Stock Market Futures Mostly Unchanged Ahead Of ADP Employment Figures

Stock market futures are mostly mixed in early morning trading this Wednesday. This seems to be the case as investors consider the possible headwinds for stocks in 2022. For the most part, while markets continue growing well-beyond pandemic era lows, interest rate hikes are due this year. Accordingly, this comes as the Federal Reserve remains hawkish in its approach to adjusting for growing inflation. 

Providing some insight into all of this is Eddie Ghabour, founder of KeyAdvisors Group, a financial advisory firm. Ghabour says, “This increase in rates doesn’t concern me at all. I think it’s going to be short-lived … The bigger concern I have right now is the fact that a lot of investors are still carrying a tremendous amount of risk heading into a year that’s going to be unprecedented when the Fed is tightening during a slowdown. It usually is not a good recipe for high-risk assets.”

Nevertheless, investors will likely be watching markets closely to see if the current turbulence in the markets persists. Some will also be paying attention to the ADP employment change figures expected at 8:15 a.m. ET. As of 7:48 a.m. ET, the Dow futures are dipping by 0.05% while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures are declining by 0.13% and 0.44% respectively.

Berkshire Hathaway Vice Chair Charlie Munger Significantly Increases Stake In Alibaba

For some of the top names in the Chinese tech stock space, things have and continue to be mostly volatile. With the current regulatory pressures among other things, even massive companies like Alibaba (NYSE: BABA) are trading lower. Despite all of this, there remain investors who are bullish on these companies’ future prospects in the stock market now. Namely, this includes Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK.A) Vice Chairman Charlie Munger. 

Now, this news comes from a recent 13F filing for Daily Journal (NASDAQ: DJCO), the firm in which Munger is chairman. In detail, Daily Journal reportedly boosted its current position in the e-commerce giant by 300,000 shares. This marks the latest of its advances on BABA stock. Starting back in October last year, the company began buying Alibaba’s shares on the dip. Amidst broad-based sell-offs, the bulls appear to be betting on Alibaba’s massive tech portfolio to drive sustained growth in the long term.

Not to mention, it is worth noting a recent op-ed from the Global Times, often considered a channel for the Chinese Communist Party. It argues that Alibaba is investing in its core products to grow user bases, bolster existing merchants, and increase its addressable markets. All of which could ideally see it achieve one billion annual active users locally. Whether or not BABA stock can pivot from its less-than-ideal performance in 2021 remains to be seen.

baba stock
Source: TD Ameritrade TOS

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FDA Approves Pfizer’s Booster Shot For Teens; U.S. Doubles Antiviral Covid Pill From Pfizer

While the new year is well underway, Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) does not seem to be slowing down anytime soon. This appears to be the case this week. Evidently, the company received two positive updates regarding its coronavirus portfolio. For starters, the company received authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) earlier this week. The authorization is for the usage of its Covid-19 vaccine boosters in adolescents between the ages of 12- to 15-years-old. Additionally, the FDA is also narrowing the time for booster shot eligibility from six months to five. If all that wasn’t enough, the agency is also authorizing a third short for immunocompromised children aged 5 through 11.

biotech stocks to buy (PFE stock)

Safe to say, all this would allow Pfizer to ramp up the delivery of its life-saving vaccines to a wider audience. Subsequently, the U.S. is doubling its current order of Paxlovid, Pfizer’s antiviral Covid-19 treatment. As a result, Pfizer is now looking to fulfill an order for 20 million courses of Paxlovid through September 2022. This news comes at a crucial time as the U.S. is seeing record new infection numbers, posting over a million new cases yesterday.

Commenting on all this is President Joe Biden in a televised speech yesterday. He said, “I’m pleased to say that on Christmas Eve, we shipped out the first batch of these pills that we purchased and received, and more will be shipped this week.” President Biden also noted that the production of Pfizer’s oral Covid-19 treatment is going into “full swing”.

KFC Launching Plant-Based Alternative To Fried Chicken With Beyond Meat In The U.S.

In other news, Yum! Brands (NYSE: YUM) subsidiary Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) appears to be going green. Notably, KFC is now working with Beyond Meat (NASDAQ: BYND) to bring consumers plant-based fried chicken. Starting this week, KFC locations across the U.S. will be serving the meat alternative. This launch comes as the result of years of testing between the two food-industry titans. Firstly, the initial test for this plant-based chicken was held in Atlanta in August 2019. In this first tryout, the chain reportedly sold out in under five hours. This could indicate that there is a general interest in the company’s meat-free offerings.

Following that, there were also subsequent tests in Nashville and southern California around the same time. Accordingly, it seems like the duo are successful in terms of creating a meat substitute, mimicking KFC’s whole muscle chicken. More importantly, the release comes at a solid time for healthier food options. Seeing as the wave of New Year’s resolutions taking place now involve healthier eating, this is evident. Kevin Hochman, U.S. President of KFC notes that “This is really about where the customer is going; they want to eat more plant-based proteins.” Moreover, CEO Ethan Brown also added that KFC is confident “from a supply perspective”. As such, investors may want to consider looking out for YUM stock and BYND stock today.

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Microsoft And Qualcomm Partner Up On Custom AR Chips, Among Other News From Day 1 Of CES 2022

Meanwhile, things appear to be heating up at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) this year. As the first day of CES 2022 begins, there is no shortage of consumer tech giants revealing their latest work. To highlight, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) and Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM) are among the heavyweights turning heads today. At Qualcomm’s CES 2022 keynote, the semiconductor giant revealed its ongoing chip partnership with Microsoft. Together, they are working to develop a cutting-edge, customized Snapdragon chip. The likes of which will serve to power augmented reality (AR) glasses that can interface with Microsoft’s ecosystems.

Furthermore, they will be integrating key software from both Microsoft’s and Qualcomm’s developer platforms into the chip. This mainly involves the Microsoft Mesh and Qualcomm Snapdragon Spaces XR development platforms. Overall, this is a major step towards the metaverse for both companies. The mixing of Mesh’s cross-platform virtual reality (VR)/AR systems and Qualcomm’s state-of-the-art mobile computing prowess is notable. Ideally, this could see the duo ushering a new age of consumer tech-focused on VR/AR-enabled devices.

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