Welcome to 10 Things Before the Opening Bell.
Here we go.
1. The economy grew more than expected. Despite Omicron's surge, US gross domestic product grew at an annualized rate of 6.9% in the fourth quarter of 2021, beating the expected 5.5% and well surpassing the prior quarter's 2.3% growth.
This reflects the strongest quarter of growth since the third quarter of 2020, suggesting that economic growth will remain above trend throughout 2022. On an annual basis, the US economy grew 5.7% in 2021 — the largest one-year expansion in nearly 40 years.
The drawback? Inflation is also the highest in four decades. The CPI soared 7% year-over-year in December, and supply-chain snags and strong consumer demand drove prices higher. Fed Chair Jerome Powell admitted pandemic stimulus "was a lot," though it's "too early" to tell whether the aid caused the inflation nightmare. The Fed chief defended the bank's approach to the pandemic as helping to spur a record-setting recovery.
While the new data hints that inflation is set to ease, growth may slow. As the central bank announced this week, rate hikes are likely to begin in March, which could drag on GDP and further rattle markets.
2. Apple's stellar fourth-quarter results have lifted the global tech sector. The iPhone maker's earnings blew past expectations and have sent the stock up in the pre-market. See the latest here.
3. Should Apple buy Peloton? Three experts broke down the pros and cons of the tech giant acquiring the struggling at-home fitness company. Here's what they came up with.
4. On the docket: Volvo, Caterpillar, and Chevron, all reporting.
5. Oil surged to a seven-year high as Russia-Ukraine tensions escalate. Brent crude topped $90 per barrel, but JPMorgan economists said oil could soar to $150 during the first quarter of 2022 if the conflict leads to a supply shock.
6. Wall Street analysts react to Tesla's 4th quarter earnings. Shares of the EV-maker fell after it beat analyst estimates on earnings. Investors were likely disappointed by product delays for some vehicles — here's what three analysts had to say.
7. Bitcoin could be in for a long year. When the Fed pointed to a more hawkish path for 2022 on Wednesday, it delivered another blow to the world's largest crypto. More setbacks could be coming for bitcoin as rate hikes kick in.
8. Cathie Wood's Ark Invest expects ether to soar 7,200% by 2030. A note from the firm said ether will meet or surpass a $20 trillion market cap this decade — it also said that the price of a single bitcoin could hit $1 million.
9. This investor quit a six-figure job at Google to focus on real estate. Houston-area native Faraz Hemani spent nearly five years building a real-estate side hustle. He explained how he built his portfolio up to the point where he could leave his nine-to-five.
10. Bank of America recommends buying the dip on these specific stocks. "We extracted a short list of 15 companies with strong fundamentals and less macro vulnerability," a team of strategists said. Here's their full list of stock picks.
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