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Omicron variant.

The arrival of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 sent a jolt through the equity markets the Friday after Thanksgiving. We have seen the market react to news of new COVID-19 variants in a similar fashion as this disease continues to evolve along with our treatments and vaccines. The shortened trading day and lighter trading volume likely contributed to the sharp selloff. BioNTech and Pfizer have indicated that it will take a couple of weeks to ascertain whether their existing vaccine formulation will offer successful protection against Omicron. Other vaccine manufacturers have indicated that they could reformulate their vaccines, if necessary, and have mass quantities available in the first half of 2022.

Supply chain and inflation.

The current rise of inflation seems to be top of mind for most everyone these days. This article sums up the source of our current inflation malaise. It is a global issue and not one whose root cause can be placed at the feet of any one person, company or country. Supply and demand are out of line, which has led to our current higher than average inflation rate. 

Debt ceiling deadline.

Here we go again. The ever-present debt ceiling negotiations are coming up just in time to loom over holiday celebrations. The most recent impasse was as acrimonious as ever and the upcoming discussions are likely to repeat. This is one issue that is tailor-made for causing equity market volatility. The only way to avoid this volatility would be for Congress to proactively introduce and pass a bill to avert another stalemate. Let’s just say the potential for that happening is quite unlikely.