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Quest Means Business

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Wants Debt Limit Vote Today; Evergrande Raises $1.5 Billion As New Debt Payment Looms; Fumio Kishida Expected To Become Japan's Next Prime Minister; United Airlines CEO: Mandates Work; Dow Tumbles Before Closing Bell. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired September 29, 2021 - 15:00   ET



RICHARD QUEST, CNN BUSINESS ANCHOR: There's a recovery of sorts on the way. U.S. stocks coming back after the worst day in months, the market shows,

with 60 minutes to trade, we're up over 260 points, a gain of three quarters of one percent. Which is all the more remarkable when you consider

the main events of the day.

Corporate America is sounding the alarm with the debt ceiling crisis, and Nancy Pelosi saying she'll deal with it today.

Japan is getting a new Prime Minister, the Suntory chief executive tells us he is not the strongest leader.

And the Chief Executive of United Airlines urges his fellow CEOs to mandate vaccines for their staff.

We are live in New York. It's good to be back on Wednesday, the 29th of September. I'm Richard Quest, I mean business.

Good evening, there's a full blown financial crisis brewing in the United States over the debt ceiling, and the U.S. House Speaker says she wants a

vote on suspending America's debt ceiling before the close of business today.

Nancy Pelosi, of course, who is a Democrat has warned of dire consequences if Congress fails to act, and she says Republicans will bear the blame.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): I spent a good deal of time in the meeting talking about the debt ceiling, because we have to get that done. It would

be like $15 trillion in household wealth will go down the drain and unemployment would go up to nine percent. It would double.

It would be increased interest on car loans, credit card bills, mortgages - - anything you're paying interest on. So, this is something that has to be done.

The fact that the Republicans are being so irresponsible is no surprise, but nonetheless, disappointing as always.


QUEST: Now the government is facing a shutdown on Friday, and then following that, a potential default in just a few weeks from then. The

partisan gridlock is preventing the country from paying its bills. And what one might describe as theatrics in Washington are starting to worry Wall


Now, two markets here, the 10-year bond, which rose four percent yesterday, is up about 17 percent per month -- on the month. Now, arguably that is on

other issues. However, what you can point to is the one month bond yield at the short end of the yield curve, and that, as you can see is up some 16

percent and that firmly is on debt ceiling and short-term notes and bills, the supply of which could be in question and of course, the liquidity could

become difficult.

Jamie Dimon, the head of JPMorgan Chase sounded this alarm on a U.S. default. Now, the investment bank Jeffries is joining in, and a note to

investors, Jeffries says it " ... sees the government's cash balances starting to get very low on October the 14th and the risk of default

intensifies significantly past then."

Matt Egan is with me. Matt, first of all, the risk of a default, it has never happened. They get close to the edge. But why is this different, if

it is?

MATT EGAN, CNN REPORTER: Well, Richard 19 days, that's all that's left for Congress to raise the debt ceiling and avoid what Janet Yellen, Jay

Powell and Jamie Dimon have all said would be an economic catastrophe.

Now, I do think that investors anticipate that eventually Congress is going to do the right thing because they always do, or they always have in the

past where they eventually will raise the debt ceiling. I think that this is tricky, because there's a lot of moving pieces here. They're trying to

get a lot of stuff done in Congress, they are trying to avoid a shutdown, get this reconciliation bill passed, pass bipartisan infrastructure, and

raise the debt ceiling, and the clock is ticking, and the risk is that the closer they get to the edge here, you know, they're more likely that they

accidentally go over it.

QUEST: Well, yes, but they shouldn't go over, accidentally, because Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader instead has made it clear that the

Democrats on their own do have the votes to raise the debt ceiling, and whilst there may be a political expediency, to wanting to rope everybody

else in, if push came to shove, the Democrats could pass this.

EGAN: That's right. If push comes to shove, then Democrats could do this on a purely partisan basis through reconciliation, and clearly they don't

want to do that. And Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen weighed in on this yesterday and she said that she thinks that raising the debt ceiling is a

quote "shared responsibility" and she said that's because the national debt has been driven up by both parties.


EGAN: And she pointed out that as recently as under President Trump, Democrats in Congress voted to raise the debt ceiling. But to your point,

at the end of the day, they should be able to do this on a purely partisan basis if they had to.

QUEST: Matt Egan. Matt, thank you.

Now, on that point, the U.S. is running out of time to pay those bills. The Federal government partially shuts down on Friday, if there isn't an

authorization, and the Speaker says she doesn't think the shutdown will happen, promising a big vote tomorrow.

Three weeks hence, is when the money runs out. The so-called debt ceiling is reached. However, ironically, the spending plans continue. The House is

looking at a vote on a trillion dollar infrastructure bill tomorrow. And then it's off until the 19th, which is after the deadline.

The Senate is staying in D.C. until next Friday, six days for lawmakers before the U.S. runs out. There are real consequences to all of this

political wrangling as you'll be aware, of course, 2011, ten years ago, when S&P downgraded the U.S. AAA credit rating, because Republicans

threatened to prevent a debt limit increase.

Short term yields are going up already, and the U.S. Treasury Secretary has warned that if the U.S. defaults, even on some of its bonds, and

treasuries, it could be difficult to sort out, leading to a catastrophic scenario.

Rana is with me. Rana, they're going to do it, because at the end of the day, if they don't -- the Dems can do this on their own, if they have to.

Is that why the market -- short market is high -- is higher? The short end of the curve? But is that why the market is more sanguine?

RANA FOROOHAR, CNN GLOBAL ECONOMIC ANALYST: I think that that's right, I think that there's an understanding that look, you know, we always get to

the brink and this does eventually get done. But you know, every single time, there is a little bit more erosion of U.S. credibility, a little -- a

few more questions in the mind of allies, of Europeans. You know, what is the Biden administration all about? Can it even prevent Civil War within

its own party?

So, you know, although I think we're going to get to a solution, what is the goodwill capital that you lose in the meantime, by always getting to

the edge of the cliff? You know, that's what people want to know.

QUEST: All right, so let's say they go over the cliff, all right. Let's say they go over it. Nobody, for a moment thinks that for a second that

people won't get paid. I mean, you know, if a bond was paid late, it would get paid with the necessary penalties on top of it, what's the danger?

FOROOHAR: Again, I think it's an existential danger. I don't think it's an actual dollars and cents danger, but there is -- you know, we are moving

to a world sooner or later, where the U.S. is not the only superpower. You know, China is there. China has its own currency, its own trade patterns.

Right now, we are in a very bipolar world. Europe is trying to figure out should we push more in the direction of the U.S. or should we keep our

trade relationships and strengthen currency alliances with China? I mean, this is where we are right now.

So, all of these things have a kind of an exponential effect that starts to influence things like National Security debates, foreign policy debates --

it's all very touchy, it is all very interlinked right now. I think the stakes are higher than they have been in the past.

QUEST: Right. But when you say that, Rana, I get the impression you're saying, not because of the sheer, if you like, technical financial

fundamentals of this, because, you know, sure, I can make an argument that says, the real problem here is, if they were to default on a minor bond,

then essentially it will become the new game de jour, will default on another one in six months' time.

You know, everyone will get paid eventually, but the amount of nonsense that takes place. But you're saying, actually, it's bigger.

FOROOHAR: I think it's bigger. I think it's about the trust in the U.S. government and ultimately, the trust in the dollar, the trust in dollar

reserves. You know, I mean, we are moving, I think, at some point to a post dollar world and frankly, if the world's creditors began to think that the

-- I really do think, we are Richard, you know, ultimately, we're starting to see sovereign digital currencies coming. You know, we have China that

wants to have a totally different orbit.

I think sooner rather than later, there will be in the next five years, more pressure on the dollar, and when you get a government shutdown every

few years, it doesn't help things.

So, I don't see it as a sheer matter of technicals, I see it more as a crisis of the old order, if you will.

QUEST: Yes, but I'll throw this packet to you. You're talking about China and I could arguably say yes, but who wants to invest or be tied to a

country where there is seemingly arbitrary changes to the capitalist rules on the drop of a whim, where they seem to be purely designed at the moment

obviously to gain control, but also clobber the Western markets in the process.


FOROOHAR: Hundred percent, Richard, there's not a lot of good options out there. But if the U.S. wants to bring not only Europe, but other O.E.C.D.

nations along into new trade and tech alliances, they're going to have to, you know, get their act together in Congress and start, you know, getting

these situations wrapped up before we get to the edge.

QUEST: And a word for now, okay, I'm going to give you a choice for something to put under the bed. Do you want a dollar? A Euro? A Bitcoin? Or

a bar of gold? Which would you have? You can have the equivalent in gold. Which one do you want?

FOROOHAR: Oh, my gosh. Oh, God, Richard, I love this. I'm going to go -- can I have 50 cents in the dollar and 50 cents in gold?

QUEST: Typical. Thank you. Look --

FOROOHAR: Don't ring your bell on me, by the way.

QUEST: Oh, I forgot the bell. The bell is over at -- we will have to get the bell before the end of the program.

Rana, thank you for reminding me I've forgotten the bell.

What would you have? If you had the choice? I'll show you the e-mail address. It's

We'll show it to you or just tweet me @RichardQuest. or @RichardQuest.

You've got a choice, bearing in mind what Rana was saying. You can have a dollar, equivalent in gold, a euro, or a Bitcoin. We will make up some sort

of graphic and we'll show you and we will to do that before halftime.

U.S. markets appear more optimistic there will be a resolution. The Dow is up more than 200 points. You saw that a moment ago after a rebound, and in

fact, all the major averages are up with the NASDAQ reversing losses from earlier on.

The bills are mounting for Evergrande. Now, it is off loading shares worth $1.5 billion as it tries to stay afloat.

Clare will have that after the break.

Where is the bell?


QUEST: Evergrande is doing everything it can to raise cash as it faces more interest payments, and now it says it struck a $1.5 billion deal to

sell part of its stake in a local bank. The company had an interest payment due today. It's got liabilities of more than $300 billion.

Clare is with me.

Well, I mean, any old stuff -- kitchen sink? What have you got lying around that you can just pop on the block?


SEBASTIAN: Yes, they still have assets, Richard, this is a good thing, and that means that we're in is still in a liquidity crisis, not

necessarily a solvency crisis. But what we learned today, really, is it is sort of reinforcing what we've been seeing over the past week and a half, a

sense of the pecking order here.

Really, the government in Beijing looks to be prioritizing, and this makes total sense. Of course, first of all, the regular people, the people who

bought apartments who perhaps haven't received the apartments yet. There was a statement this week from the Central Bank saying that they would

maintain the healthy development of the real estate market and safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of housing consumers.

And this move today, this divestment of part of their stake in this local bank, which is going to be used to settle liabilities with that bank that

in addition to the fact that they paid one domestic bond interest payment last week shows that the next in line of the domestic creditors and only

after that it seems, will the foreign bondholders get a look in.

Right now, we don't know what's happened to the bond payment that was due today, the interest payment of almost $50 million, and it would seem that

they missed a payment last week of somewhere north of $80 million in another dollar denominated bond. So we're getting a sense of this sort of

order of things if there is a restructuring here.

QUEST: Okay. But the size and scale of this will have to be a major restructuring rather than tinkering around. I mean, you're talking about

major creditor stuff.

SEBASTIAN: Yes, and I think, you know, today, clearly $1.5 billion, that's a very tiny proportion, less than one percent of their overall debt

pile of $300 billion. And of course, none of that money is going to go to any of the creditors other than this bank itself.

I think this shows how widespread and complicated the situation is, as well, a debt in all kinds of different places. But the other thing we

learned today, Richard, is that there is a potential role for state owned enterprises here that the company that actually bought that stake in the

local bank from Evergrande is a state owned enterprise.

Reuters is reporting, citing unnamed sources that the government in Beijing is prodding other state owned enterprises to try to pick up Evergrande's

assets that would avoid a situation where they have to sort of do fire sales of those assets that could ripple through the domestic property

market and the economy overall.

So, that's one of the clues that we're getting even though Beijing has yet to actually talk publicly about Evergrande yet.

QUEST: All right, Clare, stay with me. Answer this. This is the question we're asking today. Which would you choose? A dollar? A euro? A Bitcoin?

Gold? On the screen, you can see me, you can email me at or the Twitter @RichardQuest, but everybody is on the

hook today. So, Clare, which would it be?

SEBASTIAN: I'm going to say -- oh, you know what, we're going to be cautious today, Richard. We're going to say gold.

QUEST: Gold. Safe. Safe as ever. Thank you, Clare Sebastian.

We now know who is very likely to become Japan's next Prime Minister. He is Fumio Kishida, the new leader of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party. It

means he is likely successor as the Prime Minister. He has already served as Foreign Minister, where he has dealt extensively with China.

And Mr. Kishida wants to put together a massive economic recovery package calling -- it has called to help push Japanese stocks higher since the

leadership race began. And you'll remember, the Nikkei has not been doing as well as most.

The chief executive of Suntory says he is worried that Kishida is not the strongest leader in the party. Takeshi Niinami has been an economic adviser

to the Japanese government. Speaking to Selina Wang, he said Japan has to keep China on side.


TAKESHI NIINAMI, CEO, SUNTORY: We believe that Mr. Kishida will visit Beijing at some point to be able to create a good relation with President

Xi, and we know the relation between dependent China is interdependent, and the business with China is -- we can't lose it.

So we, business leaders have to talk to Mr. Kishida to convince that we should not rely on the United States entirely. We should have a good

relationship with China as well.

SELINA WANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Prior to Shinzo Abe, Japan went through six Prime Ministers in six years. Are you concerned that Japan is returning

to a period of political instability with very short lived Prime Ministers?

NIINAMI: I'm concerned about that. I'm hopeful that Mr. Kishida will keep his regime at least more than six to seven years so that his administration

will touch upon long lasting issues like fiscal policy, fiscal debt, and of course, visitations between U.S. and China, which needs a lot of time to

resolve, but there are so many complicated issues and he is not the strongest leader in the ruling party of LDP.


NIINAMI: So, I'm so concerned about the revolving Prime Minister system.

WANG: So you were an economic adviser to Yoshihide Suga, what advice would you give to Kishida to boost the Japanese economy after damage done

by the pandemic?

NIINAMI: Mr. Kishida, give the incentive for people to travel freely, going to the restaurants and bars because people are so suppressed, and

people want to spend the money. Second, in the long run, Mr. Kishida should reform Social Security system of this country. That has been a huge

hindrance for people to spend money because people have strong anxiety to the future because people they have -- we have a very fragile Social

Security system because of the aging population, less the working population.


QUEST: The chief executive of "Forbes" says he wants his business to be as big as the company's brand. For more than a century, "Forbes" has

covered millionaires and billionaires, has been a byword for business journalism. It was first published in 1917 as a magazine, quote, "devoted

to doers and doings," then came the 400 Rich List in 1982. And now, it's looking for a bit of money on its own.

It is going public with a SPAC, working with a company based in Hong Kong. The chief executive of "Forbes" is Mike Federle. He joins us now.

Mike, it is good to have you, sir. Thank you. And it's going to be different, isn't it? A public company, which is going public in a sort of

an unusual way -- well, it is not unusual now, but it's not the most conventional ways. SPACs are still unusual. Why this way?

MIKE FEDERLE, CEO, "FORBES": Well, thanks, Richard, for having me. Good to see you there. Well, it's not very unusual anymore, if you look at the

number of SPACs going on, and for us, it was -- we had multiple choices of how to go public or how to raise money, whether through private equity,

through a private deal, and this SPAC option proved the best for us at this point in time.

QUEST: The change -- "Forbes" is such -- it's an institution and, of course, Steve has been on this program on many occasions in the past. How

do you take the value of the money you're going to get from this and grow the business? Where does it grow? Bearing in mind, the digitization and the

interest in digital properties, that sort of wanes and comes back and seems to be back in vogue.

FEDERLE: It seems to be back in vogue is right. You know, the timing for this is, is just right for "Forbes." You know, about 10 years ago, we

really set ourselves down a path over this last decade, to take the company through this digital transformation, and we've done it very successfully.

We have invested a lot of money in our tech stats, which enable us to -- we've created this business of scale. And in digital media, you need scale.

And so we have scale and we have the technology behind it now to really start segmenting audiences and understand through data and analytics, how

we can address those audiences with very bespoke products and experiences.

And to do that, we're going to use this investment and the cash that we're getting to the public market, to really take us through the next


QUEST: Now, clearly, the quality of journalism and information is the gold standard, if you like. I don't think either of us will disagree on

that. And I look at things like "Business Insider" Bloomberg, our own CNN Business, and I ask you though, it's getting very crowded out there, which

does suggest there needs to be a shift to quality.

But can you teach the elephant a new dance? A new trick? Or do you end up looking like our parents disco dancing at a wedding?

FEDERLE: I think the question was on journalism and obviously that is the core of what we do as it is what CNN does. You know, the challenge in all

of that is, you know, the media model really hasn't changed in a hundred years if you think about it. It's about creating content that attracts an

audience, then you can then monetize their subscriptions or advertising. That part hasn't changed.

What has changed is the technology in order -- through data and analytics to really understand these audiences. So, I think you'll see, journalism

and media in general become much more targeted, and, again, creating products that speak to specific interests of different audiences that we



QUEST: Final question to you. We were talking about the debt ceiling and the seriousness of it, if it all goes belly up. It made me think to ask one

of my colleagues, you know, if you had a choice these days, what would you choose? Put under your bed for a rainy day, would you choose a dollar? A

Euro? A Bitcoin? Or gold?

And most people seem to say they go for gold. What would you choose? Something for a rainy day to put under the bed, which one would you like?

FEDERLE: I would follow Warren Buffett's advice and stay with the dollar. It's still going to be the best bet and the best economy to bet going

forward. And also, it might be a surprise, I am more of a Keynesian who believes stimulus spending is the appropriate path right now, so the dollar

it is.

QUEST: And we thank you. Good luck, sir. Good luck, and we'll talk more as things progress. I appreciate it.

FEDERLE: Thank you.

QUEST: QUEST MEANS BUSINESS tonight. The CEO of United Airlines tells us his company's COVID vaccine mandate is a success, and now, he want others

to follow.


QUEST: The United Airlines chief executive says COVID vaccine mandates are working. Scott Kirby says the fact his company got nearly all of its

67,000 employees to comply proves it.

United is getting ready to fire nearly 600 U.S. workers who decided not to get a shot or apply for an exemption.

Last month they became the first carrier to issue a company wide mandate. Proof of vaccination was due by Monday. Scott Kirby told our Pete Muntean

the priority was protecting his workers.


SCOTT KIRBY, CEO, UNITED AIRLINES: I hate that anyone chose to do that but more importantly, I know that there are United Airlines employees who got

vaccinated because of this, who will be alive a year from now, who would not be, had we not done this.

And that means a lot more to me, that those people are going to be alive. Some of them might still be mad they had to get vaccinated. But they are

going to be alive. And that means far more to me than the small minority, the fewer than 1 percent, that chose to leave the company.


QUEST: Pete Muntean is with me from Washington.

It was a very controversial bold step by Kirby. Delta and American have gone to versions of their own. But his is the simplest. Vaccine or out.

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's so true. Scott Kirby says this is proof that these vaccine mandates do work. The 593 number could actually

get smaller because the separation process takes a few days. And these employees might actually realize they can change their minds and still keep

their jobs.

Let's run through the numbers here: 67,000 United employees in the United States subject to this mandate; 593 are now going through the separation

process. That is because they did not upload at least one shot of their coronavirus vaccine, a record, by midnight on Monday.

Another 2,000 applied for religious or medical exemptions. They still remain on the job pending the outcome of a federal case. Now other airlines

in the United States have not done this, no other major airline just yet. I asked United CEO about that and this is his message to them.


KIRBY: Just put the requirement in place. Don't take a lot of time. Don't be wishy-washy about it. We announced this, from announcement to 99 percent

in 7 weeks. You can do this. You just have to stick to it. Tell people what you're doing, be clear, honest, open communication with them.

But if you do that, you can get there, just like we did. I would encourage everyone to think about this. There's no question that this is the right

thing to do for safety. When it's the right thing to do for safety, just do it and then you'll figure out all the complications.


MUNTEAN: Now the question is will other airlines get ahead of this pending a mandate from the Biden administration?

They are waiting on guidance for companies with employees over 100 people, also federal contractors; airlines apply in both instances. Delta is doing

this $200 a month surcharge for employees who did not get vaccinated.

But United CEO says so many people submitted to this, all stripes, all location, both sides of the political divide. It can be done.

QUEST: Is he a hero or a villain in the industry for the way he's done this?

MUNTEAN: It's a great question. I think in United's minds, he was the hero. He was quite giddy when he talked to me earlier. We'll see if it

other airlines follow suit here. It seems that many are waiting for the guidance from the Biden administration and have not done it yet.

QUEST: Pete Muntean, thank you.

Cigna is trying to get companies to rethink their employees' health in a new report. They find employers who make workforce health a priority have a

higher productivity. Fewer absences can be 23 percent more profitable.

The report is urging employers to think long-term beyond the pandemic and says it's been a wakeup call for companies to engage more actively in the

health and well being of their staff. The CEO is with me.

The issue is not really telling us -- it's really getting companies to take the conclusion seriously.

DAVID CORDANI, CEO, CIGNA: Richard, good to be with you. It reinforces that companies have an opportunity to rethink the importance of the human

capital, the most precious asset.

And investing smartly in human capital yields better engagement, longer relationships with employees, more productivity and, as you noted, higher

returns. So it's an opportunity to reinvest in your employees through that lens and viewing it as an important strategic investment.

QUEST: I wonder the difficulty of doing it. I mean, the findings are universal, even in other countries that don't have the same sort of pay

structure and insurance structure.


QUEST: The mental health issues of COVID have been so tremendous, would you agree?

CORDANI: One hundred percent, indisputable, the level of mental health stress, strain, formal mental health needs have grown massively during the

pandemic and reinforces, if you have services through your employer, you have broader access, be it digital or live access in other support

programs. But there's no doubt this is a global phenomenon.

QUEST: On this question of mandates, you have basically a mandate, as I understand it, for vaccination. But you also earlier on had an incentive,

$200 incentive award.

Did it slightly bristle with you that you had to pay people to get a vaccine, that was going to potentially save their lives?

CORDANI: No is the simple answer. When you think about employer relationship with their co-workers and benefits programs, you have the

ability to use incentives and disincentives to drive certain activities.

But the simple answer to your question is no. The important part is to elevate the awareness, provide broader access and, in this case, provide an

incentive. Not dissimilar to other incentives passed through to try to get the appropriate behavior to be activated.

But I think there's more positive outcomes than not in the vaccination process. Incentives are an important part of it. But also as we heard,

disincentives are also used effectively as well.

QUEST: The way in which -- everybody is espousing the significance and importance of health care. During the pandemic, we're told it's not an

economic crisis; it's a health crisis.

I wonder, do you fear, once it's over, we go back to the bad old days?

CORDANI: I sincerely hope not and I don't believe so. The reason why is employers are yet again revisiting a basic premise: to have a vibrant,

healthy, thriving corporation, you need healthy, productive, present, highly engaged coworkers.

And communities are seeing that communities are more vibrant, prosperous and have higher vitality if they have vibrant employers. So they feed one

another from that standpoint. So I don't think we just revert back. I think this is a super charged event that allows us to move forward.

QUEST: And on this question of hybrid working, many employers, at the height of the crisis, when everyone is working from home, said, yes, you'll

be able to work from home for the foreseeable future. We'll make it -- a lot of those same employers are now backtracking. Get back in the office,

preferably yesterday, and let's forget this hybrid nonsense.

Where do you stand?

CORDANI: That's an employer by employer decision, so you come back to the employer's culture, operating model, business norms. So we as an employer,

we have certain coworkers that have to be on site. The nature of the work, it has to be on site.

We have other employees who, their work can be and remains at home full- time. Then we have a group that flexes in between. So we understand the nature of our work. But that's an employer by employer decision, based upon

the culture, their business model and the technology and tools they are able to operate with.

QUEST: During the course of the program we have been asking all guests randomly, if you had to put something under the bed for a rainy day, I'll

give you a dollar, a euro, a bitcoin or gold, it's all about crises, which would you take?

A dollar, bitcoin, euro or gold?

CORDANI: I'm going with gold.

QUEST: I'm afraid that's not bucking the trend. That's just about what everybody wants. I think that speaks volumes. Everybody wants gold under

the mattress.

It has been good to see you.


QUEST: A quick look at the markets before I leave you for a moment or three. The way they have been trading, we are back up quite sharply. We are

up half a percent on the Dow Jones.

This is despite a looming debt ceiling crisis and everything else. It's solid. Boeing is up solidly on good numbers. The ones that are down are

down minorly. It's a good solid. Even so, there's real weight to it. Most of that gain on the Dow is Boeing up 3.5 percent. That's QUEST MEANS

BUSINESS. I will have the closing numbers and the bell as we make a dash at the top of the hour.








QUEST: I'm Richard Quest. Together let's have a dash of the closing bell. Only two minutes away. The debt ceiling drama in D.C. is the story of the

day. The Dow is optimistic; it's at near session highs. That's literally evaporated in the last few moments.

And perhaps because as the U.S. House Speaker wants a vote on suspending the debt ceiling before the close of business today, so the gains have

evaporated. All the major averages are reversing from yesterday's selloff, with the exception of the Nasdaq, which has now gone negative. So the gains

of the day are going. That's the message tonight.

United Airlines says it's ready to fire nearly 600 workers who decided not to get a COVID vaccinated. Proof of vaccination was due on Monday for

anyone without religious or medical exemption. The chief executive told us the mandate was the right call.


KIRBY: I hate that anyone chose to do that but more importantly, I know that there are United Airlines employees who got vaccinated because of

this, who will be alive a year from now, who would not be, had we not done this.

And that means a lot more to me, that those people are going to be alive. Some of them might still be mad they had to get vaccinated. But they are

going to be alive. And that means far more to me than the small minority, the fewer than 1 percent, that chose to leave the company.


QUEST: So the Dow has given back much of its gains. If you look at the Dow, you'll see the components. Boeing is still up sharply, which shows the

losses are extending elsewhere, since the Boeing weight isn't able to pull it up anymore than that.

And that's the way the markets look. The closing bell is next. That's the dash to the bell. I'm Richard Quest. Whatever you're up to in the hours

ahead, I hope it's profitable. "THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER" starts now.