PreMarket Prep Plus: Talking COVID-19, The Fed And The Markets On 'Briefing With Brent'


Brent Slava, head of the Benzinga Pro Newsdesk, was raring to go Monday to start the New Year with his list of potential catalysts to drive price action in 2022. 

COVID-19: Nearly two years into the pandemic, Slava tries to remain positive that the worst may be over. He shared his favorite tool to monitor the virus, the COVID-19 Dashboard by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University. 

His favorite tool is the weekly tracker. Although the number of cases and hospitalizations are up on a weekly basis, the incidence of death is currently tracking at a lower rate than with previous strains.

Also, Slava pointed out that COVID-19 antiviral pills are supposed to be rolling out this week, which may decrease the number of severe cases.

The Fed, Inflation And Rising Rates: From Slava’s review of the notes and comments from the Dec. 16 Fed meeting, the consensus for rates to rise in 2022 and 2023 is modest. At this time, the Fed projects rates to move up incrementally. 

Slava is skeptical that the modest increase in rates will keep them low in historical terms and go forward without creating a significant drag on the equities markets.

Supply Chain Issues: Obviously, supply chain issues, such as the global chip shortage, are going to be directly affected by the containment of the virus. Slava is siding with the Fed on this issue and as long the virus is contained, expects global supply issues to abate in the second half of 2022.

Issues To Watch: With the encouraging delivery reports coming out of Tesla Inc. TSLA over the weekend, Slava identified a few “ancillary plays” that may move in sympathy.

Those are ones that are part of the electronic vehicle infrastructure that will be needed to be meet the rising demand. The issues mentioned were ChargePoint Holdings CHPTVolta Inc. VLTA, EVgo Inc. EVGO and Blink Charging Co. BLNK.

The full discussion with Brent Slava from Monday’s PreMarket Prep Plus show can be found here:

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