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Quest Means Business
Market Rallies As GameStop's Meteoric Rise Dims; "Call To Earth": Saving The World's Biggest Fish; JetBlue Takes Off Trans-Atlantic End Of This Year; Beloved Captain Sir Tom Moore Dies, Aged 100
Aired February 02, 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, QUEST MEANS BUSINESS: Today's best day for the Dow since November, the market is up very sharply. It's up the best
part of two percent, a gain of nearly 600 points. That's the way the markets are looking, and this is the day so far.
Alexei Navalny is jailed for more than two and a half years. Now, his supporters have been urged to fill the streets of Moscow. We will be live
The game is up. Shares in GameStop get halted after some heavy selling.
And new questions about variants and the vaccines. I'll be speaking to J&J's Chief Science Officer.
We are of course live in snowy New York. It is Tuesday, it is the second of February. I'm Richard Quest and I mean business.
Good evening. Good to have you on board. We have a very busy hour ahead with a lot more volatility on Wall Street. The broader market is soaring,
which will all beg the question whilst GameStop is plunging, what happened there and whether or not the change in -- has the revolution petered out?
But we must look at that in a moment.
We must begin in Moscow, however, as tonight Alexei Navalny is going back to prison. It was a ruling quickly condemned by Western governments after a
court sentenced Putin's critic to more than two and a half years remaining on a prison sentence for breaking the terms of his probation.
Navalny ridiculed the charges, saying he was in a coma at the time, recovering from a military grade nerve agent attack, and he then denounced
Russia's leader describing President Putin as "Putin the poisoner." The sentence is likely to anger and inflame his many supporters.
There was a large protest last weekend with many arrests and Navalny's team is now calling for people to gather tonight in Moscow's central squares.
Riot police already there.
Fred Pleitgen is in Moscow, Clarissa Ward is in London.
Fred, let's begin with you and let's reverse into this. Tell me what the situation is tonight on the streets of Moscow and then we can talk about
how we got there.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Richard, it's an absolutely remarkable situation in Moscow, and as you can see right
here, there are riot cops that are driving around right here. Also, the entire area, Richard, I have to say, I am actually in the area right around
the Kremlin -- it is full of riot police. You can see them here, all along the street. They are all surrounding the Kremlin.
The Kremlin is right over there, and if we want to point there, we can sort of see the tips of the Kremlin. I'm right here in front of the world famous
Bolshoi Theatre and that also, as you can see, has a lot of riot police here as well.
Now, the supporters of Alexei Navalny after this verdict came down, after it was said that he has to go to jail, they called for people to come out
and come into this area and protest. They said, Myasnitskaya and that's about a 500 to 600 yards down that direction.
But as you can see, the authorities here have already essentially locked down this entire area. Traffic is still possible. However, the entire area
around the Kremlin has barriers around it and riot police standing every couple of yards.
As you can see, the cops here, checking the IDs, checking many people, checking their paperwork. They obviously have the orders to make sure that
there's no major protest here.
This is also something that we've seen a little bit, these people are honking seemingly in support of Alexei Navalny, something that we've seen a
lot of folks do in traffic. It's something that obviously they got from Belarus, and there you can see if you look on the other side here, to give
you an idea of the situation on the ground here. There's two people who are being detained right now by riot police, another person being detained
Obviously, some of these Navalny supporters are trying to get to these areas, are trying to conglomerate in these areas and you can see why police
are cracking down very heavily. And you know, it's not many of these people. And yet, they are detaining a lot of people; also another person
right here, in and around the Kremlin area.
So obviously, the security forces were prepared for something like this. They have deployed in force around the entire Kremlin. It is surrounded by
riot police at this point in time, taking people into custody out in full force and seemingly preparing for a very long night with people honking
their support for Alexei Navalny and his calls right here in central Moscow -- Richard.
QUEST: Fred, in court today, there was the absurdity of the Judge or the prosecutor wanting to know why Navalny hadn't informed them he couldn't
maintain his probation requirement. When, of course he was in a coma, and then he was in rehabilitation, but that didn't cut any sway. It was almost
like it was rubber stamped.
PLEITGEN: That's certainly what Alexei Navalny believes. You're absolutely right. There was that standoff with the prosecutor where the prosecutor
said that Navalny hadn't properly informed them, that he wouldn't be able to make some of his probation hearings. At some point, Navalny just said, I
was in a coma. He said, coma, because obviously there was no way for him to be able to attend those hearings.
And I think Alexei Navalny, Richard also today, in that hearing made clear that he believed that the trial today was something that he quite frankly
said was a sham. He said inside the court hearing, he believed he was there because Vladimir Putin is angry that he survived the poisoning with
Novichok, that once again Alexei Navalny during this hearing, blamed Vladimir Putin of being behind, blamed the Russian Intelligence Service of
being behind it.
Of course, the Kremlin has denied that on various opportunities in the past, but Alexei Navalny took a strong stand. He also called Vladimir Putin
out. He said that Vladimir Putin was behind his poisoning. He said Vladimir Putin is bunkered down, is in a bunker, and he called him, the poisoner --
Putin, the poisoner in that hearing.
So those are some pretty strong things to say, in a public hearing here in Russia. It's a dangerous thing to do, but you could tell that Alexei
Navalny was not backing down. And one of the things that he also said in that hearing, is he said, look, they can't arrest everybody, and that is
seen by a lot of people that are saying that these protests most probably are going to continue, as we've seen over the past couple of weeks --
QUEST: And I'll let you get back to your duties. Fred, thank you. Stay with us, though -- or nearby in Moscow. Clarissa is with us, Clarissa Ward,
our chief international correspondent is in London.
Fred just said -- repeating what Navalny said, they can't arrest everyone. Now, that's true, up to a point, but the authorities can frighten them. So
how worried, do you think President Putin is at what's going on?
CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think, Richard, clearly, the Kremlin sees Navalny as a threat. They would not go to the
extent that they have gone to try to get rid of Navalny in every sense, whether it be you know, using Novichok nerve agent as our investigation
found that his state security forces likely did, whether it be arresting him the minute he returned to the country, whether it be now sentencing him
to two years and eight months in prison, on, you know, a frankly, ridiculous and absurd charge that everyone can agree upon.
So they clearly see him as a real threat. His most recent online investigation about Putin's Palace drew 100 million views, and it's
particularly younger people who this message is resonating with at the same time, though, Richard, the reality is when you look at the polling about --
on Russia as a whole, do the Russian people want revolution right now? Are they looking for an uprising? No, actually, is what we're seeing.
Most people associate the chaos and the mayhem of the 1990s with that kind of seismic political activity. So it's unclear where this protest movement
is going. But no matter what, Putin obviously wants to draw a line under it. What he has achieved here is perhaps a stopgap measure, but clearly,
they view this as a serious threat.
QUEST: Right. But that really comes down to the part harder, doesn't it? The rest of the country sort of rather likes the authoritarian and the
strong man image of President Putin. I wonder, though, because and this is just classic, you know, speculating into the crystal ball, I wonder what it
would take for that mood to shift seriously against Putin?
WARD: So I would say two things. First of all, I would say the public sentiment is definitely souring on President Putin: the corruption, the
cronyism, the stagnant economy, the lack of opportunity, particularly with young people. There is a growing sense that patience is wearing thin.
At the same time, he still has high approval ratings, and even among those who are sick of him, frankly, who have many criticisms of him, they're not
looking for a complete upheaval or overturning of the system. And even Navalny himself has said that he is not looking for a revolution either.
What he wants to do is mobilize people to go to the ballot box in September, that's when there are big parliamentary elections.
He would like to see a big turnout to try to vote out United Russia, which is Putin's party, and that may explain some of why the Kremlin appears to
be so threatened by Navalny. It's not that they are in any danger of toppling, you know, security services, public sentiment, very much appears
to be on their side, but certainly they are perhaps cautious or apprehensive about the possibility of a real humiliation in the polls in
September come those parliamentary elections.
QUEST: Clarissa, thank you for staying up late this evening to talk to us. Clarissa in London.
We will now return to our business agenda, and what a market, surging for the second day in a row, 600 points, two percent and over two percent on
the other markets as well. The Dow's biggest single daily gain since November. However, shares of GameStop and AMC, two companies that were
boosted by the retail traders that we've talked about, you and I, so much, they're moving in the opposite direction.
GameStop is now down 55 percent. It is at a hundred bucks. Remember it was $500.00 at one point. AMC is off 40 percent. Now, this is despite the fact
that Robinhood has eased its limits on buying the two stocks. So there was a sort of a brief rebound, but not enough to reverse the selloff.
Retail traders are deciding it is game over and time to cut their losses, take their money elsewhere. Otherwise, wondered if they should buy the dip
and keep playing.
But judging by today's charts, more traders than not have decided to stay away from the arcade.
Paul La Monica is with me keeping an eye on the markets. So Paul -- why did -- I know -- you know the old rule, why did the market go up, because it
didn't go down? All right, but why did GameStop fall today? Is it because there was real selling either or selling long? Or there were people
shorting the stock? Or there was just no buying excitement to keep it at the elevated level?
PAUL LA MONICA, CNN BUSINESS REPORTER: Yes, the volume, Richard, is pretty high, over 70 million shares have traded hands already and that is
significantly higher than the average volume, although it's a bit below the peak when we had the frenzy when the stock was surging.
So I think there is an element of a lot of investors who are cashing in, maybe they are realizing that GameStop has had a nice run, they're starting
to get out.
I'd be wary of saying that this is over though. You had Mark Cuban of your Shark Tank and the owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team fame
saying on Reddit in an "Ask Me Anything" in AMA today, he was urging the WallStreetBets community to hold the course, you know, stay the course if
they could afford to buy more as the price falls in order to put some pressure back on the stock and maybe squeeze some of those shorts again.
He'd advocate them doing that because he is a fan of what WallStreetBets has been doing lately.
QUEST: Paul La Monica, thank you.
Let's talk about what the shorts have been doing. Ben Axler is the founder and Chief Investment Officer of Spruce Point Capital, an unabashed short
seller, who joins me now. Ben, it is good to see you.
Now, look, sir, Elizabeth Warren thinks you're a nuisance, not you personally, but your short sellers. She thinks that it's that short
selling, as a concept, does not have nutrition for the market.
So to our viewers tonight, who say well, what are all these short sellers doing? And why are they doing it anyway? Isn't it bad? What would you say?
BEN AXLER, FOUNDER AND CHIEF INVESTMENT OFFICER, SPRUCE POINT CAPITAL: Well, I wholeheartedly disagree, I think short selling provides a value
added function to the market. You know, if you look at the current state of research affairs on Wall Street, most public companies have a majority, I
would say 80 percent are buys and 20 percent are holds and you rarely see an analyst come out and say sell or underweight.
So you need a voice in the marketplace that lays out a variant view, what might be wrong with the company, what the analysts are missing, what could
be governance flaws, what could be negative catalysts on the horizon, and what could be fundamental changes in the market that suggests earnings are
going lower, but not higher?
And so there needs to be, I think, more short sellers in the marketplace to provide that counterbalance, not less.
QUEST: So for the purpose of the next few questions, let's assume that shorts are good, then your strategy is wrong footed, if you get retail
going against you squeezing the short, so to speak. And I wonder how you -- since you're now on notice that there are these millions of people who are
prepared to go in, how are you going to change your short strategy?
AXLER: Well, you raise a great point. We've clearly seen a new cohort or constituent in the marketplace being the engaged, you know, retail trader
getting involved. And so as a short seller, it's absolutely critical. We know who is on the other side of the trade.
You know, right now, there's no question. There's a little bit of froth, maybe even bubble like elements in the market driven by this cohort. So we
definitely need to take a step back and think about you know, maybe looking at stocks that have a little bit more of an institutional shareholder base
or hedge fund shareholder base, one that we can communicate rationally with and then come back to the retail cohort when they cool down a little bit
and see that not all stocks go up, they come down.
AXLER: As you pointed out, GameStop from 500 now down to a hundred. You're starting to see some normalization, some rationalization and hopefully
retail learns the lesson and not everything goes up.
QUEST: You said communicate rationally with the institutional investors. Now, I know what you mean, you're talking about those in the in the market
who know that you've done this. You've shorted for a particular reason and you're communicating that et cetera, et cetera.
But the retailers would say, this is exactly what's wrong with the market. You have shortage, you've communicated institutional. This is -- they are
saying democratization is what this market needs to be about.
AXLER: And I think that's exactly what's Spruce Point is trying to do. If you go to our website, you know, we lay out exactly the reasons why we
short the stock, we tend to take a little bit more of a forensic view. We interview former employees, customers, dig up hard to obtain information
through Freedom of Information requests.
And we share it: we make it available for free to the public. We don't charge anybody, the retail or the institutions, and we make it available to
everyone at the same time. If there isn't anything more democratic, I don't know what there is.
So I think we're really trying to change the way Wall Street consumes research and consumes varying information here.
QUEST: I know you weren't in GameStop, and those, well, not to an extent, but from your knowledge, where the shorts did -- I mean, we know that some
lost tens of millions. As we've seen the price come down today and yesterday, is it your knowledge that the retailers are now hurting that
they've lost money? Though, as always those who were last in are bearing the losses?
AXLER: Sure. Well, there's no question that the short interest has come down. If the goal of the community was to cause a short squeeze, they
certainly did a great job and not only that, they selected a great stock where it had over a hundred percent of the flow short, and so as the stock
price has come down, undoubtedly there has been some covering. Maybe there's some new buyers involved, but I think it's going to take a little
bit of time to play out and ultimately, the stock will get back to the fair value.
And if there was any indication of that, it could be you know, $40.00 or thereabouts before the buying frenzy.
QUEST: Ben, good to have you on the program, sir. I'll be in touch. We need to know -- we need -- and our viewers need to learn more about the
delicate art. It is an art or a science. It's an art -- the art of shorting. And you're just the man to help us understand it.
AXLER: Happy to be back.
QUEST: Lovely. Thank you. Ben Axler joining us tonight.
AXLER: Thank you.
QUEST: Let's take a break. U.S. officials are already warning Johnson & Johnson's single shot vaccine will be in short supply when it is approved.
J&J's Chief Scientific officer is next, and we're going to really focus with him on this business of efficacy. It is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS, and
you're most welcome.
QUEST: Because we're keeping a close eye tonight on Moscow. Tensions are running high. Only hours after the Kremlin's top critic was sentenced to
more than two and a half years in prison, Alexei Navalny's team is asking for supporters to gather in the heart of Moscow to protest against what
they're calling Vladimir Putin's personal revenge.
As you can see, and as correspondent, Fred Pleitgen has been telling us, riot police, very heavy presence of riot police at the ready, and we'll
watch throughout the course of the evening and onwards.
Earlier, Navalny had blasted the court hearing as a sham and unleashed a torrent of criticism against President Putin. The protesters have been
taking to the streets over recent weeks. They're demanding Navalny's release.
Let's go to the vaccines now and the first peer-reviewed study of Russia's Sputnik V vaccine says it is more than 91 percent effective against COVID-
19. Russia had been criticized for authorizing the vaccine before large scale trials, and it has been administered to two million people worldwide.
However, the head of Russia's Direct Investment Fund, which funded the research into this, into Sputnik V told Julia Chatterley, the west was
wrong to cast doubts.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KIRILL DMITRIEV, CEO, RUSSIA DIRECT INVESTMENT FUND: We've seen lots of people trying to contain our vaccine in the beginning, really not let our
vaccine to be understood and respected and attacked. And now we see it was the wrong approach, the vaccine works.
We will finish mass vaccination in Russia in June, and then we'll be able to give a big part of Russian capacity to the world as well.
So once again, we need to have a portfolio of different vaccines. Some vaccines have efficacy issues, other vaccines have supply issues. It's very
important each country has as many vaccines on their portfolio as possible and Sputnik V definitely can be a part of this vaccine portfolio.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: In the United States, the Biden administration says it will begin vaccine shipments directly to local pharmacies. Now, a million doses a week
is intended to speed up the rollout.
Johnson & Johnson says it plans to deliver 100 million doses to the United States by June. Its efficacy is lower than we've seen from the two-dose
vaccines like Pfizer and Moderna and arguably lower than Sputnik, which we just heard was at 91 percent, but that's second number, 85 percent, as you
can see on the screen. It is 66 against moderate and severe disease -- this is J&J -- 85 percent against severe diseases. That is the absolute key.
Paul Stoffels is the Chief Scientific Officer at Johnson & Johnson. I freely confess, Paul, by now I'm starting to get well and truly confused
with all the different numbers of efficacy. There's an efficacy this, and efficacy that. I know that you're asking me to concentrate, really not so
much on the numbers, but on the effect that most or all of these vaccines seem to work.
DR. PAUL STOFFELS, CHIEF SCIENTIFIC OFFICER, JOHNSON & JOHNSON: Yes, Richard. We did a very large study in three continents: North America,
Latin America and Africa, in the middle of a big surge where many different variants were present. And so what we see as you told, moderate to severe,
and severe 67 percent overall efficacy, but if you look at all the regions, and that was 72 percent in the U.S.
But if you look at all the regions, overall, we have 85 percent activity on severe, and we protected 100 percent against hospitalization and death post
day 28. That is regardless of region, regardless of strain, and regardless of age. And so that was a very strong efficacy endpoint.
What we also learned is that the vaccine takes time to be effective, and we see that growing up to day 50 and that's also what we predicted from the
Phase 1 and 2 studies that with a single dose, we can give durable protection and broad spectrum protection. Now these are interim analysis,
interim results, and more data to come.
QUEST: So just to be clear on this, you're saying that under this efficacy business, and you know, some people may say -- it's got 67 percent
efficacy, some people will still get it or a higher number of people might still get it, but no one dies.
STOFFELS: No one -- no one at the moment from what we have from the current data, nobody died. Post data and nobody in the hospital and 85
percent protection against severe disease. That's correct.
QUEST: Paul, do you think that because -- there is so much attention on this -- do you think that we are concentrating on the wrong thing, and I'm
not just talking about J&J, I'm talking about all the vaccines. We're obsessed by efficacy, and this one versus that one. But actually, they all
prevent serious hospitalizations and death. And that really is what we should be focusing on?
STOFFELS: Well, Richard, does the good news. What we learned is that they protect against hospitalization and severe disease. But what's happening
now is the variants which are coming around, and I think we have to learn across the world against which variant the vaccines work, and which variant
can escape, and that is something we are learning.
In addition, the single dose is important, but also the simplicity of distribution at normal refrigeration temperature will help a lot.
And so I think you have always to look at the whole picture of what does the vaccine bring in the current circumstances, and I think with our
vaccine, we can have a lot of impact on the disease worldwide.
QUEST: So finally, I just helped me understand, we were talking the other night with some friends, in the future with variants, and we now see new
variants in the U.K., variant upon variant, is it likely that we will need annual vaccinations? Is it sort of to get to the point where each year,
your researchers will be offering the 2023 version, the 2024 version, and most of us will require to have a top up of some sort?
STOFFELS: Well, if we don't get pandemic under control soon, then variants will start emerging and will continue to emerge and that will result in
more vaccination annually. So it's now the mission to get as quickly as possible the virus under control so that it can't mutate and it can't grow
and create new versions.
So we don't know whether we'll have the annual different vaccine we need to bring against the new versions. But the chance with the current application
in the world is very hard. So that's where it's very urgent that we get vaccinated, and we bring the virus under control.
QUEST: Paul, thank you, and congratulations to you and your team. We don't give enough credit to the miracle of actually getting this thing done, even
with a bunch of money thrown at it, but you still got it all done. So congratulations, sir and we wish you well on that. Thank you.
STOFFELS: Thank you, Richard.
QUEST: Now, a leading senator is promising tough new oversight of Wall Street after some retail investors hit trading limits on those high flying
stocks we've been talking about.
The CEO of Fortune joins us on this program. It is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. It's a rollicking, strong day on the market. The Dow is up sharply, after
QUEST,: Executive of fortune or whether it's game over for GameStop's share frenzy. And more importantly, perhaps, where Reddit retail goes from
Robin Hayes, the CEO of JetBlue, tells me he's betting on a rebound in business class travel, and he's still flying to London later this year.
As we continue, this is CNN. And on this network, the news always comes first.
In Moscow, riot police are out in force as they anticipate protests following the Kremlin critic, Alexei Navalny, being sentenced to two-and-a-
half years in prison.
A judge found Navalny violated parole while recovering from nerve agent poisoning. Western nations are demanding Navalny's immediate release.
Donald Trump's lawyers are laying out their strategy ahead of next week's impeachment trial. They're calling the trial unconstitutional saying the
former president can't be convicted by the senate because Trump's no longer in office, and they're denying he incited an insurrection.
The World War II veteran who raised millions of pounds in COVID-19 funds has died at the age of 100 after testing positive for the disease.
Captain Sir Tom Moore, seen here walking around his garden, raised nearly $45 million for Britain's national Health Service by walking 100 laps in
his garden last year.
He was knighted by Her Majesty the Queen over the summer. Both Her Majesty and the White House have joined the British prime minister in paying
tribute to his charity efforts.
So to the markets. Soaring, absolutely soaring. Now the Dow is up 600 points -- well, we've given back just a tad as the is up as the
fundamentals gain the upper hand over the nonsense over Reddit and GameStop and all of those things.
ExxonMobil has reported its worst year on record, a loss of more than $22 billion. Now there are obviously technical factors that led to that; the
company's earning and write downs and reserves and the like. The company's earnings still beat estimates.
And the Reddit rally is slowly down with GameStop and AMC both heading towards steep losses.
The incoming chair of the senate banking committee is promising new oversight.
In a video posted on Twitter, Sherrod Brown said Wall Street has been using the stock market as its own personal casino for years.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SENATOR SHERROD BROWN, (D-OHIO): American workers have known for years that the Wall Street system, the way we do things with the big banks and
Wall Street in this country, that that system is broken.
It's time for the SEC and the congress to make sure the market works for workers and for the American public and for consumers.
As I become the chair of the senate banking and housing committee, we do hearings on this and we fight back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: Alan Murray is the CEO of Fortune, he's in Greenwich, Connecticut. He joins me now. Alan, good to see you.
I'm not sure what Sherrod Brown means, let alone what he'd even do about it.
The Democrats have always said that they are against Wall Street, per se, but it's very difficult to know what you do.
ALAN MURRAY, CEO, FORTUNE: Well, it is. I do think there's a question of whether there are people manipulating this social media-driven market for
their own gains, in other words, whether there are people pushing up stocks in order for them to sell into the rally.
And so -- and I don't think they have the tools, really, to figure that out. But it is something worth looking at.
QUEST: What do you make of the -- yes, go ahead. Go ahead, please come in.
MURRAY: No, I was just going to say -- but I do agree with your broader point, people like Sherrod Brown and Elizabeth Warren are trying to turn
this against the big bad guys on Wall Street. This isn't about the big bad guys on Wall Street.
QUEST: Did the retail investors actually do anything this week? Have they shifted anything or is it same cupboard, different knobs?
MURRAY: Well, I think it's just a herd mentality. Let's try this, let's try silver. Let's see what we can go after today and if we can take down
some Wall Street short sellers in the process, great.
But it's not based on fundamentals, it's not based on the value of the company and some people are making money but some people are losing money.
It's a casino.
QUEST: The casino mentality -- let's look at now something perhaps obviously more important in terms of the global economic.
The ability of the administration. Now the administration wants a $1.9 trillion stimulus package, the Republicans seem to be happy round about 6-
or 700 billion. As I guess, as I said on last night's program, it's the old joke, we're agreed, it's just about the money now.
MURRAY: Well, yes. Look, there are two questions here. One is can the Democrats do this on their own without Republican support? And that means
keeping every single one of their senators in line because they can't support -- they can't afford to lose even one, and they have at least one,
Joe Manchin, has made some noise about abandoning them.
So there's this one effort to say let's just do it with Democrats only. President Elect (ph) Biden is saying we really need to fix the political
problem in this country, let's do it on a bipartisan basis. He has 10 Republicans willing to deal but, as you point out, the numbers are far
So I think we have a ways to play out on this process to see whether we go single party, bipartisan and what the final result looks like.
QUEST: If we take that premise and we all sort of believe -- the market, look at the Dow, the Dow's up nearly two percent today, the Nasdaq's up
similarly. It was a strong rise yesterday.
At a time when -- I know vaccines are coming, Alan, and I know things are going to get better later in the year, but what justifies this rally?
MURRAY: Richard, I think there's a much bigger question underlying that. Which is we're living in a period of extraordinarily easy money, right?
There is just an enormous amount of money sloshing through the system.
Interest rates are near zero, people are doing any crazy thing they can think of to try and get a return on their investments and sometimes they
win, and sometimes they fail.
It's not a healthy market environment and it's a little hard to know exactly how it's going to end.
QUEST: That, of course, is the important point. There is a difference between the air gently coming out of the balloon or a correction and, to
mix my metaphors, going over the cliff.
MURRAY: Yes. But the thing I would point out is that the Federal Reserve has made it very clear that it's not going to tap on the brakes.
MURRAY: It's going to keep pouring money into this economy at least for the foreseeable future. And I think that means you're going to see this
kind of craziness in markets because there's a lot of money out there desperately looking for where they can get a decent yield --
QUEST: Decent yield.
MURRAY: -- and it's not going to be in any kind of funds or traditional investments.
QUEST: Decent yield, that's the key. Alan, lovely to have you with us. Thank you, sir. Let's talk again as we move through the year and keep in
MURRAY: Richard, I enjoy it.
QUEST: Thank you.
MURRAY: Always happy to. Thank you.
QUEST: Thank you. Now the retail investors would do well to listen to the words -- as we pull together the strands of this, of what's happened today.
Remember, it went up over 1,000 percent, GameStop. Now it's come down, it's down 55 percent at 100 bucks a share. So there'll be some people
nursing some serious losses.
If you've been tempted, I'll urge you -- again, listen to the wise words of Mohamed El-Erian on QUEST MEANS BUSINESS last Friday.
Listen and learn.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MOHAMED EL-ERIAN, CHIEF ECONOMIC ADVISER, ALLIANZ, PRESIDENT, QUEENS COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY: The two lessons I've learned very early on
is A., you have no friends on Wall Street. You may think they're your friend but, as you saw with Robinhood yesterday, with interactive brokers,
they will put their interest first.
So just understand that this is a game where you have no friends.
Secondly, and as importantly, realize that if you can't identify who's the weak hand then you're the weak hand.
So you've got to figure these two things out.
Because one great risk here is that the small investor is taken advantage of.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: And we may well be seeing that today. That's going to be our motto for the rest of this year.
You have no friends in the market -- I shall remind you of that frequently. And if you can't identify the weakest hand, you are the weakest hand. It
After the break, private suites with sliding doors. JetBlue, low cost? Nonsense. Mint across the Atlantic.
We'll have Robin Hayes, the CEO from JetBlue, with us after the break.
QUEST: CNN's "Call to Earth". The environment where we're going to share solutions and discuss issues like global warming, deforestation and what
we're all doing about it.
And so this week we're all about endangered species, and the people working to protects them.
For today's report it's the marine biologist and Rolex awards laureate, Brad Norman.
And Brad's been enlisting the help of thousands of citizens and scientists worldwide to track the world's biggest fish.
BRAD NORMAN, RESEARCH ASSOCIATE, HARRY BUTLER INSTITUTE, MURDOCH UNIVERSITY: I love jumping in with whale sharks but it can be
intimidating. They're the biggest fish in the sea, they're as big as a bus.
And to have some a creature come at you out of the deep blue, it does sort of take your breath away.
KRISTIE LU STOUT, "CALL TO EARTH" NARRATOR: Marine conservationist, Brad Norman, has been coming to Ningaloo for over 25 years to study this
NORMAN: I've swum with whale sharks on thousands of occasions, but I still get a buzz every time I go out.
Whale sharks are a gentle giant. They're the biggest fish in the sea but they're actually not dangerous. They feed on very small organisms.
STOUT: Whale sharks are endangered due to human activity. With populations estimated to have dropped more than 50 percent in the past 75
years according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
Norman says the biggest threats are fishing, habitat destruction and climate change.
NORMAN: Climate change can have a dramatic effect on the prey of whale sharks. It can change the water temperatures and it can change currents
and it change areas that whale sharks might normally move to to feed.
STOUT: The turquoise waters of this Western Australia nature reserve are where Norman first fell in love with the ocean.
NORMAN: Rottnest Island has a long history in my life. We used to come here on our school holidays and it was here that I got to swim or snorkel
in this beautiful environment. And that really encouraged me to want to go down the path of being a marine biologist.
STOUT: Norman has made public awareness key to his research, helping found a photo identification program for whale sharks that maps their global hot
spots and migrations with submissions from over 10,000 people in more than 50 countries.
NORMAN: Well, we're starting to find out areas of critical importance to whale sharks, where they're traveling to for important aspects of their
Whale sharks are colored in a pattern, a beautiful pattern of lines and spots, but how do we compare one pattern of spots against another?
So we adapted an algorithm that NASA scientists use in the Hubbell space telescope to map stars in the night sky. And we mapped the pattern of
spots on the skin of a whale shark and then, like fingerprint recognition, scanned that photo against the thousands of other photos. And if it's a
match, it's the same shark.
The Whale Book for Whale Sharks is an online database that encourages members of the public to be citizen scientists.
If they get to see a whale shark and they swim with one to take a photo of the special ID area which is behind the gills, send it into the Wild Book.
Well, as we find out more about these animals, it's going to help us work out systems and ways to protect them in the long-term.
STOUT: This type of crowd source data is vital to whale shark conservation, says Norman.
And through responsible eco-tourism in places like Ningaloo, it can introduce the public to new ways of helping these gentle giants.
NORMAN: Over the last few years, the numbers of sightings coming in is increasing all the time. It's so important to have members of the public
assisting with our project.
By taking a photograph and helping us with our research we can all work together to save the species.
QUEST: We'll continue to showcase inspirational stories like this as part of our initiative.
And let us know what you think and what you're doing, #calltoearth.
QUEST: JetBlue is calling it its freshest mint yet. And the airline, perhaps surprisingly at a time when there's such troubles in the industry,
is rolling out its new business-class seats for the first flights to London which is expected to be later this year.
It's called the mint suite, which is a private sliding door, wireless charging, and at the front, there is what is known as the mint studio which
has more extra room and a lie-flat -- the largest lie-flat apparently of anything -- across the Atlantic.
JetBlue says it wants to set a new standard for travel and promises fares will stay competitive. We'll look at the fares in just a moment.
Let's go to Robin Hayes, who is the CEO of JetBlue. He joins me now.
Robin, first of all, before we talk about mint and all of that and London, the airline itself -- as we've had the surge in the wave, you lost a lot of
money but everybody did -- are you seeing any signs that things are getting better, route network-wise?
ROBIN HAYES, CEO, JETBLUE: Hi, Richard, it's great to be on your show. In fact, I was listening to your segment before I came on talking about
endangered species. And I thought you were referring to the airline industry.
But we saw revenue down 67 percent in the fourth quarter of 2020. We've guided revenue down 65 percent to 70 percent for quarter one so right now
we haven't seen any improvement.
We're optimistic once the vaccine rollout takes hold that we'll start to see that later this year.
QUEST: And do you expect any further U.S. government support?
HAYES: Well, I don't know. We've been very fortunate to have two -- it's been a tremendous assistance for the airlines to keep people employed.
Because, frankly, if we weren't getting this support, unfortunately people would have been furloughed and the government would have still been paying
their support through unemployment and other programs like that.
So it's allowed us to keep people in their jobs, connected to their pensions and health care. And I that think overall that's a good thing
during a crisis like this.
QUEST: Let's look to the future. We know there's huge pent-up demand. But Robin, why London? You're still battling on with this idea of flying
to London. Firstly, when do you hope to fly the route?
HAYES: Well, in terms of why London it is, as you know, Richard, the largest unserved market that we don't fly from both New York and Boston.
So it is very important to our customers that we fly them to where they want to go.
Secondly, if you look what JetBlue does best -- and we've been doing it over 20 years -- we take something where other airlines are overcharging
for it and we come in with a better product and service at a much lower fare.
And so that's the game plan for London. Currently, we're thinking a quarter three start and we think a late summer start is going to time
nicely from when people will start wanting to fly across the Atlantic again.
QUEST: OK. So I won't hold you to this but these are the fares. I wanted to go to London -- we haven't chosen overnight fare, we've chosen a fare
for next week, next Tuesday. This time next week.
And as you can see, some are very -- everyone's bunched -- United's down at five-six, Delta and the Virgin alliance is up at eight, I imagine the
American-B.A. alliance is not that far off.
Where would you price? How much cheaper do you think, percentage wise, do you think you're going to price than the competition?
HAYES: Well, as you know, I can't share that now. But what I will tell you, is when we started flying between JFK and L.A. in 2014, before we
started flying that, people were paying over $2,000 to fly one way from coast to coast.
And we came in with fares from $599 and premium fares across the country are now probably about half what they were before JetBlue started flying.
So the JetBlue effect in lowering fares is alive and well. And you're going to see that effect when we start flying to London.
And you have this, now, alliance with American Airlines. You'll tell me that you've no intention of merging, you'll tell me you have no intention
of joining the One World Alliance but do you have an intention that the Boston-New York-American alliance grows?
HAYES: Well, if we think about what we do best, Richard, is that when we get a JetBlue airplane on a route, people enjoy a better experience and the
fare comes tumbling down. And there's a lot of data to support that in our 20-year history.
And the thing that stops us growing more in New York is the fact that it's a slot-constrained airport.
So what this partnership with American is going to allow us to do is fly a lot more JetBlue flights.
That's going to allow us to fly to a lot more destinations and that in itself is going to have a profound effect on competition in the northeast.
Not only will JetBlue grow, there'll be more choice for our customers and lower fares to more points.
So that's why we're excited about it. And so yes, I hope it will grow. And we have an agreement with our regulator, the DOT, it's very clear we
are both separate airlines. We're going to continue to compete to London, we have Miami to compete with American Airlines so we will compete very
hard with them outside this partnership in the northeast.
QUEST: Good to see you, sir. And mint suite and mint studio which is a very interesting way of using extra space that you had to use up anyway --
mint suite and mint studio looks to be an excellent product.
Thank you, sir. I look forward to testing them --
HAYES: Thank you. Thanks for having me on.
QUEST: Anytime. A moment ago, a few moments ago, SpaceX's starship prototype vehicle, SN9, exploded upon landing in Texas.
Now look at the pictures. The explosion follows an otherwise successful high altitude test flight.
The engineer, John Insprucker, can be heard on the livestream saying, "We've got a lot of good" -- and then that went wrong.
Well, there we are.
A "Profitable Moment" after the break.
QUEST: Tonight's final thought.
I was really sad today when I heard that Captain Sir Tom Moore had passed away.
Look, he could have been -- just sat out his life and done nothing but here was a war hero who decided to walk around his garden 100 times and in doing
so raised tens of millions of pounds to help fight COVID.
Which awfully was the disease which took him at the end after he was admitted to hospital.
But what a man. What a life. What a hero.
And that, tonight, is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. I'm Richard Quest.
Whatever, together, we're up to in the hours ahead -- well, I'll see you tomorrow.
JAKE TAPPER, HOST, CNN THE LEAD: Welcome to THE LEAD, I'm Jake Tapper. And (...)