10 things before the opening bell

Welcome to 10 Things Before the Opening Bell.

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1. A word from Larry Fink on the future of capitalism. In his annual letter to CEOs, the BlackRock chief executive touched on divergent shareholder interests, its push for ESG investments, and the future of the US economy.

Notably, the BlackRock chief highlighted the Great Resignation, stressing that companies need to adapt. The era when employers can expect workers to come into the office every day — “that world is gone,” Fink wrote. And he thinks that’s a good thing. Workers are seizing new opportunities in a show of confidence in the economy, and they’ve set the stage for companies to respond with more flexibility for employees and “more meaningful work.”

On sustainability and his firm’s well-documented push into ESG, Fink shared great expectations for the future of capitalism, one that is oriented towards sustainable investments. He writes in his letter that the next 1,000 unicorn companies won’t be social media titans, but rather brands that make energy more affordable.

The investing world is on the verge of a “tectonic shift” into sustainable ventures, Fink explained, and most stakeholders now expect companies to engage in decarbonization efforts.

“I believe,” Fink wrote, “the decarbonizing of the global economy is going to create the greatest investment opportunity of our lifetime.”

2. US stocks are cautiously eyeing a recovery even as bond yields hold near two-year highs. Techs are upbeat after taking a hit from rising yields, and Bank of America earnings later could bring reason for hope. Check out the latest moves on the markets.

3. A retail investment expert shared the hottest IPO prospects for 2022. With names like Stripe and Databricks, these are the four companies to watch — including two that could reach a valuation of $50 billion. 

4. On the docket: UnitedHealth, Procter & Gamble, Morgan Stanley, and Discover Financial Services, all reporting.

5. Microsoft to acquire Activision Blizzard for $69 billion in cash. The deal is set to be a lifeline to Activision (its stock jumped 38% in Tuesday trading), and allows Microsoft to deepen its ties to the metaverse. Here’s what to know.

6. The stock market could fall another 10%, according to Fairlead Strategies. If the S&P 500 breaks below the key support level of 4,546, a sell-off could follow. Below that, “downside risk would increase to next major support near 4,200.”

7. Coinbase users will be able to buy NFTs with Mastercard following a new partnership. “Buying digital goods should be as simple as buying a T-shirt or coffee pods,” Mastercard said. “You can make your purchase with one click — that’s it.”

8. Oil prices touched seven-year highs. The spike early Tuesday arrived on the back of supply disruption fears and surging demand. Goldman Sachs sees Brent prices reaching $100 a barrel this year.

9. The metaverse could represent an $8 trillion investment opportunity, says Goldman Sachs. Managing director Eric Sheridan said developments in the metaverse space and the rise of Web3 could send these four sectors skyrocketing — see his picks.

10. China’s zero-COVID policy could wreak havoc on a struggling supply chain. As Omicron, the Olympics, and consumer demand disrupt supply chains, investing experts laid out three ways and six stocks to capitalize on the chaos as freight rates surge.

Compiled by Phil Rosen. Feedback? Email prosen@insider.com or tweet @philrosenn.

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