10 things before the opening bell

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Santa Claus gestures on the floor at the closing bell of the Dow Industrial Average at the New York Stock ExchangeWelcome to 10 Things Before the Opening Bell.

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Let's jump in. 

1. Omicron is putting the Santa Claus rally at risk. The S&P 500 dropped more than 1% yesterday as the coronavirus variant continues to worry investors. Stocks look ready for a comeback Tuesday, but investors are still keeping an eye on the virus headlines.

As Christmas approaches and cases spike, market participants are worried sweeping new lockdown measures meant to contain the spread of Covid-19 will derail the economic recovery and take the wind out of the market right as the new year kicks off.  

Bond yields tumbled as investors returned to safe havens, while oil prices dropped on fears of decreased demand. Meanwhile, solar energy stocks were a casualty of Senator Joe Manchin officially pulling his support for Biden's Build Back Better social spending plan. In response, Goldman Sachs cut its US growth outlook, telling clients in a note that without the spending package, GDP will likely grow at a slower rate through the third quarter of 2022. 

As Omicron cases pile up, and markets assess the prospects of lower social spending that could boost the economy, the Santa Claus rally may disappoint this year. 

Some numbers to know:

  • Since 1936, stocks in December have generated a positive return 79% of the time.
  • Historically, stocks in December have returned an average of 2.3%.
  • So far this December, the S&P 500 has fallen about 0.7%.

2. Lumber prices have spiked 95% in five weeks.  Demand is rising at a time when floods in Canada have dented supply. Here are the latest moves in one of the hottest corners of the commodities market this year.

3. Meet the top three European fund managers of 2021. They shared their star stock picks and investing strategies that supercharged their returns — and what they plan to do in 2022. 

4. Earnings on deck: General Mills, Oracle Corp. Japan, and Blackberry, all reporting.

5. Cathie Wood shared a big prediction for her Ark stock picks. Even as her flagship ETF is down 24% year-to-date, she said the innovation stocks in her portfolio are in "deep value territory." Wood expects the group to deliver 40% returns over the next five years.

6. Venture capital invested a record $30 billion in crypto this year. Investors have poured "anything and everything" into crypto in 2021. This year's number more than quadrupled the previous high.

7. Moderna soared before dropping back after it said a booster shot increases protection against Omicron. A third dose of Moderna vaccine resulted in a 37-fold increase in protection against the variant. See what the company's CEO had to say.

8. 2021 was a banner year for individual investors participating in the stock market. Apple was the most-purchased stock, while AMC and Alibaba also made the tech-heavy list. Here are the top 10 stocks bought by retail investors this year.

9. Morgan Stanley shared its stock picks for a volatile market. Certain stocks have shown steady earnings and low valuations — factors that should help them outperform as a more hawkish Fed rattles investors. 

10. It's been an outstanding year for crypto, but rough for stocks tied to them. But some under-the-radar crypto stocks could be set for a huge 2022. VanEck's director of digital assets research shared five stocks to watch in the new year.

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

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