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Quest Means Business
U.S. Markets At Records As Senate Passes Infrastructure Bill; President Joe Biden And VP Harris Speaks As U.S. Senate Advances Infrastructure Bill; IHG CEO Says Growth Strategy Is Paying Off; New York Governor Andrew Cuomo Announces Resignation. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired August 10, 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 INTERNATIONAL HOST: With an hour ago, the Dow and the S&P are aiming for all-time highs. NASDAQ is down, but let's not fret
unnecessarily about that. The Dow is up 174, up half a percent. It's enough to take us over the limit for a record, which was 208. So, we're
comfortably over that.
The markets as they are trading in the last hour, and the main events of the day.
The ayes have it. U.S. stocks are at a record because of the infrastructure plans, and they're getting approval in the Senate.
The #MeToo movement has a watershed moment, as Andrew Cuomo resigns as Governor of New York. I speak to the woman's rights attorney, Gloria
And this is Paris. Ici c'est Paris. Lionel Messi let's his shirt do the talking as he arrives for his PSG switch.
I'm live in New York. It is Tuesday. It is the 10th of August. I'm Richard Quest and of course, I mean business.
Good evening. Wall Street is at record highs for the Dow and the S&P as Washington does something it has not been doing for decades. That's
bipartisanship agreements on a trillion-dollar bipartisan infrastructure plan that has now passed in the Senate, and you can see the result in the
First, the Dow and the S&P, which are the broader based indices. They are both at a record. The S&P barely, but it is at a record. The NASDAQ is off.
Its tech stocks not quite so infrastructure sensitive in a way because the main thrust as you'll see from the Dow 30 now shows that for example, Dow,
Caterpillar, the banks for investment, Boeing, and the oil companies, Honeywell, all of them, Home Depot, even all the infrastructure stocks are
propelling the market higher.
And specifically look at these four because they will show you, steel company, Nucor; Caterpillar, big equipment; Oshkosh, earthmoving, and
mechanical equipment; Freeport-McMoRan, which is copper, all up healthily on the back of the day of the infrastructure bill being passed.
Now, it goes to the House where it's much more likely to get passed. And the economy seems likely to get this massive infusion. More could be on the
way, work has now begun on the $3.5 trillion in spending by the Democrats.
Joe Biden has a win on this on several fronts. The President is likely to speak any moment, we'll see when he does, and we'll see what he says.
Manu Raju is on Capitol Hill.
This was a -- this was one where true bipartisanship was possible, A, because of pork barrel politics. Everybody wants a new bridge or road in
their constituency, but also, they can see the benefits of infrastructure.
MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it was bipartisan support, significant bipartisan support, because so many states are hurting
and need relief on seeing their roads or bridges and broadband, so critical in rural communities, waterways and the like, things that have been sorely
needed for major investment over years and years and years.
Why they have not been able to get a deal is because they have not been able to reach a deal on how to pay for all of this. But ultimately, they
agreed on certain things were off the table. Democrats didn't want user fees such as an increase in the gasoline tax, and Republicans didn't want
an increase in income taxes on high income earners, as well as corporate tax hikes as the Democrats are pushing.
So after months of negotiation, they came together, 69 senators voted to move ahead. That's 19 Republicans joined with 50 Democrats. The other
Republicans voted against this plan, concerned it still spent too much money.
But nevertheless, seen as bipartisan achievement, significant. Even the Republican Leader Mitch McConnell joined with Democrats to move this ahead.
But still, Richard, is still has to move through the U.S. House, and that is still an open question, as progressive say it doesn't go far enough and
moderates are demanding an immediate vote.
QUEST: So let's talk about that, because this is a done deal and the market has priced it in. It's going to happen, we pretty much know it will happen
in some shape or form. Nobody is going to hold her hostage for too long.
But this other social bill, this massive reform of the U.S. Social Security system. That is not going to have an easy ride.
RAJU: Yes, and they are both tied together at the end of the day. That's $3.5 trillion, a massive expansion of the social safety net, expanding the
Affordable Care Act, dealing with -- providing a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, new climate change provisions, providing universal
pre-K for certain families in the United States, also raising taxes that the Democrats wanted on those high-income earners.
RAJU: This massive proposal needs to be approved by all 50 Democrats in the U.S. Senate. They don't have that support yet, because some Democrats
believe it is too costly. But they pulled the price tag down too much, it could cause some support on the left were liberals in the House are pushing
for all their priorities to get included in this.
And at the top of all this, Richard, the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi has said that she will not move on the smaller bipartisan deal that just
passed the Senate today into that larger package is approved by the Senate.
So, all this is tied together at the end of the day, can it come together remains to be seen.
QUEST: I am surprised and Manu, I may interrupt you because we are on the two-minute warning for the President. So, I'll apologize if I appear rude,
and just jump in and cut you off. But I was surprised at how quickly they did this.
I mean, yes, a lot of negotiations in the back room over several weeks. But I beg your pardon, you'll have to hold your thoughts on that. Here's the
President of the United States on the infrastructure bill.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAMALA HARRIS (D), VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Good afternoon, everyone. Please have a seat.
Good afternoon, everyone. The President has been clear that every day in every way, our administration will work on behalf of the American people.
And this has been true as we delivered historic relief through the American Rescue Plan to families and small businesses, as we continue the fight to
pass legislation to protect and strengthen the sacred right to vote, and as we continue the work to strengthen our nation's care economy.
And this is true today, because today, we move one step closer to making a once in a generation investment in our nation's infrastructure.
Today, Democrats, Independents, and Republicans in the United States Senate passed the Infrastructure, Investment and Jobs Act. So let me describe just
a little bit about why this bill is so important.
It is an investment in the roads and bridges we drive on every day to get our kids to school. It is an investment in the public transit we rely on to
get to work. It will mean people in our nation won't have to drink water from lead pipes, or go to a fast food parking lot to get high speed
This bill will also establish a national network of electric vehicle chargers that the President has been fighting for, for a long time, and
build toward a national fleet of electric school buses. And the way I see it, an investment in infrastructure, it provides people with what they need
to get where they need to go.
This bill that passed the Senate today gives people what they need to get where they need to go, and it will do that while also creating millions of
good union jobs for our nation's workers. It will do that, while also helping our nation's businesses compete worldwide.
And so just so we are clear, we are not going to raise middle class taxes to pay for it, because that's what the President promised and that is what
we must deliver.
This afternoon, I was proud to preside over the Senate vote, and I want to thank the senators who worked together to pass this bill. I also thank the
members of the House who will now work to get this bill to the President's desk.
And first and foremost, we would not be here today were it not for the leadership of our President, Joe Biden.
Mr. President, from the very start, you welcomed ideas. You welcomed debate. You welcomed Democrats and Independents and Republicans to meet
with us in the Oval Office. In those meetings, I watched as you listened. In those meetings, you deliberated.
You were determined to bring all sides together and to deliver real results for the people of our nation. And I know that even after this vote, our
work will not stop, even when you sign the bill into law, our work will not stop.
We will never stop working on behalf of the American people. So thank you, Mr. President. Thank you. Thank you.
And now it is my great honor to introduce the President of the United States, Joe Biden.
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you, Madam Vice President. First of all, I want to thank the group of senators, Democrats
and Republicans, for doing what they told me they would do. The death of this legislation was mildly premature, as reported.
They said they are willing to work in a bipartisan manner, and I want to thank them for keeping their word. It's just what they did. After years and
years of infrastructure week, we're in the cusp of an infrastructure decade that I truly believe will transform America.
As you all know, just a short while ago, the United States Senate passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The very legislation I ran on
when I announced my candidacy for the nomination for President, a historic investment in the nation's roads and highways, bridges and transit, and our
drinking water systems, and broadband, clean energy, environmental cleanup, and making infrastructure more resilient, and the climate crisis much more
in our minds and how do we deal with it.
You know, we're poised once again -- and I mean, this in a literal sense -- to make the same kind of historic investments that have so often made
possible, made it possible for America to build the future, and allow us to outcompete the rest of the world, from building the Erie Canal in the early
1800s, a bipartisan effort; the Transcontinental Railroad, the construction that was constructed during the Civil War, to Dwight Eisenhower's
Interstate Highway System in the 1950s.
The investments that literally connected our entire nation, and fundamentally changed the pattern of life in America, to the public
investments that took us to the moon, and the discovery of life saving medicines and vaccines, and gave us the internet.
America has often had the greatest prosperity and made the most progress when we invest in America itself, and that's what this infrastructure bill
does. With overwhelming support from the United States Senate, 69 votes in the Senate, a vote margin bigger the when the Interstate Highway System
passed the Senate in 1956.
It makes key investments that will one, create millions of good union jobs all across the country, in cities, small towns, rural, and tribal
communities. America -- America, this is how we truly build back better.
This bill is going to put people to work, modernizing our roads and our highways and our bridges, so commuters and truckers don't lose time in
traffic saving billions of dollars nationally.
Today, up to 10 million homes in America, more than 400,000 schools and childcare centers have pipes with lead in them, including for drinking
water. This is a clear and present danger to the health of America, particularly to our children's health.
This bill is going to put plumbers and pipefitters to work, replacing all the nation's lead pipes so every child, every American can turn on a faucet
at home or in school and know they're drinking clean water.
During remote learning --
QUEST: The President speaking after the Senate has moved forward, the infrastructure bill, it goes to their House now where it will be debated.
It's a major achievement for the President who has now got not only had his COVID Relief Bill passed, but also now the infrastructure, the big one of
course is the reform of the social services and Social Security and things like that and benefits and entitlements that still to come and that will be
a much tougher battle for him.
QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. For Lionel Messi, adios Barcelona, bonjour Paris. The star footballer's move Paris- St. Germain and this new contract.
And the CEO of IHG, Intercontinental Hotels tells me demand is back to pre- pandemic levels in China, a multi speed recovery and the vaccine mandate.
QUEST: IHG is posting a profit as more people begin to book hotels. The latest earnings show the multispeed recovery for travel in full swing. IHG
says demand is strongest in China, the U.S. isn't far behind. The shares were off more than half a percent, but really, not much to talk about.
IHG oversees 16 brands: That's Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, and of course, the namesake Intercontinental Hotels. I spoke to the Chief Executive there,
Keith Barr told me, the company is making great headway in its pandemic recovery.
KEITH BARR, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, INTERCONTINENTAL HOTEL GROUP: We are really seeing on our focus on growth pay off, you know, we saw again, U.S.
has been accelerating; China is back to normal, and we've seen quite a bit of demand happening across Southern Asia into the Middle East.
Europe has been a bit slower, and so the question is, how will those markets recover in terms of growth? So, I would say more about our focuses
on markets right now where we're seeing development activity really kind of gear up, which is also why we're launching a new brand. We've announced in
the next three weeks to tap into that luxury lifestyle collection space.
QUEST: Does the guest truly distinguish between the minutiae of the middle brands? Yes, you've got six senses and InterCon at the top and you've run
Holiday Inn at the bottom and you've got -- or in the middle or whatever -- and there are the big names.
But the moment you stop mentioning all the others, do just people really honestly, do they know what they stand for?
BARR: I think when you go brands like Holiday Inn Express, 30 years, 3,000 hotels, net room for that, these are younger brands, right? So I mean, we
only have 200 Abbott's opened in the pipeline. And so you know, my aspiration is that Abbott is going to be the next Holiday Inn Express for
IHG, and it is a different experience and a different price point than a Holiday Inn Express and customers see that.
And that is for suites, but most of this is going to be about price points and experiences and then building up a small differentiators from a brand
perspective that meet customer needs, too.
And so -- but it is about scale, at the end of the day, you have to become big, have scale for customers to really know what the brand stands for in
QUEST: I'm curious. Talk me through the CEO thinking about whether or not to mandate and say, you have to be vaccinated if you want this job.
Assuming it's legal in the country we're talking about. So let's take the United States where in most cases it would be legal to do that.
What is your thinking about why are you hesitant from doing, for example, what the Mayor of New York has done, or the Governor of California has
done? Why are you hesitant?
BARR: We have a fairly ethnically diverse frontline workforce, and there's a lot of vaccine hesitancy in some of those communities and we're afraid of
actually being discriminating about employing those individuals in an environment where we're struggling to find staff.
I think if you're in the hospitality, travel, tourism services sector right now, we're having a real hard time finding staff because people left this
industry. The demand has come back faster than we expected, and we're trying to draw people back into the industry and trying to remove those
hurdles. And candidly, we have great COVID operating protocols from screens and masks and social distancing that we operate in a very, very safe
But it is one of the real challenges. Richard, I don't deny it. It's something that we continually debate week in and week out right now.
QUEST: Your own travels. I'm surprised you're just taken your first trip.
BARR: First business trip.
QUEST: First business trip. How was it? Where did you go? How was it?
BARR: I left the U.K., went to Atlanta, then to Salt Lake City, and then Los Angeles, and then back to the U.K., and a lot more paperwork, a lot
more COVID tests. I'll be amazed if I have a nose left at the end of all this.
When I landed in the U.S., I was amazed at how busy the airports were, having left the U.K. where international travel has been quite restricted,
and you feel sometimes like walking into the airport and there's no one there, to landing into Atlanta Hartsfield or into Salt Lake City or LAX,
and the business was just booming, right?
The planes were full and people were traveling, which was great to see, and it was business as well. There were people with roller boards and
briefcases on there as much as rucksacks with kids going on holiday.
And so that gives me confidence about what the future of this industry holds, because we're seeing it when the vaccine rates are like that in the
QUEST: Have you changed your view on the percentage of business travel that will come back? Do you think more will now come back than with we first
thought? The internal meeting, the daily trips gone. I accept that. But the business trip, do you feel, you know, talk of its death is greatly
exaggerated, as they say.
BARR: I completely agree and it made me realize what we were missing. And I think when you don't have it, you don't maybe realize it until you have
that connection again. And the example that I was using is video is very transactional and that works for some things, right?
It's sort of you know, we have to have a conversation to get something done, but it is pretty hard to build a relationship or convince an owner to
go build a $200 million hotel when the only time you've ever met is over a Zoom call or a Team's Meeting or on Skype.
And so, I think more business will come back, and particularly as vaccination rates continue to go up and countries begin to reopen up travel
corridors and making it easier, because they are just feeling their way through it now, right?
My first leisure trip was to Spain, five COVID tests, painful, right, to go through that experience. Now my last test was two COVID, so getting better
pretty soon, I'm hoping to have no COVID test. But the easier it gets, I think the more business travel we'll see come back.
QUEST: The CEO of IHG talking to me. I'm about to go on assignment to Copenhagen, already starting to count the number of COVID tests that I'll
be needing to take for one reason or another in the amount of forms.
QUEST MEANS BUSINESS this evening, AMC is fishing for votes. CEO Adam Aron is leaning into the meme stock favorites, popularity among Reddit
investors. His latest earnings call took a dozen questions from individual investors on topics like adopting a mascot and bringing back drive-ins, and
just one question from an analyst.
It's a bit of a publicity stunt, of course, and the company even said it will start accepting Bitcoin from moviegoers in the U.S. by the end of the
The price is down six percent, by the way. Markets have not been won over. It's now offer six and a quarter percent.
Paul La Monica is here. The problem I have with AMC doing all this, let's be nice to the memes, and let's play along with the Reddit's and the
Robinhood's is that it's a serious company in a serious business with serious revenues and serious real estate holdings, and it all seems a bit
unnecessary to have to pander to this sort of this other group.
PAUL LA MONICA, CNN BUSINESS REPORTER: Yes, I think that on the one hand, it is obviously nice to see a mainstream company recognizing average retail
investors, but you're right, Richard, there is a certain point where you kind of need to conduct yourself as a publicly traded company in a bit more
So, having this earnings call where you have only one question from a legitimate Wall Street analyst and all of these questions from the Reddit
fans of the stock, then you get questions like should AMC partner with GameStop? The answer to that is no, of course.
Is AMC going to adopt a corporate mascot of a gorilla, which is a joke about how the apes on Reddit love this stock? I mean, that's just a bit
ridiculous and I think it doesn't really serve AMC well to be going that far with this pendulum swing to cater to retail investors.
QUEST: Right. But you say the retail investors, but the speculators and the day traders are not the investors, they're not holding the stock for any
length of time. It's still the pension funds. It's still the long term investors. It's still the institutions that are the back -- and yes, the
hedges -- the hedge funds and the shorts, the big ones, and I understand this argument that there needs to be a position or a play for retail. But I
don't know whether this is it?
LA MONICA: Yes, I think that this is an experiment that maybe people will look back upon in a couple of years and scratch their heads and say,
"Really? What were we thinking?" We're having people come on these conference calls and ask about whether or not we need a gorilla as a
corporate mascot. It's all a bit silly.
When we look at these fundamentals, that's what's going to drive the stock long term. And yes, revenue beat estimates because people are going back to
the box office seeing movies again, but AMC is a challenge company that is losing money and the CEO admitted that. They're burning cash, they're
They might be profitable at the end of the year. But with the delta variant, you're going to see I think a lot more people be wary of going to
theaters, especially since many of these top movies are available for either streaming for free from a company like ours, HBO MAX, if you're a
subscriber or you can pay to watch them on Disney+.
QUEST: Thank you, Paul La Monica, I appreciate it. Thank you.
Lionel Messi is taking Paris by storm.
[VIDEO CLIP PLAYS]
QUEST: A lot more fans took to the streets on the news at the star baller is joining Paris-St. Germain. Messi fans greeted him from a window at the
airport -- that was him -- as reports of his move swirled on social media.
Messi spent his entire career with Barcelona. We've talked about it, of course on this program. His departure earlier this week after the club
couldn't afford a contract. "New York Times" says that the new deal is at $41 million a year for two years with an option for a third. That's
according to a PSG unnamed official.
In addition, he will get over $35 million sign-on. If you'll remember, there is no transfer fee, he is a free agent. He was making nearly $170
million with Barcelona and said he take a 50 percent cut to stay, but that of course won't do it.
There's no transfer fee. So, all in all, it's going rather well for Paris- St. Germain. They got him there and they didn't have to pay the full whack and no transfer fee on the way. Barcelona couldn't afford to re-sign. The
La Liga cost control rules that you and I have talked about, because of the constraints from the pandemic.
Paris are sponsored by the State of Qatar and with Man City, it seems to be spending without regard to financial constraints. That of course, raises
questions about the financial fair play rules that were implemented a decade ago.
Pau Mosquera is at the PSG Stadium in Paris. It was -- I mean, it was a muted welcome because they didn't know he was coming, but there'll be a lot
more to come in the future.
PAU MOSQUERA, CNN EN ESPANOL REPORTER: That's it, Richard, because we know that tomorrow, Wednesday there will be an official presentation of Lionel
Messi and it will happen here behind me at Parc de Paris, which is the main stadium, the one where Paris-St. Germain normally plays and we can call it
it's home and from now on, also it's going to be Lionel Messi's home.
Everything will happen tomorrow in the morning, like at 11 o'clock Paris time. But the excitement over the coming, the arrival of the Argentinian
soccer star, it has been so big that lots of fans have decided to gather from today here around the Stadium from early morning today, Tuesday. We
have seen how many of them, large groups of people came here to try to see, to get a view of Lionel Messi now that he has finally arrived and made it
We saw how those large groups of people were chanting, clapping, and they finally had a chance of getting a close view of the Argentinian soccer star
like two hours ago, he decided to come near the Stadium and he had a lot of security around which for sure makes it difficult to get close to him, but
some of them could get the video, the picture to share on their social media -- Richard.
QUEST: Thank you, in Paris. We'll have more on that tomorrow, of course, when he comes out and speaks publicly.
The biggest story here in New York is a stunning fall from grace for the once beloved Governor Andrew Cuomo, well, beloved by some; respected by
others, feared by many, and hated by a few.
He has resigned after multiple allegations of sexual harassment.
QUEST MEANS BUSINESS in a moment.
QUEST: Some say it was inevitable. Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York has resigned and will leave office in 14 days. A stunning fall from grace from
a man once considered one of America's most popular Democratic politicians.
The governor defended himself until the end against an AG report that found he sexually harassed 11 women. Cuomo said he has never crossed the line
with anyone, acknowledging, though, the scandal had become too much of a distraction for him in the job.
He is arguably the biggest casualty in the #MeToo era since Harvey Weinstein, a swift, brutal fall from grace from a once beloved governor.
And indeed he was an icon in the early pandemic.
The international attention in 2020, his press conferences and media appearances resonated with New Yorkers and found favor globally. That
reputation is gone, in tatters if you like. And the governor's admitted, times have changed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY), OUTGOING GOVERNOR: I take full responsibility for my actions. I have been too familiar with people. My sense of humor can be
insensitive and off-putting. I do hug and kiss people casually. Women and men. I have done it all my life. It is who I've been since I can remember.
In my mind, I've never crossed the line with anyone. But I didn't realize the extent to which the line has been redrawn.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: Gloria Allred is with me. She represents one of the women accusing Cuomo of sexual harassment.
Good to see you. Thank you.
QUEST: Times have changed. The line has moved and I did not realize how far the line had gone. I'm just a dinosaur who didn't realize things aren't as
they used to be.
You don't accept that, do you?
GLORIA ALLRED, ATTORNEY: No, I don't. And thank you for inviting me, Richard. I would like to also say that I actually represent three persons
who alleged that they are victims of governor Cuomo.
And that is Sherry Vill and we have done a press conference with her in the past, showing the governor grabbing and kissing her. In addition I
represent Susan Iannucci, with whom I just did a press conference today, who was also not only grabbed and kissed by the governor but then the
governor used her as a defense to the New York attorney general's report and placed a video of her being kissed by the governor and grabbed by him
as part of his defense that he gave to the press.
And finally I also do represent the state trooper, whose experience with the governor is described in the New York attorney general's report and who
is also described as a victim of the attorney general (sic).
In response to what you played, governor attempted to, in his announcement that he was resigning, suggest that there has been a generational and a
That is true. But in a way it's irrelevant because the governor is a lawyer. He knew that that which he did was inappropriate. He knows the laws
against sexual harassment. He just engaged in high risk-taking and now he has to face consequences of his risk-taking. There is a legal reckoning now
and there's also a political reckoning.
QUEST: Gloria, with that legal and political reckoning, the governor, some would say, properly didn't go at the first whiff; waited -- and arguably he
should have gone sooner, once the AG's report had come out.
Do you see any change in the way these cases will be viewed by victims and assailants as a result of the way the governor handled himself?
ALLRED: Absolutely. There is a change but also that change has been evolving and coming for quite a long time. I represented the key
prosecution witness, the main witness in the case, the criminal case, against Harvey Weinstein in New York, Mimi.
And in that case, a jury convicted Harvey Weinstein of criminal sexual assault against Mimi. And because of that conviction, he was sentenced to
20 years in state prison.
So juries now really are taking seriously these allegations of sexual assault, sexual battery -- and I'm very happy because this is significant
in the quest that many women have for justice.
QUEST: And as -- finally, the lesson learned here is what?
I mean, besides don't do these things in the first place because there are many men of a certain age, who still tonight will say, well, I don't think
the governor intended. And I know the view is, it doesn't matter what you intend; it is what the victim felt or the victim described (ph).
But there will be many who say, ah, come on. He didn't intend it.
What would you say to them tonight?
ALLRED: I would say, Richard, that he used his power, his influence and prestige to hurt women. And now his power, his influence and his prestige
will no longer shield him from the consequences of his wrongful and, in some cases, potentially criminal acts.
So all of you who are thinking of just grabbing and hurting women or girls or even men, think before you act. Just remember, keep your hands to
yourself because, otherwise, there could be consequences for you, too.
QUEST: Gloria, thank you. I appreciate you joining us. Thank you. It is incumbent upon me to remind dear viewer that the governor does of course
still deny that of which he's been accused. But, Gloria, I'm grateful that you are with us tonight.
Well, I need to look at the markets because I think we might have a few records that just need to be mentioned before we take a short break. Well,
there's the Dow.
QUEST: So that is a record, I believe. And the SNP is over 36. If you look at the triple stack, that'll tell me if that is also at a record. And, no,
that hasn't gained enough. That's just under. It might get there between now and the top of the hour. And we look at the Nasdaq, obviously.
I'll be back at the top of the hour as we go together for a dash to the closing bell. "CONNECTING AFRICA" is next because the news never stops.
This is CNN.
QUEST: I'm Richard Quest. Together, let's have a dash to the closing bell. We are two minutes away. The U.S. markets are adjusting to progress, as the
senators pass the infrastructure bill -- or at least passed it forward. The Dow is on track to close at a record -- barely but there. It is going to
close at a record.
The SNP possibly might do, probably not going to be, yet may just be a record; 433 was the previous. We've cooked up, got a record on the SNP,
too, I think, just barely. The Nasdaq is down. Decoupling China on issues there.
InterContinental Hotel Groups (sic) has a profit. More people are traveling. The CEO Keith Barr (ph) told me the company is debating a
vaccine mandate for the front line workers. He said their decision is complicated.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KEITH BARR, CEO, INTERCONTINENTAL HOTELS GROUP: We have a fairly ethnically diverse frontline work force and there's a lot of vaccine hesitancy in some
of those community and we're afraid of actually being discriminating about employing those individuals in an environment where we're struggling to
I think if you're in the hospitality, travel, tourism, services sector right now, we're having a real hard time finding staff because people left
this industry. Demand has come back faster than we expected. And we're trying to draw people back into the industry and trying to remove those
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: So what is putting the Dow up?
Take a look. You will see it is Dow and Caterpillar are the leaders. Hardly any surprises there in terms of that. But you've also got the banks and the
insurance companies and Honeywells, the big names, Boeing, all those that will benefit as a result of infrastructure.
Perhaps the consumer electronics and others like Microsoft and retail, McDonald's, Merck and the likes, they are off. But that's the dash to the
bell. I'm Richard Quest. Whatever you're up to in the hours ahead, I hope it is profitable. The closing bell is ringing on Wall Street. Pamela Brown
has "THE LEAD."