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Quest Means Business

Biden To Announce US Mission To Build Gaza Aid Port; Biden To Lean Into More Populist Economic Message Tonight; Wave Of Strikes Shut Down Frankfurt Airport; Kremlin Ramps Up Propaganda Ahead Of Election; Maker Of Weigh Loss Drug Urges Against "Vanity" Use; Troubled Lender NYCB Shares Up After $1 Billion Lifeline. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired March 07, 2024 - 15:00   ET



RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: There is an hour to go on Wall Street and after losses and rather turmoil, ah, it is worth a bell, a

hundred points up on the Dow. It has given off some, but we're holding steady, right around a hundred points, the gains are up the market.

The market, the main market is the Dow, these are the events that you and I are talking about today: President Biden makes his case for re-election to

the American people. It's the State of the Union.

New plans to provide aid to Gaza and in fact, billionaires.

Labor strikes, paralyzing rail and air travel throughout Germany.

And the drugmaker, Eli Lilly, has a new unconventional ad campaign urging people motivated by vanity not to take their weight loss drugs.

We are live in New York, joining you, on Thursday, March the 7t, I am Richard Quest and tonight, as I say, I mean business.

A very good day to you.

Six hours from now, President Biden will deliver his State of the Union. It will give him his biggest audience of the year and use the platform to

tackle issues that are crucial to his re-election campaign.

So we are expecting major announcements on the economy, border security, and indeed the war between Israel and Hamas, which has been such an issue

for him as we saw in the primary season.

Let's start with that conflict. It's told that President Biden is to announce plans for a port in Gaza that will be able to deliver humanitarian

aid. Now look at the map, because the port will have a temporary pier. The aid will come from Cyprus and will be coordinated with Israel, UN, and

other humanitarian organizations with senior officials saying initial shipments would be largely sea, cross the Med from Cyprus.

The US has been increasing its humanitarian efforts. Last weekend, it began air dropping aid to Gaza. And you see where the aid was falling from, it

was actually falling along the coastline where people were then rescuing the pallets from the sea.

CNN's military analyst, Cedric Leighton is with me now.

Sir, when we've spoken before, look, how does it work? I mean, I understand that the US has easily the capability to go and build portable piers,

pontoons. This is meat and veg to a Navy the size of the US.

COL. CEDRIC LEIGHTON (RET), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Yes, Richard is this is one of the greatest capabilities that the US Navy has, and in fact, their

Seabees, which is the construction and engineering corps, they are well- versed in building these temporary port facilities.

So they have the technical wherewithal, they have the equipment, they have the raw materials to build this pier and create this port basically out of

nothing on the Gaza coast, and you correctly pointed out that the staging area for the goods that will be shipped to this port and then transported

over land will be Cypress.

In fact, Larnaca, Cypress, that's going to be one of the key things in this effort. So it's going to really help increase the volume of humanitarian

goods that can flow into Gaza. And that will of course, the effort will be there to alleviate the suffering that that the local population has.

QUEST: Right. So to the extent that they can do it, it's fine. But how do you protect -- I mean, well, whether it be citizens or US personnel or

civilian personnel, who then have to build it and unless you're going to do it sort of -- I mean, off shore and then boated on in, at some point, is it

likely that US personnel has to touch ground in Gaza?

LEIGHTON: So the plan is it seems to be formulated right now. Actually, it doesn't call for US personnel to put their feet on the ground in Gaza.

Now, you're right, that there's going to have to be some kind of a logistical element that does go ashore that at least knows how these things

work and can do the coordination that is necessary to make all of this happen.


But the idea is for US military personnel to actually be on ships offshore, and then they will trans-ship the goods and all of the equipment, of

course, as they're building the pier, and they will trans-ship that, from those vessels to the Gaza shoreline.

There will be a lot of coordination that's going to have to happen between local NGOs, the UN and the Israelis, as well as of course, Hamas and the

Hamas associated police forces in Gaza. But that's going to be one of the key things. But the plan as it stands right now, is that the US does not

put military personnel on the ground in Gaza. We'll see if that actually works that way, though.

QUEST: All right, so that begs the next question. Until now, there has been a ton of aid arriving in Egypt and Israel to cross over the border,

and Israel has frustrated it, claiming you know, it could be used by Hamas, et cetera et cetera.

Now, these same organizations that can't get through the Rafah or the Israeli port, they will be the same ones providing the materials that will

be coming over on a boat except for the American stuff itself. Israel won't be able to surge that stuff coming in. I'm just wondering how much of all

of this is a go around, a frustration, if you will, that basically says to Israel, you wouldn't do it. Now, it is too late, we're doing it anyway.

LEIGHTON: Yes, there is actually a large element of that, Richard. In fact, the president of the United States has told his staff to do this, in

spite of Israeli slow rolling aid deliveries into Gaza.

Now, one thing that this plan does call for, though, is that the Israelis will inspect the goods as they arrive at Larnaca, Cyprus, and then our

trans-shipped from Larnaca to Gaza. So they will be able to see what's going into Gaza at that location. But this is definitely a --

QUEST: Right. Let me just -- let me just interrupt you there. That's -- but that's a big difference to seeing it in Larnaca, where they have no

sovereignty, and you know, the UN or whatever saying, well, stuff you, it is going in anyway.

LEIGHTON: Yes, that's certainly going to be interesting to see how it actually physically happens. It's one thing to do something like this at

the Rafah crossing, for example, in southern Gaza. It is quite another to do this in an area where there is no even land connection to Israeli


So it's going to be, I guess, somewhat analogous to, you know, boarding the Eurostar in London and going to Paris with the French Customs guys sitting

there in London. But it is obviously a much more serious issue than just transporting people from one European capital to the other.

So this is going to be a really big -- a big issue, I think, for the Israelis. We'll see how well they accept it, but it is definitely a US

effort to circumvent all of the slow rolling that has been going on when it comes to delivering humanitarian aid for the Gaza population.

QUEST: Very grateful for that, sir. Thank you.

Also, in tonight's State of the Union expected, President Biden is looking to criticize corporate greed. He leaned on populist economic messaging.

There'll be proposals for higher taxes on corporations and billionaires and discuss cracking down on junk fees and lowering housing costs.

Many Americans are disapproving of his handling of the economy. The unemployment and labor market is good and inflation is falling, but Kevin

Liptak is with me at the White House. And Kevin, you know well, that message of reality is different to the feeling of perception.

KEVIN LIPTAK, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes, it is going to be a balance that the president is going to have to strike, because certainly he

does want to take credit for an economy that by all measures is doing very well. But at the same time, there are so many Americans who just feel sour

about how the economy is affecting their everyday lives, and that is part of why I think he is going to adopt this economic populism in his message


For example, calling on higher taxes on the wealthy and corporations, he'll call for an increase in the tax rate, the corporate tax rate, to 28 percent

from 21 percent, he will call for an increase on a minimum tax on corporations, and this is of course, not rewriting the playbook,

particularly for a Democratic president who is running for re-election.

I remember President Obama making a very similar argument in his 2012 State of the Union address, but really, the hope is that it will provide a

contrast implicit or otherwise, with the Republicans in the room and with his Republican opponent for the White House, Donald Trump.

You'll also see him talk about things like corporate greed, things like price gouging, really trying to show himself on the side of the American

consumer and really trying to ramp up this contrast, this choice contrast for Americans who haven't necessarily been paying attention and don't

necessarily know what exactly he's been doing for the last three years and really trying to make that explanation.


QUEST: Kevin, I'm grateful. Thank you.

That sets the, if you will, the architecture for it, but this perception versus reality, Katherine Cramer is with me, the co-chair of the Commission

on Reimagining our Economy at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Katherine, you've been conducting dozens of conversations with Americans, so I get it. They don't feel good about it, they feel something is wrong.

They feel inequality is getting greater, not less. The pandemic days, et cetera et cetera. Now square the circle, if you will, to the reality.


mean, the feeling is what's most top of mind for a lot of people and they're feeling like the economy that's in front of them is not one that is

set up for them to thrive, right? They might be getting by, I can -- it is very much the case that income inequality has decreased in recent years,

but people don't necessarily see those graphs, right, they don't see those charts.

Instead, what they experience is their everyday life and they see, you know, they're struggling to make ends meet, they're struggling to have

their household budget come together, they see the car repair bill that they can't pay, and they very much feel that health care bill that's

impossible to pay.

QUEST: All of this, and we're looking at the screen, $17.5 trillion household debt, according to the Fed. We are seeing this starting to

exhibit itself. In fact, you know, the Fed Chair yesterday was talking about this in his congressional testimony, you will have seen, this idea of

increased delinquencies on loans, more credit card debt going into arrears and this is going to get worse, potentially.

CRAMER: That could very well be the case. I mean, you're right, those two things are a huge part of why people are feeling just a significant sense

of insecurity right now and instability, right? So auto loan delinquencies, the credit card use that has gone up so much since the pandemic and you

know, the delinquencies on those are just the highest in the decade.

And child poverty is, unfortunately, it is quite, quite low -- I mean, quite at a high because, you know, the child tax credit that was extended

during the pandemic has expired in 2022.

And so, yes, a variety of ways in which people are feeling like things are not working in their favor.

QUEST: From your research, and from your questioning, how much of this is about thems who have got money, the rich, are doing so much better, it is

all skewed. The poor man at the bottom or woman at the bottom just gets the worst, whether reality or not, greed is good and those are the top simply

get away with financial murder.

CRAMER: Some of it is that, for sure, for people perceiving that there's a lot of wealth, and they are not experiencing it, but somebody is. But I

think even more broadly than that, it's this sense that the whole system is driven by greed, that it's not designed for people, ordinary Americans to

thrive, right, it's not set up for individual's well-being, our family's well-being; instead, it is set up with profit and growth at the forefront.

So you know, nothing wrong with growth and nothing wrong with profit. But when people feel as though those -- the value of those things interferes

with the value of just getting along and doing well and having time with one's family, it's a problem.

QUEST: So you've been obviously looking at this for years, in a sense, and are you surprised? I mean, I know the pandemic was such a life-defining

instance, but after all the years you've been looking at this, are you surprised that in a capitalist society where greed is good arguably and

profit motive has been the driving force that people are feeling like this, are you surprised?

CRAMER: I guess not is the honest truth. I mean, it seems as though perhaps we've been heading in this direction for a long time. It's

definitely a moment in history in which maybe many of the supports that were put in place during the pandemic, there was a time when people felt at

some level that support could be put in place for them and they could be helped along to make ends meet, that the government intervention would

actually help them out.


But many of those supports ended and when they ended, what we heard is that people noticed just how -- both just how much, they're struggling to make

ends meet without those things in place and that if government wanted to, it could make a difference.

QUEST: Grateful for your time tonight, and we'll talk more as the election continues and we've put it into perspective. Thank you very much,

ma'am. I'm so grateful.

CRAMER: Thank you.

QUEST: Now, Frankfurt Airport is completely closed after security staff walked off the job. One of Europe's major hubs is in chaos. Well, maybe not

chaos because nothing is happening. But the strikes have thrown Germany's other airports into chaos. We'll look at that after the break.


QUEST: Frankfurt Airport, one of the busiest travel hubs is now completely closed for departures. The airport security staff walked out and

fresh strikes at the predominant -- the dominant carrier, Lufthansa have made everything much worse.

Thousands of Lufthansa ground staff walked off today and they joined their colleagues who have been on strike for weeks. The German airline, the

flight carrier said up to 90 percent of its flights could be disrupted on Thursday and Friday.

Fred Pleitgen is with me.

Fred, well, this is all rather growing. I mean LH is not -- it's well-known for its pilots having a bit of a ruckus and this bit having a ruckus, but

the whole lot of them all going on strike at the same time, and no sign of settlement.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No, absolutely no sign of settlement at all. In fact, I was looking into this earlier

today as far as the Lufthansa ground staff is concerned and it certainly seems to me, Richard, as though the two sides are still very far apart.

We do have to also say this is not the first walk out that we've seen at Lufthansa this year. There have actually been several already by the ground

staff and of course this one today was also mixed with the security staff at some airports as well.

But if we look at the ground staff, the Services Union here in Germany is demanding around 12 percent pay hike for the employees of Lufthansa ground


Lufthansa says it is willing to do about four percent, but certainly not 12 percent. There are certain other benefits that are also being talked about

as well, like a one-off payment for instance to offset some of the inflation that of course has been going on in Germany like in so many other

countries in Europe, as well.


But by and large, that's the bottom line, the two sides are still very far apart. One of the things that today kind of added a little more spice to

all of this infighting that's been going on between the Union Lufthansa is that Lufthansa actually announced some of the best financial results in the

company's history. So the union is obviously saying, share the wealth and Lufthansa is saying, we can't do that, to that extent -- Richard.

QUEST: Because the actual Lufthansa part is not necessarily the most profitable, yet, because what people don't necessarily realize is Lufthansa

Group, which also includes Swiss Austrian, I'm going to forget -- Eurowings, couple of other bits, oh and Belgium Brussels and I am I'm sure

I forgot to list something else. But now, you know, it has become a behemoth of a group.

PLEITGEN: It's become an absolute behemoth of a group. Let me fill in some of the other ones. Lufthansa Cargo.

QUEST: Oh, yes.

PLEITGEN: Air DoLomiti.


PLEITGEN: Eurowings are being some of them as well.


PLEITGEN: Of course, it's massive, and it is certainly, it seems to keep growing as well. And so this is about more than just Lufthansa by and

large. This is an absolutely gigantic company. And as we've seen Carsten Spohr, the very long-time CEO of this company, obviously steering the ship

in a way that shareholders love.

But of course, one of the things that is also part of that is that he wants to keep wages under control as well. But right now, the trade union here in

Germany says that they've had enough of that. And of course, despite the fact that we've been talking about all of these other airlines that are

part of the group, Frankfurt still is a massive hub. Munich is a massive help. And of course, within that behemoth of a group, Lufthansa is still

the most important airline by far -- Richard.

QUEST: Yes, and I forgot, how could I forget? Of course, they've just bought essentially or will be ITA in Italy, which will give them another

few headaches.


QUEST: . I have absolutely no doubt before they finish.

Fred, I'm grateful for you in Berlin tonight. Thank you, sir.

Staying in Europe, new rules today, in the EU, how people experience the internet -- major changes. The DMA, the aim of the new policies to

encourage competition, and the dominance of the tech giants, the gatekeepers, if you will.

Now, two examples. So Apple will now let people in the EU download iPhone apps on third party app stores. It's the first time that's been allowed. So

you can find some other App Store that you like to work from. It's not been allowed for -- Google will also make big changes driving more traffic to

independent shopping or travel booking sites instead of directing users towards Google's own services.

Bill Echikson is of the Center for European Policy Analysis, joins me. He is in one of my favorite places. He's in Malaga in Spain. Absolutely


Now, look, Bill.


QUEST: The DMA has come, the Digital Markets Act, the ability -- this is different to say anti-trust litigation, which is what is seen in the United

States. These six or seven or eight gatekeeper companies, the biggies are now under no illusion about what their duties and responsibilities are.

ECHIKSON: Well, I think they're still under a lot of illusion, because .

QUEST: Good point.

ECHIKSON: . they have presented plans and those plans have to be accepted by the regulators and that will be a challenge. A lot of the plans haven't

gone over so well, I think already. I mean, you mentioned the Apple App Store, the Spotifys of the world and Epic Games were not terribly happy

with that.

But it'll be -- so we're looking at changes that are immediate and a long- term legal battle.

QUEST: All right, so if that is the case, what's the -- besides the large size of the market, which might be the only case, the argument by the

digital companies is, well, we just won't do as much business there. You're making it all too difficult.

Yes, we'll do what we need to do, but we are not going to expand, we're not going to grow. We're not going to invest like we would elsewhere.

ECHIKSON: I'm not sure that's true. Europe is a really big and important market for these companies. I think what we're seeing is the type of

regulation that was done for telecommunications, for finance, it is coming to the internet. I mean, these were no longer -- they are no longer sort of

bubbly startups, they're big boys. They are no longer teenagers, they're adults and I think the regulation is following them there.

QUEST: Is the intention to start treating them like -- to advance your thought there -- like utilities.

ECHIKSON: To a certain extent, yes. I mean the regulation will be really, really tough. The difference is the utilities tend to be pretty predictable

and these are fast moving markets.


Despite their size, I mean, they're -- just look how artificial intelligence and ChatGPT sort of shook them up. So there is a fundamental

difference, but there's some similarities as well.

QUEST: Right, but Bill, that's the point. The EC wants to treat them like utilities and the DMA is very much geared towards the idea of regulation.

I mean, we saw you -- I'll tell you why it is, you would have read yesterday, we saw in the e-mails between Elon Musk and OpenAI, we saw those

delicious e-mails just how they were talking about Google. This is only four or five years ago. But what's the ability of the DMA to respond to

this ever changing environment?

ECHIKSON: So I think the DMA is a step forward or different than previous anti-trust investigations, which dragged out over 10 years and produced

minimal changes. These are producing changes that you showed that are overnight. On the other hand, you're right, enforcement has always been

difficult for the EU. Enforcement is tough, especially with markets they don't really understand. And you know, we could end up like with privacy,

with lots of pop up screens, and lots of requirements that you click and not much changes. So enforcement is the big unknown here.

QUEST: So what about the Brussels effect? A market of 300 million or so, vastly -- I mean, at the end of the day, and we saw this with to a certain

extent with GDPR. But where a lot of companies just basically went along with it, because it was so important, and therefore some dint and others

did. Is it likely that other countries will -- I know the UK has already done its own version, but other countries will do, will just simply lift

the digital media rules from Europe because it's just more convenient.

ECHIKSON: It's already happening. I mean, in Japan, they're already targeting app stores. In Mexico, there's a proposal; India, Brazil, we

wrote an article about how many jurisdictions are adopting this type of regulation.

I mean, in the US also, I think there's similar issues that have arisen, but the politics don't allow for a regulation so we're seeing it -- the

Biden administration attempt to regulate or attempt to deal with similar issues of tech size, but through the courts.

But elsewhere in the world, I think that the DMA will reaffirm the Brussels effect and will show that there's a lot of similar regulation across the


QUEST: Bill, good to see you. Next time in Malaga, we meet face-to-face and I'll buy you lunch.

ECHIKSON: It's a deal. Thank you very much.

QUEST: This is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS live from New York.



QUEST: Hello, I'm Richard Quest for more QUEST MEANS BUSINESS together.

We're going to talk about the pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly with an unusual message to users of its weight loss drug. Don't take on medication

unless you need it. The day after its near collapse, New York Community Bank is on a firmer footing. The crisis is far from over, though. We'll

talk about it after the headlines because here it's CNN. Only the news comes first.

Sweden is now officially a member of NATO after submitting accession documents in Washington. A meeting with the Swedish prime minister, the

U.S. secretary of state quipped good things come to those who wait, a reference to the drawn-out process that Sweden was forced to face.

Stockholm had to overcome initial opposition from both Turkey and then Hungary.

Hopes are fading that a ceasefire deal for Gaza can be reached before the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Hamas delegations left the negotiations in

Cairo. No sign of progress. Israel didn't attend it at all. International mediators were hoping to reach a draft agreement this week. Diplomats

telling us that won't happen.

China is extending its visa exemption policy to six more European countries. It includes Ireland and Switzerland, starting March 14th. It's

part of an effort to boost foreign tourism and help get China's economy back on track.

The trial for the father of the teenage school shooter, Ethan Crumbley, is underway. James Crumbley faces four counts of involuntary manslaughter one

for each of the students killed in his son's shooting rampage back in 2021. His wife was recently convicted on the same charges. In today's arguments

the prosecution and defense painted two very different picture.


MARC KEAST, ASSISTANT PROSECUTING ATTORNEY: Those kids would still be alive today if James Crumbley seized any one of the tragically small and easy

opportunities given to him to prevent his son from committing murder. Any one of them. These were opportunities that were literally given to him. Yet

he disregarded them.

MARIELL LEHMAN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: James Crumbley did not know what his son was going to do. He did not know that his son could potentially harm other

people. He did not know what his son was planning.


QUEST: Elections in Russia are a little more than a week away. Well, there's no doubt about the outcome. Vladimir Putin is almost certain to

secure another term as president if we didn't see any earthshattering development.

As Clare Sebastian reports, Moscow's propaganda machine, even though the outcome is pretty much known, well, it's still ramping up.


CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Flying into a fifth term, the roar of Putin's nuclear-capable strategic bomber almost as loud as the

propaganda machine propelling him forward.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through text translation): Vladimir Putin on board the most powerful, the biggest, the fastest strategic bomber.

SEBASTIAN: This is Putin's desired pre-election image. Strong, vigorous, calling the shots in his so-called special military operation, and letting

his chief propagandists campaign on his behalf on state TV.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through text translation): He works until late, late at night, starts again in the morning. I just want to say thank you to him,

to our president.

SEBASTIAN: As we get closer to elections in Russia in March, we're seeing more and more of this more obvious propaganda. But there are also slightly

more subtle tactics at play, and the most prominent of those is the constant scapegoating or even outright trolling of the U.S.

(Voice-over): One popular talk show played this split screen on loop. Putin boarding his bomber, Biden tripping up the steps of Air Force One.

News reports on the war in Ukraine regularly showing off the wreckage of Western weapons. There's even a discarded Starlink antenna.

Boris Akunin, one of Russia's most popular modern authors, says the West needs to take note of this.

BORIS AKUNIN, RUSSIAN WRITER: Putin benefits from this picture of the outside world as something hostile so that people would unite around him.

When the war started, a lot of Russians start emigrating, then they met with hostility, a lot of them had to return, and every single case has been

used by Putin's propaganda to strengthen this idea that we are, together we are a besieged camp.

SEBASTIAN: Alexei Navalny knew how to get around Putin's propaganda machine and its longstanding policy of ignoring him. From this cramped Moscow

headquarters, which I visited in 2017, he and his colleagues beamed their message to millions of Russians via YouTube. And yet his death was

something state media temporarily found itself unable to ignore. First discrediting his legacy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through text translation): He was a Nazi.

SEBASTIAN: Then blaming the West.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through text translation): For them, this is excellent timing, we have elections coming up. Support for the president is off the


SEBASTIAN: Finally, turning on his widow, Yulia.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through text translation): We looked at the life of the queen of the opposition during the time he was in prison.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through text translation): Two hours after the news of the death of her husband, the wife emerges all made up. Listen, the girls

will understand me, even her mascara didn't run. How do you manage that?

SEBASTIAN: For Akunin, Navalny's death is more than just a propaganda challenge. It signals propaganda may now be taking a backseat to a much

blunter instrument of control, outright repression.

AKUNIN: By killing Alexei Navalny, they lost the last chance of trying to pretend that they were legal, decent, law-abiding. Intimidation is now

going to be the main instrument.

SEBASTIAN: Clare Sebastian, CNN, London.


QUEST: Now the Kremlin has called those accusations.

Now weight loss drugs have become the must-have item of the season in Hollywood. Now one major pharmaceutical company telling celebrities leave

them for people who actually need them.



QUEST: The use of weight loss drugs in the entertainment industry is now becoming more and more common. It would seem everyone from Oprah to Elon

Musk is taking them. And as that growth in Hollywood becomes ever greater, so the concern is for the drugmakers. Well, one pharmaceutical company says

enough is enough. Soaring demand is making the drugs hard to get. The scarce supply for those people who actually need them.

Eli Lilly makes two drugs similar to Ozempic. Ahead of this weekend's Oscars ceremony, it put out this advert saying, if you're not obese, don't

take our drugs.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Some people have been using medicine never meant for them for the smaller dress or tux. For a big night. For vanity. But that's

not the point. People whose health is affected by obesity are the reason we work on these medications.


QUEST: Now, we'll be talking about that in just one second. But before we get to that, I just want to point out another important story that we've

been following.

New York Community Bancorp shares, now today, remember, yesterday they're around 40 percent then they recovered as the regional lender got an influx

of investment. Now they're up 5 percent, still down in the toilet, but it was the billion-dollar lifeline that helped claw them back from yesterday's

losses when the cash crunch sent shares into a nosedive, then result in trade, et cetera, et cetera.

The bank is not out of the woods yet. It's installed new leadership, replacing its CEO, and adding four new board members. And one of the tasks

is of course to get rid of these deposit shortfalls. They're down 7 percent over the past month.

So if you look at how all this has factored into the market, and bearing in mind yesterday the chair of the Fed did not seem too concerned. I mean, he

said there are vulnerabilities, but there was nothing systemic, there was nothing crucial, et cetera, that he was particularly worried about. Well,

now you see sort of a slight change in that. You can see today's market much stronger, rallying ahead of tomorrow's jobs report. The S&P and the

Nasdaq hit fresh record highs on the back of the Jerome Powell testimony.

And so to that story we're telling you about, the Eli Lilly telling celebrities not to use their drugs if not necessarily, Meg Tirrell is with

me to talk about this.

This idea, I mean, it's very, very unusual two basically say to a group of people don't take our drugs, you're depriving those people who really need


MEG TIRRELL, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you know, in pharmaceutical advertising, it's all about talk to your doctor about whether this drug is

right for you. But in these ads, Lilly is actually saying, hey, you people who are using this drug for cosmetic weight loss reasons, these drugs

aren't for you. And we don't know actually hear them actually say what the names of the drugs are. Lilly make Zepbound and Mounjaro.

But we talked with Eli Lilly's CEO about how they're sort of capitalizing on this moment leading into the Oscars, knowing that there was that big

joke from Jimmy Kimmel, the host last year, and perhaps a lot of talk about it this year. Here's what he told us about why they're doing this.


DAVID RICKS, CEO, ELI LILLY: This is a serious condition with a serious medication. And yes, the media attention drawn on that from last year and

might be drawn this year, we're taking a point of view on that, that these medicines were invented for people with a serious health condition. They're

not invented, you know, just to have someone who's famous look a little bit better.


TIRRELL: He pointed to three reasons really behind this add. One, they haven't tested this drug outside of type two diabetes or in obesity, or

people who have, quote-unquote, "weight-related health issues."


He also noted there's a shortage of these medicines. People with diabetes can't get them and people with obesity sometimes can't get them. And also

that there's a huge problem in terms of insurance reimbursement. Half the people in the United States who qualify for their weight-loss drug, he

said, don't have insurance coverage. So they're really trying to shine the light on those issues. Of course, there's a lot of sentences there, too.

QUEST: Right.

TIRRELL: You know, the idea that they could be liable for all these people using the drug off-label.

QUEST: All right. Thank you very much. Grateful. Thank you.

Now just into CNN. U.S. lawmakers have voted to advance a bill that could ban TikTok from U.S. app stores unless its owner ByteDance divest from the

company. Now ByteDance is a Chinese tech company and the vote in the House Energy and Commerce Committee was unanimous.

We'll talk about the New York Community Bancorp shares in just a moment.


QUEST: New York Community Bankcorp shares are climbing today. The regional lender is regaining its footing. They're about 5 percent. It was a billion-

dollar lifeline helped claw back yesterday's losses.

Matt Egan is with me.

Matt, they're up strongly. I mean, essentially with a billion and new management, if you will, or at least new direction. They've just really --

this is just now about sorting out the mess.

MATT EGAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Richard, that's right. And, you know, we did get an update on their deposit situation. A lot of concerns over what

is going to happen to the deposits at this bank. And I think there's actually been some good news on that front. NYCB saying that their deposits

are only down by 6 percent. That's between February 5th and March 5th.

Given everything that's gone on, it's kind of a surprise and I think a relief that deposits are not down even more. I mean, remember this is a

bank that the stock has just imploded. The credit rating has been downgraded. They've had two management switches in just the last few days

and they've been under a lot of different pressure because of bad loans. But clearly they're not experiencing a bank run.

Nothing like what we saw with Silicon Valley Bank and First Republic Bank and others around this time last year. So that is encouraging. And now,

yes, we do have a Steve Mnuchin coming to the rescue with this $1 billion lifeline. Bank of America analysts say that this is going to buy the bank

some time and also give it some credibility and give some confidence to investors that the bank is going to be able to figure this out.


So it is a relief to see that major stock sell-off from yesterday for this bank completely wipe out and its trading higher again today.

QUEST: Again to this question of, why the systemic issues? Doesn't seem to be too much the case.

EGAN: It doesn't. It doesn't. And I think that there's a very key difference between what's going on right now and what happened last spring.

You remember there were all those concerns about First Republic Bank and we saw the whole entire market swing up and down on those concerns and on

every single development there. And we're not seeing that this time, right? Markets were basically able to shrug off the stock price collapse in NYCB


And again, moving higher today. So it doesn't feel as though investors are concerned about a systemic issue. And Richard, I think that's because the

big banks, they really don't have as much exposure to these bad commercial real estate loans.

QUEST: So I would take the overview, if you will and let's talk economics in a sense. Powell, you know, today, you saw his comments. He sort of

saying we're not far off. We're not far off that moment. I think I commend the exact words he used but he basically said it's not that far away when

they will be looking at removing some of the restriction.

EGAN: Right. You know, he's trying to thread the needle here, right? He's trying to tap the brakes on any expectation of an imminent interest rate

cut, but he also doesn't want to freak out investors who are really hoping for rate cuts. And I think he's sort of managed to thread the needle to

this point. Listen to what Powell told lawmakers today.

QUEST: I want to just quickly look at the markets today, if we may. Both the Dow, which is up on the triple stack. Now look, I know on any given

day, the markets were up. Why is it up? Well, because it's not down. And do you think the market is just sort of recognizing that cuts in interest

rates isn't going to be when they'd hoped, but it's still not a crisis, bearing in mind the ECB today and President Lagarde, made it clear -- well,

there were their statements and their actions, their actions, did sort of basically confirm as much as you can, June as their first cut.

EGAN: Richard, I'm surprised the markets have handled all this as well as they have, right? I mean, it never made sense to me late last year why

investors were pricing in so many rate cuts from the Fed as quickly as they were. And what's interesting is that markets have dialed back those

expectations, right? March is off the table. May is unlikely. So not until June that investors are expecting a rate cut.

And yet what's interesting is that the market is at all-time highs. I think that is a bit of a surprise and I think it's because of two reasons really.

One, corporate profits are really, really high. And those recession fears that we heard so much about, they've really faded. And so we're in a

situation where right now good news is good news. Markets are happy about the fact that the economy looks resilient.

And for now, that with a dose of optimism about AI --

QUEST: Right. But --

EGAN: -- has been enough to keep prices at record highs.

QUEST: But, Matt, every -- and you and I have said before, if we take a share price as each one should as being a barometer of future profits, then

the market's high suggests that companies will continue to perform well at this level.

EGAN: That's the bet right now. And the fact that the Fed is no longer hiking interest rates, remember those were monster rate hikes. The fact

that, one, it's stopped raising interest rates and two, it's signaling that the next move is a cut, that is huge.

But, Richard, as you know, as well as I do, the market is not always right. I mean, remember in early 2020, investors were initially betting that that

health crisis emerging from China was not going to wreck the U.S. economy, not going to wreck corporate profits. And obviously that was wrong and

markets were also at record highs in late 2007, betting that the emerging credit crunch was going to be nothing.

QUEST: Right.

EGAN: And obviously that was wrong. So right now there's a lot of optimism and hopefully that optimism proves right.

QUEST: Grateful to you, sir. Always good to see you. Thank you.

EGAN: Thanks, Richard.

QUEST: We will take a "Profitable Moment" after the break.



QUEST: Tonight's "Profitable Moment," I was fascinated by our story on Eli Lilly today, and their warning to those celebrities or those people on the

red carpet not to take their weight loss drugs for cosmetic purposes. And the reason is under the full interest of full transparency, I actually take

one of those drugs, like Ozempic. I take it for a type two diabetes and indeed only been taking it for the last few months. And certainly I've

noticed a bit of a weight loss. Gets a bit thin around there.

But that's just the price you pay when you take something that has one purpose and it needs to be used for something else. It's Eli Lilly's

comment to the celebrities or those or to people don't take it, there are those who need it that I'm not quite sure holds a great deal of water. And

the reality is pharmaceutical companies have made a great deal of money out of this, if you will, off-label. What was designed for type two is now

being used for weight loss. The number of people I know who are trying to get it or want to buy it or can't pay for it or insurance won't allow it is

quite extraordinary.

But then they are the victims of their own success. Having realized that it did have this off-label benefit in the same way as other type two drugs

have promoted better coronary aspects now they're complaining because everybody seems to want it. In a country like the United States, which has

such a high level of obesity, it's not surprising. And people want an easy solution because the alternatives are much harder to actually have to go

and deal with weight loss issues, or indeed addictions of weight-loss issues, and all of those sort of things.

It's much more difficult to deal with that than if you can just take a drug. And by the way, yes, there've been a couple of times when I've tried

to get the Ozempic and have been told it's out of stock.

And that's QUEST MEANS BUSINESS for tonight. I'm Richard Quest in New York. Whatever you're up to in the hours ahead, I hope it's profitable. The

closing bell on Wall Street ringing. "THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER" is well underway.