Hey Influence Traders:
Our new friend Omicron continues to flourish and is being blamed for … everything!
Despite the wishes of CNN and some other news outlets, the variant does not seem to have severe symptoms and is not causing the end of humanity as we know it.
Speaking of CNN, how bad is Chris Cuomo’s hangover this morning?
But enough of that … let’s get down to some real news.
It was politics as usual this past week in DC — which means ripples.
The November jobs report was released and showed that the US gained less than half the jobs the market was anticipating.
Despite a record number of people leaving work, the administration was able to show that unemployment figures were “somehow” down.
Biden promptly announced that the economy is as strong as ever.
I’d like to know who is scripting his teleprompter and doing his accounting.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen went off script and finally admitted that inflation is not temporary but a prolonged problem of rising prices.
She blamed our new friend Omicron.
Poor little bug is getting all the blame.
This administration is still having a hard time understanding why it is overseeing one of the great financial mismanagements in history.
Perhaps a look inward and an assessment of policy failures is warranted.
Build Back Better
The boondoggle bill continues to be debated on the Hill.
The big push now?
Democrats from high-tax states such as New York and New Jersey want to see the $10,000 cap on the state and local tax (SALT) deduction undone.
But the other side of the aisle, as well as some progressives and even moderate Democrats, are concerned that rolling back the cap would solely benefit wealthy Americans at the expense of the payment for the bill.
Republicans are on a campaign to argue that undoing the SALT cap will benefit the wealthy at the expense of the middle class.
Dems arguing for benefits for the wealthy … Republicans arguing for benefits for the lower and middle classes.
DC is upside down!
The Hill did come together to further kick the can down the road and agree to temporarily fund the government through the middle of February.
President Biden signed the temporary measure on Friday.
Shutdown crisis averted!
It warms the heart.
Biden has been pressuring OPEC to increase production.
OPEC agreed to a modest supply bump which saw U.S. crude prices dip as low as $67 per barrel.
I guess a little nudging helped.
We’ll see if it’s reflected in prices at the pump, which have been a big contributor to Biden’s low approval ratings.
The recently passed infrastructure bill earmarks $14 billion for energy resiliency programs and includes another $11 billion grant program for states, utilities and other organizations to make resilience investments.
That might bode well for a growing sector of the energy economy …
Most energy storage is accomplished using lithium-ion batteries.
As we’ve previously discussed, they have limitations and there are better options.
For example, trading guru Andrew Giovinazzi and I have been fans of solid-state lithium-metal battery producer QuantumScape (Ticker: QS).
Solid-state batteries have greater storage capacity and are less volatile than lithium-ion.
Solid-state lithium batteries are great large storage alternatives as back-up solutions for a home or office when there’s a short-term outage, or as storage for solar energy solutions.
But even those systems have certain limitations.
That’s why I’m looking at alternative solutions provider Bloom Energy (Ticker: BE).
BE is working on hydron-based solutions, which use electrolyzers (devices that turn electricity and water into hydrogen) and fuel cells to use that hydrogen to generate electricity.
While still in their infancy stages, such solutions can be an entirely clean process.
(And, NO, they don’t glow!)
The non-carbon emitting fuel that is created is easily stored and transported for use in everything from buildings to container ships.
The resiliency earmarks in the infrastructure package could flow to hydrogen economy producers.
In addition to the large earmarks noted above, the bill has $3 billion worth of investment for “grid flexibility" and another $3 billion to help energy storage companies build out their manufacturing operations.
New tech always has tremendous risk, but also high upside potential.
Perhaps the government’s commitment to clean energy storage and technology will alleviate some of that risk.
Hydrogen companies should benefit from government spending in the sector, which will drive down costs and increase hydrogen’s value as a solution.
BE could be one of those companies which is why I’m putting it into the Capitol Gains lineup and we’re going to look for trading strategies around it.
Cutting through the noise for you,