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Quest Means Business

Royal Firm Under Scrutiny Amid Interview Fallout; Dow Rallies On Stimulus Hopes, Tech Extends Selloff; Women Bear Brunt Of COVID-19 Pandemic; Headlines At The Half Hour; Airline Industry's Push For Vaccinated People To Travel; CDC Issues New Guidelines For Those Vaccinated; Watching And Waiting For COVID Numbers To Plateau. Aired 3- 3:40p ET

Aired March 08, 2021 - 15:00   ET



RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: The Dow has added 1,200 points across the last two sessions, and if you look at the market today, it's

roaring up. It had been up the whole day. We saw record highs and pulling back slightly, but there we are, one and a half percent.

The markets are strong, and these are the main events of the day.

COVID relief in Washington is giving Wall Street a boost and the techs struggle, but that's for other reasons we'll go into.

U.S. airlines are unhappy over new guidelines for vaccinated Americans, we will explain why.

And Oprah Winfrey has a massive ratings bonanza with her Royal interview. The U.K. is about to watch it for themselves in just over an hour.

We are live in New York on Monday, it's March the 8th. I'm Richard Quest and I mean business.

Good evening. Tonight, it's the true moment of reckoning for the British monarchy. We know it as the ultimate family business. It's called "the

firm." The Queen calls it "the firm," a storied institution unto itself, and the reason we're leading and talking about it tonight, firstly, of

course, it's all anybody is talking about.

But secondly, the firm with its headquarters at Buckingham Palace is like no other company. And yet, it's like every other company in crisis.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's interview with Oprah Winfrey is about to be broadcast in the United Kingdom, and in doing so, it has unearthed a

litany of H.R. failings, P.R. failings and claims of impropriety that would sink many corporations.

Perhaps more non-war than the explosive, the claim that someone in the Royal Family had concerns about the race of their first child.


MEGHAN MARKLE, DUCHESS OF SUSSEX: In those months when I was pregnant, all around this same time, so we have in tandem the conversation of you won't

be given security, he is not going to be given a title, and also concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he is born.

OPRAH WINFREY, TALK SHOW HOST: There is a conversation -- hold up.

MARKLE: There are several conversations. There are several conversations.

WINFREY: There is a conversation with you --

MARKLE: With Harry.

WINFREY: About how dark your baby is going to be?

MARKLE: Potentially and what that would mean or look like.


QUEST: Salma is with us, Salma Abdelaziz in Windsor tonight. The accusation and the allegation does not get less shocking the more one hears it.

But tonight, the Royal Family has to decide how they are going to respond if they are, what is the latest?

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN REPORTER: Absolutely, Richard. The Royal Family is aware of this interview, of course, and if you speak to Royal experts,

they'll tell you that they do expect that there has to be some sort of response and there's two big issues that they need to tackle here.

First, that very direct allegation in that soundbite you just heard of racism, of concern about the skin tone of the Queen's grandson, of Archie,

that is the first one. And the second one is of course the allegation from Meghan Markle that she struggled with mental health issues, that she had

suicidal thoughts, and that she simply did not get help for it.

These are two key points that the palace needs to address, that people are expecting that they could address. When and how and what will that look

like, we simply don't know.

But let's put the allegations and the accusations aside, the tit-for-tat, the back and forth, beyond the specifics of this. This is going to resonate

with people of color in Britain. If you are not even a Royal, the feeling of marginalization, the sense of exclusion, the attacks -- racist attacks,

direct or indirect -- that will strike a chord with people in this country who feel at times that they are excluded by the systems of power in place

like the Royal Family -- Richard.

QUEST: Salma, thank you, in Windsor tonight, and why we are talking about it. They call it "the firm," a family business, structured in many ways,

like a major company.

So you have a Chief Executive and a Chairman and it is the Queen, her and there is the heir, that's Prince Charles and his two sons. It's all laid

out, and it's all quite clear.


QUEST: However, nearly everyone on this tree is affected by the accusations in the interview, and that includes the people who support the Royal Family

and run the operations.

Meghan says she was silenced by that institution and that it failed to protect her. Harry says, he felt trapped, as did many members family,

within the family.


PRINCE HARRY, DUKE OF SUSSEX: That's a part of the job, it is a part of the role. That's what's expected. No matter who you are in the family, no

matter what's going on in your personal life, no matter what's just happened. If the bikes roll up, and the car rolls up, you're going to get

dressed, you got to get in there, you're wiping tears away, shake off whatever you're thinking about and you've got to be on your A-game.


QUEST: Kate Williams is with us, CNN's Royal historian. We're looking at this very much more tonight on this program of course as how we got here,

the business that is -- at the end of the day U.K. Royal is a large enterprise.

And Kate, these sorts of allegations would sink many companies, or at least the senior management in many companies. But here, what do you do? Give us

some historical context? Well, you can't fire Charles, the Queen can't resign -- well, she can, but I know she is not going to. What do you do?

KATE WILLIAMS, CNN ROYAL HISTORIAN: Well, this is exactly it is, isn't it, Richard, that Meghan was talking about the firm, the Royal Family, as both

a business and a family and that's what it really is, it is both a family and it is also a business, both generating money, and being the

Constitutional Head of State of Britain.

And as you say, if any other -- any other company had been in the situation where an employee like Meghan had gone to H.R., which she did, she said she

went to H.R. and said, she couldn't cope, she was struggling with these -- her severe mental health crisis -- and she needed help, and she needed to

go to a hospital.

And they said, you can't do that, because it will make the institution look bad. And this is when we've tried so hard in this country to open about

mental health. There have been Royal campaigns about mental health, and yet, one who actually feels this way is not allowed to speak.

And then there are the racist allegations you and Salma were just talking about the idea that Archie's skin tone was openly discussed. These would

sink a company. This would -- as it were, what we will expect from the Royal Family is to see a statement, is to say an answer.

And what Meghan and Harry were they careful to do is to say it's not the CEO. It's not the Queen. They were very careful to say it was nothing to do

with her.

She was welcoming. She was kind. It wasn't her. It wasn't the Duke of Edinburgh, and they weren't specific at times as to whether accusations

were leveled at the Royal Family, senior Royals, such as Charles and Prince William, and it is actually the courtiers who do their work for the men in


QUEST: Right, but the damning part of the interview again, comes to the CEO-apparent, Charles, because first of all, we get the news that they're

not talking -- or they weren't talking, he wasn't taking his calls.

But Harry says, I went to them and I told them, this will not end well.

Now, bearing in mind and you and I -- I remember covering the whole Diana fiasco and fallout from that, it would appear they've learned nothing. It

would appear -- no, I'm going to go further. It would appear Charles has learned nothing from that.

WILLIAMS: Well, certainly Charles is the ones that have his reputation most damaged by the interview, as you say, because the Queen was excused. Harry

said she was welcoming and he said Charles hadn't spoken to him, that there was difficulty in getting around him.

He said he felt let down because especially when Harry was trying to recast his role, recast his job to a half in half out unlike the senior roles,

like Junior Royals at the other Royals, he earned his own money and still support the Queen.

He said he was trying to talk to Charles about this, and Charles stopped answering the phone. Now, that's when -- you know, CEOs aren't allowed to

do that. You're not allowed to stop answering your e-mail, stop answering the phone, and this is what happened.

So it is damaging to Charles, and this is the thing. It is obviously unlike companies, you know, these CEOs can't be pushed out, they can't be swapped.

They can't be changed. They can't be a shareholders' revolt, the case is that the Royal Family, it is birth that they're born into the next echelon.

But I think it's Charles that does have the damaged department, and Princess Diana, she was isolated, she was struggling. She had suicidal

thoughts. We all said after her horrific death at the age of 36, this would never happen again. And here we are, with a similar situation for her

daughter in law who has been suffering about coverage, couldn't cope with the coverage, having a crisis, feeling suicidal


WILLIAMS: And that there was no support -- there was no support in the 1990s and there was no support in 2018.

So it is a damning indictment of the Royal Family, as a family, but particularly as a business.

QUEST: Thank you, Kate Williams. Kate Williams, thank you. Always, always very glad to have your interpretation of these things. Very grateful.

Now, the early numbers indicate the interview's massive ratings boom for CBS, which is supposed to have paid somewhere between $7 million to $9

million for it, to Harpo, which is Oprah Winfrey's production company.

More than 17 million watched on Sunday night and that number will go higher, of course, as the interview gets rolled out worldwide.

In the U.K., it airs, of course, the next hour.

Brian is with us, Brian Stelter, our chief media correspondent. Okay, Brian, so, I read in your -- in the regular e-mail, the "Reliable Sources"

e-mail, you were having a sort of an internal battle as to whether it would or would not beat.


QUEST: Who was going to get the ratings? Who won?

STELTER: My colleague, Oliver Darcy. Many people I know in this industry thought this special will get 10 million to 12 million viewers in the U.S.,

but not much more than that. I was thinking 13 million.

All those bets were wrong. This was upwards of 17 million, and as you said, that's just the base. There's more viewership happening right now online on More people will watch on demand. CBS is going to re-air this.

So it's going to queue up to 25 million to 30 million viewers just in the United States; and the international broadcast, although it won't be

measurable, we won't have a final number. Every viewer who watches you know, Harry and Meghan benefit.

Every viewer who watches the Royal Family, the Palace suffers as a result. I think this was a huge relaunch of Harry and Meghan as a couple, as an

international brand, and it was hugely successful for them.

QUEST: Right, but that is the sort of -- oh, put this to them, you want your cake and eat it. You want to be half in and making money and half out.

They said no, we had no idea about Netflix and Spotify until we really had to. We had to make money after we were cut out. We'll CBS -- I mean, I know

with these sorts of numbers, but they paid a ransom fortune for this. Will they make money on this?

STELTER: They'll make a lot of money off of this. "The Journal" says they paid $7 million to $9 million for the rights to Oprah's special. They were

selling commercials all around this for $300,000.00 per every 30 seconds. So yes, CBS will make quite a bit of money off this special and it's going

to continue to make money over time for ViacomCBS, which is the parent company that is licensing it all around the world.

Oprah was very smart about this, controlling it. This was not a news special. She was not approaching this as a journalist per se. She was

approaching this as the most famous interviewer in the world, and yet she did ask difficult questions. She did challenge Harry and Meghan when


And I think actually her interviewees benefited from that. Harry and Meghan benefited by being challenged by Oprah, even from a sympathetic point of


And now hearing Meghan will be out there on Netflix, they will be launching podcasts and now they've been reintroduced to the world by this sympathetic

figure, Oprah, so basically, they've been given the Oprah seal of approval, which is one of the most valuable things in the business world.

QUEST: Brian Stelter will be looking at it in terms of business, but it's interesting, you've just pointed it out. Yes. So a new IPO if you like, a

spin off, Archewell comes into -- and let's see what the legacy, subsisting company, the Royal firm looks like.

Brian, always good to have you. I appreciate it.

STELTER: Thanks.

QUEST: Now, the markets with all of this Meghan and Harry, we might have forgotten, but no, we haven't. A roaring start to the week for some stocks.

The rally is on, but it's not universal.

So if you think your portfolio has done well, because that's up, there are some down specialties that has caused that to rise. I'll tell you about it

after the break.



QUEST: New trading week, same old divergence in fortunes. The three main stock indices are having very different days. The Dow is on a tremendous

tear. We'll look at the Dow 30 in a moment to show you exactly where it is.

Investors looking at the $1.9 trillion worth of incoming stimulus approved by the Senate. And that's a 600-point gain on Friday. And there is -- it's

important to show you this because what you're seeing is Microsoft and Apple -- Apple was heavily up last week, but of course, but Apple and

Microsoft are down and they are stocks that are badly affected, of course, by the selloff in bonds that's going underway.

Disney, a frolic of its own. Cisco, it is a really interesting mix as to why the markets have become so bifurcated in a day like today.

Ruchir Sharma is the Chief Global Strategist and Head of Emerging Markets at Morgan Stanley Investment Management is with me now.

So this bifurcation that we are seeing where we see the Dow benefit from stimulus and the NASDAQ suffer from bond yields. Why?


know, been going sideways for the last few weeks, and we're seeing this incredible rotation because the growth stocks, so to speak, those have

benefited a lot over the last decade from the trend of continuously falling interest rates.

And the big reversal we are seeing in interest rates in terms of long-term interest rates around the world is something which is affecting those

stocks, and leading to this great rotation.

Now remember, to put this in perspective, these so-called growth stocks have done extremely well over the last decade. In fact, the performance of

these stocks, which are more concentrated in the Dow, or rather like in the NASDAQ compared to the Dow, these stocks have done or had one of the more

extraordinary runs ever, over the last decade. The difference between growth and value is almost unparalleled.

So this is just a reversal of a very long decades' trend that's been in place.

QUEST: If that's the case, and I was reading your recent article in the FT. You're suggesting, though, that the orthodoxy is that later in the year,

things get better and the markets rally even stronger. That's the conventional orthodoxy that people are following at the moment.

You are taking a contrary view and saying, well, maybe not. Maybe all that happens is that it just doesn't go anywhere. Why do you think that?

SHARMA: I think that's already been happening this year, and I think it's really important to put in perspective as to, why did the market do so

while last year, amidst the misery of the pandemic? I mean, remember last year, we had the greatest global economic contraction in 75 years, and yet

stocks around the world had a pretty decent year. Why did that happen?

That happened because we had this extraordinary amount of stimulus, which also led to very low interest rates, very easy liquidity conditions around

the world, and you had many people who were sitting at home with a lot of extra savings that came through the stimulus checks and they spent a lot of

that money punting.

And the last reason was that the market was looking through the pandemic, knowing that this is a one-off event and it was not anything permanent in

terms of the damage that it was causing to the economic system.


SHARMA: Now, if you look at it this year, these factors are reversing themselves, which is that economies are beginning to open up, consumers are

sitting there with a lot of pent up demand and a lot of money, but they probably are going to start shopping again.

And the markets have already anticipated some of this, you know, like looking through the pandemic. So therefore, the exact reasons that led to

this dichotomy last year, where stocks did so well, even though the economy did so poorly, is likely to be reversed this year, where you end up getting

the economy is doing really well, but the liquidity gets drained away from the markets into the real economy. And that's why the markets don't go

anywhere and they've already anticipated this pandemic passing through.

QUEST: If that's the case, what does one do? What does an investor do faced with these markets now?

SHARMA: Well, you have to really temper your expectations, because I don't think this is going to be a great year for stocks in general, particularly

if inflation does come back and it is showing every sign that after many false doors, inflation is resurfacing.

And I think that it is a time to be cautious, and to be very cautious of these stocks that have done really well over the last decade, particularly

over the last couple of years. Because these stocks are very expensive, the tech stocks, the growth stocks, and it's time to steer clear of these

winners, and particularly of these very big mega cap companies, because remember, to put this in perspective the stocks that typically do well in

one decade, very rarely do well in the subsequent decade.

If you look at the last few decades, the top 10 stocks at the start of any decade, have very rarely ended up on the top 10 list at the end of the same

decade. So I think that all these darlings of the market, these mega cap stocks, and even many of these tech stocks, a decade from now, they're

unlikely to be anywhere close to the top like they feature today.

QUEST: In 10 years' time, we'll come back and talk more about that. We will follow. That's an interesting concept. Thank you, sir.

We'll come back again and talk to you again because I'm curious as to what you think are the next 10 years' stock. Thank you.

Britain is taking an important step towards reopening its economy. Schools in England is fully reopened for the first time it months. Part of Boris

Johnson, the Prime Minister's roadmap to normality.

The United States largest school district is making similar progress. New York City schools, high schools are set to reopen for in-person learning

two weeks from today. Getting students back into the classroom is an especially important step for working mothers during the pandemic, the

burden of home schooling has fallen disproportionately on women.

In the U.S. alone, the crisis has forced more than two million women out of the workforce, one by one, it has undone three decades of progress. Women

of color have borne the brunt of the setback.

It's International Women's Day and the I.M.F. Director Kristalina Georgieva says she spoke about the importance of leadership and representation.


KRISTALINA GEORGIEVA, I.M.F. DIRECTOR: There simply have to be more women in senior positions, and these women in senior positions ought to mentor

other women to make sure that they create that sense of confidence for younger women to step up.

I crafted the phrase that I repeat very often to women. I do bring our senior women together at the front and what I tell them is, don't be shy,

please apply.


QUEST: Ann Cairns is with me, the Executive Vice Chair of Mastercard, she's with me from London. Ann, good to see you. As always, thank you.

The problem you've got now, I mean, never mind improving the situation. You have got to get back to where you were before the pandemic. And I just

wonder where -- what policy needs to be introduced within companies that basically gets them back to the status quo ante?

ANN CAIRNS, EXECUTIVE VICE CHAIR, MASTERCARD: Well, look, I think that companies especially coming through COVID have to really examine how they

are addressing their workforce, who they're letting go, and who they are keeping, and really look at all of the minority groups they've got across

their business and try and be really fair about it. There has been some progress though for women.


CAIRNS: At the 30 Percent Club, you know, we started in Britain 10 years ago when we had less than 10 percent women on our FTSE 350 Boards, and now

we're over 34 percent, and that's not by having mandates, that's by having Chairs and CEOs stand up and say, we need to change things around here and

have more diverse Boards.

QUEST: What takes it to the next level, in terms of Board representation? Because if you look at the number of CEOs of FTSE companies or Chairs of

FTSE companies, that is, well, it is woefully inadequate, which is an understatement.

CAIRNS: I couldn't agree with you more. Well, to take it to the next level, we really need women coming up through the corporate pipeline, and reaching

those C-suite positions, and in order to do that, you have to start much lower down the pipeline.

A lot of research has shown it's actually that first step on the management ladder, where men tend to accelerate and women decelerate, and it's that

stage that they funnel narrows to the top. So we really have to address that.

QUEST: The problem, Ann, is we've known about that for many years. We've known for -- I mean, you know, I've got three sisters, all professionals in

high management and I can remember discussing this at dinner tables.

We've known that the couple of decades that you have to begin at the early part of management, and create family friendly policies that allow women to

advance, but we have -- why have we failed to make greater progress?

CAIRNS: Well, I think you hit the nail on the head there, Richard, because family friendly policies are exactly what we need. If I look at what's

happened in my own company, MasterCard, we've actually rolled out global maternity and paternity leave everywhere in the world in over 200

countries, four months paid leave. And of course, the same for single sex couples.

And I think when you do that, you've leveled the playing field because you're not looking at a young woman thinking oh, she is going to be a

mother. You're looking at a young person thinking they're going to be a parent, and that causes the working world to actually treat them equally.

QUEST: Ann, it is always lovely to have you on the program. Thank you. Please come back. Let's keep talking about the 30 Percent Club as we move

forward, very grateful.

QUEST MEANS BUSINESS this evening, U.S. health experts run through one of the biggest questions of the coronavirus pandemic: what happens after you

get the vaccines? It's a list of do's and don'ts from the C.D.C., and it is coming next.



QUEST: Hello, I'm Richard Quest. More QUEST MEANS BUSINESS in a moment after I've brought you up to date with events in the world because this is

CNN. And on this network the news always comes first.

Officials in Ecuadorial Guinea say at least 31 people have been killed in a series of explosions at a military base . Hundreds of others have been


The country's president is calling Sunday's blast an accident caused by military mishandling of stockpiles of dynamite and other explosives.

Protesters across Myanmar are on strike aiming to paralyze the economy now controlled by the military rulers. Witnesses say two were shot dead in a

northern town.

Security forces have started moving into hospitals and universities and escalating crackdown on dissent.

Jury selection has been delayed until Tuesday in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer accused of killing George

Floyd. The judge sent the potential jurors home to give prosecutors time to file an appeal.

Floyd's death in May led to worldwide protests against racism and police brutality.

The airline industry is pushing back against new CDC guidelines that fully vaccinated people should still avoid non-essential travel.

The industry says flying poses a low risk of infection anyway; the heavily filtered air and the federally-mandated mask wearing.

The CDC released guidelines for people fully vaccinated today relaxing some restrictions while recommending others stay in place.

Dr. Eric Rubin is with me. And it's the "New England Journal of Medicine," Dr. Rubin's in Boston.

Not surprising. Didn't take long, did it, hey? The CDC came out with new guidelines and the airlines say they got it wrong. It's quite safe to fly

and that should not be on the list.

DR. ERIC RUBIN, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE: I think they are one of many industries that remain concerned about the continuing

restrictions on people who have been vaccinated.

QUEST: So you're vaccinated -- and this will happen more and more. You've got your vaccination and you've been told you should still in certain

circumstances stay away from people because even though you won't become seriously ill you could still become a carrier. Is that the gist of it?

RUBIN: I think the question is still out there; is this the golden ticket or isn't it? We certainly know that people who are vaccinated are

themselves protected against disease, not 100 percent but pretty well, but can they still transmit it to other people? And that's still an open


QUEST: It's going to become a question that becomes unbelievably important as more people get vaccinated. And not just that; we end up with the haves

and the have notes.

The vaccine passports or vaccine certificates versus those parts of the world that don't have them. How long do you think that continues? For


RUBIN: Well, I'm hoping that that's not true. For one thing, we'll know a lot more about the question of transmission from places which are heavily

vaccinated, places like Israel. We will get an idea of whether or not transmission is being limited.

But the fact is the vaccine roll out is slow in Europe, it's slow in the U.S. and it's going to be much slower in much of the rest of the world. So

there is that equity issue you bring up. Not everyone is going to be vaccinated.

QUEST: And one other point. I've been doing quite a lot of reading that suggests Florida may not be the basket case and the failure that everybody

has assumed because they did it in a different way.

That actually the number of people in Florida's deaths -- particularly the elderly you'd expect to be a higher percentage -- is actually lower than

say New York or California or around California's level.

That would turn the argument on its head, wouldn't it? Since we've come to view Florida as being something of a failure in this regard.

RUBIN: Well, I think there's an element of luck and there's an element of intention.


The lucky part is it's nice to be in a warm part of the country, the more people are outdoors the less they transmit. And restaurants and such have

been open but many people are staying outside.

Then there's also the individual behavior of people. The elderly tend to not be mixing, even in Florida, even in Texas, they're not the people out

in bars with no masks.

So I think that that has provided protection to people individually. They don't have to necessarily go to work and they may be able to --

QUEST: Right.

RUBIN: -- spare themselves the disease.

QUEST: I don't know what it was like in Boston this weekend but I can tell you in New York there was a different atmosphere in the city this[L1]


I mean, the weather was quite nice -- but there was a different atmosphere. There was a real feeling that the end might be in sight. If that's the case

are we fooling ourselves?

RUBIN: I think there are reasons for optimism. Having said that, the caseload numbers are leveling out there, they're not continuing to drop at

the rate that they were.

So I'm very hopeful that there is a trend. But I think we still need several more weeks to figure out whether or not it will continue to drop in

the way that it was.

QUEST: And with that in mind, do you still see us on course for -- do you still see us on course for being -- as much vaccine as anybody wants by


RUBIN: I'm hoping that's true. I don't have any special insight into the vaccine supplies but it really does look like there will be plenty. At

least for the U.S.

What will happen in other countries, of course, is different and each country has its own situation.

QUEST: See you, Doctor. Thank you. I appreciate it. Thank you.

Now a quick look at the markets and how things are trading. Just show you where we stand at the moment. Because it's a strong -- almost the best of

the day but not quite there yet.

That's QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. I'll be back at the top of the hour, I'll have more for you in just a moment.

We'll be making together a dash for the closing bell but now, CONNECTING AFRICA. On the other side of this break.