financial services industry being
dismissive of crypto and bitcoin.
This pattern has been well-established. And here, what we're seeing, is a largely decentralized, loosely organized group of retail stock investors in
some ways being stigmatized as being called Redditers or dismissed as not knowledgeable. And yet that's really not the case.
They have access to tools, they have information. Yes, they're individual investors but they're acting in a group and I think it is different than
the '90s because they can trade with low or no commissions, have access to much more information, research about companies.
But they are a force to be reckoned with. It's a distributed, large grouping of power and the centralized authorities are not used to dealing
QUEST: No. But -- and the centralized authorities may have to accommodate. But the golden thread of principle surely must remain is that markets
mustn't become unruly.
And what we saw over the last few days in these stocks -- and I'm going to use American Airlines or Blackberry or Nokia as an example rather than
American Airlines is a large company with hundreds of planes and hundreds of thousands of -- over 100,000 employees. The last thing in the middle of
a pandemic it needs is to see the capital markets rocket and drop its price that make it even more difficult to run the company during a pandemic.
PAKMAN: Sure. And short sellers and activist investors who are professionals and work at Wall Street firms have existed for years and have
placed tremendous stress on companies and forced change.
So this force is unruly and harder to reckon with, it's also harder to negotiate with. There's not a single investor for you to go and talk with.
But to accommodate is to first understand. And is fundamental change to the market dynamics, it's not just a bunch of institutional traders. Retail
investors are forced to probably be understood -- and in a humble way.
QUEST: If you're going to understand them, do the retail investors -- they're obliged to play by the same rules and that, of course, means no
collusion or conspiracy in terms of their trading strategy. And yet they can, if you like, hunt as a pack.
But they shouldn't be then surprised when the Robin Hoods of this world turn around and say our first responsibility here is to ensure an orderly
PAKMAN: I think these platforms have really hard calls to make. Do they stop trading of stocks, do they cut off individual group investors? And the
exchanges also have hard questions to make. When do the circuit breakers kick in? I don't envy these decisions, they're hard.
But what will inevitably come next is a decentralized marketplace without centralized authorities making those calls. That is the future that will
happen, it may take a long time.
But we're not going to have just a small number of individual organizations or institutions trying their best to establish order.
QUEST: David, excellent to have you on the program. We will talk again about this. I'm very grateful you took time to talk us through this. Thank
European markets, now they escaped the volatility we saw on Wall Street as shares in Paris were up almost one percent, Commerzbank were higher in
It's going to cut 10,000 -- 10,000 jobs. Just let that number pause for a moment.
Now the chief executive Deutsche Post DHL says he understands the frustration with the pace of vaccine roll outs around the world.
He says finger pointing is not the answer. Frank Appel joined me earlier and told me, in the grand scheme of things, we are ahead of schedule.
FRANK APPEL, CEO, DEUTSCH POST DHL GROUP: The world is getting better day by day, I believe back on track somehow where we were before the pandemic.
I think you see that already.
And the world has less dipped in the second lockdown than the first. We have the vaccine now coming more and more so I think we are back on track
somehow. Not on the same level, but I'm pretty optimistic for this year and the next years.
QUEST: When you say optimistic, does this sort of imply a year that will have recovery to where we were or a year where you think you can make
APPEL: No, I think we will not beyond where we were before pandemic. I think we had a significant drop in economic activity and we would get in
due course back. Not our company, our company is doing very well but the global economy.
We will not see that we will fly equally often as we did before the pandemic, that takes longer. And, of course, this is just one symptom for
many, that we really go to a normal vacation or have as many restaurant visits, I would doubt that. But we will see a normalization.
QUEST: Talk about vaccines and the transportation of vaccines and how that's going?
APPEL: Our industry and (inaudible) well prepared for the situation. The limiting factor is more vaccines. And now I think we will see more supply
soon and our industry will definitely deliver that as we have done that already in the last weeks.
QUEST: Is there any particular challenge you're finding? There's an urgency and companies like yours are at the heart of distribution of the vaccine.
Is there a particular challenge for you?
APPEL: Yes, of course. You need temperature controls; one of the vaccines or two of the vaccines have to be distributed below minus 70 degrees
Celsius so it's a quite low temperature. But our industry is prepared for it.
We have 9,000 people working in the life science industry for a long time. They know how to deal with these kinds of challenges. Of course we bought
extra capacity on lower temperature refrigerators.
So, as I said, the industry is well prepared, we have done all our stuff. We have an express network which can deliver next day, two-day service to
anyplace in the world. And of course dry ice lasts long enough to keep the stuff even around for six days without repackaging.
So I think the industry is well prepared. What I think really the challenge is what governments decide for the last mile between our warehouses, the
doctors and the patient. So the last mile one between the doctor and the patient, that's a challenge.
Who gets vaccinated first? How do elderly people get to the doctors? Where are they, the transportation? All that is in the hands of the governments
than our hands. We can't influence them.
We can bring them to any place, even to developing countries, if necessary. But if the government is not prepared it becomes very difficult.
QUEST: Do you get the feeling you're getting caught in the middle here?
APPEL: No. So far I think not at all. I think we are appreciated, what I hear from governments. We get appreciation with what we are doing. I think
the conflict is between more how fast pharmaceutical companies can produce.
And we are well ahead of what anybody expected last summer. So we are not even in February and we have already vaccinated I think a couple million
people around the world. And that's great news and not bad news.
And I think the blaming between governments and companies I think is not to the point. I think we should feel collectively proud of what has been
achieved in the shortest timeframe ever.
Six months or nine months ago nobody even thought that we would have vaccines in January 2021, they thought about 2022 or beyond. So I think we
need a little bit of patience.
QUEST: Very good point. The progress we've made.
In a moment, the head of easyJet tells me digital passports are not the answer for boosting air travel.
Johan Lundgren, in a moment.
(CALL TO EARTH)
(Voice Over): Call to Earth. In partnership with Rolex and their perpetual planet initiative.
QUEST: Our "Call to Earth" action for the sustainable environment and the solutions to problems like global warming and deforestation.
Now a long-term priority for us at CNN to work with you to raise awareness and inspire change. And the goal is really very simple; a sustainable -- a
more sustainable future.
So for today we're going to look at a hatchery in Maine, north-eastern United States, that hopes to rebuild the population of wild Atlantic
NARRATOR: The Atlantic salmon, over the course of its lifetime, it will travel from its birthplace in the rivers flowing into the North Atlantic,
up north as far as Greenland and back again to lay their eggs.
It's an epic journey but the majestic salmon run may become a thing of the past.
In the U.S., the Atlantic salmon is federally endangered, pollution and pesticides have severely affected the river habitat. But there's one thing
more than any other that has devastated their numbers.
DWAYNE SHAW, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, DOWNEAST SALMON FEDERATION: Dams were the primary and remain the primary issue. And those dams can be as small as a
culvert at a road crossing that the salmon can't get up and over.
In 10 to 15 years we could see these fish gone from the planet forever if we don't move to action.
NARRATOR: Dwayne Shaw manages the Downeast Hatcheries in Maine.
SHAW: Over 200 years in the United States there have been attempts made to maintain, restore and perpetuate the Atlantic salmon. There's been many,
We've adopted the technique developed by Peter Gray and, as it turns out, it's working quite well for us.
NARRATOR: Peter Gray ran a hatchery on the Tyne River, in Northumberland, U.K. When he started, the river was heavily polluted and dammed, the salmon
population was almost non-existent.
Peter's unique methodology alongside habitat restoration and pollution reduction contributed to one of the biggest salmon recovery success stories
SHAW: Peter developed a technique over time that naturalized the hatchery methods such that the fish were treated more like a wild fish and less like
a farmed creature.
NARRATOR: Based on Peter's methodology, the Downeast Hatcheries try and rear their salmon eggs in conditions that match their natural environment
including using river water, dark bottom tanks and positioning the hatchery on the river of origin.
But there's a strong debate around hatcheries with many facilities thought do more harm than good to salmon populations.
PAUL KNIGHT, FISHERIES CONSULTANT, The SALMON & TROUT ASSOCIATION: The science says that hatchery-reared fish are not as strong as wild fish. But,
for instance, in the USA where wild stocks of salmon are so low, really the only way to be a catalyst to get those stocks back is to have salmon
So it is a balance. Stocking to restore your stocks then stop when you can let nature take its course and you don't damage those stocks genetically.
SHAW: We're keeping the hatchery manager out of the picture as much as possible with the intent of actually closing the hatchery as soon as
If we were to do nothing, these fish would quickly move toward extinction.
NARRATOR: Success is measured by finding the eggs of adult salmon returning to the river and linking their genetics to those of the hatchery fish.
SHAW: We're seeing as much as 20 times the return rate. That gives us hope that, in fact, we can turn things around much more quickly.
NARRATOR: Conserving salmon does so much more than save the species. It's an umbrella species. Protecting salmon helps all life in its habitat.
KNIGHT: The salmon is the ultimate natural indicators of the health of the water environment, both in fresh water and the sea. If salmon are running
in abundance then things are OK.
QUEST: We'll continue showcasing inspirational stories like this as part of our initiative. And, of course, what are you doing here to call to answer -
- "Call to Earth", #calltoearth.
QUEST: Germany is planning a new travel ban to keep out the various new COVID variants.
The German interior minister says the ban will block entry from Britain, Portugal, Brazil and south Africa though it won't affect the delivery of
goods and medical supplies.
The chief executive of easyJet's telling me people are looking to forward to traveling again when they can safely.
easyJet released its latest earnings on Thursday. Q4 was down 88 percent. Yes.
Johan Lundgren says he hopes things start to turn around this summer.
JOHAN LUNDGREN, CEO, EASYJET: I do know the following. I do know that there is an underlying pent-up demand for people to go on holiday, there's no
We conducted a survey on our own and that supports other studies that've been made. That people are dying to get away on a break, on a holiday
particularly if you're living up in the northern hemisphere of Europe.
So we know that. And actually that pent-up demand increases for every day and the weeks that these restrictions into place. So we know that.
We know that short haul is going to recover quicker than long haul. We know that holidays and leisure will recover before business travel and it's far
the biggest purpose for people to travel.
So if the restrictions are unwinded, I think that there can be a good demand for the summer.
QUEST: OK. So now tell me how are you strategically planning and shifting easyJet? Taking in mind pent-up demand -- that you've just said -- pent-up
demand, number two, short haul which is what you primarily -- which is what you do, and the way in which people will travel, business less so than
leisure. What are you changing strategically?
LUNDGREN: Well, first of all nobody flies to more leisure destinations in Europe than easyJet, we are the biggest airline when it comes to that. So
we are in a good position when the demand returns to do that.
But what we've also been doing is, of course, looking at the opportunities that will arise from this situation. Two-thirds of the capacity that we're
making from competitors are from legacy carriers, are from full-service carriers. And we've seen a lot of retrenchment when it comes to capacity
from them in areas where aircrafts has been retired.
So you know that they will not be on the routes where we are operating. So we will, of course, make sure that we have capacity. And we've done that by
having a flexibility within the fleet and also be ready to very short notice be able to scale up the operation to do that.
And one example is in Gatwick. We've added another four aircrafts based there for the summer. That means we can have a record number of 71 aircraft
just in Gatwick.
And that's a good example of where we have the opportunities to capture these things that will come our way.
QUEST: Can you see a scenario -- not next week, maybe later this year -- where there is a requirement before you fly of vaccination or tests?
LUNDGREN: No, I don't think that we would like to introduce those complexities. Because I think the efficiencies lies within data that you
know are available in certain jurisdiction, in certain areas.
And if the virus in control in both these areas, which we now have data on, that shouldn't require any further complexity.
QUEST: Can I turn to your crew, your staff, vaccinations -- being the vaccinators administering the vaccination. Whose idea was that?
LUNDGREN: Well, it was an idea from within the company. I wrote to the prime minister here in November in the U.K. and I offered the services of
the airline, both in terms of transportation and the virus and also helping out with our people.
Because we have people on furlough and they're an excellent group of talented individuals who are very passionate about this. And they are
security vetted, they are first-aid trained. And whilst they're on furlough, we might as well try to see if we can help out with the
And I'm so proud, I'm so pleased now. They are administering vaccination as we speak. And this is, of course, the right thing to do to help out first
and foremost but it's also that helps us, the quicker the program can be rolled out as well as a company.
QUEST: Final question. File this question under try it and see. Do you have any ambitions of XLRs for long haul routes? Is there a secret plan in your
desk drawer that says someday this is what I'm going to do?
LUNDGREN: No. No, not at all. Look, we've got plenty of opportunities to go for. We -- as in one of the largest airlines in Europe and we've got plenty
of opportunities to go for within the existing networks that we have.
So I'd rather build on the strength that we currently have and I continue to see opportunities instead of just adding complexities into the
organization. Which it would do if we were to enter into another haul type.
QUEST: That's the CEO of easyJet. And these are the last moments of trade on Wall Street and how things are going.
The Dow is -- it's given up 150 or so more points than where we were at the beginning -- over 30,000, under 31,000.
Look at the stocks that were making the news. Look at all those other ones. There you are, that's the Dow 30.
Disney's at the top, up five percent. Apple's having a tough day today, results et cetera, down nearly four percent.
And the GameStop, quickly show you those as we go. Down 33 percent, AMC off -- oh, what a day. What a day.
I'll have more thoughts on this -- like 'em or hate 'em --after the break. With a "Profitable Moment".
QUEST: Tonight's "Profitable Moment".
At this morning's meeting I came face-to-face with the millennials. In the face of Matt and Tom and Julia and Michael and Ronan (ph), all of whom who
argued strongly that this was a new generation, that these private investors were marching forward and taking down those pesky hedge funds
that have been making and causing nonsense for so long.
And I argued and I still argue and say so tonight that we've seen it all before.
We saw it in the '70s with oil stocks, we saw it in the '80s with Brockum (ph) trading, we saw it in the '90s, dot.com boom and bust and into the
Now I'm not suggesting that what's happening today isn't different in a sense of the modalities -- tonight, you heard on this program, yes, these
private investors have greater access to more information and can spread that information and to some extent trade en masse. And that's to their
But, please, don't try and tell me that it's something different. Don't try and tell me that the rules have changed and the fundamental principles of
markets have gone out the window. They haven't.
All that's changed is the way they go about their business. And we might need new rules to accommodate it. But the game, the job, the positions are
just the same.
Sorry, millennials. I'm not with you on that.
And that's Quest means business for tonight. I'm Richard Quest in New York.
Whatever you're up to in the hours ahead -- oh, that's pathetic -- I hope it's profitable.
The real bell's ringing. The Dow is up, the day is done.